How to tell if people in your office are secretly shagging
We’re onto you
People spend at least 40 hours a week in the office. They spend more time with their colleagues than they do their best friends, or families. And they are only human – the flesh is weak and the flesh of others is seductive.
It happened, once, unexpectedly. It was a leaving do, it was the end of the night, and suddenly they were getting handsy in an Uber. Then it happened again, and they sort of wanted it to. By the third time it happens they both know it’s going to and they’re looking forward to it. One of them is wearing new underwear for the occasion.
Except – befuddled by all that lust – they forget that their colleagues spend 40 hours a week with them too. And those colleagues noticed. Oh ho – they have noticed.
They’re wearing the same clothes
Funny thing about Claire, right. Usually, she’s happy to make jokes about having a mad one when she comes in wearing the clothes from the night before – it’s part of her image! She’s wild! But on Friday mornings, she often arrives wearing Thursday’s clothes, and she’s never that happy when you flag it up. Once, you pointed out that her oversized sweatshirt looks a bit like Jake’s – without really thinking – and she shot you down in front of everyone and was really rude about Jake. Now you’re thinking.
Next Thursday she brings a weekend bag to work even though you know she’s in town this weekend as it’s her sister’s birthday. Jake appears in a Facebook photo tagged by a random member of the party.
The Christmas party
It starts with a little too much eye contact on the dancefloor. They think no one’s noticed but fast-forward half an hour and they are getting with each other in front of everyone – even though they PROMISED each other they wouldn’t. But come Monday, they’ll act like it was some hilarious one-off that will “obviously never happen again”. It’s happening several times a week.
They leave work at the same time or arrive the same time in the morning
“We just bumped into each other on the Tube!”, they’ll say.
You live in Mile End, Jenny, so it’s strange that you keep commuting on the Victoria Line.
Or they arrive exactly one minute separately and think they’re fooling everybody
“Morning!” they say to each other smugly. You had morning sex, you dirty dogs.
They break up with their real-world boyfriend or girlfriend
The sexual tension has not gone unnoticed. There is a lot of eye contact, there is a lot of teasing, there is a lot of laughing. But Kate has a boyfriend and they’ve been going out for years. Kate loves her boyfriend so much. Strangely the more she smiles coquettishly at James, the more she talks about her boyfriend. It’s almost like she feels guilty or something.
And suddenly six months after everyone has been watching them fuck each other with their eyes and their giggles, Kate doesn’t have a boyfriend any more. James takes her for coffee on the first day she tells the office. She’s a bit wobbly and shocked. He’s such a good friend.
When the moment’s right, they are going to start banging.
They get a lot of texts
One of them picks up their phone, chuckles, types and puts it down. Seconds later the other does the same. All. Day.
One of them buys the other lunch and there’s never a conversation about paying it back
It’s just not normal for someone to cover another person’s lunch and not want to see that £5 again. Especially not Simon – he chased you for that pint you owed him for weeks. There’s no way he’d just buy Alice a Pret salad and not expect to get the money back by Friday. Unless he’s shagging Alice.
One of their parents likes a post on Facebook
One of them told their mum about “this person from work”. Mum busts them for everyone.
They mention specific details about their room or family
It’s Joanna’s housemate’s birthday, and she has bought speakers. She brings them to work and is wrapping them at her desk. “Oh, Dylan has those in his room!” Sarah says brightly, passing with a cup of tea. There is a beat. Everyone blinks. Sarah goes pale and mumbles something about needing some more milk and scuffles off and everyone has so much to talk about for the rest of the week and it is fantastic.
They’re really close with each other’s out of work friends
“How do you know Charlie!” Amy is asking. Fuck. You thought you’d hidden it from your wall. Does that mean it still comes up as notifications? Or did she just see it in your ‘mutual friends’? Now you have to come up with a convoluted story about how he came to the office and you had a chat and he’s just really eager, it’s so weird? Amy isn’t buying it. Untag the photos before she sees them.
If you make a joke about past relationships or shagging, they’ll both get VERY silent and annoyed
From across the room Liz, who inexplicably knows all the office gossip, is giving you a filthy look and shaking her head frantically. You’re still not getting it, a ghost of a smile on your lips, giving Andy some grief about someone he pulled at the Christmas party last year. Andy is not laughing. He usually likes this story because it makes him sound like a legend. You sit down and there are 24 Gchat notifications from Liz, who is calling you an idiot, and going to comfort a tearful Melissa, who overheard and is now crying in the toilets over something that happened in December 2014.
They care about each other’s route home
It’s been a nightmare of a week and you’re all stuck working late for the third night in a row. It’s raining, it’s dark and all of a sudden Rich is overly worried about how Jenny is going to get home. Is she going to be safe walking five minutes to the Tube? Is she sure? But didn’t she hear about the random mugging 50 miles away? It’s starting to get a bit weird now – this conversation has been going on for a bit too long tbh. It’s getting really awkward. Rich is talking about how there might be copycat muggings. Maybe Rich should walk her to the Tube. And then get on it as well to make sure she gets to her front door safely.
An older colleague sees the pair of them sitting next to each other. He doesn’t say anything.
One of them’s late and forgets to tailor their excuse
“Sorry boss! There was a signal failure on the Central line.” You live in Camden, Mark, so.
They get fucking weird when you play the question game at the pub
Nobody panic. Nobody make eye contact. Nobody knows. It’s going to be OK.
If they do something together they make it really obvious that it’s innocent which makes it obvious it is not
We’re just going for lunch. We’ll be ordering off separate menus and we’ll keep the talk work-related. Ha ha you don’t want to come! You’d so bored! BYE OK GOTTA GO RUN
One of them goes out of their way to really avoid the other in a way that just becomes really obvious
Most mornings, they nip out for a coffee together. Except after certain nights, maybe an office party, or a Thursday when everyone went out for drinks you notice they’re both looking a bit bleary-eyed actually. And they won’t do the routine. Instead, one of them will get up and invite a different colleague.
If they accidentally touch they jump back
They make the opposite of too much eye contact, an obviously low amount, when they are being scrutinised. That, everyone can see. We’ve already made the call, Harriet, and now all you have to do is prove it with your low gaze and awkward avoidance of Mitchell’s hand. Bingo.
Always giving each other eye contact across the office
It lasts just that beat too long to be innocent.
One of them gets the other a birthday present
You have long thought they were shagging. Now you are worried they are in love.
The end of the night
And if you can’t tell by now, this one’s fucking obvious. It’s a leaving do, and the evening is winding down. And then comes the most tense moment of the night: there’s five people who all live in totally separate London boroughs yet here are these two, making a brave dash in the same direction. They don’t talk about it, they’ve not even given each other a look. They both just know.
“Don’t you live in Peckham?”, Craig asks, “hang on, I swear it’s quicker to get the 24 bus home, from here. It’s this way”. Damnit, Craig, we know, we all know. They’ve been at it for months. Let them slip off quietly, enjoy their night, and come in tomorrow with the same old act, staggering their entrances and avoiding eye contact. Let them have it.