Oh My God That's Out Of Line! And...She Dreams About Her Boss' Toes

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

DEAR CAT: Recently at work I was given a pile of tasks at the last minute and I said, “oh my God” quietly to myself. That’s when a coworker, someone with whom I barely communicate, said I shouldn’t take the lord’s name in vain. I jokingly responded, “how do you know I’m referring to your lord?” She gave me a horrified look so I tried to quell the situation and said, “I didn’t use it in vain, I used it in frustration.” She said, “that’s even worse.” For goodness sakes, Cat, I am a grown man and I do not need to be told how to speak. In hindsight I wish I’d said, “mind your own business,” but I wouldn’t want to hurt her or start anything. I have been working for thirty years and I couldn’t count how many times I’ve heard that phrase; it’s so common I don’t even notice it. Did I commit some verbal felony here? My wife thinks the woman was way out of line. I agree. Do you? — GIVE ME A BREAK

DEAR GIVE: I wholeheartedly agree with you and your wife. What your coworker did falls just short of proselytizing and you’d have every right to complain to HR about it. You were not in that woman’s home or place of worship where it would be appropriate to curb your tongue in deference to her religion (which is the only one she acknowledges, apparently). She had absolutely no right to tell you how to speak, especially when you were talking to yourself! Grrr, it annoys me just thinking about it. The point is, you did not have to qualify your statement or defend yourself to her because…Cat’s Call: It is not her place to judge you.

DEAR CAT: For two years I have been an executive assistant for a nice but very uptight corporate vice president. Lately I have been having odd dreams about him, such as sucking his toes. I told a friend about it because I thought it was gross but still kind of funny. Now she thinks that deep down I have a crush on him. I swear I don’t but…could I? I’m not crazy about my job and I’d take another decent one if it were offered, but my friend’s suggestion has me wondering. — VEXED IN VIRGINIA

DEAR VEXED: Sure you could have a crush on him, anything is possible. But your dreams are probably not the result of anything that juicy. It doesn’t take a huge mental leap to jump from being a subordinate who must please an uptight superior to dreaming about his feet in your mouth. Having a sexual dream about him doesn’t necessarily mean you ‘want’ him. Most likely it’s just unconscious musings about how your job makes you feel. I’m no psychoanalyst but….Cat’s Call: I bet I hit the nail on your toe-sucking head.

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  1. I can’t stand…can…not….stand people who feel they have a right to say things like that. I love how Cat says it annoys her just hearing about it because I feel the same way. Nobody should have to tiptoe around religion, if you believe something, that is your business. You dont’ know what I believe so don’t tell me to obey your religious rules. If I am a Buddhist and you are Christian your rules mean zip to me. Same goes if you are an atheist and I love talking about my religion. “Grrr” says it all Cat!

    About the toe sucking dream—-it doesn’t mean anything. I’ve had sex dreams about people I met for two minutes or even really did not like. Dreams are not usually what the picture says, they represent feelings about all kinds of things.

    — Caroline (point breeze)    10/04/2011    Reply

  2. Give Me A Break: Go tell that woman to ‘parent’ her own children. When someone tells me not to take the lord’s name in vain I say “which lord?”

    Vexed: You want to do him. A sex dream can mean a lot of things I guess. Sucking his toes is specific. My call: it’s not a crush, it’s lust.

    — Tom, Pittsburgh    10/04/2011    Reply

  3. I am not a religious person but I can understand the woman’s side of this too. She should tell not the man what to say and what not to say. They work together not according to her or his personal rules. On the other hand I think an office is “appropriate to curb your tongue in deference to her religion.” The man was not on the street or public place. I say “oh my God” all the time but if it offended someone I wouldn’t have a problem stopping. I would learn to vent frustration in a form that would not be offensive. The woman should not order him what to say (I believe that is the basis of this situation) instead she should talk to him in private. He did not mean to offend her, therefore she should have handled it in a more professional way, not “scold” him.

    — PGHGIRL    10/05/2011    Reply

  4. Re Break: if this man said “Oh my God” constantly or even often, and it wore on his co-workers nerves, I could see her quietly and politely asking him to try to come up with a different venting phrase. Cubicles can be difficult. I used to have to listen to someone’s nasty telephone rantings, including expletives, to her son (her high school age son!) periodically. My heart was breaking for the son; it was abusive. But the woman in this letter is solidly out of line. One wonders if she doesn’t make a habit (lie in wait?) of correcting people every time she hears this phrase.

    Re Vexed: Cat has called your dream correctly. It’s a subservience thing about the complex relationship between boss and assistant (I speak as one who has worked as an assistant to many different kinds of people for many years). If you were hot for this fella, you would know it!

    — Nancy in Pittsburgh    10/05/2011    Reply


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