You there. Reading this on your iPad while pretending to annotate the quarterly spending review, or with your magazine propped against the window as you break for coffee. Has it occurred to you the girl who sits just two desks across from yours might be thinking about you, right now?
That when you came into work she noted the way your trousers fit around your waist, the way the fabric follows the firm curve of your backside? That as you removed your jacket she watched, as she does each day; the way your shoulders flex under your shirt?
That today she pictured catching the exposed skin of your forearm, pressing her lips to the strong muscles of your wrist, then, looking up at you through her soft fringe, imagined taking your hand and running it up the sleek silk of her stockings, past the trembling flesh of her thighs and pressing your fingers into her wet, waiting, wanting...
Well, my friend, it's time to wise up. Recent research undertaken by the employment law firm Peninsula concluded that up to 93 per cent of women have fantasised about their colleagues. Romance publisher Harlequin observed this trend early on and switched the emphasis of its novels to office affairs - and was rewarded with a 20,000 per cent profit increase.
It's not surprising. Day after day we share the same patch of carpet as people with similar drives and motivation, some of whom have clearly higher status (power, as ever, an aphrodisiac). What's more, we know we shouldn't find our colleagues attractive. So of course we do. Six out of ten of us have already had jiggy at work.
But what is the best way to get in on the act (without finding yourself out of a job)?
1. Consider your working environment
While researching her book on the subject, In Office Hours, Financial Times journalist Lucy Kellaway found that many employers actively encourage workplace liaisons. Indeed, she told me about one newspaper editor who actually "promoted flirting and full-blown relationships among his staff as it meant they were more perky and spent more time at work". But a Twitter conversation soon revealed that the media is just one of several industries in which office liaisons are a generally accepted occurrence - favourite examples included a sketch of the infinite couplings in the art and auction-house world, and an instance from a risk assessment firm where women signalled their availability to colleagues by signing themselves up to "best bottom" competitions.
Naturally enough, the corporate worlds of law and finance are often understood to be less laid-back. International finance firms, including Goldman Sachs, have policies, or "love contracts", in place, designed to guard against risks such as sexual harassment or inappropriate information exchange. Should you work in this world, you will want to exercise greater caution - at the same time, though, this is not to say you shouldn't succumb.
"In fact," Kellaway continued, "I found the most outrageous behaviour occurred in corporate law firms and formal banks.
Sex on rooftops, even couples taping over a security camera so as not to be discovered. The greater the taboo the more tempting it is to break."
2. Make the move
Obviously, you don't wish to force yourself on anyone (not until it's fully consensual anyway) and exploits at the randomly exchanged bodily fluid festival - otherwise known as the Christmas party - tend to be unnecessarily fumbled and embarrassingly public. Instead., you are out to seduce.
Remember, time is on your side here. If attrition is a well-honed tool in a Casanova's belt, it is the single biggest player in the repetitive daily round of the workplace. Like a sexual Iago, you need to drip persuasion into her ear until she is yours.
Acknowledge any of her qualities that may often go unremarked upon. In short, be charming. Don't just compliment the skill of her work - though be sure to do that - but also her intelligence, her fascinating mind, her beautiful ... speaking voice. You can reach the subject of her buns later. Be her ally; her knight in shining armour. Soon she'll eagerly await the moments when you saunter over. At which point, take her for a drink, and make sure it's off-site.
3. Public displays of affection should be abandoned
Behave towards each other at work as you would to anyone else (both while she's covered in stubble rash from the night before and you are aching to pin her to her partition wall and add some bite marks to those already hidden under her pussy-bow blouse; equally; when the whole thing goes wrong and you're yearning to tell the world she's a cheating Gorgon).
On a similar note, pick someone discreet. Unless you want everyone to know you shout "Hosanna!" when you come, that you'd swim the channel for a toe job, that you're insanely good at doggy but give only average head. And avoid niche sex games - unless you want the story to live on years after the scening has ceased.
4. Beware technology
In this age of virals, keep everything offline where possible, and absolutely off the office network; viz the private-equity journalist who worked at a highly regarded newspaper until he slept with a senior PR in his field. When his winsome morning-after message "Did we use protection?" was mistakenly dispatched to all his contacts, both their jobs were immediately terminated.
Having taken this on board, however, be bold and sally forth. Who knows what adventure may be waiting for you with someone whose desk is mere metres away?
Original article published in GQ Magazine, in December, 2011