EDITED 10/7/2010 10:30pm – before going any further, please read this first.


About two weeks ago, I met with Mike Huber (evil Blog Czar) at Times Union Headquarters. He took me out to get a coffee.

I ordered the Chunky Monkey, and my God it was delicious.

Example of a barista who is very nice but would also very much like it if you did not flirt with her, creepo.

The girl who rang us up…we’ll call her Midge. She was pretty cute. Yeah, I was smitten, and I’m not one of those guys that’s ashamed or embarrassed to admit it. Or I have no shame. Whatever.

But I kept it professional.

It’s one thing if I meet someone and get a chance to talk to them out in the open, but if they’re at work, I feel an obligation not to bug them.

I always operated on the assumption that it was…not inappopriate, per se, but perhaps a lost cause to flirt with someone while they’re working. Am I incorrect in assuming this? My line of reasoning has always been that you have the other (working) person as a captive audience. They’re stuck behind that counter or register, and as such they don’t have an out, so it’s almost unfair and perhaps a bit awkward. Even if they’re friendly, they sort of have to be. They can’t not reciprocate some semblance of friendly banter. In most cases, it’s part of their job.

Well, unless it’s one of those gimmicky restaurants where the staff is intentionally rude to white yuppy customers who look at each other wide-eyed and guffaw while the wait staff insults and degrades them. Which is really, truly screwed up and only a whip and a pair of assless chaps away from a fetish.

Besides, who wants to be hit on at their job? It’s not enough that I have to be on my feet all day giving ungrateful journalists their coffee, but now I have to put up with the advances of local treasure Kevin Marshall? Gag me with a spoon!

So instead of flirting with her, I walked away and sat down to have a chat with Mr. Huber. “What was her name again?” I asked.

“Midge, I think,” he replied.

“Yeah. She was cute.”

“Shut up,” he replied curtly. “You shut your mouth and you dance for me, monkey, and you do it for free because you like it.”


Then I drank my Chunky Monkey as quickly as I could so I could get a refill and a chance to compliment her on her tattoo. It was cool. Chicks with tats rule.

REACT: What are your thoughts on flirting with people when they’re at work? Share your experiences, particularly if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of flirting while you’re at work. Or you can just post something hostile and/or write something snarky about me on your Twitter feed, you big weirdo.

RELATED STORY: Sources – Barista Not Actually Flirting With You (The Onion.com)


56 Responses to Flirt at Work

  1. Tony Barbaro says:

    I always had the feeling they were only flirting because they wanted a big tip..ya know that stripper doesn’t REALLY like you, she likes your money. I guess it doesn’t hurt to flirt with someone at their job, unless you’re makuing their job harder, or are creepy. Some poeple can deliver a flirty line and NOT have the perosn call 911, others just sound creepy.
    One of the best stories…we had bunch of people out to eat, and when the bill came, we all wanted the waiter to split it up according to who was with who…so he went around the table “2 poeple on one bill”..etc…then he came to my friend “Will” who is a little up tight. He looks at him and says “Single?”…to witch I say “Yes he is, do you know anyone?”..the waiter says “I get off at 5…” I haven’t laughed that hard in a while. The look on Will’s face was priceless.
    The waiter did appologize….I gave him an extra tip for making me laugh. Then I gave him Will’s number…Will was not amused. I was.

  2. Chuck Miller says:

    The last time anybody flirted with me while I was at work was … oh wait, we’re talking me. Never ever happened. Not even if I wanted it to. ;)

  3. Will King says:

    When I lived in Albany by the SUNY Albany campus, I used to go to the University Plaza Eckerd (formerly Fay’s, now Rite Aid) and one day noticed this stunning girl working there.

    I’m normally shy, very shy actually, but I talked to her and, yes, even flirted with her.

    Long story short, five years later we’re now married with an almost 7-month-old son! :D

  4. Laurel says:

    In college I worked at a bookstore. One day I was working the register and had to check out a guy buying a super sleazy porn magazine. He told me that there were some reeaaally nice pictures in it several times, then asked for my number. I had to politely decline, which was quite awkward, to say the least. When I handed him his receipt, he told me that I’d change my mind.

    I did change my mind– about flirting with someone on the job. I was fine with it before then, but not anymore. Granted, most jobs don’t involve being forced to discuss wildly inappropriate nudity, but the person working may want to appear professional and being flirty may not fit that image. My advice would be that if you’re interested in someone that’s on the job, be polite, give them your number, and tell them that you’d like to get to know them and to give you a call if they’re interested. Leave the flirting up to the employee.

  5. derryX says:

    I used to work a job where I was stuck behind a counter. I know how boring it can get, so I usually say something ridiculous (in my head: funny) to see what kind of reaction I get.

    For example, when I bought tickets to watch Machette, I asked the girl where I pick up my 3D glasses. It took her a second to realize I was joking, but I laughed, said “just kidding” and moved along.

    I would have said the same thing to anyone because I had already committed to the joke in my mind.

    Alot of time, that gets mis-interpreted as flirting, but I generally don’t consciously flirt because I’m terrible at it.

  6. Rachel says:

    You never know where you’ll meet “the one.” I say tread respectfully on Heather being she is in her workplace. Being friendly is a great way to start.

  7. Jason Purvis says:

    I’m guessing here but if you had said “Do you know who I am? I’m local treasure, Kevin Marshall” and then showed off a dance move or two, you would have gotten her number.

  8. used2begb says:

    While working at a program which lends support to men who are homeless addicts, my job was to offer a certain STD test to program participants. Believe it or not, some where confident/delusional enough to actually ask for my phone number!!!!?????

  9. Gman says:

    Son, there ain’t no boundaries nowhere! Y’know why major league clubs have a bullpen? ‘Cause they gotta keep pitching, and so do you!

    First the girl with the Daisy Dukes and now Heather…If you think the pitch may not work, introduce yourself as Cojones Mahoney instead of Local Treasure Kevin Marshall…that way, if you happen to meet her elsewhere when she is off-duty, you can talk about your brazen doppelganger who’s ruining your chances at true love.

    The only thing I can tell you for absolute sure doesn’t work is to tell her your name is Neville Chamberlain.

  10. Vincent Barr says:

    Not too long ago I went in for an appointment with a new dentist in Albany. I was having a casual conversation with the dental assistant while she probing around my mouth with that rubber square. She was pretty cute, and I was probably at my worst, literally drooling on the blue bib (not her fault).

    Anyway, I threw courtesy to the wayside and asked for her number, and got it. Long story short there was some texting and some interesting conversation post-appointment.

    Then, I sort of, accidentally blew her off.

    I had a follow-up no more than two weeks later, and who was the dental assistant? Yup, she was. I can’t explain how awkward a visit that was.

  11. Sara E. says:

    When I was waiting on tables, I shamelessly used my flirting to get more mula, gotta make that paper!

    Although on a side note, all of that flirting made my co-worker crush all flustered until he finally asked me out one day. We’ve been dating for a year and just moved in together, so you never know where a little flirting might lead!

  12. Roger Green says:

    Huber – COLD!

    the art of the flirt – I think I used to be good at it, actually, but that was a LONG TIME AGO – is just to be friendly and pleasant, without requiring any obligation on the flirtee’s part.

  13. Ski says:

    So long as you’re not a creeper, it’s fine. A lot of LTR folks I know met while the other was on the job. There’s never any harm in asking for a number.

  14. Joseph Cea says:

    The last time I flirted with a girl at work she became my wife. We met at Sports Authority on Long Island and we actually have a picture of the storefront in our wedding album!

  15. CoolMom says:

    @#12: What exactly is “sort of, accidentially blew her off”???

  16. Reverend Alan Rudnick says:

    Huber, too funny – posting that pic on #8!

  17. Chuck Miller says:

    I will say that I have in the past flirted with my dental hygienist. And blogged about it.


    One of the office’s dental hygienists arrived in the doctor’s office, and he called her over to do the preliminary X-rays on my mouth.

    I looked up at the ceiling and started praying to God.

    “Please let the dental hygienist be cute. Please let the dental hygienist be cute. Please let the – ”

    “Okay, Mr. Miller, I’m just going to have you bite down on these films while I take X-rays of your teeth,” the dental hygienist said.

    I looked up again. “Blessed are you, o Lord our God, King of the Universe, who blesses us with cute dental hygienists.”

    And later on:


    Then in walked Helen Brace, the cute dental hygienist.

    “How are we doing today, Mr. Miller?” she asked. “Are you ready for your filling today?”

    “Sure,” I said. “Let’s do it.”

    Mental note. Must think with brain. Not with other organs.

    I sat in the chair.

    “You’ll need to take off your glasses,” Dr. Mohler said.

    I did so, handing them to Helen.

    “Put these on instead,” he said, handing me what looked like a pair of red wraparound shades.

    “What are these for?” I asked.

    “We’re going to be using some bright lights when we work inside your mouth, those shades will protect your eyes and keep you from any sudden movements caused by reactions to bright light.”

    “Okay,” I said, putting the shades on.

    “Great,” Dr. Mohler said. “You look like a superhero with those on.”

    “Really,” I replied. “What kind of super powers could I have with these?”

    “Oh I don’t know, maybe X-ray vision – Mr. Miller, would you please focus over here and stop staring at Miss Brace?”

    Mental note. Those red wraparound shades don’t have any super powers. Especially not X-ray vision. Next time I’ll get the specs that come from the ads in the back of comic books. I hear those work.

  18. Alan – I’d post a pic of Huber in response, but he’s made it clear he doesn’t like traumatizing images posted on the TU blogs.

  19. Naomi Seldin says:

    @Blogmeister Huber: Oh, that’s what that sign is for? I figured it was just the standard “no Kevin Marshalls allowed” sign you see everywhere these days. :)

  20. PW - Paulie WalnutZ says:

    Kevin, Always remember this – picture the hottest woman you can imagine, now look over her head at the sign that says “SOME GUY, SOMEWHERE, IS SICK OF MY SHIT TOO”. The percentage of normal + wonderful + so hot it should be a crime is sadly the same for girls as it is for guys…

  21. Hey! says:

    You say “assless chaps” like it’s a bad thing.

  22. Teri Conroy says:

    Just use your good boy manners….and you might not want to be seen with blogboss again if you really want to make an impression :)

  23. MJ says:

    My dear, I would not suggest flirting with said lady. Not only is she taken, but she is very happy with her gentleman. Also…. Flirting at work… REALLY CREEPY.

    – I say this because I know the young lady, and she is a good friend of mine.

  24. My friends and I have left appropriately aged waitresses our number(s) along with the tip. Needless to say…we never received a call.

  25. u2 says:

    My wife and I met at our work. However the courting process began at Friday happy hours, not office hours. We no longer work together, which is also good, however are still married.

  26. Em says:

    I actually met my (now ex) fiance while I was working at a bookstore in high school.
    Side note: Chunky Monkey and tattooed ladies (and men, let’s not be sexist) rock my socks as well :-D

  27. Fly says:

    Lets be Frank.

    This young woman works in this cafeteria and you flirt but know nothing about her. Maybe she has a BF, maybe a GF. Who knows but it is clear you don’t care too much about her as a person or you would have left her name out of your blog. Now this girl has heard about your blog, now peole ask her, now you are a creeper. You could have easily done your blog with out a name.

    Why not come in with a camera take a picture and add the photo to your blog… ? Sure, you may think it is nothing just a harmless blog but once you added her name you stepped over the counter and put her in the spot light and quite possibly that spot light is making her uncomfortable at her job.

    Does your boss know you did this? Did you get approval from the TU let alone this woman to do this? You have released personal information about this person on the internet (without permission or approval) to the public.

    Your actions are wrong. Sorry but they are. You have placed this woman in an awkward situation.

    -Fly On The Wall

    • You be Frank, I’ll be Kevin and give you a lesson on reading comprehension.

      1. Right, but I didn’t flirt with her. That was the point of the whole post, which sort of negates your whole point. But you keep going, because God forbid you do something like read a post before responding to it.

      2. Is it possible she’s uncomfortable? If so, I’d apologize, as that wasn’t my intent and not really what the blog was about. But, you can trust me, I definitely would have heard by now.

      3. Your overreaction to this is comical bordering on asinine.

  28. Brian says:

    @Cress Ferriera – Perhaps it had something to do with you and your friends needing to get picked up in your mom’s minivan?! Or rather, maybe it is the fact you leave multiple phone numbers! I’m sure it is every waitress’ dream to get gangbanged by the local high school theater club. ;)

    Kevin – Interesting choice of new blog picture! This helps answer the question “what does Kevin Marshall’s O-face look like?”. (Although I’m not quite sure if anyone has ever wanted to ask that question… Must be a preemptive move. Well played sir.)

  29. Fly says:

    Overreaction? Fine.

    Why did you NEED to post her name (more than once to boot)?

    What point did that make? Your story would have been fine with out it. Had you not used it you would not have put her in the spot light.

    I bet you didn’t even ask her to use it, did you?

    Did you even think of how it would make her feel?

    Did you get your friends to ask when she is working next yet?

    Your Blog is your sad attempt of flirting with her. If you can lie and say otherwise then shame on you for not being able to be honest.

    To the young woman behind the counter (if you are reading this), I am sorry for this man’s inability to think about anyone but himself.

    To the rest of the staff of the TU lets forget about this wrong and not bother the woman who is just doing her job. And by “forget about it” I mean stop asking her about it. This is a company that came into the TU to serve not to be harrased, show them the respect they deserve.


  30. Fly says:

    Is it so weird to ask questions? Seems a bit weird you don’t answer them.

    So I ask again:

    Why did you NEED to post her name (more than once to boot)?

    What point did that make? Your story would have been fine with out it. Had you not used it you would not have put her in the spot light.

    I bet you didn’t even ask her to use it, did you?

    Did you at least tell her once you published it or did you just let her get to hear about it from everyone else?

    Did you even think of how it would make her feel?

    Did you get your friends to ask when she is working next yet?

    Nothing weird about asking questions Kevin.
    Just seems as though you like avoiding them.
    Make a snappy come back as I am sure you will but be man enough to answer the questions honestly.

    • Oh Jesus Christ. I know I’m setting a bad precedent by responding to every weirdo that makes a phony, trumped up charge against me, but here we go.

      Why did you NEED to post her name? What point did that make?
      So I could tell the story. See, stories have names, and sometimes I write things and go “I think the name was so and so. Anyway..” As far as I knew, it wasn’t/isn’t her real name, but maybe it was. Who gives a s***? Other than you trying to look noble and trying to score points. Thing is, though, you just look crazy and oversensitive.

      I bet you didn’t even ask her to use it, did you?
      Nope! Because I don’t know her and that wasn’t what the post was about. Did you ask her before you rode in on your horse to defend the lady’s honor, Sir Whinealot?

      Did you at least tell her once you published it or did you just let her get to hear about it from everyone else?
      I didn’t even know if she WOULD hear about it. I figured if she did, she wouldn’t mind, because it wasn’t about her and I’m not obsessed with her unlike some people who won’t let this non-issue go (ergo you).

      Did you even think of how it would make her feel?
      Being told that I thought she was cute but didn’t flirt with her because it’d be inappropriate? My GOD, why didn’t I think of such a thing? Maybe we should go on CNN to discuss this great wrong.

      Did you get your friends to ask when she is working next yet?
      No, because again, I don’t care. I get the feeling you do, though. Maybe I can find out for you? Oh… wait, you can’t even get in the building without proper credentials and a proximity card, and only if you’re approved for that area. So nevermind. Go about your business, if you have any.

      Make a snappy come back as I am sure you will
      Sorry I’m smarter than you. :/ If I was dismissive of your questions and concerns, it’s only because they’re kinda ridiculous. Especially since at least one person that knows her already commented on this and didn’t have your reaction to it. At all. Nevermind that thirty comments, one day, and thousands of page views later and you’re alone in jumping to this conclusion.

      All snark aside, I’ll give you some sage advice to take out of this: women are not victims that need you to defend them, especially when the offense only exists in your imagination. In fact, a lot of them find that REALLY REALLY annoying. Don’t feel too bad, because plenty of dudes do it. But trust me, despite your intentions – which if you are being serious are no doubt noble – it’s unnecessary and a bit demeaning.

  31. Janis says:


    So I am sitting down enjoying a delicious Mocha at a cafe and over hear this conversation. It’s about a Blog that has upset some people. I hear just enough to make out a name and hear Times Union. The Newspaper right down the road from where I am ejoying my drink. As I listen in (I know I am bad for doing so) my curiosity over takes me and I google away to find this. Now I see why people were upset.

    Your story tells a tell of two men walking into a cafe and seeing a pretty young girl behind the counter (or cafeteria not sure which). You find the girl attractive make some jokes at a table.

    “What was her name again?” I asked.

    “XXX, I think,” he replied.

    “Yeah. She was cute.”

    “Shut up,” he replied curtly. “You shut your mouth and you dance for me, monkey, and you do it for free because you like it.”

    End Quote

    I am sure you cleaned up your conversation for the Blog so as not to look like the creeps you probably are and then instead of asking the girl out you turn to your Blog and ask the public if it would be ok had you asked her out.

    By doing so you told everyone her name, that she is cute (again being two guys you probably said more) and where she works.

    I can see why that might upset someone (don’t know why you cant). Being a girl who has had to deal with creepy guys and serve them I can understand. Then to Blog about them on a Newspapers website using the name of the place they work at and their own name… wow you are such an insensitive twit.

    Sorry but girls have it hard enough with out some guy pointing to where they work and telling everyone online (in so many words) cute girl works here! Why not just place an ad on craigslist so guys can come and oogle her and make her uncomfortable at work, cause I sure she doesn’t get enough of that.

    As I read the comments here you don’t even know what you have done… Such an arrogant male thing to do. So what if people need a key card to get in as you say. There are still plenty of people with those key cards who can bug the “cute” girl and gawk at her making her feel uncomfortable. Do you know everyone in the building? Can you say for sure she won’t be harrased?

    I am sure you have some nice female bashing anti-fem. things you would like to say but grow up and do the respectful thing and take her name off it, you never needed it in the first place. Rewrite your blog, the concept is good but the execution is poor.

    Next time you and your buddy boy wanna talk about a “cute” girl who has to serve you because it’s her job think about her as a person and maybe she doesn’t want to be a character named in your blog.

    A comment to the website allowing this guy to post… if a man in your office made comments like this guy did and singled out a female co-worker would that be ok? Basically telling the entire office her name, where she worked, how “cute” she was and should or could he flirt with her as if she was just a prop in his story or a thing to play with. Or is this ok just because she works in the building cafe and not really as Times Union employee?


  32. The Tallest says:

    I have to agree with Fly on this one. Let’s see, you put not only the real name of someone, but provided the name of where she works AND you even provided a detail on her physical appearance regarding the tattoo being on her arm. Considering this individual is a private citizen who is not in the public eye, I think you actually owe her a most heart-felt apology.

    Let’s face it, we’re dealing with the common populace here. I am sure that people have actually gone to her place of business looking for her, asking for her by name. And what did she do to deserve that except for looking ‘cute’ and working at a cafeteria that you happen to frequent?

    Further, I think being the target of your napoleonically charged affections is far, far more demeaning than being defended by some ‘dude’ who might actually have more insight into women than you do.

    Frankly, your reaction to The Fly is highly defensive and very often when people get that defensive, it’s because they generally know that they are in the wrong and just can’t admit it.

    Local treasure? More like local harasser.

    (And seriously, this is Albany… bragging about being a treasure here is like bragging about being the biggest turd in the toilet. Congratulations! You win!)

    • You’re both right, and I have to apologize to the person in question. I’ve removed her name from the blog.

      It wasn’t my intent to embarrass. I honestly thought that the original name used was me mis-remembering her name (I didn’t think I’d get it right), and the actual goal of the post was to bring about that it’s actually inappropriate in my opinion to flirt with people while they’re at work, particularly in this type of a situation.

      My sincerest apologies to any and all that were offended, including those that I attacked in my defensiveness.

  33. Get Real © says:

    Wow, I guess it is true. People will always find something to be offended about. Sheesh. :|

  34. derryX says:

    Because my first go at being a pro-blogger back in 2004-2006 resulted in me unknowingly sabotaging my career for actions not unlike your original post, I have been actually enjoying the art of protecting the identities of the anonymous on my new blog. It poses a creative challenge that I use to add further depth to some of my epic stories.

    I think the story was funny, and would argue that the identity of the person and location where they work is inconsequential, but even that kind of argument would bring into question the whole “why would you do that” thing. I think by changing it and apologizing, you have done the right thing.

  35. used2begb says:

    In my opinion. If she is an attractive, adult female, she has some experience/tolerance with men flirting with her and this really is not that serious to her.

  36. AnotherAmanda says:

    Well how about flirting with someone you can’t even see? I work in an office situation similar to a call center, and have had quite a few men not only ask for my status, but even ask me if I would meet them for lunch or dinner sometime. And this is without them even knowing what I look like! Needless to say, I’ve had quite a few friends tell me I should start charging $1.99/minute for my phone calls.

  37. Natalie says:

    Kevin, in my opinion a lot of these negative responses towards you are ridiculous but everyone has a right to their own opinions and whether or not one agrees or disagrees in a person’s opinion is not what takes precedence…People need to have the tolerance and wisdom to simply respect one’s free will to speak their own mind. There are always going to be people that either take what you say way to seriously or simply freak out and can’t handle it. This is a blog! Your blog! I don’t think the apology was necessary and to me what makes a good blogger is someone who doesn’t hold back. Ultimately I think it makes reading it much more interesting and honest. Keep up the good work you’re stuff is great.

    • Right, but speaking one’s mind doesn’t hold up if it’s done in a manner that is invasive or hurts someone, even if unintentionally. While I appreciate the support, I still have to take responsibility for my error. Even if it was innocent and not done maliciously.

  38. Natalie says:


    I see what you are saying and if you truly believe it was an error then so be it. I just wonder if you came to this realization on your own or if it was greatly influenced by the negative responses.

  39. Mickey says:

    Are you flirting with Kevin, Natalie? ;-)

  40. Fly says:

    So, you are sorry. I would love to think you really were sorry and learned something but after reading all of what you said to me in your blog your apology stinks of you being forced into it. Did the girl report you? Did someone slip this blog to your boss? Something must have happened because there is no way you just realized you were wrong.

    As far as defending anyone I would rather stand up for a stranger and hope open day others would follow my lead to make this world a bit kinder. You probably would be the kind of person to turn and walk away from a crime let alone stand up to an abusive boyfriend who is hitting his girlfirend.

    Part of me really hopes you did learn from this but sadly I think you are just doing what you are told. “Say you are sorry Kevin” from your boss.

    So to the person who really made a difference here, who forced this man to say sorry… thank you. It is nice to know that some people care.

    • Fly – I don’t work at the Times Union, so no. I did it all on my own accord.

      You probably would be the kind of person to turn and walk away from a crime let alone stand up to an abusive boyfriend who is hitting his girlfirend.


      You’re still an ass, especially for trying to make this about you. Dude, go get your own drama instead of trying to take part in and/or inflate that of others. Or find just SOMETHING other than this to occupy your time, because your obsession over this – A WEEK LATER – is still baffling.

  41. Natalie says:

    Oh yeah Mickey…you got me. But he’d have to wear a T-shirt with that priceless pic from M Huber along with the text “Local treasure? More like local harasser.” : )

    Mr. Tallest would be an excellent local political commercial producer during campaign season to come up with something like that.

    The pic & local treasure comment were quite funny & think it would make a great T-Shirt. If someone put my face up like that in addition to a hilarious insult you’d bet I’d want to remember that as a keepsake to look back on and laugh at.

    And lastly to the wonderfully entertaining Fly,there is nothing more revealing and down right creepy with your ” -Fly on the wall ” closings.

  42. @Brian
    I actually have my license, so my mom wouldn’t pick me up in a minivan. Probably because my family would never drive minivans. And my friends and I are high school seniors and we do what we do to have fun. And that doesn’t involve being lousy to people that are younger than we are. And as a part of the theater club, gang banging isn’t exactly on our agendas. Thanks.

  43. Dental Girl says:

    Yeah, I always hate it when people flirt with me at work becuase I have to be nice to them and I always think they get the wrong idea. Very good post.

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