Matthew Licht

A Letter to the Editor

My co-worker Francine (not her real name) always sent so many mixed signals.

Though a confirmed metrosexual, I consider myself straight. I try to dress well, work out, use hair- and skin-care products. Many women at work pay compliments, but Francine went further. She winked, sometimes even “copped a feel” of my suits and ties. She asked for fashion tips, and we used to go on lunch-hour shopping safaris together.

Francine’s older than I am. She’s married, but that wouldn’t stop some guys I know.

When Francine said, “Let’s meet in Conference Room A”, which was unoccupied at the time, I thought we were about to cross a line. We did, but the line we crossed was unexpected.

She whispered that the Boss had asked to see her in his office, and she needed to be sure she looked “correct”. Be brutal, she said, like on TV. Disappointed, I said she looked fine. She hiked her skirt, unbuttoned her blouse.

“Think this is too much?”

Maybe I shook my head.

She pulled off her shoes. “Do my feet smell?”

She sat on the conference table, raised her legs, and put her feet in my face. I said they smelled fine.

She gave me a peck on the cheek. “Thanks. Wait for me after work.”

She went off to face The Boss. I stayed in the Conference Room to cool down. This took a while.

The thing is, Francine’s feet did smell.

The rest of the workday was a total loss.

Francine waltzed into my cubicle after the whistle blew. “It worked!” she said. “I made vice-president. Thanks for giving me the confidence. Let’s have a drink to celebrate. My treat.”

At the bar, Francine put her hand on my knee, practically licked my ear, gave what I thought were significant looks. After a few martinis, I blurted out, “Why don’t we go to a motel or something?”

She looked at me as though I’d vomited.

“With you? But you’re a…”

For some reason, I confessed what’d gotten me so hot about her.

“Oh my god that’s so disgusting,” she said. “And now I gotta worry about foot odor on top of it.”

All I could do was pray that the stuffed shark hanging above our booth would fall on my head and kill me.

Francine said she wouldn’t pay for drinks after all. Instead, she was going to tell her husband what I’d said about her. He’s a pro wrestler or a bodyguard or something like that.

At least he won’t send mixed signals.

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