is it unprofessional to have hickeys at work? — Ask a Manager

is it unprofessional to have hickeys at work?

A reader writes:

What’s the workplace norm around hickeys? Obviously, I would never want to make my coworkers uncomfortable, involve them in my sex life, or lead anyone to think I’m being abused. I figure the general policy is that any obvious marks are unprofessional and should be hidden from view at work. But what counts as an obvious mark? Do I have to break out the turtlenecks for any sort of faint bruise in the neck area, or will people generally not assume anything scandalous is going on unless it’s highly visible or happening very frequently? Does this change depending on the workplace’s level of formality or dress code? What about a casual work barbecue with summer attire or a non-work social event with coworkers present?

Yeah, you shouldn’t have visible hickeys at work. If it’s noticeable enough to be recognized as a hickey, you should cover it with makeup, a scarf, a top with a high neck, or whatever works for you.

It’s not that no one can ever suspect you have a sex life, but your coworkers should not be made to come face-to-face with specific information about your sex life … and generally speaking, a lot of people consider hickeys tacky and immature, and that’s not the image you want in your work life. This is true regardless of your workplace’s level of formality or dress code.

Those considerations don’t change just because you’re at a casual work barbecue or other work event. If you have hickeys, cover them before going!

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