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What a coincidence! No sooner do I finish reading a pre-Valentine’s Day testament to hooking up at work are my eyes drawn to a headline in the New York Post, “Mystery Behind Rising Syphilis Rates in City.” Could the two be connected? I forget what I was searching when I stumbled across Andrea Peyser’s paeon to office fraternization, but her first paragraph most definitely caught my eye: “I sing the praises of the office hookup. Where else but in the shadow of the copy machine can one meet a lover or a candidate for a drunken one-night stand who’s likely to have been drug-tested, vetted for a criminal record and checked for gnarly, communicable diseases?”

The only direct experience I have had with office romance was indirect in that it was two married-to-other-people co-workers who were doing the dirty dance behind the Data General minicomputer in the unhinged 1970s. He was not only her supervisor but several other women’s as well and that is where the problems arose. She—let’s call her Froggy—was a vindictive person. Whenever a co-worker crossed her in any small way, she’d whine to her paramour—who I’ll call Cooky—and he would lower the boom on Froggy’s target, generally with little or no justification. To say office morale suffered would be an understatement. Sometimes justice is eventually served. Knocked-up Froggy demanded he divorce his wife and marry her. He did and both counts and they lived unhappily ever after, until they divorced.

Since Peyser uses avoiding receiving a gift you don’t want and which you’ll never forget as a prime excuse for screwing (literally) around the office, I thought people taking her advice had been contributing to The Big Apple’s rising syphilis rates and read the article. In summary, it says condom use—to the extent it can be monitored accurately—has remained constant and that the syphilis increase has occurred largely “with men who have sex with other men.” So, women are safer if they don’t have sex with men who have sex with men or with men who have sex with women who have sex with men who have sex with men, etc. Avoiding having sex with people from Chelsea is also recommended.