with this job, i thee wed...sort of...
it was when we were huddled next to each other behind the customer service counter on a friday night, laughing quietly about a joke only the two of us got that i realized i'd become my manager's 'office wife.'
you've all heard the term 'office wife' (or 'office spouse'), no? it's come into play in the last few years as a way to define the close relationships we may form with coworkers of the opposite sex, be they superiors or just someone we share "god, can you believe he's wearing that?" looks with each other from across the room. kinda like pam and jim, but without the benefit of some cleverly written dialogue and a little less pronounced sexual tension.
so, without a bridal shower where i was bestowed with wonderful gifts, a ceremony with vows i'm compelled to uphold and no honeymoon adventures, my manager and i silently and easily slipped into our roles as platonic husband and wife.
it's easy, this relationship we've formed. a diversion. when we simply must share with someone some silly tale, a customer's comment so beyond the norm, or simply a point in our day no one else would understand, we hunt the other down. we're the first point of contact for the other on the evenings we're scheduled to work together.
maybe it was destined to take place from the beginning (cue the sweeping music and picture two people running through the shelves until we 'meet cute' in the nonfiction section). we're roughly the same age, married with young children outside of work, and share a variety of common interests. unlike the younger staff (who, in essence, could be our children), he understands when i pull out some obscure reference and apply it to my tale, and together, we'll roll our eyes at those who don't.
and while it's all blatantly platonic, it's safe to say he'd probably be someone i'd flirt with outside of the confines mentioned above. cripes, who am i kidding? we're flirty now. there's sometimes a pause from whatever it is we're doing when the other passes by to smile, toss out the casual but interested "how are you? wanna grab some coffee during break?" kind of thing. and when we talk, yes, sometimes the conversation is peppered with as many double entendre as a cheesy aerosmith song (i mean, you, dear reader, have come to love me cause my deuces are wild, right?).
flirting, i think, can't be avoided in an 'office marriage' simply because, if you have the unspoken ground rules in place (it doesn't go beyond the work environment, the occasional mention of 'real life' spouse is made in conversation, no creepy touching, etc.), you can toe that line a bit. when we talk about work issues, it goes without saying the other understands. that isn't necessarily the case with our actual spouses, who may simply not be interested or may require a tremendous amount of backstory to hopefully appreciate our on-the-job issues.
eventually we may 'divorce,' one of us will move onto another job. a void will have to be filled. the way i look at it, i'm a pretty good 'office wife.' because this is a part time gig for me, he's free to see other women when i'm not scheduled to work. i don't hold grudges. i'm filled with witty banter. i possess other wonderful (though as of yet unseen by you) attributes. i'm a pretty damn good wife, real and pretend.
but next time i do this pretend thing, i want a bridal shower. i desperately need new towels.