I am a hormonal young woman and was craving an easy hookup, so I tempted fate (and horny dudes) on the Internet. Fate (and the dudes) took the bait, and of the hundreds of responses I received, one stood out because he accidentally attached a professional summary. I found out it was a man who works in my field, and is a fair number of years my senior. We met up; we hooked up; we became friends. He and I are both unmarried and unattached, but neither of us wants to move have a romantic relationship with each other. I have now begun to date closer to my age group, so I don’t want to share playtime with him anymore, but haven’t told him yet.
Being entry-level in the field, I could really use a mentor and have excellent access to this guy. I really don’t want to exploit him or make him feel rejected or awkward, and I want to be as professional as possible to keep suspicions of “secret lovers” at bay. Two questions: 1) Is it OK to pursue his help with my career, maybe in a formal informational interview or by asking for introductions? And 2) How do I go about this tactfully? Connect with him on LinkedIn and send a formal email to his work address?
– Babe in Bossland
I can just hear the kind of glowing recommendation your hookup can give you: “Juliette has a wide-ranging skill set. She’s always ready for action and throws herself passionately into any task. She has the flexibility to be considered for a variety of positions.” You have a rather naive idea of what a mentor is and how you get one. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, in her book “Lean In,” says she hates when young women, some she barely knows, ask if she will be their mentor, the way little girls ask each other to be best friends. She writes of women your age: “We need to stop telling them, ‘Get a mentor and you will excel,’ Instead we need to tell them, ‘Excel and you will get a mentor.’ ”
You have exceled with this older man, all right, but not in a way that he can convey to his colleagues. Sure, you selected him to relieve your urges not just because of his personal skills but also his professional ones. Given that, it would have been fine for you to have engaged in a little pillow talk about your mutual vocation. But now that your assignations are done, you can’t expect he’ll welcome your showing up on his work networks or at his office. He knows you as someone who’s on the make, but in the wrong context.
However, since you say you two have become friends, you should meet him for drinks and explain that while you’ve really enjoyed your adventures, you’re looking for something more permanent with someone your own age. Then say you’d like to stay in touch. If he agrees, when you get together for lunch, at some point ask his advice on how to move up in your field. For the future, keep in mind it’s better not to look for a mentor when you’re both out moonlighting.
I am a new mother of a lovely 4-month-old baby girl. My husband has been curious about my lactation, and I allowed him to taste some (from a bottle that I pumped). Now, he wants more. He thinks this sweet, fatty milk product would be perfect for a creamy mushroom pasta sauce. This disgusts me. Turning breast milk into food for adults feels a bit like making margaritas from my sweat. My husband argues that since we have plenty of supply and it wouldn’t hurt the baby, I should just let him try it and get over my repulsion. Am I being unreasonable?
— Lactating Lady
Your husband sounds insane. I cannot imagine using breast milk for anything but lobster bisque. Take heart that your husband is not the only one with culinary designs on his wife’s lactation. A New York chef made breast-milk cheese (“strangely soft, bouncy” according to critic Gael Greene in the Daily Beast). However, it’s no longer in production, not just because of weaning, but because the health department rendered a negative verdict. Tell your husband you’ll stick to your breasts’ providing dinner service exclusively for the kid, but you’d love to have his creamy mushroom pasta. Say that he can find the necessary ingredients in the dairy aisle.
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