By Stanley Bing
February 14, 2008

Ah, the rosy flower of love! How beautifully it has worked out for so many people who have felt the sting of Cupid’s arrow while on the job! Or… not.

Antony and Cleopatra met and fell in love while he was out conquering whatever came in his way and trying to hold his position in the Rome Corporation against a host of hostile competitors. She was running the Egyptian field office. How their passion flowed! Then came the Battle of Actium, and he sailed into the naval engagement under her banner. Unfortunately, her ships were neither as light and nimble nor as well-armed as those of his adversaries. He abandoned the fight while others stayed to die, went home, and basically died of grief. She arranged for a gentle snakebite to ease her situation. So I guess that didn’t really work out so well for either of them. But when their romance was in full flower? Who would not envy such as they?

Henry the VIII! What a dude! Was there a day when he didn’t fall in love at the office? True, it didn’t always end in a positive way for the objects of his desire, but how happy the young (then older) King and his hopeful inamorata must have been for a while! I know a corporation whose King used to give little company earrings to his potential queens back in the 1970s. I imagine Tudor England was like that, only worse.

Here’s to the former CEO and the top PR person at another corporation I once knew well! Ah, how they made their colleagues sigh. Particularly when they both showed up in matching lime green velour jumpsuits to the company offsite in Orlando! My, how they quickened the hearts of those who reported to them, particularly when they saw the matching Porsches adjacent to each other every morning in the company parking lot. Of course, both were married to other people at the time. This didn’t pose much of a problem to them, however, since the CEO, as King David did with Bathsheba’s spouse, sent his beloved’s husband to serve in Rangoon for several years. Alas, in the end there was tragedy. He was fired. She was fired. They both went home to their respective mates. And the corporation went on, a little less loving but a lot more efficient.

A box of chocolates, too, to Jim Agee and Mary Cunningham Agee, who were the talk of the business world back when I was viewing my first anti-sexual harassment training videos. They were at Bendix together. He was the boss. She had very special access, people said. She quit and they were married. Now she’s an important philanthropist. Just the kind of story that makes your heart skip a beat on this particular day, isn’t it?

You know the corporate handbook. What we do every day is business, not pleasure. But just on the other side of that cold and heartless line is a forbidden world of love and blazing self-destruction. The opportunities for the blood to quicken are so manifest. Early mornings. Late nights. The heat and passion that attends deal mania. The dregs of disappointment during tough times, when people need comfort and a shoulder, and occasionally more, to cry on.

On this romantic holiday, let’s all raise a cup of very sweet nectar to Eros, who is no stranger to our shore. Tomorrow we can straighten up, fly right, and laugh at the idiots in the matching velour jumpsuits.

Today… here’s to you crazy mothers!

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