A few weeks back I answered a letter from a man who works at Microsoft, the computer software company based in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft recently overtook General Motors to become the biggest goddamn company in the whole goddamn world, and founder Bill Gates is, as any reader of Forbes or People magazine knows, the richest goddamn asshole in the whole goddamn world.
The "Microsoftie" who wrote in was having trouble getting it up. Over the years I've received a disproportionate amount of mail from Microsoft employees complaining about impotence or low sex drives. To get to the bottom of this mystery, I invited current and former employees to write and tell us just what it is about Microsoft that destroys libidos. The mail--most of it to my unpublished E-mail address!--continues to pour in. A sampling:
Working for Microsoft doesn't really destroy your sex drive--it just leaves people too tired for sex. I work in the systems division, and I used to be a sexual tyrannosaurus, but after a few months of seven-day weeks and 16-plus-hour days, I'm just too tired. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
And office doors at MS don't have locks.
It's really quite simple. Microsoft employees are so accustomed to getting fucked by their managers that they're just too damn tired for their lovers. --Ex-Microsoftie
I have worked at Microsoft for years. I know for a fact that a large number of pervs, kinkos, sex maniacs, 900-line frequent fliers, and steady customers of pro doms work on Uncle Bill's farm with no apparent reduction of libido. But thoughts of sex and physically being at Microsoft do not mix. I cannot imagine, nor do I wish to imagine, having sex with anybody I work with, much less actually having sex with anybody while at work.
I will admit that I have made it through interminable meetings at Microsoft by constructing vivid fantasies of the butt-crack-cleavage-displaying, stinks-of-stale-pizza developer sitting on one side of the table getting a blow job from the Nordstrom-catalog-clone, reeks-of-department-store-perfume MBA sitting on the other side. But these fantasies are not what you would call erotic. --Hired Hand on Uncle Bill's Farm
I dunno about anyone else, but when I get stressed, I get horny. So when I had Bill Gates's cronies breathing down my neck every day at Microsoft, I was a walking hard-on. On the other hand, the rest of my personal life during the nine years I worked at MS was a nonexistent pile of shit, and I'm glad I finally walked out and got my life back. But thanks to my fuck buds on campus, I never had to worry about getting off.
I've been working at MS for a year and have been in the computer industry for four years, and my sex drive is as strong as it ever was. Even though I haven't had a partner for a while, I still jack off on a fairly regular basis. So if there is something here slowing down people's libidos, it hasn't affected me.
Top ten reasons why working at Microsoft destroys your sex drive:
10. You're too busy watching the stock price.
9. You ingest too much NutraSweet in the free Diet Dr Pepper.
8. You are too busy listening to Laurie Anderson and Peter Gabriel.
7. You think achieving world domination is more straightforward than asking someone out.
6. You are too busy pretending that reading alternative newspapers gives you a life.
5. You're afraid to get involved for fear everyone just wants free software.
4. You are too busy playing with your "personal digital assistants."
3. You stayed at work until 5 AM playing Doom with your boss.
2. You are waiting until humans give "error messages" that make sense.
And the number one reason why Microsoft employees have no sex drive:
1. You think, as most Microsofties do, that "too much depends on my work."
How can you get it up at night when you spend all day fucking your competitors?
You get a lot of letters from Microsofties for several reasons:
1. When someone says "sex-advice columnist" in Seattle, you are the first person who comes to mind.
2. There is a huge overlap between the demographic that reads your column and the demographic that works at Microsoft. Hence, you get lots of letters from Microsofties.
3. For some reason, Microsofties tend to define themselves as "Microsofties," not as software engineers. I imagine that most of your letters do not indicate the occupation of the writer, much less the specific company for which the writer works. Seeing that word "Microsoft" over and over again makes it stand out.
4. Microsofties are a big bunch of egomaniacal whiners. Read through back issues of the "MicroNews" (the internal newsletter) sometime. People are constantly complaining about the food, smokers, parties, the network, the gardening, the configuration of toilet-paper rolls in the bathrooms, etc. I'm not sure why this is, but Microsofties love to complain. Maybe it's because engineers see the world as one big poorly optimized system, and that bugs us to no end.
These reasons explain why you get a disproportionately large number of letters from Microsofties. It is not because working at Microsoft causes sexual dysfunction; it is because Microsoft has a huge population of people who are likely to write to you, and when they do, they tell you that they are Microsofties. --EL
Being a temp at MS is wonderful. You get paid a lot more money than the blue badges (but no benefits), get to take off days whenever you want, get a free bus pass, and eat really cheap food. I've even been seduced by a coworker. Microsoft rocks--so long as you aren't actually an employee!
--Satisfied in Redmond
I worked security at Microsoft for two and a half years. It's like living in a morgue with carpeting and free soft drinks. There are more than 2,000 cameras on the main campus alone, and the spooks--the security staffers--live in a subbasement under Billy's offices. That's where I worked until I blew a fuse. If people who work there have diminished sex drives it's probably due to several things:
1. They are worked like DOGS and watched over by overzealous ex-special-forces maniacs.
2. They could be putting something in all those free soft drinks.
3. The tiny offices they have everybody working in are so crammed with high-tech stuff that the rays coming off those monitors probably make them STERILE as well as disinterested in the big boff.
And one more thing--and I hope you print this: Hey, Don, head of security! I don't give a rip about your stupid orders: BILL GATES'S OFFICES ARE LOCATED IN BUILDING EIGHT ON THE SECOND FLOOR IN THE CENTER OF THE EAST WING FACING SOUTH. Damn, that felt good. You see, Donny boy instructs his staff NEVER to mention where Billy works or even breathe his name out loud. Have a nice day, Don.
I have many, many more letters, but only a limited amount of space. I apologize to those whose letters didn't appear in this column. They've been forwarded to the second floor of building eight for consideration.
Buy my book! Savage Love: Straight Answers From America's Most Popular Sex Columnist, a collection of the best of my columns, is now available at bookstores everywhere.
Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.