The Window Seat to Hell

Bitter and Abused Columns, Lawyer 26 Comments

You want to know what annoys me to the point of claiming “Associate Abuse?” It’s the fact that I spend more than six hours flying per week, but I can never sleep on the plane.  It’s not because I have a fear of flying or because of those uncomfortable seats. The reason I can’t sleep is because my boss sacks out before the plane can even level off!  Plus, as I see it, there’s been one occasion of really crossing the line.

We’ve been making the same three-hour flight together twice a week for the last six months (and will be for some time to come), and I can hardly think of a single time he hasn’t used my shoulder as a pillow, invaded my legroom and blocked my access to the aisle or bathroom.  Because, of course, he always “let’s me” have the window seat.

Trust me, trust me, trust me! I’ve thought of every possible way we could possibly book separate seats, but even though it’s a long flight, it’s still a commuter jet with one class of service and only 60 small, crammed seats.  I’ve asked his secretary who makes all the reservations several times about getting separate seats, but she acts like she’s under strict orders to put us together.

No matter what, my shoulder feels like it’s been through hell by the time we land.  He’s a large man, and I’m a tiny, 5’3” woman. It’s a total mismatch; and I often struggle to keep from being crushed under his weight.  But I guess that’s why he likes it so much—he knows he will never get stuck to anyone sizable enough to cramp him.

Oh!  And he snores!  Um, and I mean that it’s loud enough for me to hear him over the cabin noise. And as long as I’m totally calling him out, there have also been a few occasions of drool.  After he practically ruined one designer top, I cling as close as I can to the window when I know he’s in really deep sleep.

So this all leads up to what happened last week.  We were on our regular 7:10 flight at the beginning of the week when I reached up to adjust the air.  As I did, my boss—asleep as usual—moaned and slid his right arm firmly and directly across my chest.

That’s right.  I got felt up.  By my boss.  While he was sleeping.  If I could have jumped out the goddamned window, I would have.

I had a really terrible reaction and said something (I don’t remember what), and it must have been loud enough to wake him.  Through his sleepy eyes, he just starred at me, but he didn’t apologize, even though I’m certain he knows he did it because he had that stupid, sheepish look on his face that all men get.

I folded my arms and played defense for the rest of the flight. I just wish the bastard had been awake when he groped me because I’m not sure about the merits of a sexual harassment lawsuit where the defendant is unconscious.

Ever since that day, I’ve been a complete rag to him.  I can’t help it.  But I don’t think he even cares, so what’s a girl to do?

Report your anonymous tales of Associate Abuse.  Email them to .

Join Bitter Lawyer on Facebook.  Follow on Twitter.

Buy Bitter Lawyer merchandise.

Share this Post

  • Alan Sheketovits

    Quit complaining.  You women are a pain in the rear on these issues—You have a job and you are on the clock when you get into the plane.  If the boss slobbers over your clothes, you can put in for cleaning expenses.  If the guy feels your boob, you can write that off as a clumsy mistake.  Believe me, it’s nothing to a guy unless you’re a 40 DDD.  If you fall asleep and graze his privates, he won’t care, I ‘m sure.  So man up and be glad you have a gig.

  • Alex Hump

    I agree.  The job market is TERRIBLE for new lawyers.  Even Harvard guys can’t get a job.  Therefore, this woman ought to be thankful for the slob that drools on her shirt.  Read this NY Times article and you’ll agree that this broad oughta keep her trap shut:

  • BL1Y

    You notice what she hasn’t tried?  Asking the boss if she can have the aisle seat.  I hate when people complain about stuff without going for the easy, obvious solution.  Just tell him that since he falls asleep, you’d prefer the aisle so you can get up if you need to use the bathroom without waking him.

  • Alex Hump

    BL1Y, I agree.  All she had to say is that she has Irritable Bowel Syndrome, that causes her to have to get up and hit the crapper or crap in her pants.  Believe me, no one wants to sit next to someone on a 3 hour plane ride with a load in her pants.  I’ve been there, and it stinks.

  • KateLaw

    She’s does seem to be too passive about the situation, but perhaps she fears that if she does say something she will be viewed as difficult or just a plain annoyance (negative either way when you’re talking about your boss).  Her boss is likely a partner who obviously doesn’t feel like he has to cater to anyone and, given the state of the economy and the job market for attorneys, I think quietly complaining about it online is much safer than taking your chances by saying something that may just piss off your superior.  I imagine that this predicament that has plagued this poor girl and led to this online rant.

  • Smurf

    Two aisle seats.  One row.  Still together.

  • Craig

    What do you think your boss will do if you ask him for an aisle seat next flight?  The guy is probably so self centered he barely thinks about or recognizes how uncomfortable you are during flights.  I’m not sure how some of these people are lawyers (well, after seeing some of the kids in law school, maybe I can see it).  If you are afraid to tell your boss that you are extremely uncomfortable on these flights, to the point that you secretly hate him and anonymously rip him on the internet, how do you stand up for your clients?  Nobody will fire you because you don’t like to be cramped on a three hour flight but he may fire you because you are seemingly irrationally “a complete rag to him.”

  • Anonymous

    why don’t you just bring some work. open the seatback table, and move forward a little to work. there will be a slight gap and he won’t be able to sleep there.

  • Anonymous

    does the airline charge extra for that kind of service?

  • Anonymous

    This dame is a loser.  I would just be happy with a job and take all the slobbering and boob grabbing, because it’s a paycheck.  Too many women get uppity, and no guy cares about the boob unless she’s not wearing a bra and she’s stacked.

  • Azalene

    That’s the worst seat. can’t believe he sticks you with the window. that blows.

  • Anonymous

    never take the window.

  • Lady love

    Come on guys don’t you have a llittle softness in your heart for this lady lawyer.  Give her some suggestions for dealing with this situation I like the one where she can sit up and work, but 3 hours is a long time.  If you don’t feel comfortable talking for 3 hrs to keep him awake, then keep waking him up completely when he leans on you, believe me, his wife would.  I don’t even like a baby slobbering on me, let alone a grown man.

  • Anon Female

    I do! I feel for this lady lawyer. maybe she can suggest that she doesn’t want to wake him when she has to use the bathroom so she should sit in the aisle.

  • BL1Y

    Anon Female: Thanks, just 11 comments too late And for Lady Love, I don’t have much sympathy for people who don’t try the obvious solutions to their problems.


    Why not call the airline or go online and change your seats you dumb

  • Guano Dubango

    Is it to late for me to ask Anon Female for a picture?  She sounds compasionate.

  • BL1Y

    “That’s odd, I thought they normally book our seats together.” “Yeup, that’s strange…” “I’ll have to make sure my secretary double checks this next time.” (At this point you realize that the secretary will say she did book them together.) “Oh, I called the airline and asked them to move my seat.” “Why’d you do that?” “Because I don’t like when you fall asleep on me.” “Why didn’t you just say something to me?” “Because I’m a spineless wimp and have no ability to confront anyone directly about anything.”

  • Contributer

    I totally get what some of you are saying.  Actually writing this was the most cathartic things I’ve done because I got a larger dose of the same relief I get when I tell one of his stories and laugh with my friends.
    Some of you, like BL1Y (who seems out to make me into the public enemy of all the legal world), don’t realize that what you propose isn’t completely foolproof and can backfire.
    Oh, suddenly one day I plainly tell him that his sleeping on me is annoying.  Well, great.  I possibly just disrupted his fragile ego by embarrassing him, and the next week he asks for another associate to take over the project and makes an excuse for why I’m needed elsewhere.
    Nothing is as simple as it seems, though I sincerely appreciate the discussion.

  • Er, no.

    Book your own tickets – do not let his secretary book for you.  Falling asleep and drooling on you?  WAAAAAY over the line, and you should tell him he has drooled on you and it’s not ok.  I also think it very likely that feeling you up was deliberate and that he wasn’t really sleeping, but just in case, you could mention that he was touching your breasts in his sleep and that it made you profoundly uncomfortable, and that while you know he was sleeping and clearly didn’t do it on purpose (yeah, right), you prefer to avoid it going forward.  Another thought – you could tell this stuff to his secretary instead and try to win her sympathy and cooperation in booking you in seats that are not together.  Otherwise, perhaps try coughing or sneezing in his face when he is on your shoulder?  Or, more extreme, spraying perfume on yourself while he’s there so that he gets it on him?  Or perhaps spill something on him when he leans over on you and say you were surprised and jumped when he leaned on you?  There are lots of creative ways to put a stop to this – you just have to have a teensy bit of guts.

  • Robert Smith

    He is likely to progress to sitting beside you at lunch and dinner, insisting on walking you to your room, and seeing how far he can go.  At the very least he is as irritating as the “Passionate Partner” from LA’s Pillsbury, Madison who was eventually ousted from that partnership for such stuff that went on over a period of years. (written up in the LA Daily Journal if I recall).
    You can’t tenably ask for an aisle seat: you’re tiny and he’s not. Nor do you want to fake a bladder problem he’ll tell everyone about. You may not want to complain because you see it as a career killer. 
    So work with the table down on your laptop, get a large inflatable neck support and use it because of your “minor whiplash.” (have a story ready in case he wants details and tries to “help.” (“I have a lawyer, thanks). The mention of another lawyer might cool his ardor a bit.  Make a barrier by stuffing a legal length redweld marked “Legal Articles” filled with one inch of copied articles between your thigh and the seat. Or use a small 1” ring binder. 
    If this does not work, have the closest male friend to have to a green beret to the office to pick you up for lunch. A few times ought to assure that your passionate Partner will see. No need for a long speech.  My guess is that’ll do it. 
    If not, another female friend could always call his wife and ask if he’s home and hang up. A few times ought to do it.  Wife will suspect eevrything, grille him and he may think someone saw the two of you and he’ll behave.  if not escalate by having another friend make an anonymous call–all from pay phones!–to ask “do you know who your husband’s’ travelling with?”
    If this is still a problem in 2 months report back.

  • Kads

    maybe just say you have some slight medical condition and have to sit in the aisle close to the bathroom. don’t see why that wouldn’t work.

  • BL1Y

    One of my coworkers spent a week staying past midnight doing really secretarial work (making binders, printing mailing labels, etc), and the first day of the next week got laid off.  Being a doormat does not make you recession proof.  The trouble is most people (men and women both) have little experience directly confronting problems.  Instead they try to go around it, or come up with “creative” solutions.  Then, when they finally do confront someone, it’s because they’ve built up so much emotion and they go off on the person, and so they start to think that all direct confrontation will be negative.  Handling situations like this takes tact and poise, and you won’t get it without experience.  Learn to express yourself so that your desires are clearly known (avoid subtle hints, or hints that you think are obvious but a man will definitely miss), but also learn to live with not always getting your way.

  • BL1Y

    And another thing to consider, perhaps your interests and the boss’s interests are aligned.  Maybe he wants the window seat and was actually trying to be nice when he offered it to you.  Maybe he doesn’t want you to feel like you have to make idol chit-chat for three hours, so he goes to sleep.

  • Anonymous

    Idol chit chat?  It’s IDLE chit chat.  BL1Y, you need to do more reading.  You’re still young.  There’s time to mature.

  • www.pinkshoelawyer.blogspot.com

    here’s the problem.  no one with any sort of inclination to retain employment and maybe, perhaps, progress up the food chain every once in a while, wants her boss to hate her…or worse, to not know who the hell she is.  Many times, the only reason a boss (male version) doesn’t hate a woman (or at least the reason why he acknowledges her existence) is because she’s young, not unattractive, and a lot fresher looking than the hag at home.  without the backtalk. 
    so if she says something that could possibly be construed as rejecting romantic-seeming advances, she may lose everything. 
    And before I hear any bullshit about women using looks for advancement: it’s not like we get buddy buddy time talking about girls we banged or sports games we’ve seen.