At Podshow I had to take a required state course to understand sexual harassment. It turns out that just about anything is sexual harassment if you want it to be. Thus I’m reminded of the August 1987 column I wrote about the Sexually harassed male! In hindsight I believe that this episode was a weak protest that is now lost to history.

Women Are Sexually Harassing the Men

I was stunned by the headline in USA Today, MEN: WE’RE SEXUALLY HARASSED, TOO.

According to a readers survey conducted by Men’s Health magazine over half the male workers in the country have been sexually harassed by female employees. A third of all men polled think that this should be reported to the authorities. 49% of those surveyed say there are women in their offices whose dress is “pointedly provocative.”

Provocative? What is this supposed to mean? Low cut top? Tight skirts? No underwear!? Are these guys preoccupied or what?

Furthermore, 57% of those surveyed said they were sexually propositioned at work! Complainers say this is terrible. The bigger question is: Where the heck is this place? The survey then says that because of all this, half of the male employees are walking around having sexual fantasies all the time. Poor guys.

Perhaps too many of today’s office workers are wimps, plain and simple. What ever happened to the tough blue collar worker — the backbone of America? He’s the one who raised the kid who wears a red power tie, Brooks Brothers suit and who works in an office. A baby boom of paper pushers — you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. They won’t let you. Now these desk jockeys are distracted by the clinging dress and high heels. It has to stop lest the bureaucracy come to a grinding (no pun intended) halt.

What we need is simple: A new dress code for women in the workplace. Here’s the Dvorak Dress Code for the Office:

1) Women have to be dumpy and dowdy at all times. On the legs should be worn thick support hose and jogging shoes. The jogging shoes should be some gosh awful color. If possible and if the weather permits a turtle neck sweater is the preferred upper torso garment. It should never be cleaned and it’s better if it has a lot of little sweater balls all over it. A man’s tie should be worn over the top of the turtleneck.

2) Ill-fitting sweatpants are the preferred lower torso garment. If that’s not possible or desired then the female should go to the boys section of J.C. Penny and buy dumpy male clothes.

3) Glasses must always be worn. My recommendation is that women wear those wire frame models that are too small for their heads.

4) Hair should seldom be washed. Never brush it either. Note that the ideal way to hold back longish hair is to tuck chunks of it back behind the ear so the ear sticks out.

5) Avoid using any make-up, ever. If you use make up then use too much make-up. Think Tammy Faye Bakker.

These tips should minimize any possible complaints of sexual harassment targeted at the female employee. Think of it as a positive career move.

By the way, don’t waste too much time implementing these tips. Go to Berkeley and you’ll see the smart gals are already using most of these techniques.


©1987, John C. Dvorak

  1. 888 says:

    Just today I have only licked my upper lip while (obviously) eating an ice cream, and a woman at next table gave me “the look” – I bet she thought I were ‘suggesting’ something else, even though an oversized walrus could have been example of slimness compared to her… ain’t that harrasment too?

  2. Nimby says:

    Good fashion advice except …

    I would spend hours wondering what she was hiding under those baggy clothes.

    It would drive me nuts.

    Is there no end to this harassment??????????

  3. Esteban says:


    I love reading the old columns. What magazine/newspaper were they originally published in?

  4. SJP says:

    Are those the “Human League” girls?

  5. OvenMaster says:

    If I ever got harassed by a woman, I sure wouldn’t complain. I’d tell the whole damn world!

  6. What is good for the goose is good for the gander
    Sexual equality in law and practice goes both ways- you cannot have your cake and eat it as well

  7. Don says:

    How come no hot babe ever tried to harras me?

    Yea, guess I am just a computer geek.


  8. #3 — Sorry..this was in the SF Examiner. I’ll try and make mention of where these were originally. I’ve written over 4000 columns and there are probably 200 or so that are “evergreen” and can be run in this series. Most of my material is topical and does not hold up over time.

  9. RTaylor says:

    Go ahead and make jokes. Have you ever had a pack of them jump on you and rip your clothes off. This happened to me while I was visiting a top model agency. After three hours all nine of them just got up and left men there drained. I took weeks to recover, and I still have bite marks.

  10. jbenson2 says:

    “Go to Berkeley and you’ll see the smart gals are already using most of these techniques.”

    That was a great comment.

    If you check out, you can see that today’s gals and boys in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco have all adopted your suggested dress code.

  11. pat says:

    Burkas for all!

  12. gmknobl says:

    Just the other day I had some middle age ladies compliment me, uh, excuse me, harass me. They said, “do you watch your figure?” I said no. They said, “we sure do.”

    I’m not going to report them. Where have these complements been all my life! Bring ’em on!

    Now, the few women who do wear clothes that some would consider provocative are also in a position where they are seen all the time by the public. They could also be considered to be just wearing nice clothing. Where’s the dividing line? Harassment is an action, just wearing clothes is not, even if provocative. But here’s the golden rule for women and men who wear anything the least risque: if you show it, don’t cry foul when someone ogles your or says you look sexy – it’s your own fault if you don’t like that.

    Men, being in the position of power for most of the time in this society are paying for their past, which they no longer should. If someone tells you to dress in a sexy manner, that’s probably harassment. If you choose to voluntarily and get looks or compliments (but not rude remarks) it’s not.

    Personally, I like hearing these types of remarks directed my way. Most men like that. A couple of guys saying so and so has a great body is not. A couple of girls saying something similar is not. It’s borderline if either sex starts saying I’d like to do X to someone in a manner where the object of desire will hear it. But frankly, men and women both engage in this type of talk with each other. If the conversation is meant to be private, again, it’s not harassment. Societally, women have been subjected to sexually oriented intimidation or worse by men and not the other way around. But the reverse has happened too, it’s just not as common nor as reported.

    Bottom line, each person knows when the situation crosses from simple compliments or fantasy objectification to threats, which is what harassment really is. And there are cases when someone acts provocatively then uses non-threatening responses as a basis for gold-digging suits. I think that can be the case regardless of the sex of the person and the sex of the supposed harassers.

  13. TheGlobalWarmer says:

    #5, 13 – Exactly. Any guy who doesn’t want to be looked at as a side of beef has something wrong with him.

  14. Canucklehead says:

    I think John’s wish has come true. This what we see more of now in Toronto.

  15. OvenMaster says:

    #10: Bragging or complaining? 😀


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