This month's Marie Claire includes a David Letterman-inspired article that explains why "bonking the boss" is a bad idea, yet still makes office affairs sound sexy. But more importantly, did Natalie Portman hook up with Sean Penn?

In the cover story, Portman addresses the recent tabloid stories that claim she made out with Penn behind a curtain at a party in L.A.:

He's obviously someone I'm friends with," she says. "I mean, not 'hey, wassup?' friends, but we were all on the [Cannes 2008] jury together — Alfonso [Cuaron] and Marjane [Satrapi] — and we had a really great time, and then ... It was one of those things where you're like 'Oh my God! I'm that person who's caught in this shitty rumor brigade.' You can't win. You don't say anything and everyone's like, 'It's true.' You say something and you're keeping the story alive. It's bad, bad news."

That sounds like a no, but who knows what secrets are hidden in those ellipses?

The rest of the profile emphasizes that Portman's a "good girl": she didn't go to high school parties, got drunk for the first time in college, and only tried pot when she was in her 20s. Those looking for something scandalous will have to settle for her comments on how she avoided becoming some director's muse even while working with Woody Allen, which could be interpreted as a dig at Scarlett Johansson:

"I have a problem with muse-ship," Portman says, curving into herself as if a little embarrassed. "I feel like througout history, it's been men vampiring on women's specialness. And why do that for someone?" Then she laughs, before adding: "Maybe it's fear of intimacy or something."

She's nobody's muse, but she is willing to dress up as Peter Pan if you ask nicely. (Fig. 1)

Elsewhere in the issue, Marie Claire "explores the darker side of having an affair with the guy in the corner office." The writer (who is married to her former boss) points out that several famous couples, including Barack and Michelle Obama, started out in office romances. There are several titillating (read: corny) stories about workplace hookups, like the lawyer dating her boss who would "slip into his office, sit on his lap, unbutton her shirt, and put his face between her breasts." However, the biggest consequences the women in the article face are being taken less seriously and choosing to find a new job when their office relationship got uncomfortable. None of the women experience the real "dark side," which ranges from getting fired by your ex-lover to causing a Lewinsky-esque national scandal.

Click to enlarge.

Fig. 1