So much for faint heart never won fair lady, if at first you don’t succeed and other such romantic aphorisms.
It seems that if you work at a US tech company one mild rebuff is enough to stamp out a budding romance.
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Facebook’s global head of employment law Heidi Swartz told the Wall Street Journal that the company’s relationships-at-work policy stipulates that employees are only allowed to ask a fellow employ out once.
Ambiguous answers such as “I’m busy” or “I can’t that night” apparently also count as a no.
The same is reportedly true at Google parent company Alphabet.
So it seems that plunging sperm counts and fertility rates aren’t going to be the threats which will kill off the human race. HR will instead.
As top executive after top executive falls on his sword for inappropriate behaviour in the wake of the #metoo movement it is understandable that companies are keen to ensure staff are protected from predatory sexual advances.
But if a Facebook-style HR regime was in place at the company where I met my now wife 16 years ago, I would almost certainly today still be buying Tesco meals-for-one and and whiling my evenings away playing Jenga with my male flatmates rather being happily married with two lovely children.
Never mind one or two rebuffs, it took a sustained campaign of lurking around her desk whilst conspicuously carrying Latin American novels for me to get a look in on a date.
This was followed up by weeks of finely crafted email banter and much more strategic lurking around the coffee and snacks area whilst practising my mental cribsheet of high-brow cultural observations.
I am sure there were any number of “I’m busys”, “I can’t that nights” and other excuses before she finally consented to meet for a drink out of work.
In romance, as in so much else with life, persistence sometimes pays off.
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If these so-called love contracts are gaining hold in the US I fear a generation of singletons could be the consequence. But perhaps for the managers at Facebook and Aphabet a cohort of employees married to their jobs isn’t the worst outcome in the world.
Thankfully, it seems that in the European Union — where the right to respect for private family life is enshrined in law — such rules are unlikely to take hold. The world must be peopled after all.