We are warned again and again of the complications workplace romances can create, particularly when they end. But just where are typical working slobs, who spend most of their waking hours on the job, supposed to meet someone?
These affairs become exponentially more perilous when one is: a) married; and b) a public office holder.
It’s called public life for a reason. A politician is sort of famous, and also sort of lonely. Hours are long.
The family is either on display (during campaigns) or left behind (the rest of the time). They’ve already paid the price in divided attention and countless absences. And then gossip becomes news.
Northwest Territories Premier Floyd Roland is currently under investigation for his extramarital affair with Patricia Russell, a legislature clerk.
As usual, our homegrown sex scandal is lighter on the sex than is the norm in U.S. politics.
To take only the most recent example from down south, California assemblyman Michael Duvall was caught by a live microphone boasting of his sexual adventures with a younger woman bearing no resemblance to his wife.
Even in the overheated U.S. media climate, however, there has to be a “so what?” to the story.
Lest the press, opposition politicos and public be accused of simply nosing into someone’s private life, the accused must be guilty of something more than getting some, even though the sex is the only reason anyone is interested.
The “so what?” was easily furnished in this case: Duvall’s alleged extracurricular playmate was also a lobbyist for an energy company with business before his committee.
He also scored bonus points for hypocrisy, since he built a career as a conservative “family values” stalwart, an irony that’s becoming so commonplace it’s beginning to lose its shock.
Up north, the “so what?” is trickier to come by. The premier’s accusers are alleging Russell passed confidential info to Roland. So far, the evidence is scant, but the allegation is sufficient to keep the inquiry going and remind voters regularly about his philandering.
Keep all this in mind the next time your own workplace hook-up becomes the subject of mortifying office gossip. It could always be worse.