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I had a boss who talked all the time about not wanting to be accused of sexual harassment.  He talked about it so often and for so long that it was hard not to wonder WTF was wrong with him.  He made a big show of making sure the door was open etc.  I was a 19 year old woman at the time.  It was honestly as uncomfortable as the times I have been sexually harassed.  I quit after a short time and went to work for a man who was respectful, kind and never suggested anything improper.  Both of these men left doors open, scheduled things in public etc.  One made me profoundly uncomfortable and treated me like an object, the other treated me like a person.  When people are overly invested in keeping up appearances, a sense of authenticity and human kindness do get lost, in my experience.  

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I would be bothered. I'm not gorgeous by any stretch of the imagination, but it's more than that. Dh and I have a great relationship and have been married a very long time. However, I recognize my own

Why the woman? Why should not the man who feels he needs to put up those rules reconsider the type of work he is in?

I have not read the responses yet bc I'm in a rush, but I'll tell you really quickly the conclusions I came to... My husband works in a job that has A LOT A LOT of infidelity associated with it,

4 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

I had a boss who talked all the time about not wanting to be accused of sexual harassment.  He talked about it so often and for so long that it was hard not to wonder WTF was wrong with him.  He made a big show of making sure the door was open etc.  I was a 19 year old woman at the time.  It was honestly as uncomfortable as the times I have been sexually harassed.  I quit after a short time and went to work for a man who was respectful, kind and never suggested anything improper.  Both of these men left doors open, scheduled things in public etc.  One made me profoundly uncomfortable and treated me like an object, the other treated me like a person.  When people are overly invested in keeping up appearances, a sense of authenticity and human kindness do get lost, in my experience.  

I don't think there has to be a big show or statement of rules or why things are being done a certain way. I agree, to constantly bring it up would be creepy.

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5 hours ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

 

Marriages are built on trust and caring and attention to each other.  A man can spend all his time at work with other men and still neglect the wife and family.  And a man can choose to honor his vows even if he's working with women in the workplace - even if that woman is gorgeous and has risen in rank and experience and skills to be business partner material. 

I agree with this. I think a start up business with a close partner of either gender can have any number of issues.

As for who should or shouldn't start up businesses, I guess I would limit myself to starting up a business for any of those issues, including the complications that could ensue if I was spending large amounts if time developing an intense working relationship with the opposite sex. I wouldn't do it. I don't see this as me or the other person not being trustworthy or me or the other person being creeps or jerks who would jump in each others pants... it's just not where I would be putting my energy at this point in time. But I would say that about any number of things I'm not doing for any number of reasons. Yes, I have limitations on my life because of marriage and family situation. So does DH. That isn't tragic to me because no one can pursue all the things all the time. Someone might be able to do both things (like the woman in the OP), but I don't think it's bad to say, well, I wouldn't pursue that business venture because of x, y, or z.

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Sorry guys. My time is constrained today and I have not been able to read all the recent threads. @EmseB is pretty much representing my view on work partner interactions, though. I’m not for blanket, inflexible rules in any instance. But that doesn’t mean personal standards are not a good idea. 

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19 minutes ago, EmseB said:

I don't think there has to be a big show or statement of rules or why things are being done a certain way. I agree, to constantly bring it up would be creepy.

 

This guy was making a big show of it either because he thought about me sexually or *he wanted credit for not thinking about me sexually*.  Sorry dude, either scenario makes you a shitty person.  There were things he did that were...odd.  Reading the Gift of Fear gave me some insight into the situation.  There's a reason why when he offered me perks, I reflexively turned him down and a reason why, when the lawyer I worked for right after him offered me various perks, I accepted them without any sense of suspicion.  Because if he said he had a spare pair of baseball tickets or thought I might like to come to lunch to meet such and such person, there wasn't any guile or deceit.  It was a genuine offer made either to thank me for work or to help me learn/meet more people.  Whereas with the first lawyer, he was always overly explaining why his offer was ok and I shouldn't suspect him.  He was trying to put me at ease but failed horribly.  He also offered weird things, like an extra ticket to *see the game with him and his kids* or *attend a client's concert with him* whereas the decent man I worked for offered me perks I could/would use with a friend or my boyfriend- "I have tickets to the symphony I can't use, do you want them?" or "this client (famous musician) has put my name on the list for this concert but my wife and I won't go and I told them you might use it instead. Have a good time!" 

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Thinking back to a period when I studied and worked in a field that was heavily male dominant, I found no difficulty personally in maintaining both appropriate professional and friendship interactions with married or attached men. When I was single and surrounded by attractive, intelligent men near my own age I very easily categorized them as available or unavailable. I remember wishing that one guy I had an unreciprocated crush on would find someone to get engaged to because I knew as soon as he was taken I would find it easier to interact as just a friend without all the internal awkwardness of wishing there was something else between us. There were married guys I absolutely would have been interested in if they had been single but I would never even have thought of flirting with them. Once I was married, I felt the same about any guy who wasn't my husband. 

There's no reason people have to walk around seeing everyone as a potential partner. Humans are quite capable of maintaining appropriate boundaries without making a big issue of it, even when working together daily. We just have to choose to do so.

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4 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

In the era of Me Too, the Billy Graham rule and iterations of it are looking smarter and smarter.  It may just be leaving a door open or meeting in a restaurant and not a hotel room, but keeping it mixed company public or easily observable is just not the worst idea ever.  I know that’s how my spouse operates with a female boss and a team under him that is half younger women.  He doesn’t discriminate or change opportunities at all, he just doesn’t schedule private meetings in rooms where other people cannot walk by and see through the glass.  In a modern office with cubes and conference rooms it just isn’t that difficult.  The principle is just keeping everything as above board as possible without being ridiculous.

I don't know that I agree that the principle is to keep things above board without being ridiculous (for a given value of ridiculous). For some people, sure, but ime people frequently go far beyond  your examples. It's not a question of a restaurant vs a hotel room - Mike Pence follows the 'no dining alone with a woman' rule, no matter that it's in a very public venue. That's the kind of thing that hurts women's careers. Right or wrong, deals are made in restaurants and on golf courses, and missing out on that is missing out on money and advancement. 

To me, if a room with a window is decent protection, so is being in public at a restaurant or golf course. 

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I have a vague memory of reading of Billy Graham's policies from his own writing. It wasn't as it is being presented here. In those days, it was not unusual (I guess it's still true today) for famous evangelists' ministries to be completely lost, their reputations ruined, their Christian testimonies thrown away, through infidelities. These things could also potentially happen through compromising-appearing photographs, lies told by someone wanting personal attention, or any number of ways caused by people wanting to ruin or bring down someone like him. 

I heard a well-known Christian man whose name you would all recognize tell of one time a woman wanted her picture taken with him. He posed with her, as a friendly gesture, and at the last second, she opened her coat to reveal...much of herself. It was all a ruse to compromise his reputation. When you understand that there are people out there like that who want to ruin people like these men, it makes the policies they hold make a lot more sense.

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18 minutes ago, katilac said:

I don't know that I agree that the principle is to keep things above board without being ridiculous (for a given value of ridiculous). For some people, sure, but ime people frequently go far beyond  your examples. It's not a question of a restaurant vs a hotel room - Mike Pence follows the 'no dining alone with a woman' rule, no matter that it's in a very public venue. That's the kind of thing that hurts women's careers. Right or wrong, deals are made in restaurants and on golf courses, and missing out on that is missing out on money and advancement. 

To me, if a room with a window is decent protection, so is being in public at a restaurant or golf course. 

But as a woman, I would not want dining alone with my boss, especially someone with some kind of position of power, to be a condition of my job. I can't figure out why a woman (or anyone) would want to be in that position, to be honest, where they would *have to have* dinner alone with a person who can make or break their career or future in the company, to be means or a condition of advancement. That sounds like horrible corporate culture.

You say right or wrong like oh well, it doesn't matter if it's wrong, we still have to do it. But I don't think that's a good way to approach it. We have to go along to get along?

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29 minutes ago, katilac said:

That's the kind of thing that hurts women's careers

The problem is that being seen one on one in a restaurant can have the same effect.  If Mike Pence was out alone with a woman at a restaurant, how long would it be before tabloids started making Monica Lewinsky type references?

 

ETA: clearly I am old because obviously that sort of thing would start criss crossing the internet way before it hit a tabloid paper lol

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20 minutes ago, EmseB said:

But as a woman, I would not want dining alone with my boss, especially someone with some kind of position of power, to be a condition of my job. I can't figure out why a woman (or anyone) would want to be in that position, to be honest, where they would *have to have* dinner alone with a person who can make or break their career or future in the company, to be means or a condition of advancement. That sounds like horrible corporate culture.

You say right or wrong like oh well, it doesn't matter if it's wrong, we still have to do it. But I don't think that's a good way to approach it. We have to go along to get along?

Dh and I neither one are interested in careers where that sort of thing is required.  Heck we aren’t interested in careers at all, I guess.  We have jobs,  make money, pay our bills, but the majority of our life isn’t about work.  We do a picnic once a year with dh’s co workers as a way to show we aren’t anti-social.  We always enjoy it,  but really again, work is not our primary focus. 

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1 hour ago, Jaybee said:

I have a vague memory of reading of Billy Graham's policies from his own writing. It wasn't as it is being presented here. In those days, it was not unusual (I guess it's still true today) for famous evangelists' ministries to be completely lost, their reputations ruined, their Christian testimonies thrown away, through infidelities. These things could also potentially happen through compromising-appearing photographs, lies told by someone wanting personal attention, or any number of ways caused by people wanting to ruin or bring down someone like him. 

I heard a well-known Christian man whose name you would all recognize tell of one time a woman wanted her picture taken with him. He posed with her, as a friendly gesture, and at the last second, she opened her coat to reveal...much of herself. It was all a ruse to compromise his reputation. When you understand that there are people out there like that who want to ruin people like these men, it makes the policies they hold make a lot more sense.

So the way I understand, @Bold is a predator and the only thing stopping this person from not turning into Harvey Weinstein was he was never any alone with a woman other than his wife because he was so weak he would be tempted by any woman and even as a grown man had to be chaperoned at all times. Why is this a man of God ? Isn't this person someone who deserved to be brought down ? Who should not be in ministry ? It makes me wonder how safe are his grown daughters with him ? It takes me to all sorts of vile places. 

@Red if someone wants to ruin the reputation of a minister because of compromising appearing photographs, context matters. Naked in a bed, affair. Standing next to a woman, no. Shaking hands no. Praying no. Eating at a restaurant, no. Why do we jump to conclusions about a man who we say has the anointing of God eating at a restaurant or shaking hands with a woman not his wife. Why are we judging him with intent of sinning ? Isn't that slander even in a secular world ? What happened to innocent until proven guilty ?  I can't believe American Evangelism had something like this. It's appalling to me that what is being held up as a bastion of Christianity had attitudes like this to "protect themselves". Where is the Lord in all this ? 

Just to be clear, I am not talking about protecting children from abuse with the two person protection, that is needed and very important. I am talking about "protecting" a grown man from committing infidelity or the appearance of it. What is this culture ? Anything Christian or God honoring about it ? I just can't wrap my head around it. 

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59 minutes ago, EmseB said:

But as a woman, I would not want dining alone with my boss, especially someone with some kind of position of power, to be a condition of my job. I can't figure out why a woman (or anyone) would want to be in that position, to be honest, where they would *have to have* dinner alone with a person who can make or break their career or future in the company, to be means or a condition of advancement. That sounds like horrible corporate culture.

You say right or wrong like oh well, it doesn't matter if it's wrong, we still have to do it. But I don't think that's a good way to approach it. We have to go along to get along?

I was a woman who worked FT and still works PT in a male dominated field. All my immediate managers were male. When we did year end evaluations it was either locked in their cabin because what was said was private or at a restaurant one on one. I go to interviews all the time, mostly male managers or recruiters. Again, one on one in a restaurant or in a cabin. It does not have glass walls. It only has a door with a glass window and mostly has shades. That is not horrible corporate culture, that is corporate culture even in a conservative country like my native country. It is based on American corporate culture. What is horrible is women who are so insecure they think their husbands cannot be trusted with a woman in a closed room or even dining one on one in an open restaurant in front of every body. It directly affects hiring policy. 

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36 minutes ago, EmseB said:

But as a woman, I would not want dining alone with my boss, especially someone with some kind of position of power, to be a condition of my job. I can't figure out why a woman (or anyone) would want to be in that position, to be honest, where they would *have to have* dinner alone with a person who can make or break their career or future in the company, to be means or a condition of advancement. That sounds like horrible corporate culture.

You say right or wrong like oh well, it doesn't matter if it's wrong, we still have to do it. But I don't think that's a good way to approach it. We have to go along to get along?

 I worked in a corporate job for years where it was extremely common to have a "working lunch" with colleagues of either gender. People were super busy, most of the executive staff traveled extensively and had lots of meetings both within and outside of the institute, and if something came up on a project that needed to be dealt with, and both people's schedules were full, it was super common to say "well, let's just grab a quick lunch." I had many many many working lunches with the director (male), associate director (male), and other department heads (50/50 male & female). Dinners were less common, but not exactly rare, and I had lots of dinners with the (male) printing rep we worked with for a lot of our publications, because I would often be on press from the afternoon until late at night, so we would grab dinner between print runs. It wasn't exactly a "condition of my job" in the way you make it sound — I could have refused to eat lunch or dinner with any male colleague or vendor without being fired. But why would I?   It was practical and efficient and useful, and it would just never occur to me that there was anything "inappropriate" about having a working lunch or dinner with a colleague. The idea that it would be OK for me to discuss a project over lunch with Marta, but not Frank, just seems bizarre to me. We were professionals, doing our jobs, not cruising bars looking for a hook up.

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57 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

The problem is that being seen one on one in a restaurant can have the same effect.  If Mike Pence was out alone with a woman at a restaurant, how long would it be before tabloids started making Monica Lewinsky type references?

 

ETA: clearly I am old because obviously that sort of thing would start criss crossing the internet way before it hit a tabloid paper lol

I was there in my native country when it happened and even I know most of the liaison was at the Oval office, not in a public restaurant.

In the case of the VP, he will not be willing to meet one on one with the Queen of England and have a meal with he with no aide or spouses present ? He will not eat a meal with Angela Markel or Teresa May ? Ok they are foreign leaders.  What about Betsy De Voss ? Elaine Chao ? Ivanka ?  He will not eat a meal as a working lunch one on one with them in the White House cafeteria because they are women in full view of everyone ? It is appalling and I cannot imagine a scenario where he will refuse that.  This type of marriage being paraded as a "christian marriage" appalls me as a christian and a married woman. 

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6 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

 I worked in a corporate job for years where it was extremely common to have a "working lunch" with colleagues of either gender. People were super busy, most of the executive staff traveled extensively and had lots of meetings both within and outside of the institute, and if something came up on a project that needed to be dealt with, and both people's schedules were full, it was super common to say "well, let's just grab a quick lunch." I had many many many working lunches with the director (male), associate director (male), and other department heads (50/50 male & female). Dinners were less common, but not exactly rare, and I had lots of dinners with the (male) printing rep we worked with for a lot of our publications, because I would often be on press from the afternoon until late at night, so we would grab dinner between print runs. It wasn't exactly a "condition of my job" in the way you make it sound — I could have refused to eat lunch or dinner with any male colleague or vendor without being fired. But why would I?   It was practical and efficient and useful, and it would just never occur to me that there was anything "inappropriate" about having a working lunch or dinner with a colleague. The idea that it would be OK for me to discuss a project over lunch with Marta, but not Frank, just seems bizarre to me. We were professionals, doing our jobs, not cruising bars looking for a hook up.

Marta or Frank.....just no.  But that is me, that is my husband.  We don’t live that way.  A lot of people don’t.  It is ok for the people who do and probably most of what you are describing doesn’t cause an issue.

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4 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

I was there in my native country when it happened and even I know most of the liaison was at the Oval office, not in a public restaurant.

In the case of the VP, he will not be willing to meet one on one with the Queen of England and have a meal with he with no aide or spouses present ? He will not eat a meal with Angela Markel or Teresa May ? Ok they are foreign leaders.  What about Betsy De Voss ? Elaine Chao ? Ivanka ?  He will not eat a meal as a working lunch one on one with them in the White House cafeteria because they are women in full view of everyone ? It is appalling and I cannot imagine a scenario where he will refuse that.  This type of marriage being paraded as a "christian marriage" appalls me as a christian and a married woman. 

Why would he need a private meal or meeting with any of them?  I don’t think politics requires one on one. 

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24 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

 I worked in a corporate job for years where it was extremely common to have a "working lunch" with colleagues of either gender. People were super busy, most of the executive staff traveled extensively and had lots of meetings both within and outside of the institute, and if something came up on a project that needed to be dealt with, and both people's schedules were full, it was super common to say "well, let's just grab a quick lunch." I had many many many working lunches with the director (male), associate director (male), and other department heads (50/50 male & female). Dinners were less common, but not exactly rare, and I had lots of dinners with the (male) printing rep we worked with for a lot of our publications, because I would often be on press from the afternoon until late at night, so we would grab dinner between print runs. It wasn't exactly a "condition of my job" in the way you make it sound — I could have refused to eat lunch or dinner with any male colleague or vendor without being fired. But why would I?   It was practical and efficient and useful, and it would just never occur to me that there was anything "inappropriate" about having a working lunch or dinner with a colleague. The idea that it would be OK for me to discuss a project over lunch with Marta, but not Frank, just seems bizarre to me. We were professionals, doing our jobs, not cruising bars looking for a hook up.

I don't think there's anything wrong with whatever someone prefers. I personally would not want to be in a job where I was required to have dinner alone with my boss of any gender as a condition of advancement or even a condition of having a good working relationship. I wouldn't want it to be that way with Marta or Frank. Maybe I'm just used to an officer/enlisted divide, where it would be extremely inappropriate for a superior to go to a one on one dinner with a subordinate. But to be honest, if Mike Pence (used because of an earlier example) somehow made it necessary for any of his employees in government to have dinner with him one on one in order to be in his good graces, I would find that extremely unprofessional. I personally am not talking about going to get a pizza with a co-worker, although I personallywould probably not do that with any one specific person repeatedly just so no one got any ideas. I thought people were talking about bosses and employees and how it was unfair for the boss not to dine alone with his women employees.

And to be honest, if I'm going to go to the trouble of going out for a nice meal with any one person, I'd rather it be someone I want to be one on one with, which has never been my boss. Maybe y'all had more fun bosses than I did.

And also maybe my opinions in this are colored by the fact that most of the time in my various workplaces, if you thought two co-workers were being a little too chummy and spending a lot of time on work lunches together, you were probably right.

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9 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

I was there in my native country when it happened and even I know most of the liaison was at the Oval office, not in a public restaurant.

In the case of the VP, he will not be willing to meet one on one with the Queen of England and have a meal with he with no aide or spouses present ? He will not eat a meal with Angela Markel or Teresa May ? Ok they are foreign leaders.  What about Betsy De Voss ? Elaine Chao ? Ivanka ?  He will not eat a meal as a working lunch one on one with them in the White House cafeteria because they are women in full view of everyone ? It is appalling and I cannot imagine a scenario where he will refuse that.  This type of marriage being paraded as a "christian marriage" appalls me as a christian and a married woman. 

It was not a single incident but rather a series of them.  It was over the course of 18ish months or so.  Generally speaking, I would term that an affair.  

So, my reference is not to specifically "the liaison" but the over all affair.  Do you really believe that if Mike Pence were to be seen in a restaurant with a woman, especially one who might be working for him, alone, without his wife, that there would not be a whole host of people speculating and then of course smearing her name (or his, or his wife's?)  People in the US just love a good love triangle candle, regardless of whether or not it's actually true.   And I don't know about the Queen of England....particularly given the amount of protection she has.....is she ever actually alone with anyone not her own family?  But....Ivanka?  I completely believe that if Ivanka Trump and Mike Pence were seen together, without their spouses or other staff members, alone together in a restaurant....rumors would immediately begin to fly.  

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1 hour ago, EmseB said:

 

I pulled your quote out here to answer more easily. 

But as a woman, I would not want dining alone with my boss, especially someone with some kind of position of power, to be a condition of my job. I can't figure out why a woman (or anyone) would want to be in that position, to be honest, where they would *have to have* dinner alone with a person who can make or break their career or future in the company, to be means or a condition of advancement. That sounds like horrible corporate culture.

I did not bring up dining alone with the boss at all. I said deals are made in restaurants and on golf courses - you have to be able to speak with co-workers and potential clients in a variety of settings. It's obviously a huge negative if women don't have the opportunity to do this. And sure, sometimes it's lunch or gold with the boss. I don't have a problem with that myself. 

You say right or wrong like oh well, it doesn't matter if it's wrong, we still have to do it. But I don't think that's a good way to approach it. We have to go along to get along?

No, you read that completely wrong. I said business is done over meals and golf, right or wrong. I did not say 'right or wrong' about eating or golfing with someone of the opposite gender, because I don't think it's wrong. 

16 minutes ago, EmseB said:

 <snip>I thought people were talking about bosses and employees and how it was unfair for the boss not to dine alone with his women employees.

And to be honest, if I'm going to go to the trouble of going out for a nice meal with any one person, I'd rather it be someone I want to be one on one with, which has never been my boss. Maybe y'all had more fun bosses than I did.

And also maybe my opinions in this are colored by the fact that most of the time in my various workplaces, if you thought two co-workers were being a little too chummy and spending a lot of time on work lunches together, you were probably right.

It's unfair for the boss to not dine alone with his female employees if he dines alone with his male employees. It's unfair for the boss to not take female employees golfing if he takes male employees. Consistency. Fairness.  

When you go out for a nice meal with a boss, co-worker, or client, it's not about 'having a nice meal.' It's work, not free time that you could otherwise spend with someone else. You're working. Hopefully with good food, but working. 

11 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Do you really believe that if Mike Pence were to be seen in a restaurant with a woman, especially one who might be working for him, alone, without his wife, that there would not be a whole host of people speculating and then of course smearing her name (or his, or his wife's?)   

Well, now, sure, after he's repeatedly stated that he wouldn't do so. But do whole hosts of people routinely speculate about a man and a woman eating together, to the extent of 'of course' smearing their names? Not in my world. I'm pretty boggled by the idea that two co-workers having lunch together, or someone having lunch with a potential client, causes that much drama and excitement in some places. 

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To go back to my engineering examples, I often had fieldwork that took me and an engineer or two (almost always men because 90% of the engineers were men) out all day.  We had to eat lunch.  It would have been stupid to go to a restaurant and sit at different tables.  We sat at the same table, ate lunch, talked over the morning fieldwork and our plans for the afternoon with maybe a little bit of personal talk about our families and funny stories about our pets.  We weren't playing footsie under the table and holding hands.    At another job, in marketing, I often went to visit potential clients with my boss.  Sometimes we met clients for lunch.  Sometimes the schedule meant that we met a client in the morning and then stopped for lunch on our way back to the office.  Again, nothing intimate about it.  We would discuss the meeting we had had, or the next meeting we were going to  have and how we were going to meet marketing deadlines.  Not exactly sexy talk.  If anyone saw me eating lunch with these men I would not be embarrassed or feel the need to explain myself.  If they thought anything untoward I would tell them to get their mind out of the gutter.  It's just food.  At a table.  In public. 

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25 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

To go back to my engineering examples, I often had fieldwork that took me and an engineer or two (almost always men because 90% of the engineers were men) out all day.  We had to eat lunch.  It would have been stupid to go to a restaurant and sit at different tables.  We sat at the same table, ate lunch, talked over the morning fieldwork and our plans for the afternoon with maybe a little bit of personal talk about our families and funny stories about our pets.  We weren't playing footsie under the table and holding hands.    At another job, in marketing, I often went to visit potential clients with my boss.  Sometimes we met clients for lunch.  Sometimes the schedule meant that we met a client in the morning and then stopped for lunch on our way back to the office.  Again, nothing intimate about it.  We would discuss the meeting we had had, or the next meeting we were going to  have and how we were going to meet marketing deadlines.  Not exactly sexy talk.  If anyone saw me eating lunch with these men I would not be embarrassed or feel the need to explain myself.  If they thought anything untoward I would tell them to get their mind out of the gutter.  It's just food.  At a table.  In public. 

Great examples. 

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When I worked FT, if I had a 1-1 meeting with a man, it was either with my boss, colleagues from other organizations who wanted wanted free or cheap advice, a donor or me treating an intern or something to lunch.  Sometimes donors do get inappropriate with younger female fundraisers.  I was like 24-32 when I worked in that space and it came up occasionally. If I had any  concerns about the donor, I would include someone else in the meeting or hold it in a very public location.  

The last times I was in a male-female 1-1 meeting:

A board member wanted to brief me about a sensitive PR issue one of my clients was facing.  We met for coffee.  

One of my clients is an older man.  He likes to buy me lunch about 1x a year.  Given that it's the only time I see the whites of his eyes and vice versa, I just chalk it up to keeping connected with a client so they don't hire someone else.  He's definitely not a creep, I would drop him like a hot potato if he were.  His only real sin is that he doesn't understand that faxing is a dead technology.  He will call and ask for my fax number and I'm like "I don't even have a regular phone line." 😛

I have a couple of non-profit colleagues who are male that I catch up with every 2 or so year.  

Right before I left a not-so-great workplace back in 2011, my intern had applied for and been rejected for a regular permanent job at the same organization.  I took him to lunch right afterwards and told him that while I knew he would have been great at the job, and had really earned the shot that unfortunately, I had been in the minority on the hiring committee.  I wanted him to know that I liked his work and that I thought he had a brighter future away from the organization than in it.  I didn't tell him I was planning to blow the Popsicle stand but I assured him he'd have a good reference in me and I made sure he had my personal contact email "just in case when you need a reference, I've moved on".  That's the sort of lunch that can really only be done 1-1 and I'm glad to live in a time where we could just be 2 people having lunch and not having it be some suspect or immoral thing to do.  

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Oh, I have a mentor who retired from what I do.  He's amazingly knowledgeable and he's a little bored. If I have a question that is just wacky or a new client where there's a huge mess to unjumble, I know I can always count on him.  Sometimes we just talk on the phone, other times we meet in person at a local bookstore with a cafe.  I have a lot of experience and I am good at what I do.  But it pays to talk to someone with 45 years of experience.  He's saved my clients (who are all non-profits) time and money and often if I email or call he will suggest a meeting.  I think he likes spending time with me. Not because I am female, but because we have a good rapport and we speak the same professional language and we go back to when I hired him to do what I do now for an organization I was working for like 15 years ago.  He's sent me work.  He's saved my bacon when I thought I had made an unfixable mistake.  We chat about our families (he's married with adult kids and grand kids) and then talk shop for a bit.  I know it's valuable to me and I assume he also gets something out of it.  We swap client horror stories.  He won't let me pay him for his advice but I won't let him pay for his soup and salad and tea when we meet.  If someone sees us and thinks anything abhorrent is going on, that's their problem, not mine.  

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1 hour ago, katilac said:

I pulled your quote out here to answer more easily. 

But as a woman, I would not want dining alone with my boss, especially someone with some kind of position of power, to be a condition of my job. I can't figure out why a woman (or anyone) would want to be in that position, to be honest, where they would *have to have* dinner alone with a person who can make or break their career or future in the company, to be means or a condition of advancement. That sounds like horrible corporate culture.

I did not bring up dining alone with the boss at all. I said deals are made in restaurants and on golf courses - you have to be able to speak with co-workers and potential clients in a variety of settings. It's obviously a huge negative if women don't have the opportunity to do this. And sure, sometimes it's lunch or gold with the boss. I don't have a problem with that myself. 

You say right or wrong like oh well, it doesn't matter if it's wrong, we still have to do it. But I don't think that's a good way to approach it. We have to go along to get along?

No, you read that completely wrong. I said business is done over meals and golf, right or wrong. I did not say 'right or wrong' about eating or golfing with someone of the opposite gender, because I don't think it's wrong. 

It's unfair for the boss to not dine alone with his female employees if he dines alone with his male employees. It's unfair for the boss to not take female employees golfing if he takes male employees. Consistency. Fairness.  

When you go out for a nice meal with a boss, co-worker, or client, it's not about 'having a nice meal.' It's work, not free time that you could otherwise spend with someone else. You're working. Hopefully with good food, but working. 

Well, now, sure, after he's repeatedly stated that he wouldn't do so. But do whole hosts of people routinely speculate about a man and a woman eating together, to the extent of 'of course' smearing their names? Not in my world. I'm pretty boggled by the idea that two co-workers having lunch together, or someone having lunch with a potential client, causes that much drama and excitement in some places. 

As I said, if people have different preferences or want to conduct business differently, that's fine with me. You don't have to convince me. I have a different view and got out of the rat race entirely, partly because of all this. It isn't my speed to be trying to wine and dine and make deals over cocktails or on the golf course. My point was that I *don't* want to be working over a nice meal. I just want to have a nice meal. To each their own. I personally don't find all of that all that great, but I get how some people can thrive on it.

And you are really blessed if your workplace does not have a lot of shenanigans and drama...seriously, that is great because a lot of places do. Workplace interludes aren’t that rare, IME.  A relative of mine got promoted into her boss's position because her married boss was doing stuff with a married employee and they were posting evidence on Tumblr! Said evidence involved inappropriate use of workplace facilities and resources. And this is like a c-level executive in a well established job, not some young single person. And it was common for stuff like that to happen across the industry. He was really, really lucky she did not sue him for sexual harassment and agreed it was all consensual because the power imbalance was huge. And they were simply going together to the conference room to have facility meetings or to talk about logistics for an upcoming conference. Wouldn't it be so beyond the pale to suggest two professionals couldn't be alone behind closed doors with each other? That they could end up costing the company six figures in searching for a new CEO and covering themselves legally?

And that does not touch all the young and single people with married people in the military and the issues that stuff caused. A spurned spouse that knows her cheating husband can get in legal trouble for cheating? Oh man, ish got crazy.

Like I said, I'm glad I'm out of all that but if you don't have drama I can see how it's all a non issue. And if you are a low drama person like myself you often wonder how grown people could act the way they do. But often times people make personal boundaries based on experience like, not some pharisaical sense of trying to remain pure.

And while I was typing this, I see that no one works where there are inappropriate office romances except me.  😂

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3 minutes ago, EmseB said:

 

And while I was typing this, I see that no one works where there are inappropriate office romances except me.  😂

That they are there doesn't mean I am going to be party to them.  

I am happy, happy, happy to be self employed but once upon a time, I was not and worked for a non-profit where the director and the director's significant other, who was active in the organization, would argue in graphic detail about their personal affair.  At one point, I had the most unfortunate seating arrangement that I shared an office with this director and another director.  So they would be fighting in my office.  Most of the people who worked there were like 22 so they didn't know what to do.  Me and the other managers who were late 20s and into our 40s would walk right up to them and tell them to knock it off.  I made it clear to the board and the director that this had to stop.   Then when the organization moved offices I convinced the director that the very smallest private office was the best and should be just for the executive director so that no one would have to share an office with this person again. 

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12 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

That they are there doesn't mean I am going to be party to them.  

 

Exactly.  I wasn't naive.  I knew that there were office affairs and office romances.  But it's not like it was a nonstop orgy.  Lots of people are there to do their job and then go home to their spouse and family with their paycheck.  People who are open to affairs get a reputation for that.  People who aren't, get a reputation for not being into that.  Both my husband and I have had reputations for being there to do a good job for our respective companies and it showed in promotions etc.  And it showed in people wanting to consult with us about job related stuff because that too was/is part of our job.  Both my husband and I have had reputations for being there to answer questions about God for those who have wanted to discuss that - but not on company time.  We don't steal time from the company to talk about our beliefs and we don't corner people or pressure them.  But I had more than one person show up just at quitting time wanting to ask me a question or two and I know from what my husband shares with me, that he's had the same.  But I've never felt like I had to don a chastity belt just to go to work.  Other than creeps, who aren't there to woo  you but will hit on anyone at any time, people respect who you are and your values and aren't there to try to seduce you.  (Unless you are one of the people with a reputation for  hookups in which case you have made it clear that you are open to that, you know?) 

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8 hours ago, EmseB said:

I don't think there's anything wrong with whatever someone prefers. I personally would not want to be in a job where I was required to have dinner alone with my boss of any gender as a condition of advancement or even a condition of having a good working relationship. I wouldn't want it to be that way with Marta or Frank. Maybe I'm just used to an officer/enlisted divide, where it would be extremely inappropriate for a superior to go to a one on one dinner with a subordinate. But to be honest, if Mike Pence (used because of an earlier example) somehow made it necessary for any of his employees in government to have dinner with him one on one in order to be in his good graces, I would find that extremely unprofessional. I personally am not talking about going to get a pizza with a co-worker, although I personallywould probably not do that with any one specific person repeatedly just so no one got any ideas. I thought people were talking about bosses and employees and how it was unfair for the boss not to dine alone with his women employees.

And to be honest, if I'm going to go to the trouble of going out for a nice meal with any one person, I'd rather it be someone I want to be one on one with, which has never been my boss. Maybe y'all had more fun bosses than I did.

And also maybe my opinions in this are colored by the fact that most of the time in my various workplaces, if you thought two co-workers were being a little too chummy and spending a lot of time on work lunches together, you were probably right.

Maybe the bold is why I never think these things are issues with dh. His boss from 13 years ago spends Thanksgiving with us often. We think the world of him and at this point he’s basically family. When we travel back to CA, we meet up for a meal with dh’s old First Sergeant from the Marines. We’ve often become really good friends with who he works for and with, so working lunches don’t phase us. 

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I don’t think @Jean in Newcastle Or @LucyStoner are doing anything wrong.  I also completely agree that we, any of us, can put off a no nonsense vibe and keep things professional all of the time.  So no I am not judging any of you who do things differently than I do them. However that is part of my point.  Not everyone wants to live their life like that.  Dh rarely even goes to lunch with his co workers (currently never because of Covid).  He eats at his desk so he can get home earlier.  Highly doubtful this is going to affect his employment in this stage of his life, but if it does it does. 
 

Also, so many of the things you all are mentioning are not a daily occurrence or a constant occurrence with the same person all of the time.  My Dh has to go to job sites sometimes too.  He works with almost all men, but if  he were sent with a woman I would not faint or clutch my pearls.   

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10 hours ago, Dreamergal said:

So the way I understand, @Bold is a predator and the only thing stopping this person from not turning into Harvey Weinstein was he was never any alone with a woman other than his wife because he was so weak he would be tempted by any woman and even as a grown man had to be chaperoned at all times. Why is this a man of God ? Isn't this person someone who deserved to be brought down ? Who should not be in ministry ? It makes me wonder how safe are his grown daughters with him ? It takes me to all sorts of vile places. 

@Red if someone wants to ruin the reputation of a minister because of compromising appearing photographs, context matters. Naked in a bed, affair. Standing next to a woman, no. Shaking hands no. Praying no. Eating at a restaurant, no. Why do we jump to conclusions about a man who we say has the anointing of God eating at a restaurant or shaking hands with a woman not his wife. Why are we judging him with intent of sinning ? Isn't that slander even in a secular world ? What happened to innocent until proven guilty ?  I can't believe American Evangelism had something like this. It's appalling to me that what is being held up as a bastion of Christianity had attitudes like this to "protect themselves". Where is the Lord in all this ? 

Just to be clear, I am not talking about protecting children from abuse with the two person protection, that is needed and very important. I am talking about "protecting" a grown man from committing infidelity or the appearance of it. What is this culture ? Anything Christian or God honoring about it ? I just can't wrap my head around it. 

Uh, wow. Very much a misunderstanding of what I was trying to express. As to the bold, I was not in any way excusing the true infidelities of evangelists or blaming them solely on the women. I was just stating that those infidelities happened. Which meant that people, like Graham,  who were trying to uphold their reputations were extra-cautious to not give anyone cause to suspect them of it by making sure there were always others around and they would be considered above reproach. Nothing like what you are assuming from this.

As to your response to the red, consider how the media on both sides twists things all the time to say what they want to say, with text, photos, videos, etc. It is easy to be ruined these days by people who would want to pull you down whether you have done anything wrong or not. 

I'm heading to work and don't have time right now to answer more thoroughly, but I don't understand the outrage and feelings being so strong that he did wrong in this.

ETA: Context matters as to the true situation. But again, people who want to think the worst can twist things however they want. And others are often all too happy to believe them. If Graham had been maligned like that, there would have been many who would have said, "See there? All Christians are alike, just hypocrites, and what they preach doesn't mean a thing." And that would have, in Graham's thinking (if I understand correctly), maligned the Gospel, which he loved and gave his life to.

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16 minutes ago, Jaybee said:

Uh, wow. Very much a misunderstanding of what I was trying to express. As to the bold, I was not in any way excusing the true infidelities of evangelists or blaming them solely on the women. I was just stating that those infidelities happened. Which meant that people, like Graham,  who were trying to uphold their reputations were extra-cautious to not give anyone cause to suspect them of it by making sure there were always others around and they would be considered above reproach. Nothing like what you are assuming from this.

As to your response to the red, consider how the media on both sides twists things all the time to say what they want to say, with text, photos, videos, etc. It is easy to be ruined these days by people who would want to pull you down whether you have done anything wrong or not. 

I'm heading to work and don't have time right now to answer more thoroughly, but I don't understand the outrage and feelings being so strong that he did wrong in this.

I am not sure what @Dreamergal is saying here.  I agree she diid not understand you at all.  Just because any man or woman chooses to be cautious about their time with the opposite sex, it does not mean they think they or anyone else is an irresistible evil person.  It means they have set up personal boundaries for themselves.  It seems like there is a lot of judgment against this way of thinking.  It seems to upset people far more than the other way around.  

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9 hours ago, Scarlett said:

Why would he need a private meal or meeting with any of them?  I don’t think politics requires one on one. 

Because high level politicians don’t keep bankers hours. Their schedule is brutal, and since they HAVE to eat, meals are often a continuation of a meeting. Important things are determined during  these meetings. I think it’s gross that a narrow minded man would protect his image from other narrow minded people at the expense of a female co-worker’s career. THAT is misogyny. THAT is patriarchy keeping the best seats for men and literally excluding women from the table. I don’t know why just being the man who can control himself while eating a sandwich isn’t the obvious answer. Women “tricking” men into taking compromising photos isn’t the real problem. 

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3 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I am not sure what @Dreamergal is saying here.  I agree she diid not understand you at all.  Just because any man or woman chooses to be cautious about their time with the opposite sex, it does not mean they think they or anyone else is an irresistible evil person.  It means they have set up personal boundaries for themselves.  It seems like there is a lot of judgment against this way of thinking.  It seems to upset people far more than the other way around.  

Exactly. I added an edit to my post as well. And the bolded--It doesn't mean that they think they would throw themselves on the bed with a person of the opposite sex just because they were there. "Avoiding the appearance of evil" is biblical. It can just as easily be seen as a way to respect your spouse and protect the honor of your marriage, but it seems that rather than honorable, in this thread, it is seen as weak and repulsive, attributing mal-intent to something that is not.

My dh and I are similar to yours in how we handle this, I believe. Though honestly, neither of us is in a position with our work to have to make decisions that would affect our work--it would be more thought weird in our circumstances if we felt we had to have a lunch or dinner with only one person over work. Group lunches are not weird, because we work more in groups. So I guess it has never come up. We did have a couple of situations when we were living overseas and had young women working with us that were under dh's supervision, where he made sure there was nothing that could be considered questionable. But that was as much to protect the young women's reputations as anything, because he knew how it could be viewed by others in those cultures.

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32 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

Because high level politicians don’t keep bankers hours. Their schedule is brutal, and since they HAVE to eat, meals are often a continuation of a meeting. Important things are determined during  these meetings. I think it’s gross that a narrow minded man would protect his image from other narrow minded people at the expense of a female co-worker’s career. THAT is misogyny. THAT is patriarchy keeping the best seats for men and literally excluding women from the table. I don’t know why just being the man who can control himself while eating a sandwich isn’t the obvious answer. Women “tricking” men into taking compromising photos isn’t the real problem. 

Well, honestly I don’t know why a man who has certain personal boundaries would go into work  where those boundaries would, could or possibly be viewed as limiting women.  However, just because some fields of work ARE set up with brutal hours  doesn’t make it necessary.  I think a man who had such boundaries would set his business up so that men and women had the same opportunities.  If it is done otherwise, then maybe it is intentional to limit women. I don’t know.  The world is complicated but I just worry about my own self, so to speak.  
 

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I'm not sure comparing the career rules of a pastor who primarily worked in an era when few women did after having children compares at all to people today, whether they're in careers that demand long hours and socializing, or short projects with a handful of people with minimal interaction.  Are the rules of many pastors sexist?  Yes.  Does it not apply in cases where the pastor is less straight than he pretends to be?  Yes.  Are there still likely to be different rules for pastors than for typical people even today?  Yes.  I've worked for a couple different ministries.  Mega church pastors have different types of issues with women throwing themselves at them than almost any other profession. Certainly in the professions where it's more prevalent those people are likely to have security guards.

Professional standards for what constitutes harassment and whether you'll lose your job for that are just different now than it was even when I was young. 

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2 hours ago, Jaybee said:

 Avoiding the appearance of evil" is biblical.  

Some of us are saying that a working lunch in a public restaurant shouldn't have "the appearance of evil." 

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9 hours ago, EmseB said:

As I said, if people have different preferences or want to conduct business differently, that's fine with me. You don't have to convince me. I have a different view and got out of the rat race entirely, partly because of all this. It isn't my speed to be trying to wine and dine and make deals over cocktails or on the golf course. My point was that I *don't* want to be working over a nice meal. I just want to have a nice meal. To each their own. I personally don't find all of that all that great, but I get how some people can thrive on it.

And you are really blessed if your workplace does not have a lot of shenanigans and drama...seriously, that is great because a lot of places do. Workplace interludes aren’t that rare, IME.  A relative of mine got promoted into her boss's position because her married boss was doing stuff with a married employee and they were posting evidence on Tumblr! Said evidence involved inappropriate use of workplace facilities and resources. And this is like a c-level executive in a well established job, not some young single person. And it was common for stuff like that to happen across the industry. He was really, really lucky she did not sue him for sexual harassment and agreed it was all consensual because the power imbalance was huge. And they were simply going together to the conference room to have facility meetings or to talk about logistics for an upcoming conference. Wouldn't it be so beyond the pale to suggest two professionals couldn't be alone behind closed doors with each other? That they could end up costing the company six figures in searching for a new CEO and covering themselves legally?

And that does not touch all the young and single people with married people in the military and the issues that stuff caused. A spurned spouse that knows her cheating husband can get in legal trouble for cheating? Oh man, ish got crazy.

Like I said, I'm glad I'm out of all that but if you don't have drama I can see how it's all a non issue. And if you are a low drama person like myself you often wonder how grown people could act the way they do. But often times people make personal boundaries based on experience like, not some pharisaical sense of trying to remain pure.

And while I was typing this, I see that no one works where there are inappropriate office romances except me.  😂

Sorry for the tone which may come across as harsh, I do not know how to ask otherwise.

 How do you pay for that "nice" meal you want to have ?

I came into this country to study, my parents though middle class in India could barely send me money because at that time $1 was 40 times my currency I think. I had to work to take care of my bills and study. When I graduated I had to find a job or lose my visa and leave. This was in the era before #Metoo. I did not have the luxury of looking at if my boss was a potential cheat. I went to sexual harassment classes the company mandated and I learned how to keep myself safe. The same way I tried to keep myself safe in my native country where any woman young or old is most likely to be groped in a given day. I could not avoid the public bus, so I saw to it I took the only "ladies special" bus or if I could not, carry a huge empty file in front of me to protect me when I was wearing clothes that covered me from neck to feet and with a scarf pinned in front of me. I had no choice and I learned to protect myself. I did not have the luxury of a car in my native country or even my own two wheeler like it is common for women now. Likewise, I did not have the luxury of not working if I wanted to stay in the country and had to choose the first well paying job I got based on the company reputation. 

I did get out of all that, but still work PT. I assume like me you don't have huge piles of money sitting somewhere. I don't know if you work FT or PT, or like mine DH is the only earning member of the family. I work PT now because I want to have some savings and not put the entire burden of running the household on DH. I do not want my children to have to face student loans the way DH and I did. While looking for my job it may mean I have to go and have a meal with a recruiting manager while DH works from home that afternoon to take care of DD4. No one is buying me a fancy meal on a corporate account and trying to woo me in Subway. We talk about what work it is, negotiate my hourly rate and I leave conscious of relieving DH because he is the one with the stable job. 

I cook very well, I don't want anyone to buy me a nice meal. Heck, I say without irony I can cook meals that can rival certain restaurants at times because I have invested my time to learn how to do that. But even to buy the ingredients, I need money and if I am not earning, I have to trust my DH who is earning even if he has to work with women or eat a meal as a "working lunch". It is not blind trust, I went to swim every morning pre-pandemic at 5:00 am and DH started the morning routine of the kids. DH assumes I go to the pool, I could very well cheat on him if I wanted to and cuckold him to use an old British word. A marriage is based on trust for me. I learned trust from my parents who despite always raising me sheltered chose to trust me to study thousands of miles away in America when my relatives discouraged them by slandering my character by the potential trouble I could get into. My father said "I trust your upbringing and I most of all I trust the Lord". With all I know of DH, I choose to trust him because of that to the point of choosing to work PT. Most of all, I trust the Lord before whom we both stood and took our vows to enable us to always be faithful to those. It may seem naive, but that is the way I live my life, I will not stunt DH or myself by putting artificial barriers to "protect" our marriage. If one of us cheats and our marriage implodes, I would rather it did than live a false life. 

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Even if we accept the premise (which I take no issue with) that some people need a master rule to rule them all around interacting with the opposite sex to avoid either temptation or public scandal...

that's still very different than saying that some women are too pretty for married men to start a business with. As is declining jobs with moderate to high levels of one-on-one interaction. I wouldn't do that either. 

As an aside, I am on the edge of my seat, abuzz with anticipation* for some lesbians to start saying their wives shouldn't work closely with beautiful women, and gay men to say they are uncomfortable with their husbands working with especially appealing men 🤣. Of course that happens within relationships at home in private moments, no doubt, but imagine them making it their stated public policy! hahaha "You never know! So only uggos need apply!"😂 People would lose it. 

 

*this is a joke

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Re: Billy Graham

@Scarlett and @Jaybee I have to combine your posts and give a generic reply.

The only American Evangelist I grew up knowing was Billy Graham. He was revered. This is an excerpt from his autobiography. Even now, there are old people who remember singing in the choir as part of his Evangelical meetings. 

https://billygraham.org/story/billy-grahams-memories-of-india/

He is a man who counseled presidents. To me, he is a man who had a powerful anointing of God. It grieves me that such a man of God had to prove to others that he was faithful to his wife by putting barriers around his marriage.  Why couldn't people trust that such a man of God would be faithful to his vows without these artificial barriers ? It would have never entered my mind to think that of Billy Graham or anybody for that matter. 

@Jaybee said preventing "appearance of evil". But isn't this like the story of the Pharisee and the publican where outward appearance mattered more while the more genuine one did not have that.

What about what is said in the bible about bearing false witness ? What is written in proverbs ? What about the verses about the tongue ? Aren't they supposed to be talking about how we speak.

The way I understand the Billy Graham rule it was to protect him from slander so his ministry could not be brought down. It absolutely grieves me that such a great warrior of God had to take steps like that. I come from a country where my church pastor prayed for me all the time. He would take me aside to do so and thought nothing of it. When I almost walked away from Christianity because of hurts,  doubts and not fitting in the American church, it was this pastor I turned to because of the trust factor other than my parents. If he had refused to be alone with me because I was a woman to pray for me, I would have not had that trust. 

Billy Graham was one of the greatest men of God to walk this earth. Why did he have to prove to Americans that his marriage was faithful by artificial means. ? Why wasn't what was known of his character enough ? Why couldn't people trust such a man to be faithful to his wedding vows ? It speaks to a toxic christian culture to me where people slander good men and they need to erect false barriers to prove how good they are or false prophets who manipulate people. It explains so much about American christianity to me that has always been baffling to me.

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@Dreamergal, I don't think it applies to American Christianity alone, but to American culture in general (and I have lived in other cultures where it was common to always think the worst), that people like to tear down others. Rumors and gossip are common all over the world. In one country where we lived, I was shocked to learn that because an elderly man ate lunch sometimes at his nephew's and niece's (niece by marriage), and sometimes the nephew wasn't there, gossip was that he bought them a new oven because he was having an affair with the woman. I read it as he wanted to help them out because they watched out for him and cared for him. Perhaps it is experiences like that that cause me to be more cautious. Like I said, I've never been in a situation where I had to worry about it myself. 

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1 minute ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

I guess that I don't understand how being told that meeting with me is unbiblical because it has the "appearance of evil" isn't supposed to be offensive.  I think that I'd find it hard to imagine that someone could think that being in a room with me has the appearance of evil, and that I am behaving unbiblically if I suggest it, and also be sure that there wasn't some kind of unconscious bias going on.  

I will also say that this varies from profession to profession.  As a special ed teacher, I have 1:1 interactions with people all the time.  I meet with parents.  I meet with paras. I meet with the gen ed teachers with whom I co-teach.  I meet with my principal.   I meet with the school counselors.  And almost all of those meetings have confidential elements that would prevent me from just asking someone else to join.  

 

 

I certainly don't mean it as offensive. But I have seen people turn situations that were totally innocent into something sordid and fodder for rumors and gossip, so I understand why any person, male or female, minister or not, who was concerned about that, would be cautious. I don't think there is anything wrong with the kinds of interactions you are talking about above. Sometimes the job requires it. But I can also understand why some would want to avoid the 1:1, and it doesn't always have to do with the possibility/potential of their own uncontrolled passions. I recognize that many don't see that and think it's some kind of old-fashioned misogynistic nonsense, but I think, especially in some kinds of occupations where an assumption (in error or not) can destroy people, ministries, careers, etc., some caution in these areas can be wisdom. 

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1 hour ago, katilac said:

Some of us are saying that a working lunch in a public restaurant shouldn't have "the appearance of evil." 

I think almost all of us would agree with you - however that doesn’t make it imprudent that Mike Pence, or heck, even my elected family member, would not do a lunch without a staffer along to add another set or eyes and ears to the interaction. I wish that wasn’t necessary cover to help give witness to any potential slander down the road but it kind of is.

I don’t think that has much to do with the partner example though 🙂 

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4 minutes ago, Jaybee said:

@Dreamergal, I don't think it applies to American Christianity alone, but to American culture in general (and I have lived in other cultures where it was common to always think the worst), that people like to tear down others. Rumors and gossip are common all over the world. In one country where we lived, I was shocked to learn that because an elderly man ate lunch sometimes at his nephew's and niece's (niece by marriage), and sometimes the nephew wasn't there, gossip was that he bought them a new oven because he was having an affair with the woman. I read it as he wanted to help them out because they watched out for him and cared for him. Perhaps it is experiences like that that cause me to be more cautious. Like I said, I've never been in a situation where I had to worry about it myself. 

Sin is everywhere.   While committing adultery is a sin, so is slandering people and thinking poorly of them for no reason (which I believe is the case in which innocent people are just trying to make a living in co-ed working conditions).  I live my life by 1 Peter 3:16  "Having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. "  It doesn't mean that I won't ever be falsely accused of something.  And it doesn't mean that I am going to strip clubs to meet and saying that I'm just "doing business".  But unless you want to go back to women only being in "women's work" and in segregated sections of society and the corresponding men in "men's work" and in segregated sections of society for them, then living in virtue with a good conscience seems to be the way to navigate a co-ed world. 

As others have pointed out, there are a lot of jobs that don't require one-on-one work with anyone.  And secular society has come up with ways to make work spaces more public and safer for all with windows etc.  But there are jobs - especially if a woman is in a traditionally men's arena like I was and if a man is in a traditionally woman's arena like my husband is, where men and women actually have to work with each other and sometimes (like when my husband has his performance review from his female boss) they are in one-on-one meetings. 

I am the director of a conservative Christian non-profit ministry which traditionally would have been led by men only.  (I'm not a pastor.)  The Chairman of the Board is a man.  Sometimes we need to talk one on one.  I am so glad that this conservative godly man has no problem meeting with me and that I am allowed to serve God in this way without bias.  It isn't always the case for a lot of women who are prevented from using their true gifts and leadership abilities.  I don't see anything in the Bible that prevents me from doing this sort of work or in doing secular work in a co-ed setting.  In my mind then, making rules about this is then adding to the Bible which is the very definition of legalism. 

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@Jean in Newcastle I’d only call it legalism if the individual was making it a rule for someone else. And I’d expect anyone whose conscience was burdened on this count to make sure their personal actions and conscience were not negatively impacting anyone else involved.  I think that’s the fair and loving way to handle it. In the case of the partner situation or a job like yours it may well be that the husband talks with the wife and they outline what they are personally comfortable with.  Communication goes a long way there, especially if it’s the nature of the partnership for work and isn’t avoidable.

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Some are speaking as though the Billy Graham rule were an equal opportunity thing: high-ranking women or high-ranking men can choose for themselves not to meet alone with people of the opposite sex. However, that's simply not an equal proposition: men are more likely to be in authority--Forbes says only 7.4% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, and that constitutes an all-time high! Women who cannot have meetings with them are at a company status and economic disadvantage. How can you move up to replace an executive who moves on if you were excluded from having individual conversations?

Women are only a quarter of the US Senate and less than that in the House. How can you get that person's endorsement when you're running for office later if he would never listen to your ideas without a chaperone present?

As with race, what looks like a gender-blind policy (The boss won't meet alone with someone of the opposite sex) will tend to have the effect of continuing bias against the people who have been disadvantaged all along.

If someone else had had to be present for my performance reviews (violating my privacy) because my boss was male and I'm not, I would have been extremely unhappy with that.

Edited by whitehawk
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You’re reading rule as an organization wide thing.  I’ve never in my life seen it as anything but a personal policy, except at our church where every single meeting is two deep for safety reasons, male or female.  And my husband does all his performance evals and such in a glass walled conference room, which is easy enough.

You could come up with any hypothetical problematic situation, but in real life this is kind of a non issue in every iteration I’ve seen.  Including politicians who refuse to meet alone with women, but really with ANYONE, without staffers present, or my husband who manages to work with a big team and a bunch of females who swear he is an awesome boss and have no idea he is very intentional about how and where he schedules things.  He is fair and cares about them and their careers, but also cares about his own reputation and my feelings, and these things can be balanced.  
 

And like I said, I think if it’s unavoidable that’s also a conversation an individual can have with their spouse.  Personal conduct rules and practice are a good thing for so many reasons, but imagining it to be inflexible, prejudiced, etc, doesn’t fit my experience of this.

I’m not interested in arguing some random hypothetical exception either, because I think those are situations where of course everyone involved can use their judgment.  If it doesn’t work it doesn’t work and you adjust where you can.

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4 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

I think that what would be reasonable would be if people made rules, made them the same for both sexes.  If the boss has a policy of holding all 1:1 meetings in the conference room with the glass wall, then that's fine.  If someone never does business related dining, that's fine.  But the rule needs to be the same.  

Makes perfect sense to me. In spite of what others may think of my comments above, I really am not in favor of the "good ol' boys" club system.

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5 hours ago, Scarlett said:

Just because any man or woman chooses to be cautious about their time with the opposite sex, it does not mean they think they or anyone else is an irresistible evil person.  It means they have set up personal boundaries for themselves. 

Why limit it to the opposite sex? Same sex relationships exist, and being married to a person of the opposite sex is not a magic charm against possible same sex attraction.

 

Edited by regentrude
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1 hour ago, Jaybee said:

@Dreamergal, I don't think it applies to American Christianity alone, but to American culture in general (and I have lived in other cultures where it was common to always think the worst), that people like to tear down others. Rumors and gossip are common all over the world. In one country where we lived, I was shocked to learn that because an elderly man ate lunch sometimes at his nephew's and niece's (niece by marriage), and sometimes the nephew wasn't there, gossip was that he bought them a new oven because he was having an affair with the woman. I read it as he wanted to help them out because they watched out for him and cared for him. Perhaps it is experiences like that that cause me to be more cautious. Like I said, I've never been in a situation where I had to worry about it myself. 

I come from a country where this is happening currently. 

https://cruxnow.com/church-in-asia/2020/03/court-orders-indian-bishop-accused-of-raping-nun-to-stand-trial/

The nun was slandered and people refused to believe her allegations. I know abuse happens and so called men of God perpetuate it. That sometimes the church itself hides abuse. With all that in mind however I say, we must still have a culture where we do not need artificial barriers to prove men of God are faithful in their marriages. I come from a country where rape is a huge problem, but I still trust that the men in my family are not like that and I would absolutely be crushed if society required that they need to prove they are not rapists by some artificial means. It is what we choose to believe the world is like, the burden of proof if you will.  Who we expect to shoulder the burden of proof ? If I think all men of God are abusers or cheat on their wives, I will not be a Christian and walk away because it is horrendous for me to even consider that. Instead I choose to believe in the good of people with full knowledge that abuse exists and to not deny it if someone says it exists. But prayerfully consider it and look at the "evidence". It means we do not jump into conclusions about a man having dinner alone with a woman not his wife. It means not believing in slander so easily that huge organizations are brought crashing down based on it. We can handle abuse and believe in the goodness of people, they are not incompatible to me.

My family's history in Christianity is filled with sorrow and abuse. I could have walked away. But I choose to stay because I believe in the goodness of an unseen God and the world he created despite the suffering I see. I believe my Heavenly father loves me because my earthly father loves me so much, God's love is like my mother's love to me who constantly prays for me, my husband's love and trust and care for me when we barely knew each other when we got married and all that we have gone together over the years both the good and bad to build a family and live a life together. If my world view was I had to prove to everyone my marriage was a good one because I can never eat with another man or even be in a room with a closed door other than my husband , I would not even believe in God. It does not make sense to me to believe in an unseen God when I believe that God sees the heart though man may see something troubling if two people who are not married eat a meal together. 

Edited by Dreamergal
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43 minutes ago, regentrude said:

Why limit it to the opposite sex? Same sex relationships exist, and being married to a person of the opposite sex is not a magic charm against possible same sex attraction.

 

Very true. In countries where same sex relationships may mean death or not recognized this is a huge problem. Guess where gay porn is most consumed ? Just because a man is married does not mean anything. 

Edited by Dreamergal
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