Ask Electra: How to handle an awkward boss

Ask Electra, our agony aunt for all your digital dilemmas, takes on the awkward boss on Facebook and how to surf porn safely.

Internet Culture

Published Oct 26, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 8:40 am CDT

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The Internet Age comes with its own problems, real and virtual: romantic, sexual, practical, professional. More than ever we need a good old-fashioned agony aunt for the social Web who will help us solve our digital dilemmas. Unfortunately, we only have Electra, who doles out her brand of Greek advice with a kick. Got a virtual problem? Ask Electra and brave her total honesty by emailing [email protected] or follow her @AskElectra.

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Friendly Boss

Dear Electra,
My boss friended me on Facebook, which is fine, I can live with it—I’ve got him on Limited Profile. But here’s the thing. In the office, he’s a reasonable, normal, professional human being. On Facebook, though, he’s a total douche. An offensive douche. He’ll make semi-racist remarks and post pictures of himself downing beers. Once he posted a picture of two girls kissing with some frat boy remark as a caption. It’s getting so bad I nearly want to quit, but I love my job. I can’t de-friend him without it being awkward. What should I do?
—The Emperor is a douche

Dear Emperor,

As Aristotle once said, “Show me your Facebook profile, and I’ll tell you who you are.” It is good to remember that the persona people choose to put out there on Facebook does not necessarily represent reality. I, for one, firmly believe that all my Facebook friends who try to convince me of their deliriously happy lives by documenting it with untiring vigor in status updates and photographs, are just as miserable as I am; perhaps more, because every time they experience a rare happy moment they are overcome by the need to tell me all about it.
Even if it is not an accurate representation of their reality, the image people project on Facebook is indeed the one they want to be represented by.

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And so it is unfortunate that your boss wants people to think “Mel Gibson” when they look at his profile. It is also unfortunate that “Mel Gibson” no longer means “the guy from Lethal Weapon,” which goes to show that life is unfair all around, and we all have to make compromises, even Mel Gibson fans. But this is not about Mel Gibson—though I clearly wish it to be—it is about you and your boss. So I will get right to it.

The first question you need to ask yourself is this: does my boss wear bowties? If so, then you should quit your job immediately. Bowties in general are a red flag, but in your case even more so . A man who wears bowties in the office and comes across as a decent human being, but then leaves work and becomes the racist and sexist frat boy he always dreamed to be is dangerous, and can cause you harm of the serial killer kind.

If the answer to the bowtie question is no and you love your job as much as you say you do, and if you have no reason to complain about your boss in your day-to-day interactions with him, then my advice to you is to simply hide him from your newsfeed and forget that his profile is there altogether. The reason is simple: a good job is hard to come by. It is even harder to come by than a Mel Gibson fan these days, and believe you me, I have spent a substantial amount of time trying. Think of it this way: it would have been way worse if your boss were a total dick in real life, and picture perfect online. Your problem can be fixed with a simple settings change, whereas other people have jobs they hate and bosses who make their lives miserable.

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If only you could “hide” some people from your real life as easily as you can from your virtual one.

Porned Out

Dear Electra,
How do I watch a porn site without getting a virus? I mean, we all want to enjoy a little x-rated R&R sometimes. Nothing crazy or weird, no gerbils with whips, just some good old vanilla stuff, on occasion, when my girlfriend is out of town. But I’d rather she doesn’t come back to a browser full of fake tits. How do I enjoy my porn online without getting a million pop-ups and cookies littering our computer with embarrassing evidence?
—Horny when the honey is away

There is no such thing as free porn, my dear friend, Horny Honey. And for those of us who still remember what it was like to have to steal a copy of Penthouse from our neighborhood kiosk because we could not afford to pay for it, and had to have our best friend, Chubby Evie, buy potato chips to distract the owner; for those of us who have paid seventeen dollars plus tax for an adult movie rental—of which only five good minutes were needed, and we spent the rest of the two hours and twenty five minutes lamenting the seventeen dollars plus tax spent on a mediocre orgasm; for people like us, a few pop-ups is a small price to pay.

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I understand that your hand will have worked overtime by then, and having to click all those pop-ups closed might seem exhausting after the fact, but, as we say in Greece, at that point, “You will have eaten the donkey, and you will only have the tail left to eat.” So take heart but don’t take a breather. Just close all those pop-ups as soon as you’re done, then sit back and cherish the moment. As Dave Gahan put it, enjoy the silence (yes, that song is about watching porn with your honey).

As for the viruses, I agree, they are a problem. It’s worth investing in a Mac, if you’re afraid of viruses. In your case, it will be a dirty Mac, but Macs are not as easily infected as PCs. They will live long, so you can pornsper.

Photos via, by Kurhan, and via

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*First Published: Oct 26, 2012, 12:30 pm CDT