Dear 100 Hour Board,
Here was the situation: My wife was looking for a summer job. She was offered a nannying position here in Provo. Good hours, good pay. Ideal situation. Except that while the wife of the child is away at work, the husband is working from home in his office. So my wife would have to be taking care of their newborn alone in the house with the husband. We really don't know hardly anything about these people other than they're in their 30s, she works for BYU, and they're LDS.
Things probably would be totally fine, but I've always operated under the assumption that it's inappropriate for a husband or wife to be in a house alone with someone of the opposite gender. Sort of a Joseph and Potifer's wife thing where it's just better to not put yourself in that kind of situation, even though only .5% every turn out to be the Potifer's wife type.
We talked about it and at the end of the day I just wasn't comfortable trusting a male stranger with my wife for a few hours every day (even if they are LDS ... ahem ... exhibit A: that MTC mission president). We've never met them and couldn't even dig up hardly anything on social media about them. And they wanted an answer ASAP so we couldn't meet up to get to know them first. Anyway, we turned down the offer.
I know, with all due respect, your opinions don't matter a whole lot (no offense). We've made the decision, but I was just curious about what you guys would have done in our shoes? Especially the marrieds among you. Do you think I should have been more trusting or did we make the right call? What's your policy?
As much as I wish we lived in a world where I could say "yeah that'd be fine that's no problem at all!" I know in reality I probably would have done the same thing you did. However, this doesn't come from the "it's inappropriate" viewpoint, but "she's in there alone with a guy and we don't know him and he could potentially do something to her." I'm a strong believer that men and women can be just friends and work together in the same space (just look at me and my coworkers). Goodness, you can even get dinner with a member of the opposite sex and it's fine. I've been out to dinner (by which I mean we went to the Cougareat) with my male coworker and his wife separately, because they're both great friends of mine and I love talking with them. I would be perfectly fine with my (future) spouse working in the same office/house as my trusted female friend, because that's often what happens with me. However, the problem comes when I don't know who they are, whether at all or just not very well. And I'd even argue that applies for men as well. For instance, if yours and your wife's roles were reversed, I would still feel uncomfortable about you working in a house with only a random female present. So I guess when it comes down to it, it's more about trusting and knowing who the other person is than gender.
-guppy of doom
I definitely agree with what the other writers have said about sexual abuse being a large concern. However, even if I knew the other couple well, and was friends with both of them, I could still see myself turning down the position.
To state it simply, the very thought of being alone with a married guy in his house just feels weird to me. And not because I would be in any kind of fear about slipping into something even approaching immorality. Honestly, I'm not sure why it feels so strange to me, but it does. I'm perfectly fine being alone with married guys in professional settings like at school or a workplace, but change that to being alone with them in their home, and I'm no longer okay with it.
Actually, simply by writing this answer, I think I know why I would not be okay with nannying while the husband was at home--a house is a more intimate kind of setting, and I don't like sharing that level of intimacy with a married man. In fact, the only men I'd be comfortable entering into such a situation with would be the men with whom I naturally already share a more personal and intimate relationship, i.e. my family. I am a-okay with being alone in their homes with any of my brothers or brothers-in-law. That's it, though.
Obviously, not everyone is going to view being alone in a home with a married person as a form of an "intimate relationship". That's just great for those people. But I am definitely not one of them, and so I'm going to act in accordance with what feels right to me.