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The Rock Test: A hack for men who don’t want to be accused of sexual harassment

If you’re a woman, the prospect of a one-on-one meeting with a male colleague is rife with potential uncomfortable moments. It’s hardly a risk to bet that he will hit on you.

I’m not being arrogant; it’s a simple fact.

If you’re a man the situation is no less hazardous. With high-flying, powerful execs being taken to task for “appreciating” the fairer sex, how can any man possibly know how to behave appropriately in an attractive woman’s company?

I mean, it’s not safe anymore to give the old girl a squeeze on that sexy but, you know.

I hear men in Silicon Valley and elsewhere have become nervous and are eschewing opportunities to meet with female entrepreneurs, colleagues and recruits for fear of being called out on social media for behavior that, until recently, was perfectly acceptable.

I can understand this. Behavior that men have gotten away with over centuries is no longer tolerated and men simply don’t know what to do now.

Don’t worry, a smart woman can show you how to behave.

Anne Victoria Clark, writing on Medium, has come up with one simple and really brilliant rule for men when it comes to dealing with women in a professional situation.

It’s as clear cut as this: Treat all women like you would treat Dwayne ”The Rock” Johnson, Clark writes.

Really? What is this supposed to mean?

Well, think about it. If you meet The Rock face to face, are you going to dismiss the guy or are you going to show him some respect?

To further explain.

Pay attention, this is a visualization exercise. When a woman approaches you, simply replace her in your mind with The Rock. Then behave accordingly. It’s an exercise that will instantly simplify your relationship with women in the workplace.


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Do you need a practical example? Here goes.

Situation 1: Getting coffee

You are meeting a female friend of one of your colleagues who has asked to meet you for coffee to discuss a current challenge in her chosen field in which you also work. The only problem is that this woman is stunning. Immediately all the bells start ringing in your head. She reminds you of your ex and that smile! Surely she’s interested in more than a chat about work? But she did say just coffee… What now?

Simple, remember? Close your eyes and see in her place The Rock. Now you can see how tough she actually is. Not someone to mess with. She’s come a long way, fought many battles and knows where she’s headed. You respect that.

Situation 2: The Meeting

Amanda in your department wants to share some ideas on a project the department has taken on. She has asked for a one on one meeting to discuss some details. There’s just one problem, she is young and attractive and she looks sexy in that little number. You wonder what she’s up to in her spare time. Bet she looks even better under that little number. How on earth can a guy concentrate on the matter at hand in the face of all that temptation?

Easy. Close your eyes and see The Rock. Wow! Look at her. She really knows what she’s about. She just needs help with a small snag she’s hit. Smart and professional of her to find help when she needs it instead of wasting company time pretending to be a know-all. Great person to work with.

Situation 3: Drinks after work

A team of four female colleagues are celebrating a successful project and have invited you out for drinks to help them celebrate. They are all beautiful and friendly and the way they dress! With so many beautiful women smiling at you, surely this is not just about a drink after work? Everyone knows if a woman smiles at you in a bar she wants you. How can you possibly know how to behave? What is appropriate behavior in this situation for god’s sake?

Take it easy. Replace them all with an image like this:

Ah, see? They are a professional team, aren’t they? No wonder their project succeeded. Maybe you could ask them about that. Maybe you can share some ideas on project management. Maybe you can learn a thing or two.

Do you get the point?

Look beyond the female image and offer the person respect. In Clark’s words: Simply offer them the same respect, admiration, and healthy dose of fear you’d offer anyone who could completely destroy you should you deserve it.


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Written by Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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