Monday, October 20, 2008

Department slut...

Despite the fact that I have been in a long-term relationship for the duration of my graduate studies, rumors about me screwing which ever person I am seen with most often persist. Surprisingly, the rumors aren't limited to me and other men.
I met one of my closest friends from graduate school during orientation. We joined the same department and subsequently, joined the same lab. Since we were in the same classes and working in the same lab we went to lunch together and took breaks together almost everyday. Obviously, this meant we were sleeping together and it spread all over the department. We were as unimpressed with the rumor as we were with the majority of the department, so neither of us really paid too much attention to it except when we needed a good laugh. However, I was surprised to learn that these assumptions were not limited to co-workers. I later found out that the women my friend (M) and I bought coffee from also thought we were a couple. M and I didn't hold hands or make out in the coffee line, so I'm not sure where the assumption came from, but I found it too amusing to correct her.
After M dumped me and moved away (i.e. graduated and moved to her kick-ass post-doc position) our lab hired a new post-doc. We get along well and have become pretty good friends and as friends who work two feet from each other might do, we get coffee and eat lunch together. Of course, it also means that we are having an affair. The rumors started much quicker this time around, most likely because post-doc and I are of the opposite sex, and as you know, people of the opposite sex can't hang out together at work without getting involved. Seriously, who could control themselves when they are surrounded by people wearing boxy white lab coats while the smell of TEMED and biohazard lingers in the air.
I've informed M that I am "seeing" someone else and I think she is OK with it. :)
On a side note, the new post-doc and I buy our coffee at a different place than M and I used too. The guy who works at this place doesn't think post-doc and I are together, but oddly enough, he seems to be under the impression that we are siblings.

11 comments:

chall said...

if people have boring lives, why not start a rumour about someone else?

It is somehow surprising though.... hoe fun it is to lie about people. I hope your significant other does not get hurt by these things. And if nothing else the others might think once or twice when you tie the knot!?

but you know, you can never be "just friends" with a man (if you are a girl). I got that one in my new place to.... my best friend is a man... go figure..

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

I did my PhD in an institute where most of the students (and some of the postdocs) were taking it in turns to sleep with each other. (I would like to point out that I dated ONE fellow student for TWO YEARS and did not hook up with anyone else, not even the IT guy who was "a legend in his own boxer shorts" as one friend put it. I met lots of girls I knew in my boyfriend's labmate/roommate's bedroom on various mornings though). Actually there are at least 2 marriages and 3 kids that I know of that came out of that situation. But there were no false rumours, everyone knew who was with whom.

Then in my postdoc lab, there was MUCH less bed hopping, but way more rumours. People just need something to talk about!

ScientistMother said...

wow! I have not experienced something like that since I was in undergrad. There are some really really immature pathetic individuals with no lives in your department

post-doc said...

I thought this was rather offensive. I don't understand why sex would be associated with a relationship - friendly or otherwise - with a colleague unless there was some firm indication (like making out in the coffee line) something was happening. I hope you find it more amusing than anything - since you didn't really seem bothered - but I'm annoyed by your co-workers. (Then again, it's rather easy to irritate me of late.)

microbiologist xx said...

chall-No worries. My significant other does not care. He always gets a laugh when I tell him about the rumors going around that place.

cath -"A legend in his own boxer shorts" lol. I would certainly prefer environment A.

scientistmother - Yes, these people need to get a life pronto. Actually the ring leader is a 40 year old guy who gossips more than anyone I have ever met...combined. It is a little demented and a lot sad.

post-doc - The only thing I have ever done with these people (M and new post-doc) is walk in the hall, drink coffee and eat lunch. I can only assume it was being seen together frequently that spurred the rumors. As I mentioned previously in this comment, the main ring leader is an older man, so maybe he just really wished my friend and I were having some kind of torrid affair. If it wasn't so pathetic and sad, I too would find it offensive. Sigh...people can be so disappointing.

Citronella said...

I'm the only unmarried girl (and have been the only girl, period, for about a year) in a lab that has half a dozen members and I don't think anybody ever believed I was sleeping with any of them. I feel cheated ;-) Maybe it's only because it's rare that I am with only one of them at a time...

Then, maybe I am naive and uninformed of what's being said behind my back. In which case, I'm glad I don't know.

drdrA said...

This happened to me in graduate school as well. All you can do is have laugh over it!

Rhea Miller said...

Yeah...Im with you XX. A girl that i started grad school with and I are super close...and we go through similar experiences. Tho, i think it happens more when we are off campus... @ the grocery store, and the like. We've been offered rainbows. hahahaha...i figure that the stresses of grad school pull people closer than normal, kinda like hostile take-overs would.

microbiologist xx said...

citronella - Maybe you work with people that have lives of their own, unlike my coworkers. That is my working hypothesis.

drdrA - I agree. Me an my "partners" always get a good laugh.

rhea - hey stranger! I suppose grad school is sorta like a hostile takeover.

Ambivalent Academic said...

As an undergrad, my female friend/roommate and I worked in labs that were across the hall from one another. We could often be found chatting/hanging out in each other's labs while waiting for something to incubate, and we frequently took coffee breaks together. Another UG in my lab seemed very uncomfortable around us both and finally asked the two us, "Are you ever worried that someone might think you're lesbians?"

Really? No, the thought hadn't crossed my mind...and if someone did think I was a lesbian, why should that worry me precisely?

microbiologist xx said...

aa - I don't get it either. Since nothing is wrong with being gay, then why should it matter if people think you are gay. That kind of question always makes me wonder just how open minded that person really is.