Attention media bosses: The summer has ended and your intern guard has changed. But maybe there's one apprentice you'd like to keep, hmmm, providing regular "feedback" to? Jessica Wakeman has been that intern, and she has some tips.
When Wakeman was a 22-year-old fresh out of NYU journalism school, she had a fling with a 37-year old magazine editor who had taken a particularly keen interest in her when he was her boss. (Wakeman, you'll recall, kind of has a thing for authority.) The earnest, feminist Huffington Post veteran details the whole relationship on TheFrisky.com: Mentoring, instant-messenger chats, near-simultaneous breakups, then movies, plays, dinner, walks on the Brooklyn Bridge, DVDs at his place, a momentous hookup. Wakeman was in love. The editor was not.
The guy was, Wakeman realized later "using me for what he wanted," as all her friends had warned. Kind of very predictable, that. But with a few modest behavioral changes, said former boss could have avoided being a complete ass about things. To wit:
- Don't continue sleeping with someone who is clearly really into you if that person is a shameful secret from your friends. At least not for that long. A month or two, tops. "He didn't introduce me to anyone as his girlfriend. Meanwhile, I absolutely considered him my lover, if not my boyfriend... He didn't introduce me to his friends; he didn't introduce me to his parents. That is what made me feel like a "Young Career Woman As Whore."
- Don't pretend the person is a stranger if she/he works at your company, and if you continue sleeping with that person. Wakeman ended up hired by the magazine's online division. The lover didn't pull any strings to get her the gig. He also didn't bother to acknowledge he knew her. "I'd sleep over at his apartment and we'd fool around and then we'd both be at the office as if we were two strangers... the fact that he didn't acknowledge me at work began to make me feel like crap."
- Cut it off if she/he says "I love you" (and you don't feel the same). This is one of the few things Mystery Editor did right: When Wakeman said she loved him, in a phone call, he immediately admitted he wasn't in love and said things should end. Which, with that sort of discrepancy of emotions, they totally should, and not in a drawn out way.
- But don't go off about the other woman you love more, right after your intern/lover says "I love you" (and you don't feel the same): "He wasn't in love with me, he said, and, in fact, he had gone on a few dates with a woman his own age and was falling in love with her." Ugh. Pointless stabbing someone in the gut, much?
- No follow-up lunch! What's the point? Especially when you've moved on. Wakeman met up with her ex after she noticed on Facebook that he'd gotten engaged to that other woman, one year down the line. "We met for lunch and he told me they were in love and they wanted to marry and have kids... I have not spoken to him since that lunch... I've washed my hands clean of him."
Wow, don't flings just sound so sexy after reading all that?