Propinquity refers to proximity to others and the resulting formation of friendship or romantic attachment to those we often encounter. The word burst into this writer’s life years ago. The delivery vehicle of this new vocabulary word was an old television series, “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.”

Dobie was delusional in his general abilities as well as in his aspirations. Hence, the title of the show. He always fixated on unattainable cuties who considered him in a class lower than a cockroach. But the clueless fellow persisted in his ill-fated pursuits. The only girl who was madly in love with him was Zelda.

Zelda is the one who expounded on the reason she and Dobie should be together. Propinquity. She stuck to Dobie like a leech. In an appropriate way, of course, because television was not the see all orgy fest of today. But Dobie only had eyes and yearnings for the unattainable girls rather than the willing girl in hand.

The tendency of humans to connect on a deeper level to those they interact with often may be one explanation for why some folks engage in office romances. Of course, the more obvious reason, be it a male or a female, they allow their inner hound dog to take over common sense.

All too often, when romance enters the equation, everything else tends to take a backseat. More often than not, such entanglements cause the participants and their “loved ones” a truckload full of problems of their own making.

There is a reason most companies frown on and even have written policies regarding office romances. After the hot flash of lust wanes, you still have to work with or near each other. Awkward. In some cases, the couple disentangles themselves of their existing obligations and get married to each other.

Rules are mere suggestions, which explains why some people tend to ignore company rules. We spend half our lives in the workplace. Consequently, it is human nature to open up and form friendships with some of the folks we see every day. We said some folks because even in a working environment, some humans are barely tolerable. A few let down their guard, and those workplace “friendships” evolve into romantic entanglements. Never mind that one or both parties may be married to unsuspecting others. That is a mere road bump.

As an observer, office romances provide a particularly awkward form of entertainment. Everyone, willing or not, becomes that dreaded “Nosey Neighbor.” The situation brings out the worst in everyone. Some salivate while donning the mantle of Nosey Neighbor and relish the drama of illicit behavior. How subtle does the couple think they are when they dash off to the men’s restroom together or return from a long lunch break offsite?

Our office received special attention from the Looney Love Fairy.

We had an attractive 40-year old female, going through a weird mid-life crisis. She envied her 12-year old daughter for her youth and proceeded to dress like her. Was she hoping that copying her child’s attire would include the appearance of a younger version of herself? Under her suits, of which the skirts barely hid whatever assets she hoped to display subtly or not, her scoop-necked tops were a revelation of “bubelinas” (Zorba the Greek’s term for mammary glands).

The woman would lean across her immediate supervisor’s desk and treat the poor ensnared, married fool to a clear line of sight from globes to more nether regions. If another guy sat across the desk from our hapless hero, his treat was the barely covered rumble seat.

Another loving couple, who eventually married, entertained us with shouting matches that included terms of unique endearments. Most of those terms centered around F-bombs. They must have participated in a crash vocabulary program designed for modern-day lovebirds.

Depending on your perspective and experiences, propinquity is a double-edged sword. But sometimes, we may meet and cultivate lifelong friendships.


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