SEX IN THE COUNTRY: Restoration Hardware Chairman/CEO Resigns in Sex Scandal

I saw this headline and I was dying to get to the salacious details: hopefully a Christian Grey type with a real life, dirty twist. (yeah, that stuff in the book was child’s play.) The guy had and is having a relationship with a woman less than half his age. She is a former RH employee, though the relationship started while she was on the job. It’s kinda gross because he was obviously her boss, and obviously predatory being so much older than she was.  But the naughty subtext ends there.

If you can’t meet someone at work, then your dating pool is cut by two-thirds. Yes, I agree it’s challenging if you’re not on the same level of the hierarchy, but the chances are you won’t be. People are harassed and fired if the advances are one-sided, but the woman has said the relationship was and is entirely consensual. Sleeping your way to the top works sometimes, and that doesn’t seem fair either.  But in this case, the woman has left the company already. (She probably doesn’t need to work anymore – Friedman’s loaded.)

Friedman has resigned specifically because the company is going public and the board doesn’t want negative press over this.  I have some personal experience with this type of relationship, so let me give the RH board some advice: it won’t last. These relationships usually don’t. He will get older and grosser, for one. Adult diapers almost always enter the picture, which is hard for the younger one to deal with.

Another set up for failure is the father daughter relationship paradigm implicated by the age difference.  Yes, she wants a daddy. But what if the daddy turns out to be less mature than the young woman?  Often, she becomes the emotional caretaker even though she’s younger.

Finally, I think the woman will want to sow her oats.  She’s only 26 now – when the relationship started she was younger.  Chances are, she probably hasn’t had many lovers.  Some young gun will turn her head at some point.

The RH board should lighten up. May – September romances are a solid institution in America, and in Hollywood, they’re de-rigeur. It’s not my taste, but far be it for me to look down on it.  If you can sleep your way to the top, and you’re willing to pay the emotional and moral cost of that, then you should be free to do so. Just remember – there are no guarantees.

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