Hey Beautiful, You’re Fired

Life must be terribly annoying to human secularists.  They are stuck with human beings that God created
who possess certain built-in tendencies, and no amount of social engineering
seems to eradicate those proclivities.  No
matter how many times the, “we know what’s best for you,” crowd insists that we
should act according to their wisdom, we keep on being (gasp)—human.

This past December, an Iowa court ruled that dentist James
Knight was legally entitled to fire a member of his staff because he found her
attractive. He was worried that down the road the relationship might move in a
direction that would harm both his and her marriages. His wife encouraged the
move after discovering that the employee wore ‘distracting’ clothing and that
platonic, though personal, emails had been exchanged outside of work.

Not surprisingly, while unable to attack the legal basis for
termination, the court of public opinion erupted in outrage. Reviews on Yelp
began to slam the dentist and the general tone was that even if legal, Dr.
Knight’s actions were wrong. As one columnist
put it
, “How fundamentally unfair that, when guys prove incapable of
regulating their urges, women get fired.” This would be exactly right if we
were talking about robots instead of human beings.

Truthfully, I have no idea how people actually felt about
Dr. Knight’s case. It would be a mistake to assume that the angry and
vituperative represent a majority opinion. Nevertheless, there was a disturbing
backlash against the dentist.

In my opinion, Dr. Knight made certain mistakes, most of all
not keeping the relationship on a formal, professional level. In today’s
unceremonious office environment that is difficult, but he certainly should
have drawn greater boundary lines. However, in firing his employee,
specifically because of concern for the sanctity of marriage, the dentist was
not breaking new ground. Any number of plots of old TV shows or movies revolved
around a wife’s insistence that her husband’s secretary be an older or plain
woman. Was that an old-fashioned, ridiculous idea? Or, as the number of office
affairs taking place today would suggest, was it a valid concern? Perhaps the
only updating that needs to happen is that not only women, but also men, need
to be concerned about whom their spouses are meeting at work. Even the current
and  popular TV show, Parenthood, had a plot line a few
seasons ago, which revolved around the damage caused by the completely credible,
spontaneous interaction between a young, attractive woman and her older,
happily married boss.  This show, which
is frequently referred to as true to life and believable, unleashed a viewer
response to this episode that showed understanding and empathy for the wife’s
reaction – (paraphrased) “You fired her, of course”.

Is it possible that some of the vitriol directed at Dr.
Knight was because he consulted with his pastor on the firing decision? For
many people today, a psychiatrist, therapist or coffee barista are appropriate
to turn to for advice, while accepting religious guidance is creepy. From where
I’m sitting, he made the only possible decision. Any husband and wife who don’t
address temptation and danger in the workplace have their heads in the sand. Wise
couples set certain behavioral parameters such as not having any non-business
or out of the office communication with someone of the opposite sex unless
their spouse participates as well. They could follow the advice of ancient
Jewish wisdom and refuse any physical contact as well – even a platonic,
sympathetic hug or a hand on the shoulder. All females whether homemaker or
working outside the home, attractive or average looking, need to accept that their
choices in dress will elicit reactions from males. This isn’t a male “weakness”
any more than monthly hormonal shifts are a female “weakness.” It is reality. While
some may enjoy fantasizing about men losing all their unique masculine
tendencies (though many of us would view that with horror) it is no more
realistic than insisting that if we only try hard enough humans should be able
to tap our heels three times and be transported home.





9 thoughts on “Hey Beautiful, You’re Fired”

  1. Susan
    Regarding your response to Deborah, she probably DOES have to “spout the party line.” Her curriculum is Sociology, a non-science that has espoused every leftist ideological belief since its inception. Her university is in Colorado – I scored essays written by Colorado high schoolers for several years, and in one year, every one was a clone of what these scholars had heard in the “documentary” (they were forced to watch as part of science class), Earth in the Balance. The responses were peripherally relevant to the test question they were answering, so it was clear that they believed as long as they answered according to what they believed was PC, they would score well. As long as Deborah stays grounded in reality, she’ll be an asset to her future client base.

  2. I know recently I have become more self conscious about what I am wearing. I look around at the way women are dressed and how men are looking at them, they have no choice if it is in there face. I think about it more now when we are meeting a couple or another male with my husband. Why be a stumbling block, when a higher neck line is all that is required?

  3. This is great Susan, such a great reminder. I know I personally have become more sensitive to what I am wearing when I will be with others of the opposite sex with or without my husband present. It is a good habit to get in to, just not being a stumbling block to others.

  4. Hi James,
    I get the impression that in this case she was an ordinarily, average looking woman. But close quarters in work, if unbreakable boundaries aren’t drawn, leads to a sense of intimacy. Banter, work jokes, etc. tied in with the fact that you never see your co-worker in the morning waking up with drool on their face or have to deal with a kid’s tantrum with them, makes any non-repulsive looking person, look more and more attractive as time passes. I knew my title was a bit misleading when I posted it. While in the TV show I mention, the girl actually is gorgeous, most work affairs are between two average looking people. Closeness breeds attraction, especially when both are, by definition, somewhat dressed up every time they meet.

  5. There are all kinds of men. What it all boils down to here is that men are by nature visual, and their mating instincts are visually activated and aroused. But did this employer hire this qualified lady also because she was attractive? Or was her beauty just a ‘rider,’ a calculated risk? Given the choice of two women with equal qualifications, would you hire the homely one or the eye candy?
    Also, there are all kinds of women. Some of them enjoy stimulating a male’s hormones simply because they can, and they want to prove that they can do it. Maybe she warmed to the task as matters progressed. Perhaps she even accepted employment hoping to seduce him down the road.
    Peering into this situation like a drone from 15,000 feet is difficult and perhaps deceptive. So many relevant facts and motives are under the radar and analysis is after-the-fact. Yet one thing is certain and I have seen it before: women who depart from professional attire, turn up the heat and wear outfits too revealing or seductive, or engage in behavior too provocative for the workplace can be dismissed for doing so. What male can work under such conditions?

  6. Deborah,
    I’m curious to know if you feel that you have to ‘spout the party line’ in your classwork or if you are able to intelligently provide a different perspective. I know this was a battle my children faced in college.

  7. Deborah Seneca

    I have recently begun work on finishing my degree (after 30 years) through Colorado State University’s online program. My focus is Sociology, and I very much appreciate being able to come here to Susan’s Musings on Wednesdays to bask in reality and common sense. When one considers what is being taught in our Universities today, it’s no wonder people see things in such idiotic ways.

  8. Hi Angela,
    I think I would check that out with a labor attorney. As I understand it office dress codes are not illegal as long as they do not discriminate. You could easily describe a dress code that does not bear the chest of either a male or female employee. Remember the style years ago of men’s shirts unbuttoned down two or three buttons? Showing cleavage definitely falls within this guideline. I do not believe that “proper attire” is out of your control especially if it offends you and your husband; it probably offends other workers as well creating a hostile work environment. Just a thought!

  9. Excellent analysis of the situation. Office standards have gone out the window. My husband and I own several real estate & management offices, the barage of cleavage within our offices amazes me and embarasses my husband daily. The “assets” very readily displayed is a distraction & takes away from my respect level as well as many of our potential clients respect levels for the women who choose this dress standard. Unfortunately many do not realize nor care that one assumes your IQ level is low when dressed that way regardless of your formal education they’ve displayed a lack of common sense & professionalism. As we employ only about 20 yet have hundreds of independent contractors, this lack of proper attire is out of our control for the majority of staff. I pray for & pity those who cannot accept the realities of male/female DNA. The denial of basic human nature in secularists drives me bonkers. Brave to write about this topic, I appreciate your wisdom & boldness.

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