Benjamin-riley_new-e1359604418483I get pretty nervous before job interviews. Unfortunately, productive preparatory tasks, such as figuring out the answers to stupid questions like, ‘what’s your greatest weakness’ (answer: my dislike of most people), are often pushed aside so I can polish my shoes 10 times and wonder whether more hairspray will make my hair shinier. But in one way or another, I like to be prepared.

A little while back I had a job interview that seemed to be running smoothly. My careful preparation had resulted in both thoughtful answers to the interviewers’ questions and the confidence that can only come with knowing one’s over-polished shoes will serve as an emergency mirror. My confidence lasted right up until the moment an interviewer revealed he had read my column, and particularly enjoyed one I wrote about bears.

It takes a lot for me to get embarrassed, but the blush was almost instantaneous. My face burned as I fumbled the response, all preparation thrown out the window. Eventually I came up with some rubbish about how the gays have a special place in my heart, but I was sure it was all over.

I made it through the rest of the interview and stumbled out onto the street, calling my boyfriend to tell him what had happened. As we spoke, he pulled the column the interviewer had referred to up on his computer screen and gave it a quick read. He confirmed my fears: there was some pretty filthy stuff in there, including a thinly veiled reference to me fantasising about getting fucked by some big hairy dude. There was no way this reflected well on me.

To my surprise, a few days later I was offered the job.

Thinking back on the incident, they probably wouldn’t have brought the column up if it hadn’t been okay. And I guess it bode well for me — any employer okay with a bit of harmless smut was probably going to be good to work for.

I’ve been asked before whether I worry about all the filth floating around the internet with my name attached to it. I got lucky in this interview, but I can easily see it having gone the other way. Any prospective employer is just a Google away from finding out why I have the hots for Spider-man. On the plus side, I’m doing the best I can now to seed the internet with evidence to be used against me at a future date, sabotaging any of future-Benjamin’s political ambitions. My smut is just as much a part of me as my employment history, and if anyone has a problem with that, I can always accuse them of homophobia.

Follow Ben Riley on Twitter: @bencriley

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