Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Office & The Work Boyfriend

I've been obsessed, ob-sessed, with NBC's The Office. I've been Faux-voing all of the episodes each week, as well, I've been watching the webisodes (brilliant I say, brilliant) and have re-played, analyzed and re-watched the Pam and Jim kiss about a million times (well, three). And I'm wondering why I'm so overwhelmingly enthralled by the show? I know it's because the environment is just so much like my day-to-day job (not the people, just the idea of the job) that I find so much humour in how ridiculous life can be at Dunder-Mifflin.

And then at the cottage this weekend, I kept referencing The Office wherever I possibly could. We were sitting around at the dinner table talking about movies and I mentioned Desert Island (My five movies? It's so hard to choose because it's not only movies that you like but movies you can watch over and over again. I picked The Godfather II, Badlands, Tully, Underworld [I know!] and Unforgiven). In the end, that sort of spiraled into a discussion of other movies, but no one at the table got how funny it was that Jim's girlfriend picked Legally Blonde as her first movie (and not a bad choice by my estimation, but still...).

Absolutely stunned by the BBC version and delighted by the Christmas episodes, the American show resonates perhaps more because I relate so much to the Pam/Jim storyline. Long before my present job, before I went to graduate school and found a love for all things online, I worked as a receptionist at a big financial company here in Toronto. It was my first job out of university. It was awful. But I had a work boyfriend, not unlike Jim, and he was awesome—the very first instance of my abuse of work email, and most certainly not the real boyfriend I had at the time (who, by chance, also worked there). And I miss him to this day.

It was that stereotypical best-friend, eat lunch together every day, know more about them than you do most of your girlfriends that kept me going through that awful job where everyone got my name wrong, commented on my girlie voice and basically hit on me non-stop from nine-to-five. And then when I went to the big fancy media company, I brought the idea of the work boyfriend with me, and wanted that same experience. Alas, there were fun work boyfriends at the new place but no one that actually grabbed my heart and made me wish for things I had no right to think about.

But it kept me going: I had crushes, I mean, as a girl obsessed with chicklit and happy endings, of course I had crushes. And as the job got worse, and as unhappy as I was, it kept me going. If Trip Fontaine (the nickname for one of the massive crushes), talked to me, well, I glowed. If the other boy I fancied dropped by my office and chatted for a minute, I blushed for hours. And lately, I've been mulling over a chicklit story in my head and have kept coming back to the idea of how work boyfriends came into existence and how to spin it into a story that someone other than me would like to read.

For the majority of my adult life, from my mid-twenties to my now-married state, I've been involved with my RRHB. Now, let's take for granted the fact that I love him dearly, or else I wouldn't have married him. Still eight, nine years is a long, long time to be with someone and there are only so many Ethan Hawke movies one can watch before her eyes start to wander and her heart aches just to prove she's still, well, a girl.

So, I crave the quasi excitement of a crush, of something that makes me feel attractive no matter how bad I look or how much weight I've gained or how bad my skin is from the meds. Oddly enough, there are no suitable work boyfriends where I am currently, but that's okay because I'm still going on the old ones, thinking of how nice it would be to run into them again or wondering what they're doing. But without that daily dose of work boyfriend-ness, I find that maybe I've grown out of the work boyfriend stage? I mean, I've entered non-stop adulthood at this new job. I mean the signs are everywhere: I listen to CBC in the morning, I find myself craving good literature online (what?) and I forget everything if it's not written down. Should I mourn the passing and just accept that real life means growing out of my adolescent style crushes?

But I'll forever miss the work boyfriend drive-by, the butterflies from when he stops by your office (now cubicle, sniff), the fun, flirty emails—it all just makes the time go by so much faster at work. Hence, The Office, and why it's the epitome of my life these days, and why I'll obsessively wait to see what happens to Pam and Jim, perhaps mistaking them, ever so slightly for real people, ones that I see everyday.

Okay so 'fess up? What are your desert island movies?


Gallis said...

Great blog.

I say keep the crushes going. It gives life its spice!

My movies….hmmmm……

Sense & Sensibility
Godfather II
This is Spinal Tap
Enchanted April
Meet Me In St. Louis

Kailana said...

Um, my movies...

Moulin Rouge
Phanton of the Opera
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Shawshank Redemption

I don't watch very many movies over again...

Deanna McFadden said...

The Shawshank Redemption, aw, yes, that's a good one too—my RRHB and I watch that at least once a year. It's so good.

Beaches said...

OH man... so hard. I hate this question and love it at the same time. We often discuss the desert island when up at my cottage too, but usually we just end up naming every movie we've ever loved. And that's a lot of movies!

Here's a stab:

Flirting with Disaster
Jurassic Park
Terms of Endearment (sometimes you need a heavy cry)
When Harry Met Sally