the vanishing microwave and other stories of workplace romance, gone both wrong and right

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here are some amazing stories about workplace romance that commenters shared in years past. Please feel free to share your own in the comment section.

1. The wildflowers

I once worked at a bank in a department dealing with loans for high value assets (cars with six-figure price tags, yachts, roller coasters). Every Valentines there’d be a parade of fancy bouquets, chocolates, jewellery delivered to the office from “secret admirers” that was usually suspected of being brokers buttering people up (the whole department was shut due to suspicious dealing not long after I left) but a few were genuinely from spouses/boyfriends/girlfriends. For three years I got nothing because my spouse is an accountant and only bought flowers after Valentines when its cheaper, but on the fourth year he happened to be off work and had a great idea. Wild flowers. Not much grows in our country in February so I ended up being called to reception to collect a glass (not a vase) containing a bouquet of weeds. The receptionist (thinking it was hilarious) made me take them back to my desk. Once they warmed up to the temperature of the office it quickly became evident that something had urinated on them :/ it took days to get rid of the smell in the open plan office. He’s stuck to store bought gifts ever since.

2. The vanishing microwave

My last boss had a “personal assistant” who I’m pretty sure was his girlfriend. I actually liked her; she’d show up now and then at the office in fabulous pink leopard prints and do absolutely no work, but she had a great personality and seemed like a woman who didn’t take crap from anyone. I guess she got fed up with my control freak boss, because one day they got into a screaming argument in the office and my boss sent the rest of the admin staff home early. The next day his personal assistant had vanished, never to be seen again, and so had the office microwave.

3. The new hire

I was 23 and worked at a call center. I was training a new hire for way long than necessary (I thought he was stupid). I had a boyfriend (who he knew about) who also worked in the call center. My boyfriend at the time got fired (no biggie, everyone got fired all the time), but he didn’t want to drop me off at work anymore and since we only had one car, I was asking around for carpooling. The new hire said he lived right by me and was doing some overtime, so if I wanted to do overtime as well we could just go in together. We ended up doing a lot of 16-hour shifts together plus commuting so I was with this guy for like 18 hours a day, 5 days a week, for months.

On Valentines’ Day, my boyfriend didn’t buy me anything because he said it was a vapid, stupid, made up, commercial, money grab of a holiday designed to drive up that puts a price tag on love and sets up guys for unrealistic expectations. I was pretty bummed and felt like a toad. My coworker “as a joke” bought a $1 CVS box of chocolate for me as his “work wife.” Coworker then got fired at the end of his shift (LOL) so we ended up going out to a bar where he drunkenly confessed his love to me and the fact that he got accidentally fired by pretending to be bad at his job so he could sit with me all the time.

I broke up with my boyfriend by text message and my coworker and I have been together for 7 years today.

4. Poor judgment

I sat on an interview panel once where I encountered a guy who, when answering a question about dealing with workplace conflict, went on a long, convoluted, extremely detailed story the upshot of which was: he’d started dating a colleague, it wasn’t going well, and he needed a new job so he could break up with her.

He did not get the job.

5. The boss’s set-up

In my first job during high school, my mother-in-law was my boss. I was complaining to her one day about boys, and she said she would set me up with her son who was around my age. (Fun fact: she had a picture of her family on her desk, and I always thought her son was really cute.) I thought she was joking, but that Saturday he called. I’ve joked since that I felt like I had to say yes because I was afraid she would fire me.

We ended up going out on a date, and seriously at 17 I knew I was going to marry him. Looking back, it’s crazy that we were so young and that in love, but, hey, it’s what happened. We’ve been together for 10 years, are two kids in, and I have been pleasantly surprised that marriage gets even better and better as time goes on.

6. The video conference

I used to work for a huge multinational. Every week we had a global video conference involving all the regional teams (North America, Latin America, Asia, Europe, Australia). The managing director of each region was required to be the lead for their region. Picture a conference room with a huge center table and a movie-size screen on one wall. The video system was set to turn on automatically each week at the appropriate time. This time rotated each week so that no single region had to be there in the middle of the night every time. If you had a middle of the night time, normally just the MD showed up. The video display was set up so that thumbnails of each region’s room were along the bottom of the screen, and whoever was talking was shown on the large screen. It was sound activated, so all you had to do was start talking to become the star attraction.

You can see where this is going, right? Our exec team is coming into the room and getting seated when suddenly the screen activates — and there is the MD of one of the other regions with his CIO engaged in consensual adult activity. Very loud consensual adult activity on the very large conference table. It would have been way past normal business hours where they were located, so unlikely anyone else was in the building to hear them. I’m afraid we all turned into 12-year-olds at that moment and just starred – then started laughing. And we weren’t the only ones. By that time, all the regions were online and the main screen began flashing pictures of the different regions hooting and hollering and cheering and just pretty much being juvenile – whichever room was loudest commanded the main screen. As the MD and regional CIO scrambled off the table and out the door, I saw things I will never unsee. Both were immediately fired and I didn’t keep up with them. Maybe time to google and see what happened to them – besides being the butt of industry jokes for years afterward.

7. Cupid

My coworker’s husband showed up at work dressed as cupid- carrying the bow, wearing the diaper, the sash and the wings. No pockets however. We had visitors from corporate at the time.

8. This is perfect for a movie

I met my husband at work 6 years ago. We hated each other!! At the time we were case managers for homeless and runaway youth, and the youth loved us but knew we disliked each other. Well, long story short, a youth suggested I hang out with him after work to see how nice he really was. Well, they were right! We are now married with a son ;)

{ 531 comments… read them below }

  1. Jerry Vandesic*

    “Once they warmed up to the temperature of the office it quickly became evident that something had urinated on them …”

    Such a versatile sentence. It could be used in so many situations in so many offices for so many co-workers. Bravo.

      1. TardyTardis*

        Yes, it can, though this is not a relationship story. When I worked at the library, we checked out magazines in a sturdy cardboard sleeve. Imagine our delight when we came in on Monday morning and someone had shoved a cardboard sleeve through our outdoor slot–and it had clearly been skunk sprayed. The odor lingered in our behind the counter area for *weeks*.

    1. Magenta Sky*

      Just to be clear here, this is the weeds we’re talking about, not an employee? I mean, it could go either way.

        1. Not My Circus*

          I can only imagine that meetings start on time now as everyone arrives early not to be at ‘that end’ of the table.

      1. Teena*

        Something similar happened at my school (where I teach), and the table was not replaced for almost a decade. Nobody wanted it, so it just kept showing up in various places (and every time we got a new principal it would end up in their office until someone told them). It was a source of many giggles and “ew” noises until our current principal finally got another school to take it!

        1. EddieSherbert*

          Haha, so I’ve never had THAT exact situation but I’ve had items I ended up just donating to a re-sale shop before because something gross happened to them, and I just couldn’t bring myself to use them again (no matter how many times I cleaned it!). Now, whenever I find something REALLY nice for sale at those re-sale shops… I wonder…

          1. EddieSherbert*

            Best/worst example – I lived in a really gross cheap old house for awhile. We had mice. I had a coffee pot that started brewing automatically in the morning while I was getting ready (do you see where this is going?!). Came down one morning and show something white on top of my coffee. What? How is there mold in my fresh coff- OH MY GOD THAT’S A PAW. A mouse drowned in my coffee pot. *shudders at the memory* I almost DRANK that.

            That coffee pot/make was forever unclean. Just never would be clean in my mind again. And ended up in a re-sale shop shortly after that.

            1. SignalLost*

              Yeah, see, I feel like heating animal corpses in something isn’t the same as having sex on it. I would’ve pitched the coffee maker and wish you had too.

              1. Falling Diphthong*

                While I’m with you spiritually, most cooking equipment in omnivore households is used for this.

                1. artgirl*

                  haha I had the same thought. cooking *vermin* carcasses is probably seen as grosser to most meat-eaters as well though :)

                2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

                  Lol! Quite literally!
                  I will forever rue the day I watched my best friend carve the Thanksgiving turkey, aka dismember a burnt corpse.

      2. Close Bracket*

        The husband of a friend inherited a desk at a new job that the former possessor was known to have had sex on. Hubby of friend said he liked to rub the spot where he assumed it happened for good luck. He may have been pulling our legs, but who knows.

    1. PB*

      Same! I’m glad I had the foresight to close my office door before reading these. That one made me laugh audibly.

        1. Samata*

          I know right? I keep picturing one of those movie sequences where they pan to a close-up of everyone laughing obnoxiously at the main character.

        2. Freelancer*

          freaking hilarious! I just started working remotely and we have these meetings but the cameras are always off!

    2. zora*

      I remember this, tell it to people all the time, and knew it was coming as soon as I saw the headline! I love it/hate it! So Gross!! haha

    3. willow*


      I am picturing the main screen showing each region by the loudness of the hoots and hollers. I’m dying here.

    4. Ladycrim*

      My company does video conferences, and I have often joked that eventually we were going to tune in on a couple making out in a conference room. Doubt we’ll get the full ‘in flagrante delicto’, though. (And I’m fine with that.)

    5. Electron Wisperer*

      I used to work in a venue which among other things hosted conferences. There is a certain type of senior departmental boss who is something of a control freak, and these people turn up at conference venues they have hired, throw their imagined weight around and make the local crews life miserable, this is routine and usually unremarkable.

      The gig: A conference on Risk Management for the sales staff of some insurer or other (Massive Yawn, but bills to pay).
      The Ego: Massive and all controlling.
      The instructions “Son, connect my laptop to the projector and then you leave the video feed alone! I don’t want you guys messing with it!”, There is me thinking, yea fine, got buzzword bingo card, got novel, will sit in control room and get paid, easy money.

      So the sales types troop in all trying to outdo each other in suits with corporate logos, big Ego walks out onto stage and fires up his presentation, faders go up, lights go down and I settle in looking for an “Outside the box” to complete my buzzword bingo card.

      Then about 20 minutes in the Egos screen saver kicks in on the 30 foot long, 15 foot high screen behind him, gay porn replaces slides (There was a time when powerpoint did not inhibit the screensaver), fairly hardcore, Ego does not notice that the staff are now paying a LOT more attention. I do as instructed and leave his video feed alone.

      Protip for conferences, the guy in the projection box can get you out of (or at least minimise) trouble, but piss us off sufficiently and we can also follow your instructions to the letter…..

        1. Electron Wisperer*

          Well, “malicious compliance” (Great name for a band!) is the accepted quickest way for an engineer to get rid of a non technical manager who has rubbed them up the wrong way. The key is to have witnesses (Who ideally should also be annoyed with the pillock), but an email trail will do in a pinch.

          Egos grand boss was in the audience, I suspect there may well have been a firing, insurance being generally a somewhat conservative sort of industry, but if there was I didn’t see it.

          I got no comeback at all, guess he had annoyed my chain of command as well.

      1. Becky*

        Legit–one of my coworkers makes popcorn for the team sometimes and when he does he brings an air popper! No microwave needed here.

        1. JessaB*

          Good idea cause if there’s one thing that will really stink up a microwave it’s burnt popcorn. That smell lingers forever.

          1. Jennifer Thneed*

            Not to mention that microwave popcorn always smells awful from the fats they use. Give me some plain popcorn any day, probably with salt, if I can’t have actual butter.

            1. TrixM*

              Best of both worlds: use a pastry box (of a size that fits comfortably) to make real popcorn in a microwave. I put some greaseproof paper in the bottom, add the popcorn, and give it a little spray of oil. Microwave for 5 mins or until the popping pretty much stops. Microwave some butter till it melts, and enjoy real popcorn with fresh butter.

  2. Lady Phoenix*

    WIth the couple of letters this morning plus generally V day nonsense in mind, I think I will take all of the Christmases over V day.

    Granted, I love Christmas… but even if I was annoyed by the holiday, I think I would take irritation over feeling like I need to take one of those hazard chemical showers to clean myself of skeevy assholes.

    1. paul*

      I’ll take Clearance Holiday Candy Day over any of the others TBH. I’m a sucker for 60-75% of chocolate

        1. Goya de la Mancha*

          Love that, plus as you know, markdown chocolate has fewer calories (according to the exact percentage it’s currently marked down as)

          1. Alli525*

            Oh my god this is a brilliant fact that I’m so glad I know now. Just like how cake doesn’t have calories if you eat it on your birthday!

        2. Blue_eyes*

          Love it. My husband’s family always celebrates on February 15th for this reason – they call it Jewish Valentine’s Day (we’re all Jewish). As Jews, SAINT Valentine’s Day doesn’t haven’t much appeal, but marked down candy, now that’s something everyone can enjoy!

          1. Legal Beagle*

            Yes! In my family, the day after Halloween is recognized as the Jewish Day of Buying Purim Costumes, and the day after Christmas is the Jewish Day of Buying Christmas Lights for the Sukkah. If you have the storage space, it’s a great way to get a deal.

            1. JessaB*

              OMG we never thought about buying Purim costumes after Hallowe’en, dayamn. We missed THAT one in our house. Got all the others though.

            2. Teapot librarian*

              Right after Sukkot this year, I put on my to-do list the exact lights I needed more of. Went to Target on 12/26 and they only had one box of the correct lights!

        3. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          My friends go with Greater/Lesser Feasts of St. Sugarbomb.

          Greater feasts are Easter Monday and Nov 1st. Lesser feasts are Boxing Day and Feb. 15th.

    1. Just Employed Here*

      In this case, a diaper was probably better, though. Strategically placed stuff tend to get displaced at strategically unsound moments.

        1. Magenta Sky*

          If you have to choose between a strategically placed sash or a diaper, you have far, far bigger problems than what to wear. Big enough that having to choose between a strategically placed sash or a diaper might well be a welcome distraction.

    2. Jennifer Thneed*

      Yeah, the diaper is the New Year’s Eve baby.

      But I think the sash won’t drape right unless one’s feet are off the floor, so yeah.

    3. a1*

      I’m trying to figure out what the lack of pockets has to do with it, though. It’s such a random sentence to me. Like, it would be OK if only the diapers had pockets?

      1. hbc*

        I think it was part of a larger conversation about work attire, and perhaps the lack of pockets in women’s clothing was a theme?

        Best I got.

      2. Nisie*

        Ummm.. the cover story was he locked his keys in the car and his wife had togive him a ride home. However, the coworker gave birth to a little girl, fist name Valentina last name nine months later

    4. AKchic*

      Per Supernatural canon – Cupids are completely naked and they love to give hugs. Long, lingering hugs. It’s awkward for everyone on the receiving end.

      1. Not a Morning Person*

        Sorry about that! I try to remember that some day I’ll have a good story to tell….Like one i need to add for the kind of creepy secret admirer.

        1. I'll think of a clever name later...maybe,*

          When I was single and had a string of horrible dates that was what I told myself. “Someday this will make a great story.” Now they’re the stories I dust off when my daughter (who is young but starting to be interested in dating) wants to know what it was like for me before I met her dad. Actually…I use that phrase a lot even for non dating things.

      1. Candi*

        I liked that they got together, but the ex-boyfriend always bugged me.

        So you don’t want to spend money on V-day? Well, you probably have printer or notebook paper around, and some pens. (Heck, if you’re out of that expensive printer ink, at least you’re getting some use out of the paper.)

        So you make a homemade card. As nice as you can. And, important, present it as though it was the most precious gift you could think to give. Major brownie points, no expenditure.

        (I may be cynical.)

        Now, if it’s because he didn’t value or took the relationship for granted, can’t help him. And I suspect that was actually what was going on. Jerk.

        1. So Very Anonymous*

          I had a boyfriend once who claimed he was too poor to do anything for me for Valentine’s Day (we were long distance — not even a card!) but then, when I called him that day, told me all about the Valentine’s Day gift he had made for his (female) boss. And he didn’t get why I wasn’t exactly eager to listen to this story. Weirdly enough, that relationship didn’t last.

        2. Bratmon*

          I can kinda see his point TBH; I know a lot of people feel the same way. At least among my social circle, “Be romantic on your on clock, not on some made-up holiday” isn’t that weird a position, and he could very well have previously dated/been friends with people that felt that way, to the point where he thought it was the default.

          He definitely should have talked with OP before making that decision, but I don’t think that’s a “dump him over text message then hook up with your coworker”-worthy crime at all.

    1. Not a Morning Person*

      I love the happy ending ones, too! #5 is my favorite happy one, although the others are also great!

      1. Karo*

        When my coworker split up wither her husband about 30 years ago, she took two things with her: the dog and the microwave, one under each arm. She claims it was because microwaves were pretty expensive at the time, and it had been a wedding present from her side of the family.

        (And no, my coworker does not have a penchant for pink leopard print.)

        1. soon 2be former fed*

          I was an early adopter of microwave ovens more than thirty years ago and they were huge and heavy. I was unable to move it by myself.

          1. Tuesday Next*

            I was also wondering how this woman carried an 80s microwave oven under one arm. I would have dislocated my shoulder.

          2. Nonnon*

            My dad has a microwave from the 80s or early 90s. It’s got an electronic programmable display and is built like a tank. It’s one of the family Desirable Objects, along with the God Sofa from the 70s (so comfy!) and the Imperial typewriter (not sure how old it is, but it’s a manual).

      2. Kathleen_A*

        I know I know I know! What in the world happened to the microwave? Did she snatch it up as she stormed out in a huff? Did she throw it at him? I soooooo want to know, and alas, I never will.

        1. Kathleen_A*


          Perhaps the microwave was a gift from her, and he got rid of it because it reminded him too much of their doomed love. “Oh, I cannot bear to be reminded of her. I cannot get her out of my heart, the way she’s now out of my life, so long as that microwave is around to remind me of What Might Have Been.”

          Because life has become a star-crossed romance movie, apparently?

        2. Khlovia*

          Him: “If I give you the company microwave, will you please shut up and go away?”
          Her: “What the heck, why not. It’s hotter than you ever were.”

      3. Nita*

        I don’t think she took it! My money’s on her blowing up something extremely stinky in it, or dramatically smashing it in the boss’s office.

      4. LBK*

        I’m mostly baffled logistically – microwaves are a pain in the ass to carry since not only are they heavy, the weight is distributed very evenly so they’re easy to drop. Did she bring a dolly with her!? Or was she just that determined?

        1. Kathleen_A*

          I imagine her with a pink leopard-skin-painted cart. (And I don’t at all intend that as an insult, BTW.)

    1. Trout 'Waver*

      Maybe it’s her microwave?

      I have my Keurig int he break room and let everyone else use it. Most people who use it don’t realize that it is mine. They may be similarly baffled when I take it, if it lasts that long.

      1. Eye of Sauron*

        I used to keep a personal Keurig in my office. Somehow it became the office coffee source (was fine with me, the office bought the kcups), visitors were often very confused when they were walked into my office to get a cup of coffee.

        That went on for years until the office bought one for general use.

        1. Mephyle*

          To me, I think it also plays well if it was her microwave. She left with the only two things she had brought: her microwave and her self.

      2. SL #2*

        Someone brought their personal Keurig and put it in their cubicle, where it gradually turned into the office Keurig… complete with its own coffee budget. When she quit about a year ago, she decided to leave it behind and I think the office ended up compensating her for it?

        1. JB (not in Houston)*

          I brought in a Keurig in the past that I let everyone use so that it just became the office Keurig. Then when it broke, everyone came to me like it was my responsibility to replace it so that they could keep using. I did, for reasons I don’t understand. But I’ve promised myself that when this one finally goes, everyone will have to chip in or we just won’t have one anymore.

    2. K.*

      I fell out laughing at “and so had the office microwave.” It’s just so funny to me. I’m picturing a woman in pink leopard print* storming out in a huff all “I’LL SHOW YOU” with a microwave in both hands.

      *and in my head she is the woman at my gym who has a variety of leopard-print outfits in different colors, including pink.

    3. Bea*

      Years ago when I broke up with my best friend, I did so by giving her microwave back…by dumping it on her porch and texting “You’ll want to move that inside before someone takes it.”

      I never replaced the thing…makes it easier to break my old hot pocket addiction :X

    1. Hills to Die on*

      There’s probably a movie out there somewhere that follows the plot line of #6 as well. IJS.

  3. Lil Fidget*

    Workplace romance CAN work out, I think the Amazon rules are actually pretty good: ask *once,* and take a soft no for an answer – if their soft no was actually a coy yes, then let them come to you to clear that up. I’m glad people are making reasonable policies and not jumping to “no flirting no dating ever,”

    1. ArtK*

      Do you have a link that documents the Amazon rules? That sounds exactly like the approach that I’d like to make policy, but I’d like some backup.

    2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      Agreed. I think the Amazon policy is fantastic — and honestly, pretty good for outside the office, too!

    3. Snark*

      I wasn’t sure whether you meant Amazon like the company I buy all my shit from, or Amazon like Wonder Woman, and the weird part was it kinda works either way.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        Hehe the company, although I love the idea that this is just a general rule made by women warriors for all to follow (or perish). Google seems to have the same policy based on the article I posted above.

    4. MM*

      My parents have been married for 30 years because my father concluded my mother just wasn’t that into him and left her alone, which gave her the time and space she needed to make up her own mind and ask *him* out a month later. This was at a high-powered consulting firm in the early 80s (i.e., an environment that didn’t really encourage self-effacement or self-awareness from men; my mother has some horrific coworker stories from that time). Mind-boggling to me how many men struggle with this basic concept even now.

    5. Anony*

      I think those policies tend to result from people with bad judgment who think sexual harassment is flirting or have messy breakups and refuse to act like professionals at work. It can be easier to draw a very clear line that removes any need for them to exercise their own judgement.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        Well, in my opinion they’re often NOT really failing to correctly judge, they’re just using plausible deniability to keep pestering someone. There’s all sorts of research that both genders have no trouble understanding a soft no in other contexts; it’s often just a power play, knowing that the target is too shy or too low in the power differential to say something overt like “go away you creep.” The nice thing is, this policy gets rid of that plausible deniability.

    6. CutUp*

      well y’all should see what people are posting in LouiseM’s thread on the 5Q post from this morning!

      1. Lil Fidget*

        To be fair, the Amazon rule is for existing coworkers – I think it’s a little more upsetting for a jobseeker to EVER be asked out while the job is seemingly still in play.

        1. Elsajeni*

          And the “false pretenses” aspect plays a role, too — it would also be bad behavior if a current coworker asked you to discuss a work project one-on-one over coffee and then spent the whole time acting like you were on a date, more so than if they just… asked you on a date.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            And in this context, it’s like a higher up who assigns people to the cool projects dangling that as the reason for “coffee” and then waving projects off as a conversational topic. Job gatekeeper and job seeker are not on the same power level.

    7. AMT*

      Heartily agree. Wife has a coworker who has asked the same woman out (and multiple others) more than once. Said woman is in a committed relationship with another woman.

  4. Snark*

    One time when I was 17 I worked at a summer camp that was basically a cauldron of romantic intrigue, cranked up to a full boil. Fergus wanted to get with Jane in the worst way, but I was also super interested in Jane so he loathed me, and Jane liked hanging out with me but plainly had no interest in me that way, and then Percival’s girlfriend Petunia and her cousin Violet came to volunteer for two weeks, and the Petunia fell madly in infatuation with me and broke up with Percival and the Violet got with Fergus, and then Jane got pissed at Fergus and Percival made a move on Violet to get back at Petunia, and then Violet and Petunia got into a screaming match, and then I tried to comfort Petunia who was crying and that went both really well and poorly, and then Percival tried to take a swing at me and……

    Good times.

        1. Mephyle*

          A dynamic, directed graph. Each person is a node, and the relationship ‘likes’ is a directed edge (arrow) from one node to another. Dynamic means the edges are in flux, and in this case, there’s also updating with new nodes entering the graph.

          1. Tuesday Next*

            The arrow width could indicate the degree of infatuation, and the whole thing could be colour coded to show the time element.

      1. bluelyon*

        I did this in college with friends …we had a rather, interconnected social group, and at my women’s college the dating pool was skewed towards the men we saw regularly.
        We literally sat in a classroom one night and drew an L-Word style chart of who had done what with whom, felt which way about someone whole 9 yards.
        It was epic

            1. Snark*

              In my preemptive defense, I was thinking of zombie Percival when I wrote that, and then the double entendre occurred to me after I hit post. Oh well. Sorry!

    1. the_scientist*

      aren’t ALL summer camps a cauldron of romantic intrigue?? Every camp I worked at sure was.

      Ahhhh summer camp….

        1. paul*

          add in bonus points for prolonged camping situations too–hormonal, kind of young, stuck in/near a camp with not tons to do all summer? Oh yeah, it’ll happen.

          1. Lunch Meat*

            Which reminds me of the most interesting obvious-when-you-think-about-it statistic I’ve heard recently. At the Olympic Village, you have hundreds of young, attractive, fit people living together in a small area who are celebrating possibly a once-in-a-lifetime achievement. Of course hundreds of thousands of condoms are distributed.

            Hey, at least they’re being safe.

            1. Nonnon*

              Also a lot of those young, attractive, fit people drop out long time before the end of the tournament (semi-finals and whatnot). But they still stay in the Olympic Village with a lot of free time.

              I think the current Winter Olympics has distributed 40 condoms per athlete. There’s also been an outbreak of norovirus, which does not surprise me at all.

        2. Snark*

          Yeah, but that’s amplified by the fact that said camp was like 20 miles from the nearest town, we had to stay there on the weekends when the kids went home, and half the counselors didn’t own cars.

      1. Kelly L.*

        I never actually went to sleepaway camp, but based on years of research (erm…reading a lot of YA novels about camp), I believe you are correct.

      2. Flower*

        Worked at a camp for 5 summers and it certainly was (mostly college kids). However, we’ve also a had a number of marriages between counselors (who met there, not who were together first). My partner and I (for more than four years now) met there.

        1. Snark*

          This camp employed mostly high school kids, so we didn’t even have the barest pretense of maturity or openness to commitment.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        Not just among the counselors. I remember a week at church camp that was pretty convoluted. I had a crush on Cecil, who was a friend of Merton, who had a crush on me. I liked Merton as a friend, until he kissed me under a tree and I began to rethink things. But it was only two days before we went home and I had no time to exploit it. Merton wasn’t there the next time I went. ARRRRRRRGH

        That isn’t even getting into what went on with the rest of the campers. There were hearts floating all over the place that summer, haha. What do you expect when you throw a bunch of randy teens together in the woods for a week?

        1. The Vulture*

          Merton was my grandpa’s name and he was a real stand-up guy, by all accounts, so you missed out!!

          What a disappointment, though, seriously, probably partly because of my over-identification with the name, I was really hoping for Merton to pull through here.

          1. The Vulture*

            WHILE I’M TALKING ABOUT MERTON, relevant story:

            My grandmother was a dietitian at a cafeteria where my grandpa (Merton!) was a lawyer. He asked around about her a little bit, found out that she’d been in the army, got her phone number, and called her up and, nervous about asking her out, said he was writing a story about women in the army. On the day of the ‘date’, she went out with someone else, instead, because of course she has another option and she’d decided that she didn’t believe his story, because no one was interested in the war anymore. He followed up later, confessed he made it up just to talk to her, and they went out.

          1. cleo*

            Hah. I remember all the subtle (and not so subtle) maneuvering to stand next to your crush at the evening prayer circle so you could hold hands with them. And the rumors about who held hands with their fingers laced together (sure sign that more than hand holding might be going on).

      4. valc2323*

        Even mine, all girls and a total of six weeks long. There might have been *less* romantic intrigue because there were only 20 of us and about three lesbian / bisexual women in the mix… but there sure was some.

        1. Snark*

          My wife just told me that her friend got sent to live in a kibbutz in Israel for a summer, which sounds like the same deal.

        2. Elemeno P.*

          It was great! All the counselors were artsy college kids so we mostly took care of animals and worked on expressing ourselves creatively. We were also pretty active, but they tricked us into it with games. ;) I attended as a camper for 3 years and as a junior counselor for 1 year.

          I made lifelong friends there (campers and counselors both), including my very best friend! I haven’t spoken to that boy I held hands with for years, but according to FB he recently got married and his husband is very cute. Nobody I met there has a farm of their own, much to my disappointment.

          1. Snark*

            There’s a combination of matter-of-factness, pathos, and sly hilariousness to this post, and it’s absolutely slaying me.

        1. Elemeno P.*

          Oh, they definitely were. It was on an enormous expanse of land and there was no electricity, and thus no light pollution. Lots of dark, quiet places.

    2. Lady Phoenix*

      As a Homestuck fan, I can tell you this is a rather fucked up facillation in troll culture. Too many redroms and blackrom facillations.

    3. cleo*

      This brings back sooooo many memories of my two summers as a camp counselor! The drama. The intrigue. All those carbonated hormones. It’s amazing to me that anyone entrusted us with their children.

      I worked at a church camp and pretty much all of my forbidden teenage firsts happened at church camp (this tends to surprise people who didn’t experience religious camp but not those who did). A lot of my fellow counselors (and campers too) were preachers’ kids and this was probably the most freedom a lot of them had experienced up to that point in their lives and um, yeah. Lot of rebelling. Lot of hormones. Lot of drama.

      1. Snark*

        I went to a Catholic high school – not for relgious reasons – and yeah. Lots of rebelling. So much rebelling.

      2. Ten*

        My husband is also a pastor’s kid and says that they are all either angels or devils. And mostly the latter from the stories he’s told me!

      3. Random Person*

        At one of the church camps I attended, the teenage boys set up a fight club in one of the dorm rooms.

      4. Tech Comm Geek*

        Oh goodness yes! Back in the 90’s when the “purity test” was a thing, I shocked all my college friends. I was raised in a very conservative fundamentalist christian church, and I was incredibly sheltered. I spent most of my summers in high school at one church camp or another. Hormones are hormones, and we just got VERY creative in the locations we found to allow our physical explorations. I lost most of the points in the location section of the “purity test.”

        My favorite one to tell was the summer my boyfriend and I were called out by the preacher as an example to the rest of the campers for our “dedication to godliness.” We told everyone we got up at 5 am to meet in the chapel and pray together. Well, we did spend a lot of time saying “Oh god!” I’m still incredibly proud of the fact that I kept a straight face.

      5. myswtghst*

        Yep. I was not a church-goer, but went on a work trip with my cousin’s church youth group when I was around 16-17 years old. There was so much pent up frustration, followed by rebellion, followed by massive guilt hangovers. As a drama club kid who was much too accustomed to random nudity and kissing my friends, I just did not understand it at all (although I did my part by kissing the preacher’s son).

    4. Dr. Doll*

      Trying to follow this made my head hurt and now I have realized why I stopped reading romance novels.

    1. Myrin*

      Even though I basically am the boyfriend in my attitude towards commercialised Valentine’s Day, I absolutely loved this one as well. What a twist I hadn’t seen coming at all!

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          One of the worst examples I heard was after she had grocery shopped for a fancy dinner and taken three busses to get herself and all the ingredients to his house. “Hi babe… we’re breaking up now.”

          1. Ella*

            A friend of mine booked a weekend getaway for him and his gf. Super romantic. He paid for everything. Did his best to make her feel special. Etc. She broke up with him on the ride home.

            1. EddieSherbert*

              I mean, would it be less awkward if she broke up with him on the ride there?

              (this may or may not have happened to a dumb high school aged, um, person who is totally not me, who broke up on the way to a nice date and then… we still went on the date? Ohhh high school)

          2. Oxford Coma*

            It took me almost a minute to understand this…was imagining her filling two entire buses with food, then sitting in the third, and directing them all to his house.

          3. Tara*

            I had a guy break up with me at the beginning of a weekend in which I took a cab, two busses, and train to come see him. Later during the weekend, he slept with some girl he’d met, while I was in the house.

        2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          One of mine was a text asking me to come meet him at a coffee shop to be dumped in person. “We need to talk. We’ve had good times together, but I need a change. Come to X coffee shop at Y o’clock”, I showed up and he broke up with me there again. I was more puzzled and confused than upset or heartbroken.

          Then we got back together four days later, and he ended up surprising me with an in-person breakup at the end of a mid-week date night a couple of years later. For this one, I did not get a warning. Instead, he’d packed my things, made us a picnic dinner, met me for the date, went through with the dinner and the date, didn’t say a word whenever I mentioned coming over to his place the following weekend like we’d planned, then at the end of the night as I turned to him to say good-bye, ta-da! “I need to move on”. Totally had not seen that coming! Five minutes later, I finally say good-bye and turn to get out of his car, ta-da! He opens the trunk and out comes a huge bag with all of my stuff from his place. Now that one was pretty painful. I should’ve taken the “by text” one!

        3. Jennifer*

          These days you’re lucky if anyone tells you at all they’re breaking up (i.e. ghosting). Compared to that, text is fine. We all must lower our standards.

        4. Nonnon*

          I lived two (expensive) buses that were an hour+ total away from my first partner. I was planning to go over to hers to give it one last go, but we broke up over MSN the night before, thankfully. Otherwise it could have been very awkward.

      1. SoCalHR*

        I said the same thing Tequila (especially cuz the way its written sounds like she was with the new guy, texted her BF to break up so she could enjoy herself)

        1. pope suburban*

          Amen. I remember hearing about a lot of text breakups in high school and college. Never did it myself, but I wouldn’t judge a young an inexperienced person for being afraid to give bad news face to face. Plus, not to get too heavy, but there are relationships where someone might not feel physically safe if they were to dump someone face to face. This doesn’t sound like one of those, thankfully, but it’s still a thing that happens and so I try to be mild about text dumping, as a rule.

          1. EddieSherbert*

            I had a friend who broke up with a guy via text… because he saw it coming and refused to see her in person or answer her phone calls “because then she couldn’t break up with him.” (don’t you miss high school? bwahaha)

            1. pope suburban*

              Oy vey. I also had a friend break up by text, legendarily, because the guy she had been seeing for two weeks had been incredibly controlling about what she, an adult woman in her late 20s, was and was not “allowed” to do on her trip to my town for a mutual friend’s bachelorette party. She tried to tell him that he was out of line, but he kept blowing up her phone during dinner (NB: a wild party this was not; we got Mexican food, did some pub trivia and karaoke, and then it was back to her mom’s so we could be on time for the spa next morning). So she had us snap a picture of her waving goodbye, sent it along with a message telling him it was over, and we all had a great time. The best part is that not long after, she met her husband, who is a very cool dude and respectful of her boundaries. It was a win/win. :)

              1. I am good at dealing with people*

                Yes. It was the funniest breakup ever.
                George’s Pianist Girlfriend: “I am breaking up with +you!*”
                George:”But I have hand!”
                Girlfriend (as she walked out Jerry’s door): “And you’re going to need it!”

            2. Alli525*

              Lordy, that brings me back to senior year of high school. I was dating a guy who I wasn’t 100% into, but he was older and fun. Right before I left on my senior class trip to NYC, we had a Starbucks date where (my impression was) we needed to work on a couple minor issues – he wanted me to communicate a little more and text him when I saw things that reminded me of him, that sort of thing. Okay, all good! We made out in his truck a little and he took me home.

              The next day, I’m on the bus ride up with my classmates, and I text him because I saw something that reminded me of him. No response. (Okay, he’s busy with school.) The next day, I texted him again. No response. (Getting mad/worried now. Didn’t he just tell me to communicate with him more?) The next day, I call him and he doesn’t answer, so I go full-on crazy and call him every fifteen minutes for a couple hours, sometimes using my friends’ phones, who are now also furious at him.

              Finally, late that night on the third day, he picks up, says he “tried” to break up with me at Starbucks but I was too “emotional” so he felt bad, but he’s definitely dumping me now. I told him to go to hell, and had a great time in NYC. Got back, went over to him at church to return his class ring, and five minutes later his new girlfriend, who he had apparently always liked and had dumped HER boyfriend the day before I left for NYC so he started cheating on me immediately, had that ring on her finger.

              So no, I don’t miss high school at all!

      2. Fiennes*

        Generally no—but if things were already strained between LW and that boyfriend, communications might already have become much more distant, in which case a text breakup is less egregious. Given that boyfriend #1 hadn’t felt like giving her a ride to work in months, I think “distant” is probably a fair guess at how they were doing.

      3. krysb*

        My issue wasn’t the text so much as the fact he let himself get fired because he wanted to sit next to her.

    2. CutUp*

      It’s nice that it worked out but I can pretty easily see how this scenario ends in all of us recommending the gift of fear, too.
      “if Fergus was so unhinged that he’d get fired to be close to you, what else would he do??”

  5. Young and Dumb Workplace Dater*

    I learned at my very first job that workplace romances were not for me:
    I got a manager position at 18 when I started college, working at a student center that involved me managing student volunteers. They had to commit to one day a week for a full semester. Since I was so young, everyone that I managed that first year was older than me. Alex* was a guy on the Friday shift, who was maybe 20-21. I had thought he was cute but we were both dating other people and I never thought of it going anywhere outside of work. I remember just thinking he was such a great guy. He was so nice, and funny and we always talked during our shifts together and compared to my not-so-nice BF, he seemed like a perfect guy that would never be interested in someone like me.
    Well, later in the semester we both ended up breaking up with our significant others at the same time. I think I had mentioned on the shift that I was done with my BF and he excitedly said he had broken up with his GF and asked if I wanted to hangout that weekend. It all happened really fast, and we spent the entire weekend together, it was like a fairytale to me. At the end of the weekend he mentioned that he had not actually broken up with his long distance GF, and probably would not. I was devastated and horrified. A few days later he called me up to see if I wanted to go out on a date with him, and it became clear that he wanted me to be some sort of side chick which was not something I was into. I told him that I felt really bad about what had happened and that we shouldn’t see each other anymore.
    Well, he skipped work for 2 or 3 weeks and when he did return, I naively thought everything would be back to normal (I was 18 and very inexperienced with dating). Well. It wasn’t. The nice, funny, laidback Alex was replaced with a mean, vindictive, backtalking Alex. He would argue with me at work in front of others, and I did not have the skills or training to know what to do. What’s super sad, and I would hope would not happen in this day and age, was I went to one of my superiors and told him what was going on and asked if Alex could be transferred to another volunteer shift. My superior seemed annoyed with me and said, “you can’t just fire people because you don’t like them.”
    I endured the rest of the semester with Alex, and then in the Spring when I got a completely new crop of volunteers I was dismayed to see that Alex had resigned up to work with me. I asked him why and he said that I couldn’t tell him what to do. It was nuts. And he was still with his GF the whole time, so I still to this day don’t know how he put so much anger on me.
    He continued his rudeness into the next semester until one day he refused to do his job, so I had to go to my superior again. The superior spoke with Alex and Alex quit on the spot. Then the superior came to me and said, “I hope you are happy now.” What!
    Though that was a very unpleasant experience, it totally destroyed any future inclination to date a coworker, and I never have since. It’s been about 14 years.

      1. Eye of Sauron*

        To be fair it could have ended much worse for the poster. She was his supervisor, even though they were student volunteers. That would not have gone well at other jobs.

        1. Young and Dumb Workplace Dater*

          That’s very true! It still surprises me that I was allowed to be a supervisor because I had no experience or worldly knowledge. I think at the time the supervisor aspect didn’t even occur to me because I was so much younger than everyone else.

          1. Eye of Sauron*

            For the record, I also think that Alex was a jerk!

            I’ll give your supervisor the benefit of the doubt.

            1. Young and Dumb Workplace Dater*

              You know, I actually hold him more responsible than Alex. Alex was definitely a jerk, but he was also 20 or 21. The supervisor was probably late 20s/early 30s and that was his longterm job, he wasn’t a student like myself or the other volunteers. The center was part of the university. I remember at the time being surprised by his reaction to Alex’s behaviour but he was older and “knew more” than me so I assumed he was right, but now as a more grown up person I just can’t fathom reacting that way if one of my employees came to me with that same issue.

              1. Eye of Sauron*

                It sounds like he took the path of least resistance and told you to suck it up. Had he transferred or disciplined Alex he would have been complicit in what was essentially a sexual harassment case for Alex.

                In other words, you had a relationship with a subordinate, when things ended (badly), you wanted to move Alex out of your group. Regardless of attitude the argument very easily been made that you were retaliating from your superior position due to the relationship ending. That is textbook sexual harassment.

                The supervisor, rightly didn’t allow you to do this. But should have at the very least explained all of this to you. Keep in mind the supervisor could have very easily fired you for your actions.

                1. Fiennes*

                  You’re judging work-study for teenagers by the same measures you would an adult romance in a professional setting, which IMO is a little off. These jobs are in part meant to teach professionalism to young people who are understood to still be learning.

                  Also, the poster didn’t want Alex transferred because their relationship didn’t work out; she wanted him transferred because he was being rude and subordinate at every opportunity. That is a completely valid reason to transfer or even dismiss someone. Poster fully disclosed the whole truth to this supervisor, which honestly is a lot more mature and forthright than many 18-year-olds’ behavior would be. So I think the censorious tone isn’t called for, at all.

    1. Valenonymous*

      I’ve known a few Alexes. They suck. But don’t write all workplace romance due to one guy being a douchenozzle.

    2. CmdrShepard4ever*

      @workplace dater I am sorry for that experience it sounds terrible, it is very understandable you were very young. I know this is a prime example of reasons not to date people in your chain of command/supervisor, and this was a volunteer position so not exactly the same. But if “workplace dater” had fired Alex for the disrespect and not refusing to listen could it still be considered sexual harassment since it stemmed from a personal issue/relationship. I wonder if this had happened in a traditional office how should this be handled?

      1. Young and Dumb Workplace Dater*

        That’s a really good question. At the time I was willing to put up with the awkwardness of working with an “ex” as long as the work was getting done, but I had just assumed that, if one of the volunteers was unwilling to do the work, then they should be let go regardless of a romantic history. It seemed very black and white to me, but again it was my first job and I was young. We had time sensitive work that had to be completed within the shift, so if even one person wasn’t pulling their weight it caused a big ripple effect.

        I was definitely in the wrong for having a fling with someone I supervised and I felt like my fair punishment was dealing with him for the rest of the semester but once he returned and continued to bother me while also not doing the required work, it sort of felt like his only reason for being there was to harass me. But another thing that I did not consider until now is, since Alex was acting so vindictive, maybe the supervisor sensed that it would escalate if he was let go? (Just speculation)

  6. Goodbye Ruby Tuesday*

    My husband and I met at work. I actually worked as a waitress with his ex-wife, so I knew both her and their daughter for a while before I ever met him. Then she told us that he was moving to our town and she would be helping him get a job there. I happened to be working as the hostess the day that he came in for an interview. I had taken some dirty dishes from a nearby table to the back and when I came back to the host stand I noticed a Very Cute guy sitting at one of the tables. I thought he was a customer who walked in and sat himself because I was gone from the front, so I walked over and asked him if he needed a menu. He explained he was there for an interview and we smiled at each other for a minute.

    Then after his interview was over, his ex-wife and daughter came in and I suddenly realized who he was. Of course I thought “Oh, nope, nope, can’t happen” because dating at the restaurant was already pretty fraught (the stories I could tell!) and you can’t date your coworker’s ex-husband. You just can’t. But then the next morning his ex-wife and I were on the same shift and she immediately told me that he’d told her how cute he thought I was and she encouraged me to go out with him! We actually didn’t go out on a date for a whole year because I was just too worried about what would happen if we dated and it ended badly, but then we went to the movies and that was 13 years ago and we’ve been married for 10 of them. Three kids.

    1. SarcasticFringehead*

      Aww, I love stories where exes (especially with kids) can get along and be friends! (not that all exes should be friends, or that not being friends with exes makes you a bad person, but it’s so sweet when it works out.)

      1. fposte*

        A friend of mine, who gets along very well with her husband’s ex, hilariously gets the woman’s leftover bras (much nicer than anything my friend would buy for herself). The divorce was decades ago so I don’t think he ever saw the same bra on two different wives :-).

        1. ContentWrangler*

          I find it hilarious that the man managed to marry two women with the same bra size. Guess he has a type.

  7. HRM*

    I think the story of my boyfriend and I is pretty cute… well for us anyway.

    I work in HR and at my last job, one of the managers I regularly worked with went on vacation for a week and one of his peers volunteered to handle his day to day stuff while he was gone. I had known the manager filling in already for about a year but hadn’t worked directly with him much. Unfortunately, we had had a situation with a training class at the time where the employees decided to cheat off each others training tests (passing the test is required before starting work on the call center floor.) We had to pull each person involved into a room one by one to explain to them that they would be getting a final warning (my company believed in second chances and third, and fourth, and fifth, but that’s a different story.) It took us a few hours and as we were waiting for people to come and go we had a chance to talk and get to know each other a little. We started joking around, trying to lighten the mood so we could catch our breath in between conversations. By the end we were both exhausted, and frustrated, and I joked about needing a drink (note – this would be a totally ok comment at that work place between management staff) and he decided to take me up on that drink, for real, a couple weeks later and things developed from there.

    We truly fell in love over final written warnings <3

  8. Antilles*

    A few years ago at a former company, we had a fire alarm on Valentine’s Day. The company was really lax on fire drills, so when it went off, it took my office mate and I a couple seconds to realize what it was. To walk out, we pass the hallway leading to the kitchen, which was completely filled with smoke.
    We later found out that a younger employee’s boyfriend had brought in a cake for Valentine’s Day including candles and set it on a counter top to go find her for a surprise. Unfortunately, he hadn’t stuck the candles in properly, so one of them slid off the side of the cake…where it set the employee bulletin board on fire, which then set the drywall of the kitchen on fire.
    They ended up having to gut the kitchen. The employee wasn’t disciplined, but we all had a very long lecture about the importance of fire safety and dangers of candles. On the plus side, the company started actually having regular fire drills, so I guess there was at least some benefit from it.

    1. Granny K*

      I’m wondering if subsequent Valentine’s Day cards from this dude to his girlfriend read something like “I’d burn for you (literally)”…

    2. WellRed*

      For some reason the fact that it caught the employee bulletin board on fire is something I find especially funny.

    3. Live and Learn*

      When my now husband and I first started dating we were cooking dinner together at my parents house where I was house sitting for them while they were out of the country. He went outside to start the grill and came back minutes later looking horrified. The grill had caught fire and scorched the siding on my parents’s (who he had yet to meet) house. I had to have that part of the siding replaced before they got home! I love to tease him that it’s really love when you marry the man who set your parents house on fire trying to cook you dinner.

  9. Longtime Listener, First time Caller*

    I’m writer of #5 :) I don’t even remember writing that on AAM, but it brought back so many happy and silly memories of the beginnings of my relationship with my husband.

    I hope everyone is having a happy Valentine’s Day, however and with whomever you love.

    1. Purplesaurus*

      I have to admit while reading yours, I got so confused. Why was your MIL setting you up with her son, wouldn’t that already be your husband? Maybe another son of hers? I guess she’s cool with open marriages?

      Yeah, it’s a bad day for my brain.

      1. Longtime Listener, First time Caller*

        Haha, I should have written my FUTURE mother-in-law. Glad you got there in the end :)

      2. CCF*

        I was also surprised that someone in high school was married and being set up by their MIL with another one of her sons.

  10. Murphy*

    My parents met at work. They weren’t in the same department. My mom said she always thought my dad was handsome, but didn’t have a reason to talk to him. I forget the exact details, but my mom was carrying a bunch of stuff in the parking lot in the rain, and my dad went out of his way to help her. They’ve been married 37 years.

    1. SoCalHR*

      Except the part where the girl breaks up with her BF over text (possibly *while* hanging out with the new guy), anyone one you call “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” should not be broken up over text imo #soapbox lol

      1. AIMBreakup*

        I used to say the same thing but then I dated someone who literally would not let me break up with him. As in, physically blocking my car in or otherwise preventing me from leaving. I tried a few different times (we were 18 and 20… I thought I could fix things) and eventually settled for doing it over AIM when he was a few days from heading out of state.

        I wouldn’t do it for just anyone, but that was an exception.

        1. Evan Þ*

          I misread that for a moment as “doing it over AAM.” I guess, if you both regularly participate in the comment threads, that’d be possible? But still an even worse idea than doing it over AIM, since it’d be published on the Internet for all to see…

          1. AIMBreakup*

            I know a couple folks who’ve had bigger breakups over much more insignificant things online. I’m positive it’s happened somewhere and it’s hilarious to imagine how it reads!

        2. The Other Katie*

          I had to dump someone’s voicemail, in the Dark Ages when voicemail was still a thing, for the same reason. Sometimes this kind of remote strike is the only option.

      2. Lissa*

        Ha, a lot of stories are cute from one perspective but not from another! I still enjoy them though – at 23 breaking up with someone via text isn’t the worst, though it does depend on how serious the relationship is I think. Though I imagine if the roles were reversed it would be depressing. “My boyfriend and I worked together. A new coworker started right around the time that I got fired, and the two of them started spending time together. We don’t do anything for Valentine’s Day, but she got him chocolates as a “joke” – that night, he dumped me by text so they could get together” would totally be a sympathy getter on an open thread. :D

        Same with how badly wrong things can go if it turns out the other person *isn’t* interested in you, especially for the stories where one person has a partner! There’s a few stories here of confessing love to someone in a relationship with gifts and oh man, if the partnered person was actually in a happy relationship with no interest it would be *so bad*.

        But I can both overanalyse and enjoy these stories. :D

        1. Jolie*

          I don’t know, sounds like the guy unilaterally decided “we don’t do anything for Valentine’s Day”, so serve him right!

      3. Kelly L.*

        I think I just died laughing at all the random firings! I think we all worked somewhere that dysfunctional in our misspent youth. Probably another call center!

      4. Marillenbaum*

        I mean, I once had a boyfriend break up by just…never calling me again (we were also 23); another one broke up with me via email and he was 34! I think actually doing the thing counts for a lot.

        1. JennyAnn*

          I had a boyfriend in college who lived in my hometown while I went to school out of state. It ended when I called to let him know that that my Friday class had been cancelled so I had come home for the weekend (it was about a 5 hour drive so I would make the trip every once in a while). He was two hours into his drive moving to Florida. :D

        2. Carpe Librarium*

          Yeah, having the wherewithal to actually inform one’s partner that its over in clear terms sure as hell beats, oh I don’t know, fleeing the country without notice or further contact…

  11. Peggy*

    Dear Vanishing Microwave,

    You reminded me of a story 20 years ago I’d completely forgotten. One of my close friends from high school introduced me to his girlfriend in college and she and I ended up being roommates. She turned out to be terrible, and cheated on my friend with one of his friends. He found out and came over to break up with her, and took back the microwave he’d lent her for our apt. He stomped back to his apt about a mile away carrying this big heavy microwave just out of spite. (I bought one to replace it and wouldn’t let her use it, out of my loyalty to him.) :)

  12. Shaima*

    In college, I got an amazing and fast-paced job working for a professor/mentor that I loved. She approved a few potential coworkers for me and let me hire whichever one I thought I’d work best with. I got some emails mixed up and offered the job to the wrong guy. We spent tons of long days together, and got close quickly. Fast forward 10 years, and we’re still happily married!

  13. AnotherAlison*

    I also met my husband at work when I was 17. I was the one whose mom worked there, and she DID NOT set us up. She was less than thrilled that I dated him. I also had zero intentions of dating him for more than a few months. So, of course, we have been together for over 20 years.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        It’s actually my mom, and everything did work out in the end, but saying it that way is like saying we buffed out damage from a high-speed rollover accident. It’s a long story, but the bad parts are way in the past now.

        1. Lily in NYC*

          OH! I totally misread this and thought you were the only mom who worked there and that his mom was pissed because he was dating a single mother.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            Ha, that’s an incredibly funny misinterpretation because his mom has been divorced 7 times (probably only 4 back at that time). She should be the last person to complain about that!

      2. AnotherAlison*

        I should also mention that my husband was 20, not in college, and in his “party phase” when we met, so my mom was not unjustified in her opinion. (I have no idea what I was thinking. It was an opposites attract thing, for sure.)

  14. WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot*

    I worked in a small charter school where most of the teachers got along pretty well. We had 2 outside tutors that would come in 3 days a week to help certain students. Our male tutor left for a permanent teaching job. On Valentines Day I received a delivery of flowers and ALL of the teachers sprinted to my room to find out who they were from. One even took the card out of the bouquet before I could read it! It was from the male tutor saying he wanted to take me out on a date, but didn’t want to ask while we worked together. He told me to text him if I accepted his date, but I had to tell him thank you, I have a boyfriend.

  15. MommyMD*

    Cupid reminds me of the female employee who came to work at a serious stuffy office dressed in full blown Halloween attire. During a meeting.

  16. not so sweet*

    My parents met at work too. Mum was a young brand-new teacher joining the staff of a big school. One of the other women had warned her about Mr M, the smooth talking ladies’ man. But they hadn’t been introduced. Mr M sat down next to her in the staff room one lunch time, accidentally got her in the eye when he was peeling an orange, and had a clean handkerchief and a sincere apology. And that was how they met. They ended up getting engaged on Leap Day, but my mother swears that he did the asking.

    1. Future Homesteader*

      My friend’s parents had an incredibly similar story! Two teachers, she was warned about the ladies’ man. She’d already been divorced once and had two young kids, so she wasn’t in the mood to play around. When he asked her out she told him they could date but he had to be serious and there would be no funny business. Thirty-some years later, I’d say it’s gone pretty well (he is an extremely mischievous person, though, and his dad jokes are….frequent and corny).

    2. Lunch Meat*

      At least they got engaged on Leap Day, not married, or three out of four years wouldn’t count to some people.

      1. not so sweet*


        The Leap Day thing is about the folktale that women are “allowed” to do the proposing on Feb 29th. And if the man says no, he is supposed to buy her a dress.

    3. valc2323*

      My parents met doing a summer internship when they were 16.

      In about four months, that will have been 54 years ago, and still going strong.

  17. Valenonymous*

    As a Valentine’s “gift,” one of my three coworkers in our tiny department pulled the Smirnoff Ice prank on another coworker in the middle of the workday, with a college Facebook photo she found of him dressed up like a Chippendale pasted on the bottle.

    By the way, these two have always been flirtatious in sort of a coy faux-adversarial way, and he recently broke up with his girlfriend, and now I’m 99 percent sure they are sleeping together. Which, yeah, will go up in flames, but they’re both 10 years younger than me and so cute that for now I’m just sitting back and enjoying the show (which is easy, since in our temporary post-hurricane office they both sit about three inches away from me on either side).

    1. selina kyle*

      That’s amazing – the icing at least, not the possibility of flames. But also that does seem cute – I hope things work out!

  18. Amber Rose*

    There’s a vase of purple flowers with a teddy bear attached on my desk right now that my husband sent a couple days ago. My male coworkers have expressed annoyance that he is somehow “winning” valentine’s day by being more on the ball than them. But their wives don’t work here. Strange. Anyways, it’s not that. My birthday is just a couple days away, that’s all.

    #4: We once received a cover letter that referred to, among other things, the applicant’s recent decision to go traveling cross country on his motorcycle with his girlfriend.

    #5: I was also 17 when I met my husband. It’s been 12 years. <3

    1. Rainy*

      The visible reminder of the fact that they are going to buy some earrings at the drugstore and a single rose from a street vendor is chapping them.

      (I bought my fiancé his two dozen roses last night–Whole Foods plus Prime coupon FTW. Romantic and sensible.)

  19. K.*

    I might quit my job if my dude came to my office dressed as Cupid, and I would definitely re-evaluate my relationship because if he knew me AT ALL, he would know that that is something that would horrify me. And even if I thought it was cute (I am recoiling at the thought), he should have better sense than to show up at my job in a diaper.

  20. Winifred*

    I met my now-husband through his son, who was dating one of my coffee-shop employees. He kept telling his dad “she really wants to meet you” and my employee kept telling me the same, adding as an extra enticement, “he’s a nerd, like you.” We went on our first date just about 7 years ago, and got married 2 years ago. Only because we both said “yes” to something we’d normally say “no” to.

  21. Lily in NYC*

    These were all great! Here is my sad story: Someone from the mailroom delivered flowers to me today but they were really for my coworker who has a similar first name. Cue sad trombone… (it really wasn’t upsetting to me at all – I don’t give a crap about valentine’s day and it was nice to see my coworker’s happy reaction when I brought them over to her desk).

        1. Lily in NYC*

          OMG I just googled and I can’t believe I forgot that! 30 Rock was one of my favorite shows. I get mail and packages meant for my coworker multiple times a week (I think the mailroom guy avoids her on purpose because she talks his ear off whenever he brings her something).

    1. Elizabeth West*

      My coworker at Exjob got flowers one day and she gave me one and said, “This is for you, beautiful!” It was such a Leslie Knope sweet thing to do that I died. <3

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          Sometimes at the end of a concert, I have seen the sololist receive a bouquet and they have pulled out a flower from the centre to give to their pianist.

  22. Shira*

    My parents are both doctors. When my mom was in med school she did a rotation at the hospital where my dad was an (overworked, sleep-deprived) intern. They ran in some of the same social circles but hadn’t interacted much before then. When my mom bumped into him at the hospital his first words to her were: “Oh, are you a med student? My condolences.” My mom rolled her eyes at that but thankfully she wasn’t easily put off :-) they started getting to know each other better outside the hospital, and the rest is history. (My mom tells it as “I chased him till he caught me.”) And that kicked off 40 years (and counting!) of shop talk at the dinner table.

    1. EventsGuruGirl*

      My parents are so similar! Both doctors, except my Mom was the attending and my dad was the resident! She asked him out on their first date, swimming lessons (lol), and then left it up to him to make the next move. It took him 6 months to ask her to lunch, but now they’ve been together 30 years. Ditto about the shop talk at the dinner table.

  23. Murphy*

    This morning’s letter about the flowers reminded me of a meeting we had last year. It’s a once a year meeting always around Valentine’s day and last year it was actually on Valentine’s Day. Someone in upper administration started his presentation to this mostly female group with “Happy Valentine’s Day…to the ladies.” (Seeing this written out, it sounds creepy. It wasn’t, but he was making it clear that he wasn’t saying it to the men.) It kind of set a weird tone though. The next woman who went up said with a smile, “Happy Valentine’s Day to the gentlemen.” Later a woman in upper administration said, “OK, happy Valentine’s day to everyone!

    1. Rainy*

      Story my late husband used to tell about being out at dinner with a big group of friends and after a day-long hobby retreat thing: everyone’s food arrives, and one of the guys holds his beer up to give a toast.

      He says “To our wives and girlfriends, may they never meet” (the old Navy mess toast, of course). Laughter around the table. Then his wife stands up with her drink and says “To our husbands and lovers…who already have!”

  24. Catabodua*

    Ok, here’s one for your lunch time enjoyment – I was dating coworker J.

    A different coworker – H – received flowers from her soon to be ex-husband as part of his attempt to woo her back.

    H threw the flowers in a garbage can.

    J dug them out, and brought them to me. I did not know at the time he had done so. He made it out like he got them for me.

    Coworker B happened by a little while later, saw the flowers, looked really puzzled, went away for a bit and then came back and told me what happened. I was mortified and furious. I wouldn’t have had them sitting on my desk if I knew where they came from.

    J couldn’t figure out what the big deal was. They were perfectly good flowers, and yeah! free.

    I have no idea how I continued to date him for another year after that. I can only chalk it up to how incredibly stupid one can be when you have feelings for someone.

    1. selina kyle*

      Oooof that is definitely one of those things where I’d think “I guess it’s kind of cute because I like him and I don’t want to be bummed about this”, so I get it.

      1. Catabodua*

        I was also only 19, in my first full time job.

        I will forever be thankful to coworker B for cluing me in vs looking on in horror but not saying anything like everyone else did.

    2. SarahTheEntwife*

      Ok, dude, that’s clever and resourceful *if you’re sure the recipient won’t find out where the flowers came from*.

  25. Aiani*

    My husband and I never actually dated while we were working together but we met at work.  Also this story is related to his current job.  When I first started working at my job he was already here and he had a girlfriend.  By the time they broke up I was seeing someone.  We were good friends though and he was someone I really enjoyed talking to.  

    He ended up being fired (they used to fire people at the drop of a hat at my work place) and after having no luck finding a job he decided to become an over the road truck driver, meaning he would drive anywhere in the US rather than having a dedicated route.  I was pretty bummed when he told all his friends he wouldn’t be living in the area anymore.  We talked on the phone occasionally but it was less and less over time.

    Then one day he called me out of the blue to ask for a big favor.  Because of an insurance related ticket he had received while living in Texas his license was suddenly not valid anymore, he had paid the ticket at the time but didn’t realize he was expected to pay it again the next year (no I don’t understand it either).  To get this cleared up he needed to do things in Texas but he wasn’t in Texas at the time, he was stuck at some truck stop in the middle of nowhere because he couldn’t drive until this matter was taken care of and of course this was an extra big deal since driving is literally his job.  So, I, being in Texas, took care of it for him.  I went to his insurance company and picked up a form he needed and took that to DPS (what you might call the DMV in other parts of the US) and waited in line and gave them the form and paid a fee.  He paid me back for the fee later.  This cleared things up and he was able to drive again.  He was incredibly grateful.

    We were both single by the time this happened and after that favor we started talking on the phone multiple times a week for hours at a time and our conversations started getting more and more flirtatious and one day I finally told him that I was interested in more than friendship and he said he was too.  The rest is history.

    1. Goodbye Ruby Tuesday*

      The Texas ticket thing happened to my husband too! If you’re pulled over without insurance you have to pay the fine three years in a row. He didn’t know either.

  26. the cake is a pie*

    “I’ve joked since that I felt like I had to say yes because I was afraid she would fire me.”

    Well-meaning parents can sometimes be, uh, more persuasive than they realize. Family lore has it that my grandfather said yes to a date with his dentist’s daughter because the dentist suggested it right when he was holding the drill. Thankfully they hit it off.

    1. Rainy*

      When my dad was a young officer he got set up a lot by COs with their daughters. Apparently those dates were extremely awkward. I suspect my dad at that age was the kind of young man that an older officer would think was a great catch but the daughters didn’t agree.

    2. MsMaryMary*

      I once went to a dentist who told me I strongly resembled his college sweetheart. He couldn’t get over it and even asked where I grew up and where my mom went to school. I was so creeped out I never went back to that office!

  27. Goya de la Mancha*

    Le Sigh, no office romance for me, so I’ll just moon over those “perfect ones” via Hollywood:

    Scully & Mulder
    Jim & Pam
    Sandy & Danny (does high school count as a workplace?)

    …I can’t think of many more?!?!

    1. Adlib*

      Just watched the Jim & Pam wedding episode last night. Man, is that whole storyline amazing & romantic! (I’m not usually the sappy type either.)

    2. Serin*

      Maddie and David. (Wonder if the sexual tension on “Moonlighting” would seem as wonderful to me now as it did then? Or if it would be one of those shows where I would go, “Um, I used to think he was cute but now I think she should take him to court”?)

    3. Mephyle*

      There’s a nice article today at Tor about beta couples in science fiction and fantasy: look for the article titled: “Why My Sci-Fi/Fantasy OTPs Are All Beta Couples”.

    4. Coffee Cup*

      I have never got over how wonderfully written the relationship between Mulder and Scully is. Multiple rewatchings have never changed my point of view.

        1. Coffee Cup*

          I think he’s always agreed with you but she’s always resisted a bit!

          I completely, 100% agree.

  28. HeightsHeifer*

    My parents were never coworkers, or worked in the same industry, but they know own a company together. Well, technically my mom owns the company and my dad has been lucky to work alongside her for 35 years. Apparently they said at the beginning of the venture that their relationship was more important than the business so if the marriage started showing signs of trouble, they would dissolve the company and go back to their previous gigs. I still don’t know how they spend 24/7 next to each other…

  29. Managercanuck*

    We met at a summer camp, it was his first year there, it was my third. We were in the same section, so I showed him the ropes. We discovered that 10 years earlier, he had been my family’s tour guide at the museum in his hometown. So it was fate that we met again! We’ve been together 15 years this summer. :)

  30. Sara*

    I just remembered one for myself. I went out with a guy from my work once – he pursued me for weeks through the internal chat system, which I found charming (it was my first real job) and was super cute. I agreed to go out with him, but he got off work earlier than I did and I lived in the opposite direction. So we agreed that I’d come meet him at his place and then go out for a drink from there. Well. When I got there, he was already drunk. So we clearly couldn’t go anywhere. I don’t date much and he was very cute so I kinda chalked it up to nerves and decided to stay. He made me a drink and we hung out and watched tv while he took like four phone calls on speaker phone for some reason (one was from the president of our company who was golf buddies with him). I left after a couple hours and he kissed me good night, so I figured it was a win. He asked me at work the next day when we could ‘hang out’ again and I told him I didn’t want to go to his place again. I said we could go out somewhere but he wouldn’t make solid plans for anything other than ‘just meet me at my place’. So I finally told him that it was a bad idea and we stopped speaking.
    The next year, he and another girl got fired for misappropriating company funds aka using the company dime to hook up during a work trip. I can’t remember the exact thing they did, but they were both gone as soon as it came to light.

  31. Spreadsheets and Books*

    I met my now-husband at work. When he started and met me for the first time, he was smitten, but I didn’t know or care about this because I already had a long-term (but long-distance, after the conclusion of college) boyfriend. Turns out new coworker and I had a lot in common, from rival colleges to where we lived growing up. But still, I didn’t care. We started going for drinks after work almost every night (restaurant industry, pretty standard), sometimes alone and sometimes with our coworkers, and eventually became good friends. At this point I still hadn’t really figured out that he liked me.

    Enter Valentine’s Day. My boyfriend wasn’t planning to do anything since we lived 6 hours away and I was coming to visit in the next week or two, but my coworker had other plans. He bought me a bouquet of roses and a glass slipper, a gesture related to how early I’d leave the bar every night, a la Cinderella and her magically-imposed curfew, and told me how much he loved me.

    Long story short, we dated for four years and have been married for two.

  32. Potato*

    When I was 17, I worked at a secondhand store in a VERY rural area where hunting was VERY popular. One of my coworkers was a few years older than me, and it was pretty clear he liked me. I genuinely enjoyed hanging out at work, so when he worked up the nerve to ask me out, I said yes. It was my first date ever.

    The next day, he brought his paintball gun to work and insisted on giving me shooting lessons in the parking lot after the store closed—his family had a long-standing tradition of spending an evening cleaning their guns and the following day hunting together, and he wanted to ensure I could participate. I thought it was odd, and wasn’t particularly interested in ever shooting anything, but didn’t cancel the date.

    When the date night rolled around, he took me to Walmart, where we browsed the hunting section together and he volunteered to buy me a hat (I declined). Throughout the date, he wanted to open the door for me, and resorted to turning on the child safety lock to prevent me from opening the door myself. (I think this was a good-natured attempt at being gentlemanly, and he really was oblivious to how creepy it was to lock a date in your car.) I (gently) told him I didn’t think we should see each other again the next day at work, and he went home early visibly close to tears.

    1. Marthooh*

      Awwwww, the close-to-tears image is so sad! But I’m glad you didn’t go out with him again; I think you dodged a paintball there…

  33. Temperance*

    Back when I was in high school, I worked at a movie theater, along with like 30 other teenagers. Teenagers are hormone-riddled monsters, so we all started dating each other and there was a LOT of drama.

    The adults tried to implement a no-dating rule, which was kind of funny and also didn’t work because the horse was already out of the barn. I met my first boyfriend there, and we dated for like 14 months before breaking up, and it was really ugly. One of his coworkers was starting to make a move on him, I noticed and called her out, and he broke up with me after claiming she was just a friend. (They dated for like 5 years, so HA I figured that out.) While all of this was going on, all of my friends stopped being nice to him because they were only tolerating him for my benefit, which I did NOT know, although I was okay with it.

  34. HigherEd on Toast*

    I had a former colleague who had been fighting with her husband, so he decided to go all out on Valentine’s Day a few years ago, I guess as a way to make up for it. He came walking in with this huge chocolate cake in his arms and a bunch of roses in his teeth.

    …He tripped over the area rug in the front of the office suite. We came running out at the crash to find him with his face firmly lodged in the cake and roses jammed up into his ears.

    We had to laugh about it in private after that day, because my colleague thought it was Not Funny.

    1. strawberries and raspberries*

      Oh my God I am trying so hard not to bust up laughing at my desk. Someone’s going to think I’m crying.

    2. Chrissy*

      Aww, that’s really funny and really adorable. I could see this happening to my husband and I would love him for it. :)

  35. Natalie*

    You can tell I belong in accounting because I got really distracted by the idea of roller coaster loans. :/

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      Not gonna lie, I’m curious about the interest rate. And I don’t even like roller coasters, I just find the idea of a roller coaster loan fascinating.

    2. SophieChotek*

      I did too! I don’t work in financing but I’ve been reading public SEC and 10-K and shareholder reports for the past week to help me write a prospectus for my job…so yeah…I started thinking about it too!

    3. Gen*

      Alas it was never as much fun as it sounded, though it’s really hard to get a valuation on a second hand static roller coaster. Sheer scrap value or cost to replace yes, but how much it’ll earn a company if it moves location is much more complicated and oddly there aren’t many experts on the subject. I’m still grumpy they never let me test any of them haha

  36. sometimeswhy*

    RE: Poor judgement #4

    I had a similar experience on an interview panel except they’d already broken up. And it wasn’t amicable. And when he’d walked in he STROKED THE BACK OF MY HAND during the handshake. And during the interview he actively leered at me. I was the only woman on the panel.

    He also did not get the job.

  37. Wanda T.*

    After watching an old episode of Friends a few months ago, (if you know Friends you’ll know the one), I dared my husband to send a barbershop quartet to my office for Valentines Day. They just left about a half hour ago, and my coworker got it all on tape. My face is still fire engine red from embarrassment but it was pretty hilarious and they were actually really good if a bit long-winded…

    1. DecorativeCacti*

      I threatened to send a singing gorilla to my boyfriend, but didn’t only because I’m afraid of the retaliation. I sent him flowers instead.

    2. Turtlewings*

      A few years ago a coworker’s husband sent her a barbershop quartet for Valentine’s Day! I thought it was wonderful and so romantic. They were quite good and she seemed thrilled!

      1. Wanda T.*

        That’s so awesome! These guys were really great too- it was more my own awkwardness that made it in any way less than fantastic- I just didn’t know exactly where to put my EYES. Or my hands apparently, upon reviewing the video.

        …perhaps I need to post this on the awkwardness thread.

  38. Squeeble*

    I love #1; it just has so much going on. The annual influx of mystery Valentine’s gifts! The bouquet of weeds! The pee smell! Incredible.

  39. Ted*

    The guy in #3 actually sounds terrible! He wasted hours of her time on unneeded “training,” and his lack of progress could actually have gotten her fired. I guess she liked him enough to forgive him and I’m glad it all worked out, but this could very easily gone in a bad direction instead.

    1. Lady Phoenix*

      Yeah. I was thinking this was gonna be a bad case of sexually harassment with the coworker doing the whole, “Your boyfriend won’t know.”

      I think they are both jerks.

      1. Lissa*

        Or they’re decent people now and had bad judgment years ago. :) I wouldn’t want to say someone’s a jerk based on one sketchy incident unless it was a lot worse than that. But yeah, could’ve gone SO wrong, I wrote above how looking at from the boyfriend’s perspective, or if she hadn’t been into him, it suddenly looks way different.

        Though I’m one who always feels badly for the poor left-behind partners in romantic comedies.

    2. SarahTheEntwife*

      Yeah, I’m glad it worked out, but I can’t see myself being attracted to someone who would jeopardize their job to secretly spend more time with me. To openly and consensually do so, if our love is just so destined and star-crossed sure, but that’s a kind of situation where I’d worry that he wouldn’t take no for an answer if I wasn’t interested.

      Ditto people being lured away from committed relationships by enticing coworkers. I want someone who will respect my boundaries and wait for me to break up with my current partner on my own.

  40. Bad Candidate*

    This is kind of a crappy story, really. A few years ago on Valentine’s Day my husband tells me not to go to lunch, but to wait, and I’ll know when I can go. So I wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. And I’m starving. I’m thinking he’s going to show up and take me out or something. He wasn’t responding to my texts or emails. He’d been in a meeting and then went to lunch himself, and didn’t get back until almost 2pm. That’s when he found out that my surprise Valentine’s Day heart shaped pizza he sent never got delivered. Security told the delivery guy I didn’t work there. Technically I was a temp at the time, but I had to sign in every day and talked to the same Security guy every morning when getting my badge for the past six months. I appreciated the sentiment, but I was really hangry by then. Two weeks later all the temps got cut due to budget issues and I really didn’t work there!

  41. Ihmmy*

    My mom and her fiance worked together when they started dating, and they were brought together by Destiny. As in, a woman named Destiny at their job set them up. They’ve been together for about 10 years now and are really great for each other. The company they worked for (he’s still there, she’s moved on) was quite large for our area and they were on teams that didn’t really interact often.

  42. Rusty Shackelford*

    I wasn’t the one involved in this workplace romance, but when I was a very ignorant (or naive) high school student, I worked at a restaurant with another high school student, Fergus, who I was friendly with. There was a college student named Wakeen working there, and Fergus and Wakeen never seemed to get along. They were always sniping at each other. Wakeen had a distinctive t-shirt (it was from a university in a different country) that I remembered because it was a topic of conversation, and one day Fergus showed up at school wearing this shirt, and I was like, huh, that’s odd. Many years later, I found some photos I’d taken in my high school journalism class, and one of them was Fergus wearing Wakeen’s t-shirt and I was like… Oh. I get it now. (In my defense, this was before Cheers made the Sam-and-Diane pre-romance bickering such a cliche, and also, I’d only known Fergus to date girls. And also, I was pretty ignorant.)

    1. selina kyle*

      Ha – that’s cute. Both them being involved and argue-flirting and the mental image of you coming to the realization. We’ve all been there, I think.

  43. Managed Chaos*

    When you’re reading and you’re like “Nothing can top that one” and then you get to the next story and then the next…..

  44. Elizabeth West*

    I just don’t date at work. It never turns out well. I can’t imagine it ever doing so.

    I once started dating a coworker right after I moved to another state. I was still looking for a place and staying with him. He got another job. We broke up shortly after, and he started dating another mutual friend before I was out of the apartment. Then he knocked her up and they eloped. She got a job at our original workplace and I had to work with her, while she was pregnant with his baby. It turned out okay; we became friends and stayed friends for years, long after they split up, though she ended up using me for free therapy when she got into an emotionally abusive relationship and then ghosted me when she met someone better.

    I’ve also had a couple of crushes on coworkers (one said yes when I asked him out, after we were no longer in the same location, but then blew me off), which is just miserable. I hate crushes. Hate them. I will never ask out a coworker again and I’m not inclined to date one, even if he’s smoking hot and madly in love with me, which isn’t likely.

    Cupid is a con artist and his bloody, torn-off wings should be nailed to the door of love under a sign that says “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” :P

    1. selina kyle*

      Your coworker ex-boyfriend sounds like a total ass. But also I’m :( at your story about the crush who ghosted you!! You deserve happy things!

    2. Partly Cloudy*

      “Cupid is a con artist and his bloody, torn-off wings should be nailed to the door of love under a sign that says “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” :P”

      This imagery is fantastic. I can see why you’re a writer.

  45. Nita*

    Awww. Thank you for the cute stories and the laughs!

    #1. I can almost see my husband doing that! He’s the kind of guy who believes that it’s the thought that counts, appearances be damned. This is sweet sometimes, and sometimes incredibly frustrating. And sometimes you just have to laugh. Last Valentine’s Day, he brought home a box of chocolates that consisted mostly of chocolate frogs. He’s never read Harry Potter, so I don’t know what he was thinking there… but I am a fan, and was just delighted to see they actually exist :)

  46. EddieSherbert*

    My SO and I didn’t work together, but we met during work – he delivered the mail to the office where I worked at the front desk. It was on my college campus, and we were super slow during the summer, so he and I started chatting… and after awhile he would be there for like 30 minutes chatting with me and “dropping off the mail.”

    It wasn’t until much later, after we finally started dating, that I learned he had a partner on his mail route that would be sitting out in the truck waiting for him! And the truck did NOT have air conditioning!

  47. Sports Producer*

    I work at a local radio station, and last year Valentine’s Day landed on a day we have HS basketball games. I got to work a few minutes early, and threw together about four “appropriate” bumpers* for the holiday, using gushy love songs, like “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. I’d then play one of these bumpers every third commercial break or so. But I saved the best for last, when towards the end of the game, I played “I Hate Myself For Loving You” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Nearly caught the play-by-play guy laughing on the air.

    (Bumpers = The liner/music played when coming back to a live broadcast from a commercial break)

  48. Angry Dumpee*

    As someone who just got dumped by a long term girlfriend for someone she knows from work, reading number 3 made me physically ill.

    Thank you for assuring me that I currently have exactly the right amount of faith in relationships.

    1. mcr-red*

      Yeah I felt the same way about #3. The only workplace romance story I have is my ex-H leaving me and our kids to be with his much younger co-worker.

      Brightside: They both got fired shortly thereafter and their epic love only lasted a month or so after that. Romance.

      1. Angry Dumpee*

        >They both got fired shortly thereafter and their epic love only lasted a month or so after that

        Is it bad that I’m kind of hoping for that to happen to OP#3?

    2. Lady Phoenix*

      Well yeah, turns out the exboyfriend was an uncaring asshole… but the coworker sounded like a predatory creepo that decided to be OP’s rebound.

      1. Bratmon*

        Is he? I can kinda see his point; I know a lot of people feel the same way.

        He definitely should have talked with OP before making that decision, but I don’t think that’s a “dump him over text message then hook up with your coworker”-worthy crime at all.

  49. animaniactoo*

    Actual work story: Messenger from a company on another floor (that we were affiliated with, we were say Teapots, Inc, and they were CoffeePots, Inc.) was infatuated with me. They egged him on and egged him on and egged him on until he finally asked me out.

    I agreed. I was 20? Maybe?

    Anyways, he came to pick me up to take me to the movies, met my roommates and off we went. We had a decently nice time, but then on the car ride back to my place he asked if it was okay that he’d held my hand during the movie (yes, I’d have said so otherwise). And then he gave me a brief goodnight kiss when he dropped me off and went on his way.

    But then, the next day, he asked if it was okay that he’d kissed me goodnight. And he asked if I had talked to my roommates about him – “Well, yes. Of course I did.*” “What did you say?” “DUDE, YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO ASK.”

    And he was just so tentative and puppy doggish and I am just assertive that I knew he would make me nuts and I would steamroller right over him. I tried a 2nd date but had to “break up” at the end of it. Because I just couldn’t take it. At which point, I committed the faux pas of using the “It’s me, not you” line when he asked what was wrong with him, instead of just telling him that I needed someone who was more self-confident and would rely on me to tell them when I was not okay with what was happening. He looked very very hurt, but eventually accepted it.

    I endured rounds of teasing at work about breaking the poor guy’s heart. But eventually I saw him regularly showing up or leaving with someone else and I was very happy for him. Especially cuz I could tell all the CoffeePots guys to get stuffed now tyvm.

    *My very blunt roommate’s take as soon as she met him “Boy, put that ring back in your pocket”. She knew instantly that he was far further into me than was probably reasonable at that point but definitely more than I was even close to reciprocating.

    1. TDT*

      Counterpoint: If the guy had been “assertive” and didn’t ask if it was okay before kissing you goodnight — and if, the next day, you mentioned to someone at your shared workplace that he had kissed you without your consent — he might very well have been fired. It’s no reflection on you, but these days, that kind of situation can have serious consequences.

      1. animaniactoo*

        Granted, but it was 25 years ago. It wasn’t on anyone’s radar back then and it wasn’t just about double-checking due to work stuff, it was genuinely his personality and you could see that reflected in 100 other ways once you realized it.

        And frankly, I was on a date with him. I should be expecting him to possibly kiss me. And to accept the “no” if I ducked or turned my head, etc. Even today if I had agreed to go on a date (and it was clearly a date) and came in the next day and said “He kissed me goodnight without my consent”, I’m pretty sure I’d be looked at sideways and he would not be in trouble. We just would not be going on any more dates.

    2. Louise*

      I dk, I actually think that being asked about levels of intimacy is really nice when you’re dating someone new. I get that people think it’s less romantic but I personally don’t think there’s anything more romantic than someone caring about and respecting my boundaries, but that may just be me :)

      1. D'Arcy*

        The manner in which this is described indicates this wasn’t asking about boundaries, but being ultra insecure and asking repeatedly after the fact.

  50. LadyMountaineer*

    I just witnessed this and I wish I hadn’t. The director of one department just bought the director of another department a singing telegram. The two of them were in the hospital cafeteria (which in our case is co-mingled so this is in front of management, doctors, patients, the whole 9.) The guy was wearing a purple velvet suit and singing “The Way You Look Tonight” off-key whilst the male director was staring at her smiling creepily and she was holding a big, fake smile and her eyes said “please Earth open up and swallow me whole right now!”

    Omg. Omg. Omg. I would have taken a video if I weren’t dying of 2nd hand embarrassment. I am 99% sure those two are breaking up tonight (not a song parody of “The Way You Look Tonight.”) We are all sitting at our desks now in silence rocking back and forth.

    1. Rainy*

      She needs the valentine that is the Terminator saying “COME WITH ME IF YOU WANT TO LIVE” because damn.

      1. Carpe Librarium*

        I wish I had the moxie to dress up as The Terminator and hang out in bars to make this offer to people being subjected to unwanted advances.
        It would also work for helping social anxiety peeps who started talking out of nerves and now desperately trying to find a way to stop.

        I am much cooler in my imagination than I am in real life.

  51. Serin*

    Grr, I accidentally put this comment on the nose ring article. Yay for attention to detail …

    I had a newspaper internship my junior year of college. The newspaper used to take a pair of interns each quarter (so six a year, in pairs), and they housed us in this perfectly awful apartment complex that had been a motel when it was built.

    The permanent newsroom staff told a lot of Intern Stories — like the guy who got arrested for climbing the wall at the Y to look through the window of the women’s changing room and had to be bailed out of jail by the managing editor, and the girl who was sent to do a story on the preschool ballet recital (it was a small town) and wrote a review so savage that parents were sending death threats, and the girl who wrote a steamy letter to her boyfriend on the newsroom computer and then printed it to a printer in a locked room and couldn’t retrieve it before everyone else had a chance to read it.

    But one of the favorite stories was about a young guy who lived in the same apartment complex and viewed the intern apartments as kind of like the New Books shelf at the library — “oh, hey, I’ll drop by and see if there’s anything new that I’d like to take home.” One intern was so upset when he broke up with her that on her last day she carded his apartment door open, took a bath in his tub, and shaved every hair off her body. Then she packed up and left town, and he came home to a bathtub full of warm water and stubble.

      1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

        Does that mean that no one looked at it before it was published? I know it’s a fluff piece but not even to proofread for spelling and grammar?

          1. Serin*

            Right? If that really happened, wouldn’t you think there would be a copy of it pinned to the bulletin board in the staffroom? I can assure you that the Intern Stories were told — but we were never offered any evidence that they were true.

  52. IWentHojo*

    My husband and I met while working for the same company. Although we directly worked together, we were located in different countries so no one had any idea we were dating. By the time we got engaged a year and a half later, maybe 3 people out of the 5000+ at the company knew we were a couple, and that’s because we directly told them.
    Some highlights of our “hidden” relationship…
    1. Several times when he came up to visit me there ended up being an issue I had to deal with immediately (we worked in production). He came along to assist and no one ever questioned why he was up there from Mexico.
    2. When he requested a transfer to a position in the States to be closer to me, he made it all about the opportunity and the experience he would be gaining. My (our when he got the job) boss still maintains that finding out we were a couple afterwards ranks in the top 5 astounding secrets people managed to keep from him during his 40 year career.
    3. Workers on the line would openly hit on me in front of him. They knew I was engaged, since I wore a ring, but had no idea it was to him.
    4. Once we became engaged, we stopped hiding it. We didn’t volunteer the information, but stopped talking around it when asked. I once spent an hour talking to a former boss/friend about our respective relationships, and it wasn’t until a week later when someone else pointed it out that she realized fiancé and coworker were the same person.

    1. MsMaryMary*

      At OldJob, I had a set of coworkers who were engaged before anyone realized they were dating. They worked in a different state than I did, so I never got to see them interact first hand. But a whole office full of people saw them work together and had no clue. They had the same position on different client teams, but it was the kind of department where that position would interact a lot at department level meetings and so forth. She came to work one day wearing an engagement ring, and people were surprised because they didn’t know she was dating anyone seriously. They asked who the lucky guy was, and she said, Wakeen. Wakeen Rodriguez. Wait, like OUR Wakeen Rodriguez? People were amazed.

      1. IWentHojo*

        There is a weird sort of satisfaction that comes when you finally feel free to tell people and they’re so astounded! And the other upside was that when we lived in different countries we knew ALL the gossip :-D

  53. DMLT*

    Waaaay back in the day I had two coworkers, Anne and Gilbert, who worked in different departments, but occasionally sat in big group meetings together representing their departments. Both were single, and completely resisted all attempts to introduce them to other people, set them up, whatever, even though we had a gaggle of matchmaking coworkers in the office who were constantly trying. Once the matchmakers tried to get Anne to ask Gilbert out. It was the angriest I’ve ever seen Anne.
    And then one day Anne and Gilbert announced they’d eloped over the weekend. Been dating about 2 years, living together for 6 months. No one had a single clue! It took a few weeks for it to sink in.

    1. DNTO*

      Anne & Gilbert. This made me smile.
      I think Gilbert was my first fictional character crush.
      Great story. Great name choices.

      1. Cafe au Lait*

        I carried books instead of a bouquet at my wedding. Anne of Green Gables was my middle years book. I wanted to marry someone like Gilbert.

        Reader, I did marry him.

    2. JoAnna*

      Please tell me you were referencing the part in “Anne of Ingleside” where Anne tries to play matchmaker between Stella Chase and Alden Churchill.

        1. SocialMonster*

          This whole exchange just made me smile! I still re-read all of my Anne books at least once a year.

    3. Jennifer*

      I used to know an Anne and Gilbert who dated for real, but they were both welders. (Didn’t end well.)

  54. Well?*

    . I worked at a large corporatation and at the company Christmas party a guy from my department hooked up with a woman from another department(He was at the party with his fiancée!) They snuck off to a hotel room, did the deed while his fiancée was waiting at the party downstairs. It was my understanding she thought he was single (there was over a 1,000 people at this party so a good chance she did not see him as part of a couple. Yup you guessed it, happy Valentine’s Day….co-worker was pregnant and devastated once she found out he was engaged. Everyone in the two departments knew and it was very awkward, as most socialized outside of work together and would see the fiancée knowing she was clueless. Believe it or not, she did not find out about the pregnancy until he told her after the baby was born. Of course they broke up. I saw him years later at a friends wedding. He was married to the most sweetest person ever. I admit for a split second I wanted to tell her to be careful but of course I didn’t. I really hope he changed his ways.

  55. DoctorateStrange*

    Today at work, a coworker got a bouquet of miniature plush toys of Star Wars characters, including, yes, a porg. I love Valentine’s Day twists like that.

  56. kible*

    all nice stories, in the post an in the comments. luckily everyone at work is 1) taken, 2) older than me, 3) male, and/or 4) straight, so i’ll never get into a shanoozle with dating a coworker.

  57. Frances*

    “For three years I got nothing because my spouse is an accountant and only bought flowers after Valentines when its cheaper” Hahahahaha! I’m dying here! My dad is an accountant and I’ve got to share this with mom. She’s been in your boat for 50 years. On the plus side, accountants seem to make great partners :)

  58. Espeon*

    My grandparents met at work; grandad was grandma’s boss – very naughty!! This was before the war (WWII) – war broke out, grandad got conscripted and grandma returned to her home country for safety. They wrote to one another (the letters are terribly romantic) and finally married after the war, and had a long, happy marriage <3

  59. Master Bean Counter*

    I currently have a valentine’s card sitting on my desk for a coworker(sportsball guy) down the hall. He’s been closed up in his office most of the day. Another coworker from another building dropped it off and asked if I would get it to him.
    It’s not terribly mushy, and it’s warped open so I could read it with-out even trying. It thanks sportsball guy for being a supportive coworker. Yet it still feels icky and wrong. The only I took it is so that none of my employees would be tasked with delivering it later.

      1. Master Bean Counter*

        He just came out for a break so I walked down the hall, holding the card between my thumb and finger in front of me and dropped it on his desk.

  60. LadyKelvin*

    One of the guys in our team bought carnations for all the women on our team for today. (He’s retiring this year and does this every year, to give you an idea of why this isn’t inherently gross, also culturally where we live flowers are an important part of daily lives so it would be weird not to receive one on valentine’s day as well) He sent them all an email and told them where they could get one (so they didn’t have to accept it if they didn’t want it). Well I just saw him in the pantry while making coffee and apparently he forgot that I was on the team too (I’ve been here for a year now) and apologized before giving me the flower. It makes me slightly uncomfortable because I actually know him socially outside of work and he is horribly inappropriate and crude and his “humor” makes me really uncomfortable. None of it is on display at work, but I can never forget what he’s like outside of work.

  61. animaniactoo*

    Not quite work story: I was a member of a desktop artwork/wallpaper site. Happily bouncing around the off-topic forum allowing my silly and ridiculous side free reign. I was eventually asked to be a volunteer junior member of the moderators as despite this I had displayed some actual artwork cred in my ability to spot and comment on the artwork and be tactful and do so even in disagreement on the more serious threads and situations in the other forums.

    Somewhere along the way I’d had some brief interactions with the site’s 2nd-in-command, but didn’t really know him. One day, a thread was posted in the off-topic forum “All About Me” where you were supposed to basically give people a bigger snapshot of who you were by describing various stuff about your life. I posted and the next morning, I woke up to a private message from Two, and he was so enthusiastic about how we had so much in common and he thought we would really get along.

    I very carefully messaged back and forth with him because I didn’t want to encourage him (since as far as I understood he was married (he wasn’t, it just wasn’t ever clear from his posts), and I’m not a big believer in long-distance relationships (we were about 1000 miles away). But on the other hand I didn’t want to cut him dead since I didn’t know if he’d be a jerk about it and he had all the site power there…

    Within a few weeks it turned out that he was also a huge fan of Tom Lehrer and the Animaniacs and I decided I might have to give him a shot. I was also known for being ridiculously flirtations and responded to one of his messages that completely touched me in how awesome he had been about something with “I completely understand. I totally approve. Wanna make out?”. But he messaged back and said “Sure” and actually took me seriously and I was not so opposed… and there proceeded the longest virtual makeout session ever because the private message system was more like e-mail than instant messaging because you had to refresh to see if you had a new message, etc. We talked on the phone for the first time the next day, and it’s now been 12 years, 8 of them married. :)

    We have both since fallen away from being active members of the site, but we were both active members/moderators when we got married and we invited the owner to our wedding. We’d kept the relationship under wraps on the forum, apparently well enough that he had no clue we were even dating but was instantly enthusiastic about coming. He ended up in charge of the audio setup at the last minute when we needed some techie type person to fix the setup and it couldn’t be either of us because we were a wee tad busy. When we got back, I found out that both of those stinkers had kept it a secret that I had been voted on by the senior forum mods and promoted to a senior forum mod myself.

    He insists that he was just looking for a new friend when he first messaged me. I told him he came on rather strong if that was the case and he might not have been aware of how into me he sounded. He asked me at one point what made me ask him to make out, and I said “I was joking.” He looked stunned and then said “Well I guess the joke’s on you. LOL.”

    1. JoAnna*

      haha, this sounds like the story of me and my husband! We met in an online web club called “Harry Potter for Grown Ups” and had a similar online flirtation. I actually asked him to marry me at one point (I was joking at the time). However, we’ve now been married sixteen years. :)

    2. Red Reader*

      Also not-work: my husband and I first met many many years ago – introduced to each other by a group of people including his then-fiancée/now-ex-wife and my then-boyfriend/now-ex-husband – at a convention LARP that we were both staffing.

  62. Melanie*

    Story number three…omg I loved this one! You could sell it to Hollywood and call it Finding love at the Call center! Congratulations on your long marriage. Perfect story for Valentines.

  63. Pathfinder Ryder*

    It was Valentines yesterday for me (not in the US) and one of the nurses on my ward received a single red rose with an unsigned card reading “you deserve to be happy”. Both she and her husband say it wasn’t from her husband, and she also insists that she is happy.

    On a less confusing note, a different nurse whose boyfriend is abroad received a giant bouquet of roses from him (hurrah for online ordering), and as she wasn’t actually rostered on, we all enjoyed the bouquet while waiting for her to pick it up.

  64. Frea*

    My parents met at my mom’s work. She was a waitress and he was shy, so he used to bribe his roommates with beer to go along with him so he could talk to her. The roommates must have been interesting: the first time she visited his apartment, she found the mats from her workplace in the front hallway.

  65. Not a Morning Person*

    No big drama…One Valentine’s Day some time ago my boyfriend at the time (no longer in my life) had told me not to expect anything, that he thought Valentine’s Day was commercial and he didn’t want to participate. (I later realized he was just cheap.) Imagine my surprise when I received a beautiful bouquet of red roses at my office. I was so excited and surprised! I called him to thank him and he denied sending them. In fact, he even accused me of not getting flowers at all and that I just said that to make him feel jealous. (Another clue as to why I later broke it off with him.) Well, it took awhile, but finally after sharing with a few of my coworkers, one of them said she knew who sent them…a coworker from another department had a crush and had actually spoken with a few of my coworkers about it. Then he asked one of my closer work friends whether he should send me flowers for Valentine’s Day and she said yes, even knowing that I was dating someone else. I was actually kind of creeped out by it. He’d been coming by my office for a few months and just standing in the doorway and staring until I would “feel” someone was there and look up to see him smiling. I’d ask what he needed and there would be some vague request or message that he didn’t really need to see me about. I’d been writing it off as socially awkward because he wasn’t a bad guy, just not interesting to me. But the flowers made it feel more uncomfortable and I made an effort to avoid him after that. Then I moved away and didn’t keep up with most of the people at that old job.

    1. Lady Phoenix*

      Ugh. Bad enpugh dude got creepy, but some idiot pretty basically condoned his creepiness. Good riddance.

  66. Lalla*

    One Valentine’s Day, the person with the desk next to me at the time received an enormous bouquet of flowers from her then-fiancé.

    I wish I knew what the flowers were so I could avoid them at all costs in the future, as they gave me the worst hayfever reaction I’ve ever had. I’m talking eyes streaming, horrible scratchy throat, itchy skin and sneezing every few minutes. And it was February, so of course I had no anti-histamines stored in my desk (generally I get mild/moderate hayfever in mid-summer, and even then it doesn’t affect me every year, so I tend to wait for the onset of symptoms before stocking up on pharmaceuticals).

    My colleague tried moving the flowers to the other side of her desk, and when that made no difference, moved them to an empty desk a few metres away – to no avail.

    So I spent an entire day at work hardly able to see, speak or think, feeling like it would be too awkward and mean to ask my colleague to move the flowers any further, taking regular breaks to leave the building in an attempt to get some fresh, pollen-free air, and being approached sympathetically by concerned colleagues who were worried that I was crying my way through Valentine’s Day.

  67. MissDissplaced*

    I’m not sure pretending to be bad at your job (and getting fired) is the best way to catch a mate… but hey, they have a great “Harry Met Sally” story.

  68. Thany*

    My coworker at my previous job told me about drama involving the team members I had replaced. Apparently two of the team members were often meeting privately (which was not necessary for our work). My coworker said he walked in on them a couple times when they were in a heated discussion. To make it more awkward, one of them was engaged. I don’t know if they were ever found out, but I’m still curious about what happened.

  69. Insufferable Bureaucrat*

    Little late to this party but this is too good not to share: when I started with my organization I was told this story about some older employees who were still working there as a “what not to do if you have a workplace romance”:
    There was a manager who was married with a family who had started an affair with his secretary “Jane”. People suspected but weren’t sure until she started scheduling their trysts on his public ally accessible calendar. Think “3-5 pm, sauna time with bob”. They also broke a copy machine by doing you know what on it after hours. It was definitely confirmed when she burst into a staff meeting, threw some documents face down on the table and said “they’re yours!” and stormed out. “Bob” ran out of the room after her so the rest of the group looked at the documents and they were ultrasounds! She had her at former bosses twins (she had been moved to a different department) and even named one the same name as one of his kids with his wife, just with a different spelling. He stayed married until the straw that broke the camels back was when Jane showed up to the company picnic with his now toddlers and made a big point of his wife (who was there with his other kids) seeing it. They got divorced and Bob married Jane. Apparently the divorce was very acrimonious (duh), the wife got everything and ended up marrying Bob’s best friend who moved into his house and got all his former stuff with his former wife. They both stayed working at the organization for another 20 or so years until they retired. I’m sure neither of them knew that their entire sordid story was told to just about every new employee as acautionary tale.
    My workplace was full of people who had been working their with each other for their entire careers at that point so that was a level of almost familial toxicity where all the managers had been together and up in each other’s business for like 25 years. Another example is when they were all their 20s our dept director’s now wife had been dating him and then cheated on him with my now former boss then cheated on former boss with the director. Apparently they used to do crap like drive by each other’s house to see if her car was there. They ended up getting married and my boss and the director continued to work together and treat each other like garage for another 20 years as they moved up the ranks then eventually retired.

    1. Insufferable Bureaucrat*

      Oh wait forgot to add that former boss then married another employee who also moved up the ranks and stayed until she retired. When I got hired they were in the beginning of what ended up being a 10 YEAR nasty divorce. Watching them snipe at each other in meetings and really go at each other over the phone about pretty personal stuff in the office as totally fun for the rest of us… for the record, work was good about making sure nobody romantically involved was in each other’s chain of command so at least that

    2. Marthooh*

      Wow wow wow. I’m wondering how Bob’s soon-to-be ex-wife got his soon-to-be ex-best friend to move in with her? And take all Bob’s stuff?

      I mean, Vengeance Level: Expert.

  70. MJL*

    By reading this I realized that I’m actually the product of two people who started dating in the workplace.

    Both of my parents worked in a hospital and were assigned to the same heart surgery patient. They love to tell the story that they met over an open chest.

  71. Anon for reasons*

    On day one of my very first real job at a computer repair shop, I was being taken around and introduced to my new coworkers. One of the repair techs looked at me and I looked at him and we were both stunned by the most powerful sexual attraction either of us had ever felt. He asked me to lunch, we gave the thirty-second summary of our availability (we were both in open relationships, conveniently), and within a week we were hooking up.

    There were lots of other coworker couples there; it was that kind of place. I was in a different department, so there weren’t any power differential issues, and for a while it was great. Unfortunately it got a lot less great when I fell in love with his girlfriend and the situation became extremely messy and tangled and some of that bled over into the workplace. Eventually I moved away and we broke up. But damn if that wasn’t some of the absolute best sex I’ve ever had—we may not have been emotionally compatible, but that initial instantaneous assessment was dead on. Whenever people say that instant lust in romance novels is unrealistic, I drag out this anecdote.

    I know another couple who met when she walked into his office to do a sales pitch. He asked her out and she said she never dated clients. He closed her catalog and said, “I’m not buying anything from you. Can I take you to dinner?” They’ve been together thirty years.

  72. michelleeh*

    #4 reminds me of an interview I conducted last year for a lifeguarding position. The question asked was, “Tell us about a difficult conversation you have had to have with someone”. The answer? A long winded story about how the candidate (a teenaged boy)’s friend was in an abusive relationship, and how he went and threatened the boyfriend, saying he would kill him if it continued.

    Not quite what we were looking for. He wasn’t hired.

  73. GreenDoor*

    #1….”I got nothing because my spouse is an accountant and only bought flowers after Valentines when its cheaper” Oh my God! I’m an accountant (female) and we’re all like this. We routinely celebrate certain holidays a few days later so I can go bargain hunt first. :) My husband is a saint for putting up with me, as I’m sure is the LW!

  74. Been There, Done That*

    #3–Hope I’m not repeating someone upthread. You DO realize you have a cute rom-com movie script here, don’t you?

  75. stitchinthyme*

    My husband used to send me flowers at work for no reason at all. (He’d still be doing it if I hadn’t asked him to stop.) One year, he sent me a different bouquet every day of Valentine’s Day week. When I called him to thank him after one of them arrived, two of my coworkers said jokingly, “Tell him he’s not allowed to send you any more flowers unless he sends us some, too!” So next time, he did. Totally made their day. :-)

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