A junior friend went to a conference where she met a Big Name. The Big Name was impressed by her work, and offered to write her a reference. My friend was recently writing an application, and was going to put Big Name as one of her referees. But a colleague suggested it would work against her because people would wonder why Big Name was writing her a reference, and assume it could only be because she’d slept with him. A further poll of colleagues revealed this was highly unlikely. But my friend’s confidence was knocked by the whole incident.