In the course of reading a number of representative examples of this genre, I developed great sympathy, mingled with alarm, for the plight in which the most circumspect male executive could find himself today in all innocence.
What is a chap to do if he wants to spend some quality time socially with that lovely young thing (strike that!) with that capable woman in the office down the hall without risking his career?
Safe sex, my friend, begins long before it reaches the bedroom stage. You must protect your job, your reputation and bank account by strictly observing the new rules of relations between the sexes.
Drawing on extensive reading of many principles proposed and/or adopted, on complaints set forth in lawsuits and on my own past experience in echelons high and low of the business world, I have formulated a pre-dating agreement for the wary male executive to present to the prospective datee for her signature when popping the question.
I highly recommend that you use this form of protection (or something akin to it) to prevent sexually transmitted litigation.
To (name of person here) From (your name here)
This is to notify you of my wish to meet you outside the office on a social type of occasion generally known as a "date," with the following understandings: Should you freely choose to accept this invitation, we will meet in a well-lighted public establishment such as a restaurant, not located in a hotel. In the course of lunch or dinner, our conversation will be confined to such topics as business, sports, G-rated films, shows on Public Television and the like. Strictly taboo will be the territory of possible sexual content, including, but not limited to, double entendres, Madonna or any anatomical references below the neck.
If we find our time together pleasant, we may or may not jointly decide to adjourn to more private premises such as your place or mine with the sole commitment of more coffee and conversation.
In these intimate surroundings, should the issue of physical contact between us arise, vocal assent from you must precede each and every step I may contemplate. Beyond this point it is not necessary to dwell. But for the record let it be clearly understood that throughout the above proceedings any negative response on your part shall not affect your chances for future promotion. The fact that it is within my power to blight your career is totally irrelevant.
If these terms and conditions are acceptable to you, please affix your signature below and return this document to me, after which we can discuss time and place.
A friend to whom I showed this agreement pointed out that it could be perceived as having sexist overtones inasmuch as it does not take into consideration a reverse case in which a female might take the initiative in certain actions.
After pondering this likelihood in my own situation, I came up with the definite answer: "I should be so lucky!"
Mr. Sutton is a communications consultant in Roslyn Heights, N.Y.