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Doing Daddy’s Protégé

They say office romances are a no-no, but what if that office is your father's not yours? Do you tell daddy about hooking up with one of his employees? The 4-way panel responds.

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Dear 4-Way,

During a recent visit to my dad’s new office, I met some people that he works with, mostly people that report directly to him. A week or so later, I saw one of the guys I met at his office out at a bar. He recognized me and came over to chat and we ended up talking and drinking for quite a while … and then we went home together. We’ve been out a few times since then and we always end up in bed together. I’m not sure how to proceed—should I tell my dad? The thing is, I’m not sure what I’d tell him. The guy is nice, but it’s more fun than anything and neither of are looking for a long-term, serious relationship. The sex is great and the guy and I are on the same page, but I feel like I should mention something to my dad because we do occasionally meet for drinks before we hook up and I worry that if I don’t tell him, someone else will see us and break the news to him. What do you think? —TG, New York, New York

The gay man’s perspective: Darren Maddox

TG, New York is a big town. Why do you have to meet for drinks in the same area as where your dad works? Go to another section of the city and your secret could be safe for years! But if that’s not an option, my best advice to you is not to tell your dad unless you have a very close, very open relationship with him. Like you said, what exactly would you be telling him anyway? That you’re banging a guy that works for him, but it’s nothing serious? I’m sure that would not bode well for your suitor’s career path and would likely damage the credibility you have with your own father. Some things are better left unspoken and I think this is one of those situations. Just because he’s your father does not mean he has to know everything about your love life. I’m sure you’ve kept other secrets from him in the past and I would advise doing the same with this one. Besides, sneaking around is half the fun. If you let the cat out of the bag, you’ll have to go on the prowl again.

The straight woman’s perspective: Rebecca Brown

Let’s see … should you tell your dad that you’re sleeping with one of his subordinates, that there’s absolutely no possibility of love, that you and this guy are just using each other for pure, dirty pleasure? I’m gonna go with “no” on that one.

I’d like to question why, out of all the guys in Manhattan that you could have meaningless sex with, you chose one who works for your dad. If I specialized in Freudian therapy, I might suggest that perhaps you weren’t loved enough by him as a child and that this is your way of vying for a little slice of his attention. I’d also speculate that you’re aware that engaging in a purely sexual relationship with someone at his office would be an easy thing for him to find out and confront you about, thus giving you some of the love and attention that you so crave(d).

But the truth is, TG, I’m a single woman in San Francisco, so I understand all too well that in a city like Manhattan, a good man is just pretty damned hard to find, even if that man’s only purpose is to provide a little afternoon delight.

The solution seems simple enough to me: make sure your dad never, ever finds out about your escapades. Because that would just be weird for you and really bad professionally for your guy. If it’s nothing more than sex, why go out if you’re worried you’ll run into someone? Just buy a bunch of good wine (or cheap vodka for shooters if that’s more your thing) and keep the fun limited to the sex swings you guys have no doubt installed in each of your homes. Speaking of swings and other kinky things, if you truly are concerned about daddy finding out, I’d limit your written communication to this guy, and for God’s sake, don’t let him take any compromising photos of you. Be smart about your smut; that stuff has a way of coming back to bite you in the ass when you least expect it.

The straight man’s perspective: Chris Kennedy

If the relationship is as surface as you say it is, then there’s no need to stir the pot (and Pops) here. It’s not clear what kind of relationship you have with your father, but how in the loop is he usually on your life, especially your romantic life?

As for the work situation, your father may very well have plenty of people reporting to him at work, but he doesn’t need to know the details of any of their sex lives. If this guy turns into a boyfriend, which seems unlikely from what you describe, then that would be the time to reveal your relationship to your father.

And this guy has some balls! He’s dating his boss’s daughter, which many might consider taboo … but also may be a key element of his attraction to you and yours to him. Just throwing that out there. What does this ballsy employee have to say? He seems like the one with something more at stake here. I really doubt he wants to tell his boss he’s sleeping with his daughter, “but don’t worry I just want sex from her, nothing serious.” By the way, are you really okay with the way things are? Are you just going along with this because it’s what he wants? Girls usually want more than to be a guy’s booty call. Sometimes they’re fine with that, though, but be honest with yourself.

Father might know best … but I think it’s best that your father doesn’t know the details of your (and his employee’s) sex life. 

The gay woman’s perspective: Jody Fischer

I’m going to assume that you’re an adult, but what I can’t assume is the type of relationship you have with your father. Clearly you’re up for some no strings attached sex, but I wonder if it’s the fact that you’re just fooling around, or that you are indeed fooling around with someone your daddy can hire and fire that has you most concerned.

And then there’s the guy himself. Have you had a conversation with him about how he feels about sharing the information with your dad? Do you know (or care) if he talks with his coworkers about the fact that he’s in the sack with the boss’s daughter?

Sounds to me like this whole setup is void of any real boundaries. I don’t see a happy conclusion for any party. Odds are that one of you will want to stop the connection before the other and the info that either of you has learned about the other may be somehow get passed on to your dad. How would you feel about that? Think this through, TG. If you want to have ongoing casual sex, even really good casual sex, set it up better. I’m not a fan of same office romances and this situation is just as messy. No doubt there are scads of available men who don’t work for daddy who would be happy to oblige.

So before you go telling your dad, come up with a container for this. Talk to the guy to see what he wants and most importantly talk with yourself and find your boundaries. Once you can locate where you stand, it will make it easier to stand tall with your dad.

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