Flirting in the office is usually just an innocent game that helps to pass the time and brightens up the day. It also acts as a wonderful distraction from the tedious tasks of daily employment. Sometimes, you don’t even need to be partiularly attracted to the person you are flirting with either. When you spend all of your working day confined in the same space, hour after hour, with the very same people, your tastes may change without you even being aware of it. You may find yourself flirting with someone that you wouldn’t even look twice at normally. The flirting process usually begins with short suggestive emails, casual innuendos and compliments before graduating to intense staring competitions that take place across the office. For some, it’s simply a game that makes the time go faster but for others it’s an the acknowledgement of an authentic attraction.

Men, in general, choose not to reveal too many details of their personal lives when they are at work. Women, on the other hand, are far more open about their marital status. Most men, in my experience, also want to appear sexually available even if they aren’t. I was surprised recently when I ran into a former work colleague that I used to flirt with outrageously. He told me that he had just become a father, which was quite strange considering that I never imagined him even having a regular partner.

If you want to know if a co-worker is single, a way to find out is to ask him how he spent his weekend. He’ll be vague about the details and try to fob you off with indeterminate terms like: “chilling” or “sport”. if you probe any deeper after this they become self-conscious, defensive and might resent being interrogated. Mere flirtatiousness, however, is innocent and marital status is irrelevant.

When someone at work has caught my eye, I begin to notice subtle, and not so subtle, changes in my behaviour. I take more care about my hair and makeup, what I’m wearing and, of course, the kind of perfume that I’m going to use. Going to work becomes more like going but with a little more discretion required. If I’m due to attend important meetings I make a point of wearing new clothes and booking hair appointments more often.

In the past, being at work with someone whom I fancied became something really exciting. I would do everything I possibly could to bump into my crush ‘accidently on purpose’ in the corridor, the elevator or in the cafeteria. Furthermore, at meetings I always tried to sit directly in front of, or beside, him. My nightmare came true whenever someone sat inbetween us. That circumstance prevented easy visual contact and any ‘non-deliberate’ physical interaction between us underneath the table. When the two of us were required to represent the company at a trade fair or to visit a client together, I regarded it as a paid vacation and not a business trip.There would be even more opportunities to flirt and the distinct possibility of something more besides.

Despite there being thousands of good reasons not to mix sex with work, the fact is, it’s sometimes impossible to resist. Nevertheless, there’s a good reason why some people say; ‘Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.’ But, there are some thrills that only an affair at work can provide.

I don’t know anyone who really believes that they could resist the opportunity of a worktime tryst if the opportunity presented itself. Making the most of lunchtime, or a coffee break, for a quickie is a real art. And it’s not just about exciting sex. The real strategy comes into play when you have to get back to your desk on time, with your makeup retouched so that no one notices anything amiss.

Maintaining strict discipline and practising discretion in front of co-workers is essential to avoid gossip. It can be a real turn on to keep your own counsel, especially after a night of passion. My favorite memory of sex with a co-worker was when I asked him not to acknowledge me in the office during working hours. When he arrived at work, he greeted everyone but ignored me. It didn’t really matter because he’d greeted me properly already-by going down on me before breakfast.

There are a great many couples who meet each other for the first time at work and end up marrying each other or living together. Seeing your partner at home and at work can be fun for a while. Eventually, the best course of action will be to get a job in another company. In your new workplace you can begin the whole process of flirting once again … just to make your day go a little bit faster, of course!

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Translation of ‘Si el coqueteo en la oficina va a más…’ published in El País.

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