What Should I Do About My Inappropriate Boss?

Scaachi Koul is a senior writer at BuzzFeed Canada, formerly the managing editor of Hazlitt. Her debut collection of essays, The Pursuit of...

Follow @Scaachi

Recent Articles

 

Got a problem that’s got you feeling fucked if you do, fucked if you don’t? Send us your concerns and questions and Unfuck Yourself!

Oh look, a White Famous is here to defend Mel Gibson again.

In an interview with Playboy Magazine (oh of course he did), Gary Oldman defended Gibson and Alec Baldwin’s nutso rants against, all told, just about every sort of living creature. Predictably, they are not terribly cogent arguments, so let’s go over Gary Oldman’s statements, piece by piece, and see where we can give him credit.

“I don’t know about Mel. He got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things.”

NOPE, NOPE, NOPE, SHUT IT DOWN.

I have said a lot of things when I am drunk. I’ve admitted to being in love with my brother’s wife. I told my editor that I wanted a poutine “in the shape of a beautiful woman” and then started tugging at his eyelashes. I asked my dentist to sit on my chest “just to feel close to someone.”

But I have literally never told an ex that “if you get raped by a pack of niggers, it will be your fault.” That has never, ever happened to me, and I have no idea what kind of universe I would have to exist in that it would.

But okay, what else you got?

“Alec calling someone a f-a-g in the street while he’s pissed off coming out of his building because they won’t leave him alone. I don’t blame him. So they persecute.”

A few notes: first of all, it is not persecution when the public gets angry with a rich, famous dinkus after he uses a gay slur because someone is taking his picture in order to maintain his status as rich, famous dinkus. Second, calling someone a fag (just say the word, Oldman, you’re in this deep already) has absolutely nothing to do with you being frustrated by someone invading your privacy but has everything to do with the latent homophobia that makes you think “cocksucker” is a shitty enough pejorative to throw at a minor irritant.

As always, there is a lesson to learn from Oldman’s misguided defense of the indefensible. What should you do when a colleague or coworker or even vague acquaintance says something truly heinous? Should you defend his statements publically? Should you paint him as a victim?

You should not. Speak to your coworker privately and tell him that he fucked up. Then maybe think long and hard before you sit next to him in the lunchroom—at least until he spends a few weeks feeling shame, shame, shame.

But anyway.

Help me, Scaachi: Two married friends of mine are hell-bent on having a baby, and there is no way on Earth they can afford it. They live in a closet, they barely have jobs, their parents are only able to help them out so much—and still, every time I talk to them, it’s pre-natal-vitamins this and going-off-my-birth-control that. I know there’s Never A Good Time To Have A Baby, but this seems like a particularly bad time. They’re both under 30, and they don’t even have a pet together. Why can’t they just get a cat or an iguana or something and at least test-drive their abilities to keep a thing alive before pooping out a baby? They really do not want to hear this, though, and as a result, I’ve been lukewarmly supportive while doing my best to change the subject at all costs whenever it comes up. Is this any of my business? Am I allowed to tell them what a horrible, horrible idea this is?

— Pregnant Pause

Short answer: No, it is none of your business.

Long answer: Nope, it is still not your business.

Longer answer: The way to handle this depends on how close you are with your broke-ass friends. Are they pals, people with whom you go for beers and dropped acid with in high school? Are they friends, people who might help you move but you don’t really want to help them move? Or are they FRIENDS-friends, people who will coach you through a tough poop in a movie theatre bathroom after watching Maleficent?

If they’re anything less than the last one, you’re not in a position to tell them what to do with their reproductive parts. An IQ test and financial evaluation isn’t required to procreate, so if they want a kid, they can get a kid. If you’re comfortable telling them that maybe they need to wait a bit longer, then do so. But you don’t know what their circumstances are. They might be aware that their own reproductive health won’t allow them to have naturally-conceived children later on in life, so the time is now.

Indeed, no one is ever ready to have a kid. Your friends are likely to start out as terrible parents. But are their intentions pure? Do you think they would at least be nice to the kid? Are they potentially abusive or neglectful parents? Or do you just think they won’t be able to drink as much anymore?

Shutting your friends down isn’t going to do much. You don’t need to be abjectly supportive, but if you want to be around for this kid, whenever it comes, you need to play nice with its parents. Someone in its life will need to show it how to do taxes.

*

All my friends lick their boyfriends’ butts. I don’t love the idea, but asked my boyfriend if it was something I should be doing or that he wanted to try. He said not really, but… should I be rimming? We have a very adventurous sex life, but something about licking a dude’s hairy b-hole just makes me grossed out. Yet even my much prude-ier friends are doing it! It seems like literally everyone else is. Should I be rimming?

— Ms. Butt

All your friends are licking their boyfriends’ butts? All of them? Are you friends with a troop of baboons?

I have a general rule: everyone you know is simultaneously doing a) none of the crazy sex things you think they’re doing, and b) even weirder shit than they’re willing to admit to. So while your girlfriend might be telling you about how she and her boyfriend tie each other up and suck on each others’ nipples, they’re probably either just doing it in missionary or dressing up as goats and filling their bathroom with hay and biting each others’ testicles clean off.

Don’t busy yourself with what other people are doing. Are you enjoying your sex life? Do you think your boyfriend enjoys your sex life? Are you both willing to try new things to make the other happy? Those are the questions to ask yourself while your boyfriend rubs his balls on your chin.

So should you be rimming? Hey, why not! What’s the difference between shoving your face in a place where explosive diarrhea comes out of versus a place where pee and kidney stones are expelled? Let’s assume your boyfriend does decent work to your clitoris now and then: blood comes out of the general vicinity there every month—blood and mucus and urine. What’s a little poop, comparatively?

I asked a male friend of mine—who prefers to remain anonymous because he is a coward—how he felt about rimming. After he laughed uncomfortably for about 15 minutes, all I got out of him was, “Yeah, I mean, yeah, it can be pretty good.” Then he asked me to please leave his apartment and not to break in through the window ever again.

Try it out. Ease into it. Ask your man to wash thoroughly and trim his hairy butthole so that you don’t end up inadvertently flossing, and have at it. You literally have nothing to lose and then you’ll finally be able to join in this incredibly bizarre conversation topic all your friends are apparently engaged in.

You know what they say about peer pressure: always, always give in.

*

My boss takes some of my coworkers and me to lunch every few weeks. The only problem is that he’s a heavy drinker and ends up buying a couple bottles (or three or four) for the table. I’m pretty good at controlling myself, but he isn’t, and he gets a little inappropriate with myself and the other women I work with. He stares at cleavage and talks too close. It just generally makes us uneasy. What’s a non-confrontational way to tell my boss to stop pressing his knee against mine under the table without getting fired?

— Lush Lunches

The fun, sexy thing about sexual harassment in the workplace is that it often leaves you in a position with no agency and no control. If this were some shitty acquaintance or just a garbage-person you met at a bar, it would be a lot easier to hit him in the dick and go home. But this is your job, and this is the person who signs his name on your cheques, seated at his desk, probably filled with empty mini-bottles and upskirt shots of his daughter’s friends.

And if there’s anything we’ve learned from the last nine or 10 years of Dov Charney’s reign at American Apparel, it’s that you can be a shitty person in the workplace as long as you’re on trend. Horrible skinny jeans? Keep on swingin’ that dick, Dov! Profits down? Sorry buddy, this has gone too far.

Your boss is a skeeze and maybe an alcoholic. Him buying your lunch and offering free wine just so he can breathe on your décolletage is nothing less than manipulative. As much as I want to tell you to hit him across the shins with a tire iron, I know that it could lead to you getting fired.

To start, you’ve got to find a way to stop going to these lunches. Ease your way out by organizing meetings at the same time. Bring lunch from home. Make lunch plans with other people not in this terrible inner circle. Limit your exposure to this drunk rapey monster.

If you work in a company big enough, there should be someone in HR with whom you can lodge this complaint. This is hard to do, but that is also one of the very reasons for the HR department’s existence. Do you have any other allies in the office? If you know there are other women in the group who also feel uncomfortable with your boss, maybe go as a group for strength in numbers.

The most important thing is that you don’t suffer in silence and hope that one day he’ll just stop acting like this. That’s how predators get away with reprehensible behavior for years upon years. It’s unfair that he’s put you in this position, but no good can come from letting him feel you up under that table.

But if you need that tire iron, you know where to find me.

Unfuck Yourself appears every Wednesday. Got a problem? Send it here.