Friday, March 7, 2014

Impure coincidence

Random Friday Trivia: at my last job, I worked at two completely different addresses, as the company was first located in an office building in Bethesda and then later moved to one in Glover Park. At my current job, I have also worked at two completely different addresses, as the agency was headquartered in Rosslyn when I came on to the contract, and later got BRAC'ed to Crystal City.

That's a minor coincidence, but here's one that's odder: the second office I worked in at my last job was within walking distance of a gentlemen's club. And because I was in my early 20's, and most of my co-workers were also heterosexual males in the same age cohort, we often made jokes about availing ourselves of its proximity. We never, ever followed through on these jokes, I hasten to add. But it was all but impossible for us not to acknowledge that we were aware of it.

The second office I've worked in at my current job is also within walking distance of a gentlemen's club. These establishments are not so commonplace around here that this is an unremarkable happenstance, if you ask me. It's kind of crazy. Of course, the major difference between the laidback, loosey-goosey, young and hungry startup environment and the buttoned-down, conservative DoD directorate corporate cultures is that at my present gig NO ONE talks about the nudie joint lunch specials, ironically or otherwise.

Or so I always assumed! This week we had a staff meeting, the first one in I couldn't tell you how long, and my government boss mentioned that one of the longtime members of the team was moving on to another opportunity and we would be having a farewell luncheon for her in the next week or two. My boss said that she had the venue for the luncheon picked out but the name of it was escaping her, Crystal City Something ...

The gentlemen's club in the neighborhood is called, innocuously enough, the Crystal City Restaurant. I know this, so of course it occurred to me to make a sly comment about it, but I also know my audience (as well as my proper place as a contractor) so I held my tongue. I rarely speak out of turn in staff meetings, anyway. But to my surprise, more than one of my older male colleagues started in on, "Whoa, are you thinking of the Crystal City Restaurant? I hear the prime rib is surprisingly good!" To my even greater surprise, my government boss reacted with a fairly good-natured mixture of amusement and horror and a definitive, "No!" indicating that she herself knew the CCR by reputation. Ultimately it was determined that the luncheon will be at the Crystal City Sports Pub, so at least that's settled.

I always assume that my fellow office drones at this particular workplace are even more bred-in-the-bone dronelike than your average wage-slave. Despite the fact that there is something pointedly awkward about witnessing some government employees needling my boss with essentially the same jokes that I had already thought of and deemed inappropriate, it's at least a little heartwarming to know that we're all human beings after all.

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