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How Many Coworkers Are You Allowed To Bone?

Illustration for article titled How Many Coworkers Are You Allowed To Bone?

A version of this blog has sat in my drafts folder since March. It would be nice to say that I didn’t publish it back then because we were “going through a change”—we were, we hired two new writers—and it was maybe not the time to gratuitously throw the word “bone” (the colloquial word for the sex act) around. But it’s always better to tell the truth.


I didn’t blog the blog because the only thing worse than boning too many coworkers is accidentally subtweeting (subblogging?) a peer. What if coworkers had been boning right here, in the office that we called home? (Strangers had been, after all.) There’s no need for anyone to feel like a blog might be about them, and I wouldn’t be the one to do it. So this blog sat in drafts, and once every few weeks I’d see the blog and think, “Is today the day to publish the blog?” Then I’d remember someone else—a different pair of People Who Tweet—that I might be sub-blogging, or that so-and-so and so-and-so were seen canoodling at the Media Party at Whatever Bar just a few days ago, and shuffle it away again. So strong was my fear that someone would read my advice with misguided inference, and with every passing week came another, stronger reason for it to exist. People who worked together, all over the world, continued to bone left and right without knowing the rules.

There’s only one rule, by the way, and that is that the number of coworkers you are allowed to bone is one (1) per place of employment. Yes, this is a different number than the number of coworkers you would bone if the opportunity came knocking. If you change jobs and work with a new group of coworkers, your counter resets.

There are some conditions to this rule. They are as follows:

  • The one (1) coworker that you may bone must be a consenting, legal adult.
  • They should be mature enough to be trusted with details of your life that you may not want to be shared with your mutual peers—or with anyone at all!—and to behave normally and professionally at work, no matter how your bone ends.
  • A coworker that you work with directly is off limits. This means that anyone that you have to talk to daily to complete the basic function of your job (or theirs).
  • This coworker cannot be your underling or your manager. Choosing a coworker from a different department altogether is preferred.
  • You may not speak about the boning with other coworkers. If you must, know who can be trusted. (Most people, including friends, cannot be trusted not to share very hot goss.)
  • Should you begin to date the coworker seriously, it is nice to give your manager a heads-up. “But who I choose date is part of my private life!” No it’s not, not when you work with them.
  • Should the one (1) coworker you boned break the rule and bone another coworker, you are not allowed to “have feelings” or “be upset” about it, because you are simply coworkers.
  • Keep any ensuing drama outside of the office, or be willing to find a new job.

Additionally, there is some Fine Print to consider. For all purposes here, the word “boning” is used to describe a sex act in the most informal and casual way. “Boning” should not be conflated with “kissing” or “canoodling,” which are different signs of affection that are almost always harmless, and stupid to invest too much thought or energy into. A bit of advice: Don’t go crazy on that front, either. You’re allowed two (2) canoodles with coworkers, depending on the length of time that you’ve worked at a company. I’d like to suggest keeping it to one (1) romantic office interaction every two to three years. You don’t want to be That Guy, after all. And you should be someone who is able to flirt with humans in the wild (i.e. outside of the office), as well.

Coworker boning is not an especially frequent occurrence, and not an uncommon one—as humans who spend their days working on things that are both true and interesting, we too understand the appeal of flirting with the sincere and charming person who works alongside you. It’s biology! Some people—like our our old pal and Culture Editor Rob Harvilla (RIP), our Editor-in-Chief Tim Marchman, and our Executive Editor John Cook—might even meet their spouses at work. (A study by the Wall Street Journal says that about 10 percent of Americans meet their spouses at work, though it used to be closer to 20 percent back in 1990.)

I’m not suggesting that you go marry the person you boned at work. I mostly want to point out that it’s nothing to be weird about—it’s 2016 and we are slaves to our jobs, and these things happen. It’s only natural. The average human spends more time with their coworkers than they do anyone else, and a handful of surveys in the past few years said that something like 54-56 percent of the American workforce have had a workplace romance of some kind.


Good, great, I wish you well.

You get the one.

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Senior Editor, Deadspin