Workplace situations we don’t talk about

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There are some things about work that are difficult for even me to write about. These are the issues that I have not quite worked out for myself. I wonder if I am normal in these areas? Maybe no one is talking about them, but they are thinking still. And if no one else is thinking about this stuff, why do I think about it?

One thing I've learned on this blog, though, is that most of my personal qualities that feel weird to me are actually pretty common traits among thinking people who desire self-knowledge. So to those people, I hope this blog gives you a sense of fitting in.

And, here are three workplace issues that I wonder if you think about as much as I do.

1. Having a huge crush on your boss.

Seriously, I have never worked for a guy for more than three months without developing a huge crush. This is, in part, because I have been fired so often that any guy I did not last three months with probably fired me and probably had no synergy with me.

But the bosses I did well with, I developed mad crushes on. All of them. Of course, I have worked always for good-looking men. (But, statistically, most of us have good-looking bosses.) I have always grown more attracted to my boss as we did better in the business. And I have noticed that it snowballs: The better we did together the more attracted I became, and the more attracted I was, the more tuned in I was to his thinking, and that made me better at work.

I have never slept with a boss. I like to think that I would have said no. (Though I'm not sure.) But I did find, through advice and personal experience, that women who work for men who are attracted to them have a little bit of power from that attraction. But the women lose that power if they give in and sleep with the guy. This seems right. (Hopefully you will all provide great case studies in the comments.)

2. Not knowing whether a meeting is a date.

Recently I met a guy for lunch. On the weekend. He is a big name. Big enough that developers have wet dreams about meeting him in person. Big enough that one of the first things he said to me when I met him was that I can't use his name in a blog post. So I'm not telling who he is, but it's just as well, because while his email was innocuous, the farmer happened to read it and said, “This guy wants to get in your pants.”

I pointed out to the farmer that the email could have been written exactly the same way if Mr. King-of-Developers had been sending it to a guy.

The farmer didn't care. Maybe the farmer is uppity because he also sent a sort-of innocuous email to me in order to get me to come to his farm, and, presumably, date him. So maybe he would know what that kind of email looks like.

I never know. One time I thought it was a date and the guy really just wanted to know what I was like in person. He genuinely had no romantic interest in me even though he took me to a restaurant that seemed to specialize in romantic dinners.

But it's nearly impossible to tell for sure. I am a single woman, and when I get an email from a single guy who just wants to get together and meet because we both know we are both interesting, well, who knows if it is a date or not? And really, it doesn't matter. I mean, we do the same thing at a business lunch and a date: figure out if we like talking enough to talk more.

So I just usually try to ignore that I never know if something is a date or not. But I have to say that the King of Developers was cute and fun and interesting and am I the only woman in the world who has this problem? No, right? But why aren't people talking about it more?

3. Figuring out what to wear to the office at 10pm.

Since I'm at a startup, and I also work odd hours, I find myself in the office at odd hours. For example, I often leave work in the afternoon to pick up my kids, so it seems reasonable that if people want to meet with me later, after the kids are in bed, I say yes.

But I go running at night. And one thing I know about myself is that if I don't put on running clothes before 9pm, I'll never actually go running. So what do I wear to a 10pm meeting? Running clothes, of course.

I run a lot late at night, and I usually run in very dumpy clothes. After all, the only people seeing me at that hour are potential rapists. (Note to women: You are more likely to get attacked while running if you wear a pony tail. So I never do.) But if I go to work first, I feel like I need to look good in the running clothes. So, I confess to wearing Lululemon brand pants because they make my butt look so good. Well, not just my butt, but every butt in New York City. And San Francisco, and Boulder, and everywhere else where women who have enough money to prop up their butt for on-lookers do so.

But I feel a bit guilty. Of course workout clothes are not appropriate for work. But it's 10pm. And the people at work at 10pm are often about to spend the night at the office and they'll smell bad the next morning. And that's not appropriate either, but just in a different way.

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    • Jim Taggart
      Jim Taggart says:

      Thanks for posting this. Though I’m a guy and have no expertise in sexual assault, I’m glad you indirectly noted this myth. With three adult daughters, two of whom who run, I encourage them to be vigilant.

    • Larry
      Larry says:

      Spreading misinformation about issues of safety is a new low for citing “research,” especially when the source is a republication of some email that gets passed around.

      Penelope, please stop overstating your case to make interesting and counter-intuitive claims. Statistics and research are often complicated and the conclusions that come out on the other end are quite often downright wrong.

      Unless there is broad consensus from the COMMUNITY of professionals in a field, it shouldn’t be represented as fact.

      You have an audience that trusts you, and your writing and rhetoric are good enough to push points there where there’s not much substance to support it.

      While confident statements make for more interesting writing, qualified statements make for more responsible use of your influence. You have a lot of people reading and willing to buy what you’re selling.

      You can do a better job of being responsible without getting boring.

      • Jacqui
        Jacqui says:

        Larry, you are taking yourself entirely too seriously. Lighten up already. You have a choice to read this or not. When you scold the blogger you sound like an ass.

      • MsSheila
        MsSheila says:

        Larry – I don’t think you sound like an ass, as Jacqui stated. I think the criticism of this post is justly deserved. I’m sure Penelope expects to get negative and positive feedback to her writing – including her opinions and what ‘facts’ she bases her conclusions on – and that she does understand the power and influence she has as a very popular writer and blogger. I hope she considers his points b/c it will make for better writing.

      • Larry
        Larry says:

        Jacqui, you have a choice to read the comments section or not. When you fail to distinguish between petty scolding and legitimate criticism relating to potentially dangerous misinformation about rape prevention, it makes you look illiterate.

    • Caitlin
      Caitlin says:

      I can’t open the link to find the original research but I suspect that it’s a distortion of statistics.

      Statistically most women probably wear their hair in a ponytail when running. That would mean most women attacked while running were probably wearing a ponytail. It does not mean wearing a ponytail makes you more likely to be attacked. It’s faulty logic to interpret the ponytail as the risk factor. What are we going to blame next – the running shoes?

      • Maus
        Maus says:

        C – You are probably right. It’s the “post hoc propter hoc” logical fallacy that convolutes correlation (1st I wore a pony tail, then I was raped = a true temporal, factual assertion), with causation (because I wore a pony tail, I was raped = false causation.)

    • Maus
      Maus says:

      I rather suspect that was what P intended a portion of her female reading audience to do. I wonder if she is receiving some type of financial benefit from what appears to be a purely gratutitous mention of specific clothing. Her point could certainly have been made by a generic reference to workout or gym clothes.

      • Caitlin
        Caitlin says:

        Yes, good point since Penelope has previously put us on notice that she doesn’t think she has an obligation to divulge when she writes about people who sponsor the blog. Although I am a fan of PT and the site, I do tend to think this is ethics of convenience.

  1. JR
    JR says:

    Nearly impossible to tell – are you kidding? If there’s a stated business agenda, it’s a meeting. Otherwise it’s a date, even if he doesn’t proposition you after dinner.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      JR, here is some news about business: It’s always easier to do business with someone you are friends with. There are varying degrees of friends. But the way to make friends who you can do business with is by getting together with people when you don’t need something from them. So, like any well-networked person, I spend some part of each of my day simply getting to know people who are smart, interesting, and appealing to do business with at some point in the future when it might work out. If you are really having fun in your job, it’s hard to tell if you are with someone becuase they are your friend and fun, or you’re with someone because you’re doing business with them.


      • darine
        darine says:

        “If you are really having fun in your job, it’s hard to tell if you are with someone becuase they are your friend and fun, or you’re with someone because you’re doing business with them. ”

        Amazingly, this is the same philosophy I find that works for me, and I try to have fun and make a personal connection with people all the time.

      • Deb
        Deb says:

        Same applies to job hunting. Easier networking with the right people when you don’t actually need a job right then, than doing it when you do need it.

  2. Shefaly
    Shefaly says:

    1. I am my own boss and yes, I so love myself. Seriously. That is a necessary precondition to being able to work with yourself day in and day out for a decade and counting. But when other people were my bosses, oh well, when I worked in a company, I worked in corporate venturing. So mostly I was working alone on a new venture, with my then-employer’s capital, driving myself to complete things and achieve our mutually (the executive board and me, that is) agreed goals. No boss to keep me in line. May be I am just lucky, eh?

    2. There is a reason why my personal blog is now private. I can deal with trolls but the dating and marriage proposals were giving me a stomach ache. With laughter, you understand? Men are like that. Mostly. Even on weekdays.

    3. I wear my PJs when working at 10pm. They are not dumpy. Did I mention I have a serious home office? See 1. above.


  3. C
    C says:

    Do I think about these things, do they happen? Yes (though not always), yes and yes. Currently sitting in office in dirty running clothes, and its afternoon.

  4. KMR
    KMR says:

    As far as the business meeting/date…it IS hard to tell. Especially if it’s with someone single, that you don’t NEED to do business with, who keeps giving you THAT look. I think if it’s dinner, a romantic place, with no set business agenda or outcome, it’s a date!

    And yes…Lululemon makes the best pants. I would be even more productive wearing those each day to work because of their comfort, not to mention, the way they make my butt look.

  5. Lance
    Lance says:

    For women, I don’t recommend running at night alone EVER. One of my exes was sexually assaulted at gun point that way. Don’t take the chance. Hit the gym or go with a partner instead.

    Re: clothes. After business hours, I say anything goes, especially at 10:00 pm. I’ve definitely shown up for meetings after 6:00 pm in gym clothes and casual clothes. We can’t wear suits and get-ups all the time.

    Re: dates. It’s a date if he/she touches you and hits on you. Pretty simple. Also, if I had a business date with an attractive female, I would always hit on her and see if she’s available. I think it’s rude not to.

    • Lara
      Lara says:

      One thing I've learned on this blog, though, is that most of my personal qualities that feel weird to me are actually pretty common traits among thinking people who desire self-knowledge. So to those people, I hope this blog gives you a sense of fitting in.

      Thanks Penelope, it does :) It also makes me snort my coffee out my nose!

  6. Carol Saha
    Carol Saha says:

    The link to rapists liking women with ponytails and the link to good looking butts is the same link. I wanted to see the other link.

  7. KateNonymous
    KateNonymous says:

    Because it can’t be said enough (thanks, Meaghan, for pointing this out first!):

    The ponytail thing not true. What it is, however, is a long-standing Internet hoax.

    Penelope, the fact that you’re buying into and spreading this myth makes me wonder about your levels of Internet savvy. It also makes me wonder about every “study” you link to. Seriously, I’ve been getting this e-mail periodically for probably a decade and a half, and both Snopes and a friend in law enforcement have told me that it just isn’t true. And if I’ve been getting it for that long, you must have, too. In the same vein, there is no “good times” virus, no one is leaving infected needles in movie theater seats, and people aren’t waking up in tubs of ice to find that they’re missing internal organs.

    • MsSheila
      MsSheila says:

      Thanks to KateN and Meaghan for pointing this out. This e-mail has bothered me for years since it spreads harmful misinformation about violence against women and how it can be prevented.

      I really like Penelope’s writing and her advice is very interesting, but links like these make me seriously doubt her credibility.

  8. Jim Taggart
    Jim Taggart says:

    Geez, in my 30 years of working I’ve only had one hot female boss. And she was a workoholic, upwardly mobile Gen Xer who also had a small son (who she talked about constantly) and a hubby. So those were icecubes down the pants.

  9. LPC
    LPC says:

    One thing I've learned on this blog, though, is that most of my personal qualities that feel weird to me are actually pretty common traits among thinking people who desire self-knowledge. So to those people, I hope this blog gives you a sense of fitting in. It does.

    But I don’t have any of these issues. I’m too old.

  10. LPC
    LPC says:

    One thing I've learned on this blog, though, is that most of my personal qualities that feel weird to me are actually pretty common traits among thinking people who desire self-knowledge. So to those people, I hope this blog gives you a sense of fitting in.

    It does.

    But I don’t have any of these issues. I’m too old.

  11. Grace
    Grace says:

    At a previous job, I totally had a crush on my boss. I think it drove me to do better, not only to impress him, but prove to myself my strength and ability to do amazing work. If I would have let anything happen (from either end) I know all that would change, just as you said. The thing I’m curious about is how and what to do, when you’ve got this mad crush on your boss or your superior?

    Maybe it’s a fantasy thing or something. Who knows. I do know that there’s less emphasis or stress now that my boss is fantastic, but I do not have a crush on him, at all. I feel more open to express myself, my faults, have a strong working relationship and a real platonic friendship…Interesting thoughts. I wish people talked more about this (from the male and female perspective).

    • Veronica Sawyer
      Veronica Sawyer says:

      This is absolutely true. My best working experience was with a boss I had a huge crush on. I was always working harder to try to impress him and I got tons of promotions and raises when I worked for him. (The crush was not reciprocated – the raises were based on merit but I think they happened because I worked so much harder for him.)

      He ended up being a great mentor and a lot of help in my career and I loved talking with him and meeting with him so it was win-win!

  12. Savvy Working Gal
    Savvy Working Gal says:

    Interesting post, point #2 is something I've come across a couple of times over the course of my career. When I was much younger, single, working full-time as an accountant and going to school at night a married out of town manager repeatedly asked me to lunch when he was in town. The first couple of times I declined because I legitimately had to do homework during my lunch hour, but he then became so persistent I refused just because I thought he was a jerk. He then happened to be in town over night and called wanting to meet for dinner and a movie. I again turned him down. After that he became rude and hard to work with. I've always wondered what his intentions were; friend or date. First, he was married. Second, he was the manager of a struggling out-of-town office; wouldn't his time have been better spent going to lunch or dinner with our President or one of the other managers. I asked our HR manager her opinion a month or two after the movie incident; this was when sexual harassment was gaining a lot of press. She made a big deal about the situation saying it was sexual harassment. What I really wanted to know was his intentions friend or date?

    In my current job, an outside sales rep who is married, I am married also, likes to secretly meet for lunch; when he is in town he should really be meeting with our sales team, not someone in accounting. I've gone a couple of times thinking I could use his connection in my career and I do gain a better understanding of our business. Recently, he has said this is so much fun, some time when your husband is out of town lets meet for beers. Lucky for me, my husband never travels he is way too obnoxious to meet for beers.

    I've now decided it doesn't matter if the guy is married or not, if you are meeting for dinner and a movie or for beers, no one else is invited and it is supposed to be a big secret it is a date.

  13. boots
    boots says:

    LOL about #1–I’m a straight woman and have only had female bosses, and still got a lady-crush on all of them (except for one who was a total nutjob).

  14. Brad
    Brad says:

    I can’t believe some of these comments. If a straight guy asks a woman out for dinner, and it’s not CLEARLY for business, in his mind it’s a date. It is never because he wants a new friend. Doesn’t anybody remember “When Harry Met Sally”? Billy Crystal explained the whole thing.

  15. Robert
    Robert says:

    On the other hand, it may not be a date cause a dinner is a really lame first date. Good first dates happen while doing something interesting or fun. Dinners are too serious for that.

    Maybe during dinner he forms the idea to hit on you, but he probably wouldn’t set up a dinner as a first date.

  16. funkright
    funkright says:

    I am a man and I love lululemon running shorts for men.. once you buy a pair you’ll never go back to another brand for working out :)

  17. Cassandra
    Cassandra says:

    I’ve only had 2 male bosses in my career, and I had a pretty deep crush on one of them (my therapist at the time said I was in love with him, but I’m not so sure). Nothing happened of course. I’m not sure I really wanted it to, but I was young and I probably would have if he’d initiated it. I spent countless hours thinking about how I could be the smartest employee he’d ever had. I learned a ton from him and from that effort, which has been paying off for years.

    Fast forward 10 years, he’s started a new company and recruited me to have a pretty big role in it. I still have a bit of an intellectual crush on him, but thanks to some seasoning I have absolutely no desire to act on it and would refuse if it was initiated- it would make everything so weird. Plus he’s married and almost the same age as my Mom…he’s 10 years older too after all. But it’s still pretty motivating. And a really cool job.

  18. dregina
    dregina says:

    The fact that you believed that ponytail myth also makes me question your credibility on everything else you’ve posted here. The idea that how a woman would wear her hair would have anything to do with whether or not she might be attacked by a rapist is really, really ridiculous. Thank you to the other commenters who posted the snopes rebuttal above.

  19. Dan Owen
    Dan Owen says:

    Watching someone who is really skilled at something do that thing calls up a lot of feelings — admiration, excitement, jealousy, wonder. Romantic attraction might be one of them. And some working environments are very sexy.

    With you, though, Penelope, its never easy to know when your many neuroses twist straightforward situations into bizarre shapes. Wearing sexy running clothes into the office for a business meeting is going to create lots of highly charged, unpredictable outcomes — I think you like to create this kind of predicament. One way to talk about this is to ask, “isn’t it funny no one talks about this?” Another way to talk about it is to ask, “what skill do I need to practice in this situation?” I know which approach will generate the most blog traffic, but that isn’t the same approach that will actually provide a useful solution to a problem.

    By the way, when the farmer broke up with you, you posted some insightful criticisms about his behavior. I’m curious about what he’s had to say about that. Your posts about the two of you were always about how, as I read them, you were undermining the relationship with your neurotic fear and defense tactics, but your post-breakup post was all about how he had been undermining it. It was polite of you to shield him, but now that the cat is out of the bag, I’d love to hear his side.

  20. MB
    MB says:

    #1. Had huge crush on boss. He was my idol, one of the first rock stars in his field. I strove to be noticed and for perfection in an office of 50 people, and we flirted constantly at work. When we finally kissed, it was romantic. A week after that, when we slept together in the back of his station wagon, it was anticlimactic(for me) and embarrassing. I quit the job 2 weeks later, with a great letter of reference. If I had to do it all over again, I would have left it at the kiss. Total loss of power.

  21. David
    David says:

    Ques 1: Crush on boss –
    That tends to be a human nature thing – I think there was an article in the Aug 09 issue of Redbook for men about what turns women on. It talked about how women tend to develop a more intimate attraction to men (and sometimes other women) who are in close proximity for long periods of time. Work projects and roommate scenarios where there is constant contact tend to be the initiators of this type of attraction. This was based on interviews with therapists. The article said that in this case many times if the proximity is severed then the “intimate attraction” dissolves. Although P, I think you are more intimately attracted to people who help you excel emotionally. Good looks help, but if they feed your mind/creativity then is sounds like you’re in like Flynn. :-)

    Ques 2: Dinner “date,” or not??
    I’m going to lose my “playa” card for telling you this, but most men like to keep their options open no matter what even when they’re married. Ladies, your man will deny every word of this so don’t ask… Anyway, men are hunters by nature. The smarter hunters, not only do we sharpen our weapons daily, we also love to fill the forest with traps just in case we have a bad hunting day/week/month/year.

    Examples of traps would be one on one lunch/after-hours meetings. We set up small “meetings” to get a good lay of the land (no pun intended). The tendency is to set up small friendly meetings sometimes cloaked in business agendas, but placed in more intimate settings so that you let down your guard to coax you out of your business mind and reveal more of who you really are. If it leads to something, then great, but we usually don’t expect anything to happen on the first run…some of us get off on the control and others use it to set up the chase. And for others it's the control and the chase.

    So my advice, just assume it’s the set up every time, especially if they know you are single. There are random men who don’t have this ulterior motive in mind, but that would be 1-2% of the time…they are the exception to the rule.

    Farmer knows exactly what I’m talking about. I had to change my name on this comment just to keep from getting into trouble with my fellow men. :-)

    To the commentors who disagree adamantly with me here – It may sound seedy, but once you accept that humans are sexual beings and realize that true unwavering fidelity is a figment of your imagination placed upon you by the lifelong marketing of marriage. Then you’ll not be so devastatingly shocked when someone disappoints you in the future. Everyone cheats in their mind…it’s the ones that act that give us entertainment for our reality TV show curiosity.

    Ques 3: What to wear to work at night?

    Wear what is comfortable to you, it makes getting things done easier…that is unless you are on the hunt to fill an intimate void, then it’s a whole different game. I wouldn’t feel bad if you choose the latter. If you know what you want then the most important rule of marketing is “you gotta advertise baby!” Embrace your good looks now because they don’t last forever. Plus it’s fun and a confidence booster to get checked out. When you’re old and shrived you’ll look back and wonder if you took full advantage of your beauty when you had it. Don’t waste it!

    A lot of commenters are going to say that I am a dick, but it’s the truth, people are just afraid to admit it. That is why you don’t hear it talked about much. Take it for what it’s worth…human nature is confusing.

    Oh and don’t run at night ALONE anymore…just mentioning that on your blog now was a BAD idea. Out of the 33,000+ readers I’m sure at least one or two have mental issues that could lead to your detriment.

    Sorry…not trying to tell you what to do. Just want to make sure you’re safe, you already have enough drama.

    • MJ
      MJ says:

      Never, ever, ever, ever had a crush on a boss. Professor long ago, sure? Boss? ICK. I have zero libido during work hours or whenever in contact with work.

      Is it really normal to be this interested in sex all the time? Sex at the office, sex in meetings, geesus people, grow up.

    • Caitlin
      Caitlin says:

      @David I have no doubt you are being honest about yourself but never make the mistake of thinking everyone else is exactly the same as you. Men, like women, are individuals and all think, feel, behave and react differently to each other.

  22. Hope
    Hope says:

    Does it make sense to forgo ponytails to foil would-be rapists, but at the same time drape your ass in Lululemon so that it looks extra hot?

  23. Cristina
    Cristina says:

    What about having crushes on a colleague at your same level? Penelope – how do you go about that?

  24. Laura
    Laura says:

    OK, the crush thing is big for me too. I think it all started with crushes on high school teachers. This one teacher in particular was very interesting. He had been a physics teacher when he first graduated in college, then he took a job at a telecom company. He worked his way up to VP of technology. He made a good amount of money, bought a farm and built a cabin on it, and retired early. Retirement was too boring, so he decided to go back to teaching high school physics. He was an awesome teacher. He loved teaching, and he also loved technology. He networked the whole school, and he brought us online. Each student could have their own email/web site. Given the fact that this was the mid 90’s, this was really impressive.

    I never knew what I was going to do with my life. I was always smart, but didn’t want to be a doc, lawyer, or write. When I realized I enjoyed doing the website for the school paper rather than writing columns for it, I decided to give computer science a try.

    Flash forward to now – I have had many short crushes on people I’ve worked with that I’ve admired. They don’t really last, but when I meet someone with a passion for technology (and life) who is brilliant at what they do – I still get a crushes sometimes. This is also one of the reasons I’m madly in love with my bf – he’s a techie like me, and he’s good at it, loves it, and I admire him a lot.

  25. Vicky
    Vicky says:

    Crushes are not talked about because of the specter of sexual harassment lawsuits.

    Also because of the possibility of reciprocation.

    And back-stabbing by co-workers.

    And of courses those butts look good because lululemon does not make pants in sizes larger than 12 when the average american butt is size 14.

  26. Frank
    Frank says:

    I’ve had four women I supervised and one who supervised me in the past nine years all of whom I came to love. Almost as if being in love with them. Some, closer to that than others, of course. It’s a fine line we walk. I think it’s not talked about because if you bring it out into the open, it’s not flirting anymore. It becomes something more dangerous, but also less unique, more common. I prefer being the boss secretly in love than the dirty old man you have to watch out for. Work would suck if we never flirted. Life would suck.

  27. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    “One thing I've learned on this blog, though, is that most of my personal qualities that feel weird to me are actually pretty common traits among thinking people who desire self-knowledge.”
    Yes – workplace issues that are usually not talked about but probably thought about by many people, written and shared by you, and open to discussion to everyone on this blog. The desire for self-knowledge as well as understanding other people. So I was thinking this post should also be tagged with ‘Knowing yourself’ even though these issues aren’t quite worked out for yourself. After all ‘knowing yourself’ is a life-long process and it’s constantly being worked out and refined.

    Thanks for the lesson on lululemon pants. I enjoyed the NY magazine article where butts were discussed and how good these pants were for showing off butts but disappointed by the Lululemon site where no butts were shown. What’s with that? If this luon fabric is “celebrated mainly for its ability to shape and display the ass”, I expected to see some butts on the Lululemon site. Is Lululemon missing a marketing opportunity? Also the money you spent on these pants is well worth it due to the fact you like them and get use out of them.

    “Of course workout clothes are not appropriate for wok. And the people at work at 10pm are often about to spend the night at the office and they'll smell bad the next morning. And that's not appropriate either, but just in a different way.”
    Funny … bad smelling co-workers … another workplace issue. Maybe you can ask the investors for money to install showers and changing rooms. Also spelling error – wok should be work – my self-knowledge about my ability to spot small details. :)

  28. Lee
    Lee says:

    I always find it interesting how PT is constantly surrounded by “High Profilers” and that at any given moment at least 3-4 men desperately want to “get into her pants”.

    Your credibility is zero with the rubbish you splay across the internet. I believe you’ll lie and exaggerate to get the attention you so deserately crave.

    You sheeple had better wake up and stop taking this woman seriously.

    • Brad
      Brad says:

      Lie and exaggerate?? How dare you question someone whose “career advice appears in more than 200 newspapers and magazines”!

  29. J
    J says:

    I wish it was just a crush. I have full-blown limerence and it sucks. I’m incredibly underemployed given my education and skill level, but I stay here because of him.

  30. Mickey Van Roo
    Mickey Van Roo says:


    Was the Developer’s name ‘Todd Gack’ by any chance? (Seinfeld reference).

    As to PT and the several men after her at any one time, one totally believes this as a hot MILF in Madison where there aren’t too many available babes over the age of 30.

  31. J
    J says:

    lululemon pants SO make your butt look good! i thought i was the only one who thought this and i thought i was quite vain for thinking it. see? weird things…self-aware people…you’re right!

  32. Leanne
    Leanne says:

    I’ve been in a similar situation to this many times – “2. Not knowing whether a meeting is a date.” — particularly before marriage was legal for me and my sweetie. I run a tech consulting business and I’m a dyke. Before my sweetie and I were married (thank you, San Francisco 2004, Canada 2007, San Francisco 2008!) I didn’t wear a wedding ring. I noticed that this situation changed after we first got married (even if it was invalidated by the supreme court) and I started wearing a wedding ring.

    The situation — which isn’t a big deal to me, it’s just interesting human behavior.

    Before wedding ring — I’d ask a male client out for lunch or dinner or a drink to chat about business (mostly in the line of “thanks for hiring my company; we enjoyed working with you; I’d like to know more about what you’re working on in the near future to see if we can work together again”). About 20% of the time the guy would think I had asked him out on a date.

    After wedding ring — I’d ask a male client out for lunch or dinner or a drink to chat about business. About 90% of the time I get asked about my husband. When I mention I have a wife, then I get “wow, I never would’ve guessed you to be a dyke.”

    Now why haven’t any of my female clients ever assumed it was a date or asked about my husband? It’s always the men :)

  33. Randy Zeitman
    Randy Zeitman says:

    “The fact that you believed that ponytail myth also makes me question your credibility on everything else you’ve posted here.”


    The girl makes a post about her understanding about a way to reduce rape and somehow she’s discredited because it turns out it’s just a myth? HOW THE HELL IS SHE SUPPOSED TO INSTANTLY KNOW THAT AND HOW THE HELL DOES HER NOT KNOWING THAT MEAN ANYTHING ELSE SHE SAYS OR LINKS TO IS CRAZY?

    YOU KNOW HOW many stats out there on the ‘net are wrong?…MOST! She’s supposed to go out a verify every damn one that sounds possible? It’s CRAZY!

    One mistake and everything she says now has doubt? Perfect, with ESP no less, or nothing?

    C*R*A*Z*Y you people are.

    • MsSheila
      MsSheila says:

      Randy – Ok, take a deep breath. ;)

      I think many of the reactions to the ponytail link and her credibility stem from the fact that this rumor has been circulating for YEARS through e-mails and online. The “article” that Penelope linked to is written very much in that chain e-mail style, which are often hoaxes. It doesn’t take long at all to determine that it’s a hoax, simply by checking Snopes, for instance. And, as one commenter pointed out, an Internet-savvy person would recognize this fairly quickly.

      And the point of most commenters, I think, was that, YES, for a lot of the information Penelope posts here, it IS important to make the effort to verify it. When writers don’t verify their sources, and wind up spreading false and harmful misinformation, it lessens their credibility. I don’t subscribe to the point of view that everybody lies, or most stats are unreliable. It just takes a bit of time to research and make sure to the best of your ability that your sources are at the very least credible.

      • econobiker
        econobiker says:

        While I am new reading this blog, your (and others) comments tell me that Ms. Trunk produces or spews more material without actually verifying it.

        Kind of like throwing 100 darts at a dart board, she is bound to get a bullseye just due to numbers but also might hit the wall next to the board sometimes too…

  34. Jim C.
    Jim C. says:

    Following the link, I see that it says rapists go after women with hair that is easy to grab — pony tails, braids, buns, or just plain long hair. By that rationale, you need to have short hair if you want to run alone at night — which is probably a dumb thing to do anyway. And, if you want to run at night, keep both ears unblocked, without your MP3 player, so you can hear and react to threats.

  35. prklypr
    prklypr says:

    Excellent post. Ponytail thing is no biggie. I’ve gotten emails from many smart people who forgot to check Snopes. Lesson learned?

    • Bec
      Bec says:

      I doubt it, she could remove the link and she hasn’t.

      Come on, Penelope, remove the link. Make a note so people know what all these comments are about and move on.

  36. Juki Schor
    Juki Schor says:

    About “Having a huge crush on your boss “:

    Sexual energy is THE creative energy on this planet for manifesting mental ideas (and new life at the same
    time which is why women tend to have conflicts to manage both at the same time, it is hard to run two cars on one tank). In order to be successful in business, it is essential to get others to giving their creative energy to achieving the goals of your company or the company boss (which might be a different story).

    The bigger the crush, the higher the amount and the intensity of energy that is delivered and created. Many people are not able to cultivate a highly vibrating sexual energy field during intercourse, which is why physical engagement with bosses often leads to disaster, erotic tension thus being the best way to keep the energy level high in workplaces.
    More important for your own life as an employee is to know this: if you do not have clear goals for yourself and a strong mind that takes care of yourself, your creative
    energy will be taken to fulfil the goals of people whose goals and mental power is stronger than yours (which normally is the case with a boss, otherwise he wouldn’t be the boss). If you are in harmony with this and their goals, fine. Good marriages work often in this manner. If not, you better get rid of your crush. Chances are that you get dumped when your energy source is exhausted.

    In the business world, sexuality is part of the
    business as well, knowing this definitely helps to answer question 2 about “Not knowing whether a meeting is a date.”
    It is for YOU to know whether you want a date, who else is going to determine whether a meeting is a date??? Ground rule: any successful business man (or woman) wants and needs a certain degree and regular supply of sexual energy. Unless they practice certain types of meditation, they will either “hold a wife/husband at home”, “attend sex services” or do the “dating game”. So ask yourself if you want to be the “game” or not for this person or whether you want him or her to be Your game and then you know if it is a date. If you are looking for love, look elsewhere.
    More important then sex is actually attention, because what you give attention to, grows. The best way to get the attention of a person (and thus the refined sexual energy which is even better) is erotic attraction (or rejection). It keeps the other one hooked and thus the energy flowing. Blogs are a good example for this as well. It doesn’t matter whether people like what is written or not. As long as they keep their attention on it, energy=money is coming in.

  37. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    Penelope, you’re committing a huge disservice to your readership and your credibility by posting utter bullshit about rape. You’re tricking women into thinking that they’re safe from rape if they don’t have ponytails. You’re playing with the health and safety of young women and that is unconscionable.

    You’re damaging your brand. But more importantly you’re deluding young women. Shame on you.

  38. deepali
    deepali says:

    I’m a bit surprised the ponytail link is still up, given the number of times someone has posted that it is not true. Makes me think you are playing a joke on your readers, in which case, I should probably start reading this blog for entertainment and not to glean any useful knowledge (which is too bad because you often do say insightful things).

  39. bilbo
    bilbo says:

    How should a guy wear his hear if he wants to get attacked at night by some of those women joggers. I’ve seen them and a lot of them have great asses.

  40. Taylor
    Taylor says:

    It’s been said before, but I can’t go without reiterating: That ponytail thing is bullshit. Especially since most rapes are not perpetrated by strangers at all. I’m horrified someone that is obviously trusted and respected by a number of people would post this.

  41. BB
    BB says:

    it was a broad consensus that the world was flat… *rolls her eyes*

    i for one was raped in a parking garage years ago and since i started running, i refuse to run in the dark. the one time i was out running past sunset, i couldn’t stop looking behind me. even in the daylight i turn my mp3 player off if i see anybody in the vicinity or on the sidewalk in front of or behind me. it’s just common sense.

    in all truth, a guy who’s going to rape a woman while she’s out in public will do it for many reasons, some unpredictable. once he puts his mind to it, it doesn’t matter what she’s wearing or how her hair is styled. mine was in a pompadour when i was attacked, but i still wear a pompadour sometimes. take it easy, people.

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