|Toby Flenderson: Actually he is kind of annoying!|
Foreign. Noun phrase. Plural bêtes noires (pronounced same). Mid-19th century.
[French 'black beast'.]
The bane of someone's life; an insufferable person or thing; an object of aversion.
If ever a co-worker sends you a rock as a gift with a note saying 'Suck on this!', then congratulations - you can properly consider yourself someone's bête noire. This is also true if they take the time to egg your house, suggest that you're an animal rapist, say that you're the worst human ever or that they'd shoot you (twice) over Hitler and Bin Laden. With any one of these, you're firmly in bête noire territory.
Toby Flenderson of The Office suffered all of these indignities and more at the hands of Michael Scott, the Scranton branch manager of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. Michael hates the fact that Toby, as the corporate HR representative, is not really under his authority, that Toby is often the first one other staff approach with their problems and that it's his job to object to and curtail Michael's frequently unethical, offensive, illegal and downright dangerous actions. Remarkably, Toby never reciprocates Michael's aggression or contempt, but rather remains ever calm and almost frustratingly mild.
Have you ever had (or do you have) a bête noire? Do you think you are a bête noire? If so, do please tell us all about it!