With the lacy underwear Xanadu Victoria’s Secret or know her as the girlfriend of the actor Orlando Bloom. But Miranda Kerr is most famous for almost getting someone fired. Not long ago, a young banker at a Sydney, Australia, investment house received an e-mail with a series of photos—from a previous issue of this very magazine—of a certain supermodel in states of glorious undress. The problem was that one of the banker’s colleagues was being interviewed on live TV in their office at the time, talking about interest rates, while the poor banker in the background clicked through the photos. Four million YouTube hits later and the busted broker had become a phenomenon—not just because the video was funny, though Lord knows it was, but because men everywhere could relate. How can you operate a computer in 2010 and not eventually wind up looking at naked photos of Miranda Kerr?
“It was a huge deal,” Kerr told GQ recently over tea in New York City. “I wasn’t offended. I just felt sorry for the poor guy.”
Welcome to the twenty-first-century minefield of sex and the workplace, in which an ill-considered e-mail attachment can blow up into an interoffice scandal—or in Kerr’s case, a global incident. Men have always been getting themselves into these kinds of predicaments, but modern life—with its changing attitudes about sex, its new technology, its Miranda Kerrs—has widened the gray areas. At the same time, the stuff that’s always tormented the workingman hasn’t gotten any easier. When men and women work together, how do they handle the inevitable attraction? Does harassment really come down to who holds the power? Should we just permanently turn off this computer and quietly hum Bible hymns?
Posing near naked for a living can give you a certain perspective on such things. Kerr considers the scandalized Aussie banker with whom she’ll be forever intertwined. “I wonder if he’ll get into trouble if we send him this cover,” she asks. “We should send him a signed cover! He can read the magazine at home instead of at work on the Internet.” A brilliant idea. But the rest of us aren’t getting the consolation prize. We have to navigate the perilous world of sex and the workplace on our own. To help with that, we asked GQ’s resident sexiquette expert for some timely—and timeless—advice.