Love is everywhere if you look for it, and Christmas is the time to make a magical leap to love. That's the premise of the delightful holiday film from 2003, Love Actually, brought to life by a stellar British cast who fall in or out of love at Christmas.
There's a dark side to this premise, which illustrates how office affairs start and can be prevented. Let's explore the affair start up phase and how to protect your marriage from the threat of an office romance.
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Office Affair Start Up:
Imagine a small London office, where a young secretary named Mia (Heike Makatsch) makes a play for her married boss named Harry (Alan Rickman). When Harry walks up to Mia's work station, she starts her seduction by swiveling her chair toward him to give him a glimpse up her short skirt and spread legs. Harry notices, but is too guarded to go there.
As Harry gives Mia the assignment of planning their office Christmas party, he asks if she'll bring her boyfriend.
"I'll just be hanging around the mistletoe, hoping to be kissed," Mia says, staring seductively at Harry long enough for her invitation to register.
Later Mia tells Harry about the venue she chose for their office party: "It's an art gallery, full of dark corners, for doing... dark deeds."
Their sexual tension mounts.
When Harry leaves the office to go Christmas shopping, Mia asks him to buy her a gift. "I don't want something I need. I want something I want - something pretty."
Harry grins, like he enjoys being manipulated by her provocative charms. You see why he's vulnerable in the next scene as Harry goes Christmas shopping with his dutiful wife, Karen (Emma Thompson). She greets him with a chaste peck on the cheek. She dresses in mommy casual, totally devoid of sex appeal. We get a sense the romance is long gone or never was, when Karen almost catches her husband, Harry, buying a gold necklace for Mia:
Karen: Loitering around the jewelry section, I see!
Harry: No. I was just looking around.
Karen: Don't worry, my expectations are not that high after 13 years of Mr. "Oh-but-you-always-LOVE-scarves"
My advice to Karen and all dutiful spouses: Low Expectations are not sexy. Lack of romantic fun makes partners restless for the excitement you deserve in a happy relationship.
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The night of the Christmas Party, Karen wears a frumpy wife outfit, while Mia dresses like a red-hot satan capped off with sexy red horns in her headband. When Mia asks Harry to dance, their romantic chemistry is palpable. His wife notices and mentions it to him after the party.
Karen: Mia's very pretty.
Harry: [nonchalantly but unconvincingly] Is she?
Karen: You know she is, darling. Be careful there.
As Karen gets ready for bed after the party, she even wears matronly underwear with zero sex appeal. Harry doesn't bother to look at her as they get into bed. We can see why he's lost sexual interest, even though Karen't a caring mother and competent spouse.
Next we get a glimpse of Mia getting undressed, wearing sexy red lingerie and the gold necklace from Harry.