That’s What She Said!

Anyone who has not heard these jokes really needs to get out of the house and/or watch a couple episodes of The Office. These jokes are probably the funniest and most witty and creative sexual jokes out there, and can, for some, provide hours of entertainment. In my experience, those with the driest and most sarcastic senses of humor tend to be quickest with these jokes – both making and getting them. For anyone who doesn’t work in IT (most of you, I’m guessing) this typically describes 90% of the men working in IT. They are super smart and therefore their jokes are typically on a higher plane of intelligence. AKA if you’re not quick, you’ll be left in the dark groping for the light switch and tripping over yourself. I would know, it’s happened to me a lot of times. But I’ve learned along the way and no longer have embarrassing moments of what-the-heck-just-happened and why-is-everyone-laughing-but-me. The worst. To me it seems like an oxymoron that seemingly “intelligent” jokes be related to sex in any way, but it’s true. Just go with it.

Anywayz. So if you’re familiar with this genre, if you will, of jokes, you know that almost any statement one makes can be responded to with a “that’s what she said!” It’s really remarkable. Over the past year I have obtained a new level of appreciation / humorous disgust with the [mostly] men who make these jokes. If you’re not paying attention you can walk right into the trap with a simple exchange like this: “Where are you? I thought you were attending this meeting.” “I’m coming, be there soon.” “…That’s what she said!” Some see these exchanges as a red flag for HR to step in and give someone a slap on the wrist. Some people are very uncomfortable with these jokes. And some would never say them in front of a woman in the office or anywhere. It seems like I don’t know any of these people as I am surrounded by “that’s what she said” on all sides. This does one of two things: it provides me with some good laughs at some creative and witty responses…I’m continually surprised at the statements that make some people think about what she is saying. It also makes me think more carefully about how I phrase things. I’ll explain.

Almost never do I use the words “come,” “coming,” “hard,” or “harder” in a sentence. It’s just walking into a trap, especially when speaking to someone who I know is quick with the that’s-what-she-saids. Take for example the sample exchange above. Instead of that response, I now would reply with something like “I am on my way to the meeting room.” This is a specific statement with plenty of qualifiers, making it less ambiguous and less prone to being victim of a TWSS. Additionally, nothing for me is ever hard anymore (that’s what she said), at work or outside of work. Things are now “difficult” or “challenging” and I always use a qualifier or a specific noun to identify exactly what is causing me difficulties. For example, no more “this is hard,” or “it’s so hard.” The “this” and “it” are far too ambiguous. Instead it would go something like this: “This project is very challenging due to complicated coding structures.” See? Very specific. Another example: “My workout last night was so hard,” which has multiple bait factors in “workout,” “last night,” and “so hard,” now becomes this: “Boxing class was extremely difficult because of the new instructor.” Specificity is the key.

The other challenge is that I became too accustomed to hearing these jokes slung around by people in the office and certain dear friends of mine (cough the Senator cough) that my brain picks up on these nuances quicker than ever before. I now almost challenge myself to never say anything that could be bait for a TWSS. Because it’s somewhat ingrained in my head, I’m sometimes afraid I will say something and then make myself think that’s-what-she-said and then giggle awkwardly. It’s happened before. People always ask you what’s funny and it’s even more awkward when you can’t explain. Or I’ll hear someone say something which just wreaks of TWSS, only no one else caught it and I’m left alone to smirk and stifle a chuckle.

One of my top 5 TWSS times occurred when I was attending a 3 week IT training. In a room with other young IT professionals all working on a project together for 3 straight weeks, day in, day out, you get familiar with each other. Someone would say something about their code but phrase it in such a way that it was just perfect for a TWSS. Occasionally, for the benefit of the group, someone would mutter it under their breath and we’d share a chuckle. Eventually all I had to do was raise an eyebrow and those of us that got it would giggle like 8-year-olds.

So. Everyone keep going strong (that’s what she said) and never stop working hard (that’s what she said) no matter how huge (that’s what she said) or how small (I hope she didn’t say that) the project is. Even if your coworkers will never quit (that’s what she said) harassing you with sexual jokes you don’t appreciate, you must finish your work (that’s what she said). At the end of the day when you’re dog tired because your boss worked you until you were exhausted (that’s what she said) and you didn’t think you had any more in you (that’s what she said) and really didn’t want to keep it up anymore (that’s what she said), at least you had a few good laughs.

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