Here’s an interesting situation: there are ten nurses in my unit, and I am the only guy. Of the nine female nurses, my gut tells me I can close on at least three of them. All I’d need to say is “pull your pants down.”
In terms of making a move, my personal situation is ideal. I make an above average income and only plan to stay at my job for a year. I’m also single with no kids. What could possibly go wrong if I tried to initiate a romantic relationship in the workplace? Isn’t this a natural move for a guy who wants more x-rated adventures?
I looked on other male nurse blogs and ran across a typical piece of advice against romance. The author stated that things could get awkward. What if things didn’t work out? What if there was a bitter end to the relationship, but you two still had to work together and get through the awkward silences and forced pleasantries? On the spectrum of what to do with romantic relationships, the author was coming from a space of fear. Let’s call his viewpoint (the one that thinks only of what could go wrong) the FEAR perspective. Indeed, it’s the conservative view that would discourage a man from initiating relationships at work.
On the other hand, there’s the EMBRACE philosophy. Advocates of the EMBRACE philosophy would advise me to pounce. An EMBRACE believer would say, “your 20s are almost over! You’ve got one body and one life to live, so LIVE IT! Who knows, you might actually get a girlfriend out of this experience. You lose 100% of the shots you don’t take!”
I see the validity of both the FEAR and EMBRACE philosophies. It’s clear to me that the FEAR viewpoint stems from the prefontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for reasoning and higher thought. Evolution has primed us to fear losses with more fervor than we seek gains. In other words, the FEAR viewpoint exists because my prefrontal cortex wants to hedge against losses (which would include the loss of my job and, perhaps, emotional wellness). On the other hand, the EMBRACE perspective stems from the reptilian side of my brain, which includes the amygdala. The genetic hardwiring of the amygdala was responsible for my ancestors taking action when opportunities struck. My reptilian side recognizes my situation as an ideal opportunity to strike. It tells me that I may never again come across a situation where I am the only male among a sea of fertile females!
Ah, the battle that never ends. It’s the inner beast versus the rational mind, the elephant versus the rider. The animal wants to take action and satisfy its primordial need for female connection. The rational human warns that I could incur significant losses. Who’s going to win?
The inner beast will win. But it won’t be because I lack discipline. The main driver is an epiphany: one day I will be 80 years old and reflect on my life. In my rocking chair, I will mainly regret errors of omission rather than action (e.g. I will probably regret my lack of action in initiating a romantic relationship rather than taking action). Another important realization relates to the top regrets of Fortune 500 executives. In a survey, the said executives revealed their top regrets. The highest ranking element was: “I should have taken charge of my life and set my goals earlier.” The sixth highest ranking element was: “I would have had more fun.” The experience of executives reminds me of my large goal to eventually start a family. Initiating a relationship will be one step toward that endpoint. Also, initiating a relationship may be fun, even if it ends in failure. Coincidentally, the desires of my inner beast align with the action that my 80 year old self and Fortune 500 executives would advocate.
Below is a list of all the possible downsides of my taking action.
-I’m still in my probationary period. If my boss discovers that I’m having relationships with “her” nurses, she may view me negatively and release me.
-I may be precepted by some of the females. When I am forced to follow a preceptor to learn how to do a job, I am perfectly okay with that. However, if my preceptor happens to be a person with whom I’m having romantic relations, that will definitely make things weird for me.
-The likelihood that rumors will spread about my adventures is very high. I prefer to fly under the radar, especially during my probationary period.
-The women in the unit are more skilled than me in the role of the IR nurse. A part of me resents the fact that I may date someone who is better than me at my own job.
Here’s my final assessment: my possible downsides are pretty pathetic. I’m just going to take action!
What would you do if you were me? Comment below.