Part Two of The Survivor’s essential guide to crazy, mixed-up partners
4. The Mole
The Mole has become a lot more visible since the widespread introduction of open-plan offices. (I’m quite a fan of open-plan, to be honest. There are big roll-spaces between the desks, and some of the pricier fit-outs have white noise cancelling machines which are great if you’ve forgotten your silencer.)
Anyway, the Mole hides furtively behind their desk, occasionally popping up for a cheeky look around before quickly retreating to safety. The classic backroom partner, they’re usually a technical whiz, but with all the social skills of a brick.
They have some kind of quirk which serves as a useful ‘tell’ if you ever play poker with them: a facial tick, maybe, or the tendency to express themselves through hand-puppets while delivering a poor appraisal.
If you’re not technically up to par you’ll be below their radar, and beneath their contempt. But take the opportunity to rescue them at a social gathering, or help them organise an awkward presentation, and you’ll not only have a friend for life – you’ll learn a bunch of stuff too.
5. The Witch
The Witch is a massively-misunderstood denizen of the modern law firm.
She – always a she – is usually referred to as a ‘witch’ by (usually) younger male colleagues who are both entirely petrified of her and curiously drawn to her at the same time. She tends to be in her mid-40s, is usually single and has an unfortunate habit of wearing a brash two-piece suit, which is often adorned with a brooch that could take your eye out in the lift and has the kind of shoulder-pads that went out with Dynasty.
The Witch has had to fight hard for every inch of career ground. This has made her a fearsome operator, uncompromising and hard – simply because she has never been given a break herself.
The key to the Witch is to remember that underneath the purple tweed Chanel with gold buttons the size of the Hubble Space Telescope, she is a human being. Treat her politely, with respect, and you’ll slowly break down her suspicion.
She will always drive women harder than she does men. Don’t worry about that. Take it as a compliment. And if you’re a handsome young guy who fancies his chances with a cougar at the Christmas party, just remember: a cracked pelvis ain’t nice.
3. The Lech
You’d have thought that the Lech would have died out by now, along with the Sinclair C5, loon-pants and Bono’s musical credibility.
The Lech doesn’t use sex to get what he wants. Sex is what he wants. And it’s always on his mind. Unfortunately for him, these days he has to be a lot more careful than he did in days of yore. You can’t just pat someone’s bum by the photocopier and get away with it.
This has driven his behaviour underground, and he now mostly indulges in sexual power politics. He toys with his intended victims, only ever making a move when they are insensible or alone. So try to avoid getting paralytic at the office party and stumbling to the disabled toilet. This will give him just the opening he needs.
Equally, if you are asked to stay late to help with document assembly and the Lech is your only companion, worry.
There is only one way to deal with the Lech – a sharp knee to the nads. Do not, under any circumstances, be tempted to use him for career advancement, or people will talk about you for years as the tarty trainee. Unless, of course, you have married him and are reading this on your iPad in the infinity pool of your villa in Ibiza. In which case, go you.
Enuff for now. Shadows at the window. More later. Stay frosty. TS