Your dick pics are not welcome here, sir!
November 13, 2012 6:30 AM   Subscribe

Late last night a professional acquaintance sent me an unsolicited (and cringe inducing) dick pic via text. How do I handle this?

Let's call this man John. John is a booker for a couple bars in an area near me where I frequently book bands. On top of that, John has in's with a couple of much larger venues outside the state and it benefits the work I do to count him as an acquaintance and professional friend. About 6 months ago I got a hold of him and he has helped me immensely when it comes to gigs for an up-and-coming band I take care of. In short, I really would like to keep this man as a professional acquaintance.

Last night he sent me a dick pic via text. Seriously. The picture was actually of his feet in some slippers and the caption was "Like these new slippers I bought at a garage sale? ;)" but his manhood was totally in view, he was clearly fully naked, and there's no way this was just an accident. John is married and 30 years my elder. Gross.

I did not respond. I had talked to John earlier in the day because there is a huge show coming up this weekend at one of his venues and I wanted to inquire about the ticket situation regarding that. Otherwise, we have not spoken in a month or so. We sent a couple cordial texts back and forth and that was that, so I thought. I do not believe I have EVER given this man the impression this kind of picture was wanted or that this kind of behavior is acceptable to me. I don't feel I've led him on in any way and frankly, I feel like he's assumed that because I have a vagina and he's done me a couple of professional solids, this sort of thing is okay. No. Just fucking no.

My personality is such that if this man were anything other than a professional acquaintance I'd tell him to eat shit, fuck off, and never contact me again and I'd use just those words. I'm appalled by his behavior. Obviously, I'm feeling like I can't say that here.

Again, Ill be seeing John this weekend. I'm covering this show at his venue as press. I'm meeting tons of mutual friends there and we're all planning on having the best time ever. I'll be hanging with the band (one of my favorites) and I don't want this night shit on by some old dude that thinks this is okay.

How do I handle this? I did not respond to the text last night. Should I? If so, what should I say? If I leave it be, what do I say if he brings it up this weekend? How do I temper my disgusted rage over the whole thing and cordially verbalize that "Hey man, that was uncool"?
posted by youandiandaflame to Human Relations (42 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I would say nothing just yet. I would keep your contact with him totally professional through the event - tip off a couple friends so they can stick around you and run interference.

Then when the event is winding down, I would tell him that because of his unprofessional conduct, you will be taking your business elsewhere.

OR --

If John has a boss, contact John's boss now and tell THEM what happened.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:38 AM on November 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Wow. I think I'd text back and say something like "I assume this was sent to me mistakenly. If not, I don't welcome this behavior from you, and I find it appalling. Never do this again." Or say it to his face when you see him. Either way, don't say anything else when he responds to you, and definitely don't apologize during the interaction (I say this because I probably would say sorry at some point, which would be ridiculous).
posted by k8lin at 6:39 AM on November 13, 2012 [24 favorites]

Now, granted, I don't have much experience in the sending/receiving dick pics area, but it sounds to me that he may have unintentionally texted it to you. Not that he unintentionally texted it, period (as it was obviously deliberate), but that he meant to inappropriately dick pic someone else on his contacts list. I send texts to the wrong person ALL THE TIME. (None of them pics of my bits and pieces, mind you, but still.) But it just doesn't make sense to me that he'd text you for anything, and you were probably near the top of his message queue from interacting about work stuff earlier in the day.

So, if I were you, I would treat it as what it was--a mistake--on multiple levels. I would text him back and say something to the effect of, "I really hope you meant to send that last text to your wife. Please be MUCH more careful what you text to whom in the future."

I don't know what to tell you for when you see him in person, though. If he brings it up for ANY reason other than to profusely apologize, then you can go ahead and tell him to eat shit and fuck off.
posted by phunniemee at 6:39 AM on November 13, 2012 [62 favorites]

A guy who sends around pictures of his dick is an asshole, and you can expect that acknowledging this in any way (outside of "oh hell yeah let's do this") will produce an asshole-response that could jeopardize your professional relationship. So, as that's a risk either way, a simple "sorry, did you mean to send that to your wife?" could make it really, really clear that you know exactly what happened, you know what's up, and you're not going to take shit.
posted by griphus at 6:40 AM on November 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

How do you temper your rage? Well, it is sexual harassment, but it's also hilarious. Classic slipper-n-johnson shot. IDK how I'd be able too look at him without laughing, honestly
posted by MangyCarface at 6:40 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah -- treat it like it was an accident. I understand wanting to go on the warpath but: professional contact. Tell him he accidentally sent it to you and that he should be more careful (as per k8lin, above). Hope that, even if it WAS intentional, he plays along.
posted by AmandaA at 6:42 AM on November 13, 2012

I would totally assume, even if in my heart I had to convince myself that I assumed, that it was a misdirected text, intended for someone else (you know, like married guys are always sending pictures of their penises to their wives) and I would never mention it or act in anyway differently toward him. If he mentioned it, I would say 'Oh my God! That was for real???'
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:43 AM on November 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm not convinced it was a mistake, but I think the most tactful way to handle this may be to treat it like it was a mistake. As k8lin says, something like "I assume this was intended for someone else. Please be more careful in the future." I would respond by text.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:45 AM on November 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

For what it's worth I've gotten spam dick pics before. Are you sure it was from him?
posted by olinerd at 6:46 AM on November 13, 2012

I have a similar role to yours, and can imagine being in your shoes here. If I were you, I would not respond to the text, and if he brings it up or otherwise does/says something this weekend that makes you feel weird, I'd say something along the lines of, "Dude, you drunk-texted me the other night! I think you meant to send that to your wife - check your sent messages!" I would not make any effort to lower my voice, but would try to convey in tone that I see him as an equal and am treating this exactly as if I were a fellow straight man (in other words, in no way was this seen as possibly an advance, because that would be utterly laughable). Let him laugh it off and use the out of "Oops, that went to you?! Yikes!" And if he tries anything like this again, I'd reply: "Wrong number. This is your work associate, [name]."
posted by pammeke at 6:46 AM on November 13, 2012 [8 favorites]

"You need to be careful about accidentally texting pics to the wrong person. Very embarrassing."

And leave it at that.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 6:53 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'd be inclined to fwd it to his wife with the txt: "I believe this was meant for you; I have a purely professional relationship with John." But I am big on the sisterhood so YMMV.
posted by saucysault at 6:57 AM on November 13, 2012 [10 favorites]

If it were me, I'd figure out if it was an accident. If it wasn't an accident, I'd never deal with this person again. Business or not, if he did this intentionally, he has already ruined everything and made it clear he will harass you. This kind of thing tends to get worse. He has put you in a position where you now have to deal with all kinds of uncomfortable feelings because he has (very likely) sexually harassed you. I'd send him the message that 'you won't take it' by walking away.
posted by marimeko at 6:59 AM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you have any reason to assume it *wasn't* an accident? Because it probably was. I'd ignore it unless it happened again.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:01 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you decide to give him an out and let him play it off like it went to the wrong person, then I like the idea of bringing it up as a joke/jab in front of other people (or within earshot, like pammeke suggests). "Dude, you need to be careful when you text people! You guys should have seen what he accidentally sent me."

Better yet, switch that to, "Y'all should see what he sent me," and then show them all his stupid dick pic. Fuck him.
posted by juliplease at 7:04 AM on November 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

I couldn't disagree with MangyCarface more. If you can laugh things like this off, good, but laughing/shrugging it off should never be the expected reaction to sexual harrassment, or anything upsetting. Creeps get away with shit like this because they expect other people not to fight back.

I'd give him the benefit of the doubt and assume/react as though it were an accident ("hey, I think you meant to send this to your wife") and if he responds in any way other than backing off and apologizing, or if he does something similar a few weeks from now, that's when you reply with a firm, succinct "Don't send me things like this."

If it escalates or if you think he's treating you differently as a professional acquaintance because of your reaction, you may want to chat with a lawyer.

Also, who buys used slippers at a garage sale? That's the least gross thing of all the gross things here, but ew ew ew.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:09 AM on November 13, 2012 [29 favorites]

If you two have always interacted in a professional manner, I would give him the benefit of the doubt and respond and tell him he sent it to the wrong person.

I think jumping to show this to other people or his wife is unnecessary without proof it wasn't a mistake.
posted by Julnyes at 7:19 AM on November 13, 2012

"Wow... I've never seen one that old."
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:22 AM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tell him he accidentally texted the wrong person - he clearly meant to send this to his wife. You're rather offended by this but will let it slide because you respect him professionally and you know that it was an accident and will never happen again... right?

Without his knowledge, secretly keep the picture saved somewhere (preferably somewhere you won't accidentally click on it - ew), and if he continues to escalate the sexualized behavior that makes you uncomfortable - or vindictively tries to sabotage your career because you won't put out - send it to his wife. The slippers (and possibly the bits) will be recognizable by her and he won't have much free time to mess with your life if he's involved in a messy divorce.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 7:22 AM on November 13, 2012

Forward it to his wife. If you don't know her phone, forward it to his coworkers.

This man is vile scum, and scum grows in the dark. Expose him. Whether he sent it to you by mistake is completely irrelevant.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:23 AM on November 13, 2012

"That was unwelcome. I'll just presume you sent it by mistake, and we can keep things cool & professional. Everyone is really looking forward to the show -- see you there."

I'd give him that ONE gesture of benefit-of-the-doubt. But only one.
posted by argonauta at 7:42 AM on November 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

My response would be: "Too bad the garage sale was out of pants"
posted by FreezBoy at 7:42 AM on November 13, 2012 [19 favorites]

Do not forward it to his wife. That's just asking for crazy-pants drama. I agree that the best way to deal with this is that it was a mistake. You should tell him this. I also accidentally text the wrong people (but I do NOT buy slippers at garage sales -- ewwwww, the sweaty!!!) so it's plausible. And a guy who works with bands in bars might have some raunchy friends who like to surprise dick each other. The thing about the slippers is like a pretty unsexy thing to say but totally the kind of stupid thing you might say to your bro-hans.

Please let us know what he says when you tell him! And if he is sexually harassing you in this particularly sleevy way, that is his bridged burned, not yours. I'd forward it to his employer.
posted by amanda at 7:46 AM on November 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


You have two ways to go with this.

1. If you don't care to ever see or work with him again. "I've blocked your number you asshole, NEVER send me a picture of your nasty dick." Scream as loudly as you can, make sure EVERYONE hears you.

2. If you have to work with him, and need him to coorperate with you. "Dude, I don't know what you were thinking, but that text you sent was not okay. We have a professional relationship, nothing more. You've helped me and I appreciate it, but I do NOT appreciate your sending me a picture of your dick." It's firm, gets your point across, but preserves the relationship.

The point is, HE screwed up your relationship. It's not okay to send dick pics. He's a grown person, not a fucking frat boy.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:53 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Wow a lot of people in here seem to want to hang this guy on account of one incident that easily could have been a mistake.

youandiandaflame, I totally get why you are skeeved out by this, but from your question it doesn't look like this guy has acted anything but professionally to you at all, besides this. I really think you should assume that this text was a mistake (but be on your guard for future creepiness from this guy just in case).

Here are the possibilities:

1.) he realized that he sent the text to the wrong person and is mortified and doesn't know how to apologize to you. If you bring it up, in a jokey, forgiving way, you'll be doing a kindness and clearing the air between you.

2.) he didn't realize that he sent the text to you. He probably will be mortified to find out, but the kindness above still applies.

3.) he meant to send the text to you, because he has somehow horribly misread your relationship and is a cheating douche. If you confront him about it (jokingly at first, but firm about how it's not ok), he'll be put on notice to leave you out of his grossness in the future.

4.) he meant to send the text to you, and thinks that you are a piece of meat who is unfairly depriving him of your vagina. You'll find this out in your (private!) conversation with him. If that ends up being the case, then the public shaming, and the forwarding of the pic to his wife, etc are _all_ appropriate things to consider (depending on how much drama you personally want to deal with... because really, is this guy worth that much more of your time?)

tl;dr: Don't assume, confront privately.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:02 AM on November 13, 2012 [7 favorites]

Oh, and for some practical advice, I'd send him the following text today: "Hey, that text you sent me last night was meant for your wife, right?"

His response to that will help you figure out which category above he is in, and inform you about how you should act towards him this weekend.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:09 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I would reply "that was completely inappropriate" and try very hard to never deal with this person again. Mistake? Yeah, right.
posted by Occula at 8:16 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Basically you have to decide is your self-respect more important to you than your possible professional advancement. Yeah it's probably possible to navigate this situation where both parties retain a little dignity but I think he's clearly crossed a line into your comfort being secondary to his wants and needs and really do you want a professional relationship with someone that does that to you or other people?
posted by vuron at 8:24 AM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Why are people so quick to defend a sexual harasser? Who cares what his intention was? Who cares if it was sent to the wrong person? Oh, the poor guy, he is probably accidentally sexually harassing people. It's the guy's responsibility to NOT SEXUALLY HARASS COLLEAGUES, not the woman's responsibility to consider his sweet delicate feelings and give him the benefit of the doubt.

Not responding or laughing it off makes it easy for him to continue or escalate. He's counting on you to not cause any negative consequences for him because he's professionally useful to you. That's how sexual harassment works.

I would take this up with his boss and your boss. I would consider talking to a lawyer about your options. I would absolutely not minimize it and coddle him.
posted by medusa at 8:51 AM on November 13, 2012 [15 favorites]

One of my best friends was an agent for years and she had to deal with this kind of shit regularly. She had a sense of humor about it, but was hard as nails with guys that were inappropriate with her. Most guys treated her with more respect after she stood up for herself. Just tell the guy in no uncertain terms that you do not appreciate it and to never do that again. Chances are that he'll dial his behavior back, but a skeevy guy like that is always going to push boundaries. If you want to keep working with him, you'll probably need to develop a thick skin. Forwarding it around wouldn't accomplish much for you besides burning bridges. Everyone knows that this guy is an asshole already, trust me.
posted by empath at 9:08 AM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Can't you just make it clear that indeed you have a professional relationship and that's it? Something like, "I assume you sent that to me by accident. If not, never send that kind of shit to me again please." Or the other responses people recommended, but I think a tone of being a bit grossed out might help get the point across. Are you in a relationship? Maybe you could use this to explain that any sort of sexual interaction between you is out of the question. "I assume that was a mistake. If not, please don't do that again. I don't think it's funny and my boyfriend/husband/girlfriend would find it even less funny."

I don't see how telling him to knock that shit off jeopardizes your professional relationship, unless this guy is irrational and a total scum bag. You'd be drawing a line in the sand: we can talk about work and generally be pleasant, but we are not sexting. Regardless, this guy sounds gross. I would avoid being alone with him lest he make more sexual advances, in person. Sorry you have to work with someone like that.

Ignoring it may show you're not amused, but it may also seem like a green light. You should say something. If he feels comfortable sending dick pics, you should feel comfortable expressing that you don't want to receive dick pics.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:23 AM on November 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thanks for all the responses!

Texted him that it looked like he sent me a text meant for someone else as I thought the gracious assumption that it was an accident was the most fair one offered in the advice here. His response was: "Sorry! That text was meant for another youandiandaflame I do booking with. See you Saturday without the slippers! LMFAO!". That's nice. So, that text wasn't meant for your wife! And I'm sure that you do indeed book with another female who happens to share my typically male name! Obviously, I'm not engaging him anymore and don't think I should text back.

Ugh. At this point, I think I'll just inform the band of the man's actions and keep my distance from him this weekend. At least that way, they'll know who they're working with -- the leader of the band has known me since childhood and is a personal friend and the band works far more with this man now that I initially hooked them all together. I'll be honest, I'm fairly certain they won't appreciate this kind of shit. My access to the show and the band is through the band's management so I don't need to be in his good graces for this gig. In short, after his clarification, fuck that dude.

Thanks again, all.
posted by youandiandaflame at 10:07 AM on November 13, 2012 [18 favorites]

If it weren't for that little wink at the end of the text he sent, I could buy the idea of a certain type of guy finding it hilarious to send his friends pictures of his dick. But it sure looks more scurrilous with the wink.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:31 AM on November 13, 2012

Well, he's a cheating douche (and a moron, b/c how hard would it have been to spin a little white lie and say "oops, yeah, thats for [john's wife]'s eyes only"), hopefully he keeps things professional towards you from now on.

Good luck!
posted by sparklemotion at 10:47 AM on November 13, 2012

It's the guy's responsibility to NOT SEXUALLY HARASS COLLEAGUES, not the woman's responsibility to consider his sweet delicate feelings and give him the benefit of the doubt.

Couldn't favorite this harder if I were a Level 30 Favoriting Samurai. Informing your friends in the band about this incident strikes me as the right thing to do - as some others have already commented, creeps who pull this sort of shit are counting on you keeping it to yourself. Even in the unlikely event that it really was a mistake (yeah, right*), a) you're not going to be ruining his life by letting the band know, b) if I were in the band I'd like to know who I was dealing with, and c) any consequences he reaps will hopefully remind him to be a whole heck of a lot more careful in the future.

I know someone who got what was definitely an accidental dick shot once, so I do realize it can happen. His response to you does not make it sound like it was an accident.
posted by DingoMutt at 11:29 AM on November 13, 2012 [8 favorites]

At this point I'd show everyone I (and he) know and laugh.
posted by cmoj at 11:46 AM on November 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

People like that get their rocks off about the idea that you now share this dirty little secret with them and you're hating every minute of it.

So share! Be generous, show your entire posse there his stupid dick pic and laugh him in the face. Do it near the end of the event before you leave, though.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:25 PM on November 13, 2012 [7 favorites]

Since his photo didn't win him the (highly improbable) jackpot with you, I'm betting that he'll happily take the consolation prize of thinking about you getting all flustered by his dick.

To deny him this, I'd suggest the following: Look him straight in the eye, very even-keeled and matter-of-fact like you own the fucking word, not at all embarrassed or angry or even disgusted. Say something succinct and direct like "No more 'accidental' texts. Clear? [don't wait for an answer] Good." And then go about your business.
posted by desuetude at 1:42 PM on November 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

Shouldn't. Share. This. Story. But.... uhm's too funny not to.

A year ago, a woman I'd been chatting with a few months prior sent me a text to see if I wanted to hang out that evening. It was already kind of late, so I asked what she was doing the next day. She was thinking right now. After a few more texts, she said she'd had a rough week and really needed to get laid. Who am I to resist a lovely woman? I gave her my address and she said she'd be right over.

There was a knock at the door. I opened it, and she just stood there with a startled look. She asked if I had anything to drink. I poured us each a glass of wine and, as we sat on the couch, she eventually explained that when we'd swapped numbers months before, she put me in her phone as FIRST NAME and NUMBER. Weeks later, she'd met another guy with the same first name and also put him in her phone. I'm sure you've figured out the rest of the story, right? Whooops!!! The fact that she'd texted the wrong guy didn't prevent me from being the right guy at the time. Multiple times that evening, in fact.

As for that OTHER guy with my same first name... if I ever meet him, well... let's just say the first round of drinks is on me. And the 2nd. And the 3rd. And... actually, come to think of it, he might not enjoy this story AT ALL.

I still laugh when I think about it.

BOTTOM LINE: You never know. If your first name is common, he might have you and who knows who else in his phone listed just by the same first name. And he may have no idea he texted the wrong person. I'm not saying the odds of it are particularly high, but it happened to me.
posted by 2oh1 at 7:45 PM on November 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

Maybe he was sending his photo to a MALE with your typically male name. What do you know about his personal life? Probably close to nothing (as it should be). He could be married and gay on the side. I'd give this guy the benefit of the doubt. My first thought even without reading your post, just reading the title, was, "This is a mistake." I've gotten mistaken drunk texts before, some embarrassing.

He's possibly a cheater, but it seems a bit rash to end your business relationship over a mistake text. I'd assume it was a mistake unless you get another. It's far-fetched to think he is in the top .01% of sketchiness and texting his cock to business partners. It's much more likely that it was a mistake. (I'd tell you to think of this like a Bayesian statistician and consider the priors, but that would be too geeky. Oh no! It just happened.)

Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action. I would totally let this one go.
posted by kellybird at 11:28 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was willing to bet it was an accident (while putting my fingers in my ears and humming very loudly), but that "See you Saturday without the slippers!" is bullshit. Followed by the "LMFAO" which is used by every online sexual harrasser I've ever come in contact with. That and "LOL!", " :-P " and " ;-) ".
It's not the use of these that makes it bad. It's the context of the message. He meant to send that to you and only you. I mean, with no previous indication of anything other than a professional relationship between the two of you, he's suddenly text-flirty? Fuck no, that's not a mistake.

I'd be keeping this pic in case I needed it for a police report down the road.

Sorry you had to go through this. And you be careful.
posted by DisreputableDog at 1:02 AM on November 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

For the record, 'see you saturday without the slippers' is not the same as 'see you saturday with pants on'
posted by MangyCarface at 12:05 PM on November 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

« Older 24 hours in Santa Barbara   |   She's turning 30 and I don't know what to get her. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.