The Work Boyfriend and the Undate
Since I’ve been at my current workplace I have perfected the concept of the work boyfriend. The work boyfriend, for those of you who may be unfamiliar, is an unmarried, un-attached straight man that you work with who is willing to hang out with you at lunch and on breaks and a man who gives good chat. The purpose of the friendship is primarily for amusement. It is never to be taken seriously. The idea is that it’s all the fun aspects of an actual relationship without any of the negative aspects, such as, for instance, high anxiety and eventual profound disappointment. It is not an actual dating arrangement or a “relationship,” nor is it meant to evolve into one. In general, if said relationship evolves, it evolves into something I’ve coined as the undate.
The undate is any excursion made outside of work by you and the work boyfriend, or any friend of the opposite sex with whom you enjoy a mildly flirtatious rapport. The outing is like a date except that you usually go dutch and you aren’t going to be making out. Now, in truth, I realize that the male half of the undate may still think that this is leading somewhere other than friendship and/or that if he plays his cards right he might get some. However, since he’s been forewarned that that’s not going to happen, I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty about bursting his bubble. After all, I am fun to hang out with, even if you don’t get to make out with me.
The first work boyfriend I had at my current workplace was someone that I like to refer to as Work Boyfriend .5. We never evolved into the undate phase. This is actually a good thing since Work Boyfriend .5 was kind of an ass. We agreed on next to nothing. He was downright rude. His hobby was playing Call of Duty on the internet and drinking Gatorade. He was probably close to a hundred pounds overweight but thought fat women should be shot by firing squad. His idea of a dream job was being a law enforcement officer so that he could lord it over other people. If you can imagine Barney Fife being played by Kevin James if Barney also had Archie Bunker’s political views and a Dilbert desk job, then you know Work Boyfriend .5. But Work Boyfriend .5 was hilariously funny. And since the purpose of the Work Boyfriend is primarily for amusement, he served his purpose. Thank you, Work Boyfriend .5! Live long and prosper!
While Work Boyfriend .5 was still on the scene, I met Work Boyfriend 1.0. Work Boyfriend 1.0 was like the new and improved version with almost all of the bugs worked out. The biggest thing was that he wasn’t an ass. Work Boyfriend 1.0 was actually kind to me. Other bonuses were that he was better looking and we actually agreed on things sometimes. We are still friends to this day, despite the annoying presence of an actual girlfriend nixing any flirting potential, a six month falling out over what I like to refer to as “the infamous cell phone incident,” and the fact that we no longer work together.
I met Work Boyfriend 1.0 during a phase in which Work Boyfriend .5 and our other buddies and I were trying to figure out who was gay and who was straight at work. Work Boyfriend 1.0, when I met him, was mourning the loss of a female friend who got back together with an ex-boyfriend and decided she could no longer hang out with him after the reconciliation. That situation, combined with several seconds of him talking to my tits, convinced me that he was straight.
Sometime shortly after Work Boyfriend .5 left the scene due to an unfortunate incident that involved his typical rudeness, Work Boyfriend 1.0 and I evolved into the undate phase of our friendship. I think the first excursion was to go shoot pool after work. After that, we began doing things regularly outside of work. Work Boyfriend 1.0 was separated and going through a divorce at that time, so for me, there was never any question of its being anything other than a friendship, but I did have a fierce crush. At one point in time, I would blush scarlet at the mere mention of his name.
Work Boyfriend 1.0 and I were both lonely, and two lonely people recognize one another. I credit him with getting me to get out of the house to spend time with people, stop hibernating with my dog and drinking alone so much. At the height of the friendship, our boss used to say that there was so much giggling and general sounds of merriment on the row where we sat, that it was like Disneyland on crack.
Work Boyfriend 1.0 accompanied me to church. It became like a regular weekly outing with breakfast afterward, for several months. Sometimes he invited other friends to join us. He encouraged me to join a small group with him, and I made even more new friends that way. You might even say that Work Boyfriend 1.0 drastically improved the quality of my life.