Putting this behind a cut given the “Guy In Your Office Who Gives Weird Backrubs And Ends Every Sentence With ‘That’s What She Said’ Is Totally #IBelieveYou About Your #MeToo Social Media Posts” and “Pretty Much Every Movie You Loved In The 1990s Is Now Kinda Gross To Think About” week we’ve had.
Dear Captain Awkward,
I’m a lady who has been friends with this guy for about a decade. He moved away to a nearby city a few years ago for post doc work so most of our conversations are through WhatsApp and Skype. A couple times a year we’ll visit and sleep on each other’s couches. We’re both unattached hetero-ish opposite gendered folk, but I have talked about how I’m basically asexual and never looking for anyone and he’s looking for someone to marry and have babies with. So that’s been discussed while neatly avoiding the ‘I’m not into you like that’ more direct conversation. We have always just been normal friends who are friends. I really like hiking, and he’s one of my only friends who shares that hobby so it’s something we’ve also done a lot together. A decade. No issues.
We went on a weekend camping/hiking trip this summer, and on one of the days we trekked out to a beach that happened to be clothing optional. He asked me if I was OK with him being naked. I said that while I would rather be clothed myself, I didn’t mind in the context of our hanging out sunbathing and reading our respective books at a nude beach if he’d rather ‘run free’. Since then, he’s casually WhatsApp’d me a few articles that tangentially relate to nudism. It’s clearly on his mind. “Look-these Germans are totally fine with going to the sauna naked with co-workers!” Neat. “Hey, have you seen this BBC article about naked co-ed swimming pools in Poland? It’s nice they’re comfortable about perfectly natural human bodies.” Sure, that’s cool. “Isn’t it terrible how clothing is used as such a marker of class and social difference?” I guess that’s true. Why are we so weird about bodies? But also, I like my tyranny of clothing?
Then I went out for another visit. Crashed on the couch as ever. Everything perfectly non sexual. We talked philosophy, pop culture, politics, hiking, the usual. In the morning I was getting ready to leave and he came out of the shower while I was packing up. “Do you have the bus schedule?” I asked, and as he checked the times he just fully removed his towel-one-Mississippi-two-excruciating-Mississippi-before tucking it back around his waist. I averted my eyes in panic and then said nothing, because, well, you’re the Captain of Awkward. You know.
He moved apartments just after our trip, and I’d been asking to see what his new place looked like. “Give me the virtual tour!” I suggested. He WhatsApp’d back a five minute video. Wow, it does have great lighting! And there he is casually narrating how great the appliances are here and the closet space is there, and 4 minutes in, in full view of the mirrored closet doors but not looking at them, he’s just totally naked. Dick a swinging. OK, I thought. Plausible deniability… it was a heat wave. Maybe he wasn’t thinking about the mirrors? Maybe he was, and he’s just chill with the human body? I can’t be chill this way. But I said nothing. Pretended that wasn’t in there. “Love the counter-tops” I wrote.
A few weeks have gone by. Conversations on WhatsApp are normal. “Maybe we can do more camping and hiking next summer?” he asked. Maybe. A few days ago I sent him some photos of a new hiking bag I’d gotten. He’d been shopping too. “And on sale because it’s end of season!” declared the caption on a perfectly innocuous photo: a box of new hiking boots on his living room floor. I scrolled past it and replied “Those look way better than the old ones, how much?” And so it went. We move on to other topics. Politics. Hikes. OK, maybe I wouldn’t have to deal with this situation. Things are… fine? But going back through the photos today, I clicked on the boots image this time to see them better and there, in the now fully expanded view on my phone, was his dick. Just hanging out in the bottom corner of the image. NothingwrongwithbodiesbutcomeONadickisnotahandoraknee….WHAT DO.
Lest I make you do the summarizing work yourself, here is a less full-picture but probably sufficient TLDR alternative:
Dear Captain Awkward,
I am a lady whose close decade long platonic friendship with a dude has taken an awkward turn. He lives out of town now, so we mostly communicate online with the odd visit to one another’s respective city. We both share a passion for hiking. We stopped by a clothing optional beach when hiking earlier in the year, and he asked if I was cool if he took advantage and let it all hang out whilst we sunbathed. I said that was fine, though I was gonna carry on wearing my clothes and enjoying my book. Since then he’s sent me a number of ‘isn’t nudism/naturism? great’ articles. OK, fine. What even are bodies anyway. The menace of class expression through clothing and the joy of non sexual naked bodies has been a recurring theme in his recent ‘check out this news link’ communication.
When I crashed at his place during my most recent visit, he let his towel slip for a moment too long after getting out of the shower, but I said nothing. A few weeks later he sent me a video tour of his new apartment where four minutes in he’s just casually and totally naked in the reflection of his mirrored closet doors. Just for a short few seconds. There was a heat wave. He’s maybe a nudist/naturist now? I was uncomfortable but pretended it didn’t happen. Now this week we exchanged innocuous ‘cool new hiking gear purchases!’ photos. But I realized upon expanding the shot of his hiking boots that his footwear was photo bombed by his dick. It’s autumn. There is no heat wave. Nudism surely does not equal what feels like stealth dick pics. WHAT DO?
Hi there! I included both the longer version and the TL;dr because you summed it up so well in both.
So, your friend is exploring nudism. Many people in the world are into that. There are clubs, days, events, hikes, bike rides, runs, online communities, resorts, and an entire Wikipedia page for “nude recreation.” Your friend can be free-falling and free-balling in the great outdoors as long as he a) finds like-minded people (i.e. not you) and b) he respects certain limits.
Speaking of limits, your friend is testing yours by repeatedly showing you his bathing suit area. He started with “accidentally-on-purpose” towel drops and escalated to “Oh hai, my apartment tour has some very special features!” Not cool. The chances that the hiking boots were accidentally photobombed by his junk approach .001%., though to be clear I don’t actually care if it was an accident.
We could spend a lot of time discussing his intentions, does he MEAN IT-mean it like, in a sexual way, or is it just part of his new lifestyle and he’s really comfortable with you vs. is he trying to be creepy/provocative, is it just a mistake where he thought because he asked you that one time that it’s okay forever, is it just that he’s too shy/socially awkward to ask you about it again (though somehow not too shy to do it). And, why stop at “shy/socially awkward” as descriptors? Why not dive into his entire psychological makeup and history for explanations so we can find a diagnosis that would make this somehow less his fault? Or, we could try to separate a clear pattern of behavior into totally unique isolated incidents that definitely do not have anything to do with each other and definitely do not have anything to do with gender or misogyny or culture. We could write it all off as probably “harmless,” we could discuss body positivity and why are people so weird about a little bit of nudity it’s not all sexual/why are we making it that way with our dirty minds and narrow-minded upbringing, are we some kind of prudes or something? We could do the 1,000 other absurd, exhausting mental and emotional gymnastics where we deep-dive into the intentions and feelings of men and try to find the most reasonable, gentle, benefit-of-the-doubt approach that won’t startle them or make them feel bad for even a second about the things they do to women.
I think there are two questions women can ask themselves when a man does something that creeps them out that are way better than “but did he MEAN IT-mean it”:
- Does he do this behavior to other men? Do his dad or his boss or his male buddy have to say “Whoa dude, consider the pants” when they chat with him?
- Do we think he’s doing even a tenth of the emotional labor in this situation that you are? 1/100th? 1/1000th?
This week has felt like a century. I don’t know about y’all but I’m done with doing this much work around men behaving badly.
Here are the facts:
1) Your friend repeatedly exposed himself to you.
2) You don’t like it and you want it to stop.
That’s enough. That’s enough to block him from your life if you want to without any further communication or work on your part. It’s enough to change whole story to “I had this really lovely friend for 10 years but then it got weird between us and we’re not friends anymore.”
It’s certainly enough to send him a text that says: “Can you make sure to put on clothes if we’re going to video-chat? Thanks.”
- “Can you make 100% sure that your penis doesn’t show up in photos you share with me, thanks.”
- “I’m glad you’re enjoying all that. I don’t really like reading or talking about it with you, so you should find someone else to send these articles to.”
- Also, while we’re talking, that hiking day at the clothing optional beach was a one-time thing for me, please opt for pants when we’re talking or hanging out in the future.”
- “I don’t like that.” = Good general script for unwanted nudes.
If your friend has sad or embarrassed feelings about what he’s done…okay? Good? He should feel some awkwardness about making his friend so uncomfortable? He should be the one writing to advice columnists right now about how he’s really into this new hobby and he’s afraid and uncomfortable about maybe fucking up a great friendship by getting carried away with it and constantly showing her his penis, so, how can he apologize and how can he make it right.
Honestly, if you tell him to knock this off, “I’m really sorry I made you uncomfortable” + STOPPING THE BEHAVIOR AND DROPPING THE SUBJECT IMMEDIATELY & FOREVER = is pretty much the only acceptable reaction from him. If he gives you an iota of pushback about this, your friendship is probably over. “Wait, did you think I was harassing you? I was just enthusiastic about my fun hobby!” = “Cool story. But now you know that I don’t like it, so, STAHP.”
If that pushback becomes about how this is all your fault somehow, like “But you said it was okay that day when we were hiking, it’s not fair for you to change the rules on me now” or “I didn’t think you were such a prude,” we’ve crossed over into friendship-is-over-with-extreme-prejudice territory. “It was an accident and I didn’t mean it, but, also, it was all the woman’s fault since I reasonably and objectively assumed she liked it” is not how great guys who are safe to be around talk when they get busted for behaving badly.
I’m so sorry, this sucks and none of it is your fault. Neither his penis nor his feelings are your work to manage.
333 thoughts on “#1036: “My newly nudist/naturist friend and unwanted naked photos.””
BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO. ::slow claps:: I kinda want to punch the air with my fist and shriek in glee at this answer.
OMG “accidental” penis photobombing noooooooo
Okay, now that I’ve got that initial flailing out of my system:
My partner’s household is very nudity-friendly. Like, a lot more than is typical. And I’m pretty darn comfortable with other people’s nudity too. (I’m not super comfortable with my own nudity for reasons of body image issues, but I’m working on that. I note this only so I can say that combating body shame is something I’m familiar with and it’s still not an excuse.) But even knowing this about each other, WE STILL CHECK IN.
“Anyone mind if I take my top off? It’s SO HOT AND GROSS right now.”
“Y’all, I’m just going to repaint the living room in my underwear because I’m sweaty and it’s less mess, okay?”
“I don’t feel like pants. Pants are tyranny. Everyone cool with no pants?”
“Fair warning, we usually hot tub naked, so you can totally opt out if you want, or just let us know in advance if we should bring bathing suits this time.”
And basically EVERY TIME, someone sarcastically says, like, “Oh no! Not BOOBS! I’m SCANDALIZED!” or whatever and we all laugh, but the point is that we still do it. Because we value consent and consent is an ongoing process, not just set it and forget it.
The dude from this letter is not exercising basic decency in any meaning of the word and needs to put his freaking pants back on until or unless he develops a better understanding of consent, boundaries, and mutual respect.
Yesss. At home, my roommate and I don’t worry about what we’re wearing–we regularly walk around in very little clothing, I know what kind of panties she likes, she knows what my boobs look like, it’s not a big deal. It’s something we’ve explicitly discussed and are fully both on board with. We still alert each other to “Not wearing clothes!” if we’re coming into a common space with just panties (or nothing) on. It’s just manners! We know we’re both fine with it, but it’s still nice to give a heads up! Plus, it means that if it wasn’t ok at some time or
And if we’re bringing someone over, or doing a video chat thing, we let one another know so we can be wearing normal amounts of clothing.
Just because the two of us are ok with some mutual skimpy-clothes-ness, doesn’t mean everyone who sees or comes into our house can be expected to be ok with it. Also, just because I’m ok with my roommate seeing me without a top on, doesn’t mean I want her mom seeing my boobs. Consent is contextual and needs to be given in the specific moment, not assumed just because a similar action was OK in some other time and place.
Yeah, this is exactly what I was thinking. Even nudists are aware that most people don’t want to just see them naked. I am, as my fiance has put it, a bit of a nudist, but never have I *surprised* someone with my nakedness. Anyone who has seen me in an undressed state knew what was coming.
Maybe–MAYBE–this guy truly thought that since LW saw him naked once at the nude beach, it was fine for her to see him naked in general. But even then, this plausible deniability “accidental” flashing isn’t gonna cut it. Warn people, man! Be considerate!
Yeah, as The Captain made clear, cluelessness and/or good intentions are NOT AN EXCUSE. Dude is still fucking up and needs to put his Big Boy pants on about it in more ways than one.
“Naked Man Only One Comfortable with his Body.” The Onion, Sept 1, 2004.
TW / NSFW; includes photos. Also, better not have a mouthful of coffee unless you protect your screen and keyboard.
LW, I’m sorry for your loss of a long-time friend. But I enjoyed your writing. One Mississippi two excruciating Mississippi. Dick a swinging. I like my tyranny of clothes?
Someone downstream said it’s a good idea to stop the sleepovers. I totally agree. If this “friend” lacks respect for LW’s boundaries and comfort from a distance (and seems to be deliberately upping the ante), what would he try next time one spends the night on the other one’s couch? Nope nope nope.
I snorted aloud at “dick a-swinging.”
Yeah. I’m so glad the Captain printed both versions of the letter. I couldn’t choose a favorite.
Yes. I would not label myself as a nudist, but I have stayed at nudist campsites. I have never accidentally photobombed anyone with a boob or other body part. I reserve nakedness for specific contexts when it is approved, those contexts do not include random chatting with friends in any medium. It reminds me of good practice for BDSM, you don’t involve anyone without their consent. He has not gotten your consent for these things and his behaviour is icky
And Captain “Neither his penis nor his feelings are your work to manage.” this gave me a grin on a bleak Tuesday morning. You rock
Your partner’s home sounds lovely, both because of the lack of pants and because of the ongoing conversations about consent.
“I don’t feel like pants. Pants are tyranny. Everyone cool with no pants?”
At our place we say “fuck the pantsriarchy!”.
Oh, that’s good!
We say epantcipation.
Since my partner’s bypass surgery, he still gets weird sensitivity problems in the chest area and on hot summer days can’t bear to wear a shirt sometimes. But even then, in the privacy of our home, he’ll ask me if I mind if he takes his shirt off. He doesn’t just assume, even though I always say that I’m fine with it. That is what respectful people do.
One does not photobomb with a penis by accident. I can’t even figure out how to do it on purpose 🤔
“Oh, did you think that was my sex-dick? No, no, it’s just my FUN NEW HOBBY-dick!”
#TFG, my persons.
I now have this mental image of something like movie-Dr.-Strange’s drawer full of self-winding watches, except it’s full of dicks.
And I can’t get that “Detachable Penis” song from the 90s out of my head.
Yay, King Missile!
Thanks to dr_silverware downthread, my earworm is Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Dangling Conversation,” which is filking itself in my brain as we speak.
And the dangling coversation
’bout the photo-bombing peen
and what he “really means”…
I’m fucking losing my mind, dude. The context-sensitive peen.
Wishing for gif reaction capability because https://media.giphy.com/media/SfYTJuxdAbsVW/giphy.gif
I love that! Here’s a darn good one too. https://hugelolcdn.com/i/36070.gif
Now I want a SPOK button.
Me, too. And I miss Leonard Nimoy.
Haha! Or just my oh so natural, making sure you’re not a prude and we’re such good firends-dick!
Ha! One time my boyfriend was texting a picture of something he was selling. He put it on his bed, snapped a photo (while naked), and accidentally included the very tip of his penis in the photo. Neither he nor I realized it until after the fact, since it was a really tiny portion of the photo. But then, once it’s pointed out, it’s kinda all you can see!
When my coworker’s son was a baby, she took him into the bathroom with her while she got ready for work because she’d read some book about attachment parenting etc. and she didn’t have anybody else to make sure he didn’t explode or run away during those twenty minutes anyway. The point is, she took a picture of him being cute crawling in the restroom, and since it was so cute, and she worked in a photo lab, she might as well get that print developed, right? So cut to our other coworker later that day, releasing the prints from the queue and watching slide out of the chute ten copies of a picture of a baby crawling by a full-length mirror, with Carol’s whole downstairs situation right there in the mirror behind him.
Geez, and I thought it was bad when the absolute most cutest picture of my baby ever taken accidentally had my DOG’s junk in it.
I know this is a total tangent, but accidental dog junk incidents…
I took a beautiful late afternoon photo of my fluffy white dog, sitting up on a boulder. It was October, and the light had this beautiful golden quality that made his fluff look almost golden.
I was about to put the photo on Facebook when I noticed his penis fur was a vivid urine color. I turned to my dog and picked him up, and all of his belly fur was white as snow. It was the sun shining on his fur.
I cropped it and got on with my life, but damn that was gross for a minute.
Yeah, but dogs and other animals are almost always naked, so it’s like walking on a nude beach – you’re GOING to see stuff. You just don’t usually register it, unless something is odd about that particular view.
Humans, on the other hand, are usually clothed, so when we see them naked, unless we are warned in advance, it is a surprise and a shock.
> whole downstairs situation
bwahahahaa! Great phrasing
I love “downstairs situation”!
Haha! I feel like “Carol’s Downstairs Situation” should be the title of one of those illustrated kids’ books that explain puberty.
A Very Special Episode of The Brady Bunch.
Stahp!!!! I’m laughing too hard to finish my coffee!!!!!
I laugh, but I actually do think that would be good. Think about it. You could have an apartment building with new neighbors moving in. Mr. Cramps, Aunt Flo, and Miss Pubes with her window flower boxes, just for examples. Some of the neighbors are annoying, some are nice, and some just take some getting used to.
If I were to do it, I’d have the metaphorical story first, and then the second “act,” if you will, would be the technical information, with pictures of the characters you have already met in the story, possibly giving a little side-bar comment.
Aunt Flo is a “secret agent” who has more aliases than even she can remember! Because a lot of people just aren’t comfortable with her real name, not because she actually has to keep things secret. But like a spy, she does have a very important job that most people don’t like to think about.
Mr. Cramps is the annoying neighbor who plays his music too loud and grouches at everyone, but you can usually shut him up with some Midol.
Miss Pubes grows lots of things in her window boxes. Not just flowers, but useful herbs (because pubic hair actually does serve a biological purpose), and she’s a really cool woman, who offers to let you choose what she should plant – useful herbs, pretty flowers (“scaping” your “garden”), both, or just weed out the lot, and keep some pristine, shiny boxes, because they are all valid choices.
I think it would be awesome.
Michelle C Young: Oh ghods, ya gotta do it!!
Accidental mirrors I understand, but I’m still struggling to figure out how this guy’s junk ended up in a photo of shoes sitting on the floor. Was he crouching next to them with the front camera on hissing “my precious” or?
Gollum had a loincloth.
And if he was, which was the Precious? The shoes, or Junior?
I think we know.
Does the story end with Gollum and his Precious being thrown into lava?
(Seriously dying here. May the lava be a metaphor for enlightenment!)
I accidentally sent a picture of my nipple (typed bipple, almost left it) to my favorite uncle. Picture was of my baby smiling in his sleep. Nipple was out because I was feeding the baby, and he fell asleep while eating, then was smiling in his sleep. I didn’t realize my nipple was in the shot until I used to same picture as part of a slide show screensaver. It had been up for like a week and my husband was like, “Wait, is. . .is that your nipple?” I wanted the ground to swallow me up when I realized it was in the bundle I sent to Uncle.
And I tell that story to say, once? Okay, Maybe accidental. Over and over, interspersed with articles about nudity? NOT an accident!!
There was a very romantic old picture in the family photo album of my father carrying my mother bridal style down the beach
It took a couple years before anyone noticed that my father had managed to partially ‘escape’ the tiny sporty swimtrunks that were the style at the time while the picture was being taken. That photo quickly got culled from the photo album.
I’m picturing Sean Bean saying this.
The guy I’m picturing right now is Viggo Mortensen, who went full-frontal in a movie that’s coincidentally named “Captain Fantastic”. And while that is a good movie, I have to say that the naked-knife-fight-in-a-sauna in “Eastern Promises”, where we *didn’t* get to see his junk, was a lot more exciting.
What now? I totally remember seeing his junk in that movie. Not to mention his complete “rear area,” which is permanently emblazoned on my mind’s eye.
Yeah, I was willing to give this dude the benefit of the doubt right up until he photobombed a picture of hiking boots with his dick. I then spent three minutes of my precious life staring into space trying to work out exactly how that would happen. I will not get those three minutes back. I hate this dude.
It’s non-Euclidean peen.
As the Captain said, the only acceptable answer from him is “I’m sorry, I’ll stop.” It’s very likely he’ll respond by appealing to politics that you do, in fact, kind of agree with–“people are weird about bodies and shouldn’t be weird about bodies.” That is a dangling temptation to get into an argument with him and try to prove you’re still progressive, lefty, liberal, what-have-you, and I highly recommend you avoid it. He’s doing what is called “cherry picking his progressivism” and “ignoring intersectionality” and “justifying whatever-is-going-on-in-his-head with lefty politics.” It is not cool and you maintain your inalienable right to not see someone’s dick.
“That is a dangling temptation to get into an argument”
I am side-eyeing you so much right now.
+1 for working in “dangling” so seamlessly!
In fact, LW, if you look him straight in the Skype and say, “I maintain my inalienable right not to see your dick, now goodbye,” I think you’ll have made the bare truth nakedly obvious. Any further transgressions = instablock. And no more sleepovers, because you already know that his trouser snake is free range and may turn up anywhere in the house.
“His penis is not yours to manage”….. Snicker HARD! Truth. Tell him to knock it off, it’s making you uncomfortable, sorrynotsorry. Best of luck LW, this sounds wickedly uncomfortable.
I’m with the Captain.
And I really want to emphasize: it doesn’t matter why.
Another script: I’m not interested in nudism. Please wear clothes when we interact
1000% thiiiiis. EVEN IF every single flash was accidental and EVEN IF he is just so cool with his new hobby that he doesn’t notice any more –
You don’t wanna see it, you tell him once, he can take that on board or he can go find a new friend to hang (‘hang’…) out with. Done.
I like this script the most! It is brief and unmistakable. LW cannot possibly be misunderstood with this one and there is no
wiggle roomroom for negotiation.
For myself, I would leave out the please, though.
I say “please” because that’s how my subculture gives orders. It’s phatic.
A translation would be: Keep your clothes on. Also, I’m polite.
I’m usually a “please” person, but for dick pics, no quarter given…
Fair enough. 😁
(I sound more firm when my orders contain “please.” I don’t know why)
I’m the same! I think the “please” combined with my firm, disapproving tone end up as a Teacher Voice, which is more impressive than my regular voice just saying stop.
Same. I’m Canadian so ‘please’ and ‘sorry’ are two words that are an ingrained part of the culture. Not to use them (in certain contexts) is generally understood to be an aggressive stance. Which is needed sometimes – but overall, like you say, it’s phatic language and most of us automatically use it.
I agree that “I’m not interested in nudism. Please wear clothes when we interact” is an excellent direct script.
Canucks represent! You can be polite *and* direct. “Excuse me” is actually shorter than “get out of my way”!
TIL the word ‘phatic’ 👍
I love seeing that word pop up SO MUCH. #linguisticsgeek #SPLDandautisticspectrumgeek
This is very off topic and I apologize for that in advance, but I just wanted to thank Mrs Morley for “It’s phatic”. I have a degree in Linguistics and actually never knew there was a word for that phenomenon! I love learning things.
It came up in my first year linguistics course and it’s one of the things that stuck firmly. I teach others about it now, in the context of how to support young people with ASC and other conditions where phatic communication can be super awkward.
Me too. My ex used to get upset at me for not saying “please” when I asked him to do things, but I just couldn’t do it. For me, saying “please” means “you have no choice. You have to.” If I’m actuallly asking, I’ll say “would you be willing to…” but even then, adding a “please” at the end turns it into an order.
Like in Downton Abbey. When the family say “please,” to a servant, it doesn’t mean the servants have a choice in the matter. They just issued a command.
Wow, that’s a fascinating distinction I wasn’t aware of before.
The script I would probably use:
“Hi (guy). Recently there have been a couple times when we interacted and you were obviously not wearing any clothing. I want to make it clear I’m not comfortable with this being the default for our friendship. When we’re hanging out and when you’re showing me video/photos that show you or your reflection, I need you to default to wearing pants.”
If he pushes back (which–maybe this is all a big misunderstanding! maybe it really is a wild coincidence and he had no idea! maybe he won’t push back!–but I feel like that’s unlikely, so let’s prepare for him to pull the butbutbutYOUSAID):
“On the beach that one time, you asked if it was OK to go nude in that specific place at that specific time, and I said I was OK with it in that specific place and time. It was not intended as general permission; I need the default for our friendship to include wearing pants.” <– For when he brings up the beach thing
"I'm glad you're enjoying your new hobby, but it is not my thing and I need you to respect that. Please enjoy it with people who also appreciate it. But I need our friendship to include wearing pants." <–For when he talks about how great nudism is
"I need you to wear clothes around me." <–For every moment where you don't have a specific explanation or don't want to bother with one. This should be all you need to say, really.
"…" <– This is the sound of you hanging up the phone and/or walking away when he continues to push on/violate a clearly set boundary. Sometimes the best way to reinforce our boundaries is to stop arguing for them and simply not stick around for people violating them.
Ah yes, no one wants to be The Prude. Why are you The Prude? I want to shit on you, be The Cool Girl.
Think of “Why are you The Prude???” and all analogous statements as being like Biff and Needles saying “What are you, CHICKEN” to Marty McFly in BTTFs 1-3. It’s intended to push you into doing something you don’t want to for the benefit of the pusher, and until you modify a kneejerk FINE I WILL reaction, it’s just going to fuck up your life.
FTR, you are not The Prude, LW, you are a Person Of Discerning Tastes who finds random surprise genitalia to be infinitely /de trop/.
The thing about The Prude is a) not interested in sex stuff a totally fine thing to be and b) anyone who is using it as a “neg” is trying to get you to to something you don’t want to.
There’s a wonderful scene in Dorothy Sayers’ _Gaudy Night_, written in 1935, which involves Harriet Vane (roughly age 30) at Oxford, raking a bunch of undergraduates over the coals for using “unsporting” in precisely the way people now use “prude,” as a tactic to get the victim to do something they don’t want to do. The language changes; the manipulation never seems to.
And that’s also the one with the former classmate who’s gone nudist who’s signalling at dinner that she really objects to clothes by wearing a very badly cut frock, and the Dean having to tell sunbathing students that underwear won’t do, it has to be a swimsuit though two piece if they want, because the College is a community and it’s not just them in it.
“. . . you haven’t the guts to say No when somebody asks you to be a sport. That tom-fool word has got more people in trouble than all the rest of the dictionary put together. If it’s sporting to encourage girls to break rules and drink more than they can carry and get themselves into a mess on your account, then I’d stop being a sport and try being a gentleman.”
Random Surprise Genitalia will be the name of my next rock band.
I have actually known nudists. Weirdly enough, even though this is Canada where the weather alternates between Frozen Solid and Bug Infested with little breathing room in between, there is a nudist colony near my hometown and some of the people who live there were like, friends of my parents, teachers at my school, etc.
Thing is, when these commited-enough-to-live-in-an-actual-nudist-colony-in-the-Canadian-winter people interact with non-likeminded friends, work jobs out in the world, and so on, THEY WEAR CLOTHES. You wouldn’t know they were nudists unless they told you. And they usually only did so if asked or it somehow came up. The whole thing is a very explicit boundary setting affair, with clear opt-in lines. The nudists I’ve known would always make it super clear and not behave at all like LWs “friend”.
This isn’t a lifestyle thing, this is deliberate boundary pushing.
It’s not accidental.
Dick pics are just dick pics.
LW I’m sorry your friend is such a, well, dick. Best of luck and rock on your Not Interested self *ace salute*
Yes. Our best friends are nudists. I’ve never seen them without clothes on except the one time the female half of the couple (my bff for over 35 years now) and I went to the sauna together.
YES. The one nudist couple I’ve known were like the people you know.
I’ve been to clothing-optional camping events. And the one time a Boy Scout troop accidentally hiked right through the middle of our campground, everyone rapidly adjusted their clothing situation. Because THEY didn’t sign up for a bunch of semi-to-totally nude people that Saturday morning.
THANK YOU for this hilarious mental picture this Saturday morning.
BOY SCOUT ALERT!!!
I think that might have been literally what someone yelled out.
I prefer “asshole” as a body-part-as-insult term, because it is non-gendered.
But he totally is.
One of these days, I’m going to call someone “a spleen.”
How about “a vermiform appendix” — apparently useless and occasionally problematic. (Yeah, I know there are now theories of how the appendix is still useful but…)
I love it, but I’m not likely to remember it, unfortunately. So many lovely syllables to spit out in annoyance.
Mm. Not enough sibilants for effective swearing.
I cannot imagine anyone would think differently, but just to be clear on the matter: this dude is aggressively involving you in this and choosing his own jollies over your comfort; it is not just a “he’s into new things and loving his new freedom and isn’t thinking about it.”
I grew up in what my wife half-jokingly, half-horrified calls “a naked house.” My parents just didn’t feel like bodies were something they needed to hide from family. I consequently am pretty unconcerned about situations where I need to be undressed, and it gives me kind of a chuckle when I see other men in the locker room doing a concerted dance to minimize the amount of time they spend between undies and towel in a space deliberately set aside for changing clothes.
BUT, I am super conscious about my nudity any time outside my home or setting-appropriate locker-room stuff. Not because I care if anyone else sees my bits; my perspective is we’ve all got em and mine aren’t special. I’m not gonna just drop trou in the middle of a parking lot because I care that IT MAKES PEOPLE UNCOMFORTABLE. There is nobody in the okay-with-nudity world who doesn’t know exactly how our culture and most people feel about nudity.
Someone in that world who drags other people into it on purpose is making a very deliberate and conscious decision to shove on other people’s comfort zone. Maybe that’s for their sexual jollies, maybe they have become these True Believers that people new to a scene sometimes turn into. But don’t let him shine you on that he doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing. In the best more credit than he deserves scenario he was unaware you weren’t this okay with it… right up to the second you turned away when he “adjusted” his towel. Every moment past then has been a deliberate effort to push on your boundaries.
This! well put
My family lives like this. Among ourselves, we dress or not according to the weather and our mood. I’m one of the least-frequently dressed, because of my pain disorder which frequently makes my skin hurt so much that clothing is outright draining to me… I pretty much don’t dress unless I’m freezing, if it’s just the five of us who live there.
But if anyone outside the household is going to be present, we put on our gorram clothes! Even me. Every. Single. Time. Because the family opted into that setting and our guests didn’t. If I’m really so sick that I *cannot* get up and dressed, I’m stuck in bed anyway; and then I pull the covers all the way up to my chin and apologize profusely for not being able to come out and visit, through my doorway, as they head into the living room with everyone else.
What I do not do, nudist though I undoubtedly am, is *ever* show any part of my body which would be covered by a fairly generously sized bikini, to anybody who has not explicitly volunteered for the privilege.
I really don’t get why this appears so difficult for the OP’s friend. Or rather, I suspect that I do… and it sucks.
Noooo. Nooooooo. No. Noooooooooooooooooooo.
^^ My reaction as I read this letter.
I would write him a really nasty email telling him to keep his effing pants on when talking to me. I would not be nice about it at all. Good luck, LW!
I’m leaning towards “PUT YOUR FUCKING DICK AWAY, WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU” in the moment (she said, as though she’d ever have the guts to do such a thing)
Me too, TBH. A well-trained horse can be taught what “put it away” means. He has no excuse.
Quoted for TRUTH x10000000000: ” I don’t know about y’all but I’m done with doing this much work around men behaving badly.”
It sounds like he’s been very careful to maintain a sheer of plausible deniability, but no. Just no. Those weren’t accidents, it’s not cool, and you shouldn’t be the one dealing with the discomfort stemming from his choices. You are *well* within your rights to shut that down. Politely of course, because he’s your friend, but I know you’ve got that covered. Good luck.
That’s something that strikes me – it seems like he’s *working* to make sure there’s plausible deniability – even as this is *escalating* from one time with agreement –> more “casual” conversation/links –> “accidental” pictures… The behavior is ongoing (and getting more frequent, sounds like) but still maintaining this thin veneer of being an accident.
I just feel like if it’s really an accident, someone who looks into a mirror while holding a camera is going to go “holy shit, WHOOPS, forgot about mirrors!!” and not just, like… casually continue and do it again later.
My apologies if someone’s already written this (especially if it was in the Captain’s response because I spent much of the letter-reading time in a semi-alarmed state, so I may have missed something).
Anyway: After reading this, maybe the LW should no longer crash on friend’s couch nor let him crash on hers. If he’s taking pains to create plausible deniability, I’m afraid of what he might try to do next, like get a little too close to the LW when she’s sleeping. Or more.
I agree. He may be OK to chat about stuff, but he’s no good, anymore, for sleep-overs. Not until he’s shown a complete change in his behavior, and shown he respects her, for at least one year, more like five, before I’d trust him for a sleep-over again.
Mississippi should not be excruciating!
Speaking as someone who is actually a member of a naturist club, I want to say that real naturists aren’t like this at all. Every legitimate naturist place I’ve ever been taking photos is either complete banned or VERY restricted due to privacy concern (plus, yes, there’s been a bit of a history of people disguising kiddie porn as “naturist” photos). So I want to mention that this behavior is NOT something an ethical naturist/nudist would engage in.
Funny story, actually. Back when I was in my very early 20s and still identifying as female, I joined a local nudist-naturist yahoo group because I thought sunlight and fresh air without clothes sounded kind of cool. The rules of the email list were that everyone joining it had to state their gender and age. I was too inexperienced to know what that meant, or to check for an anti-harassment policy.
What that meant was, I had unsolicited private emails from two different men before I’d even posted to the group. Within a day of my joining it, literally all they knew about me was F, 20, and fresh meat, but I knew which of my body parts specifically they wanted to put their hands and mouth on. In detail. Then I ranted on the list about how disgusting I found this. Then a bunch of regulars told me it never happened and I was making it up for attention, and eventually the mod grudgingly offered to look into it if I sent him the emails. Which by then I’d deleted, because I was that much of a n00b.
That was 16 years ago and presumably in a different country from LW and my only experience of nudism/naturism.
(If you respond to this by trying to convince me that I should give naturism another chance, you will be displaying the same boundary-pushing behaviour you’re claiming REAL naturists don’t do.)
LW: I’m so sorry. This is not your fault and not an accident either by the sound of it. He’s not just being naked, he’s being naked AT you.
“Being naked AT you” is what No True Scotsman wears under his kilt.
You win the Internets forever! I ❤ this comment with ALL the hearts!
No, I think what Whomever is saying is that this guy most definitely is NOT a naturist, should he try to use that as cover for his abusive and grooming behaviour. Which he is most certainly aware of.
and what vass is saying is that in their experience enough naturists *do* behave like this that asking whether or not this guy counts as a naturist is much less useful than asking whether or not the LW wants to see his genitals.
Seconded. And vass is not alone in their experience. #MeToo
Absolutely the most important thing is, LW does not consent to this guy’s nudity. That’s what’s most relevant to LW’s situation.
AND it’s not wrong to want to counter any poisoning of the well LW might be doing here by using naturists/nudists as cover for his bad behavior.
Or what canadakate said.
Predators and other bad actors will often use established social movements/demographics as cover for their behavior, and as a way to normalize their behavior (“Any [Whatever] would do this!”) and shame victims out of protesting (“You must be prejudiced against [Whatever]s.”). It’s not some disingenuous #NotAll[Whatever] move to call them on their lies and correct the misinformation they’re spreading.
‘It’s not some disingenuous #NotAll[Whatever] move to call them on their lies and correct the misinformation they’re spreading.’
I think that’s true *as long as it is actual misinformation* and not behaviour endemic to the movement.
saying ‘a real naturist would never do that!’ excuses the speaker from examining the structures they operate in. a few bad apples, no true Scotsman, not all men, call it whatever you want but it’s a fallacy.
the important thing here isn’t that the LW comes away from this experience with a Fair and Balanced View of naturism that decentres its problematic practitioners, it’s that this guy stops showing her his cock. saying not all naturist centres naturism in a way that is unnecessary.
My interpretation was the same as canadakate’s. It’s possible that Whomever was unaware of the existence of unethical naturist groups. So was I until a few minutes ago. Gross.
Reply tree dead-ended under Anna Badger, to whom I wanted to reply —
I appreciate the distinction Anna Badger makes about the difference between correcting misinformation about a movement and No True Scotsmanning; and that, again, the important thing is that LW’s “friend” stops sending her unwanted views of his penis. (I acknowledged that in my previous post, but it was only one small sentence or two against the balance of the post, so the point kind of got lost, and that’s on me.) I agree that it does LW a disservice to derail the discussion onto the question of whether LW’s “friend” is giving healthy naturists a bad name or is accurately representing behavior endemic to the movement..
(I think there’s a tricky distinction between bad behavior that is endemic to a movement, and bad actors who because of their particular flavor of misbehavior are attracted to a movement (see also serial cheaters who use polyamory as cover), but the movement has to police itself to make that difference. All of which, again, is irrelevant to LW’s situation because LW isn’t looking for a naturist community. LW just wants the non-consensual peen-display to staaaahhhhhp.)
I remain confused that Whomever’s post got such vehement pushback while many other replies to the OP saying pretty much exactly the same thing were treated as neutral or positive, but I accept that this thread struck a wrong note even if I seem to be tone-deaf to it. Sorry all.
Clearly, you’ve got some valid shitty experience behind you.
I’m wondering where you got the idea that Whomever was going to try converting anyone?
First and last time I went to a naturist beach a man appeared from the bushes while I was walking down the path to the beach itself, and masturbated while staring at me.
We, amazingly, went ahead with our planned naked swim anyway, and while no one else did anything that bad, virtually ALL the men on the beach somehow needed to come and stand right there when we were getting out of the water.
My shoulders are up around my ears. That’s vile and I’m so sorry it happened to you.
Being a naturist and being a boundary-pushing jerk are in no way mutually exclusive. There’s nothing about enjoying not wearing clothes that magically prevents a person from also being an asshole.
LW, you should not worry at all whether or not your friend is a “real” naturist or not. It doesn’t matter in the slightest, what matters is that you’re uncomfortable and that a real friend would instantly stop making you uncomfortable when you mention it.
If I asked someone “You okay if I get naked?” and they went to the trouble of saying “In this particular context of sunbathing on a clothing optional beach,” then yay, they’ve given me extra information and set some boundaries about what is comfortable for them, thank you friend. Now I know they are probably not comfortable in other situations and because I care about them and have a reasonable understanding of the differences in behavior between an adult and a bulldozer, I act on that knowledge.
If you want to go through the effort of *restating* your boundaries, do that (some friendships are worth educating the idiots, many are not). “Want to What’sApp?” “You gonna be fully clothed?” Your eyeballs, your boundaries. At this point you don’t owe him a damn thing.
Also? I always wonder about people who push me hard on my choice not to see them naked – what is *their* hang up that they need me to see them naked? Because that’s a game for which they are going to have to find another player. (And hahaha I totally know what their hangup is. lolsobpower.)
I’d say once the “friendship” includes sexual harassment (or harassment of any kind) it’s DOA, never to recover.
Yeah, she’s got a 10 year friendship on her end, it’s not a friendship on his, though. Walk away, LW.
” differences in behavior between an adult and a bulldozer,”
I would start calling him “Harvey” and opening any written communication with “Dear Mr. Weinstein.”
Splutter. Snort. Snicker.
Which will go sailing RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT
(fat fingers, sorry) …over Mister Naked Guy’s, er, skull.
(sorry, fatfingered) Which will go sailing RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT over Mister Naked Dude’s, er, skull.
Okay so, my husband and I had lived on our own for ten years. Both of us HAAATE wearing pants. We both got into the habit of wandering the house starkers. We love nude beaches and nude saunas. We go camping in remote locations and wander around our campsite nekkid. The summer we spent sailing in the Mediterranean was awesome because pretty in pretty much every cove we anchored in the majority of boaters were nude. We spent three weeks only putting on clothing to go grocery shopping!
A few months ago we had a roommate move in. Young woman, 18 years younger than husband. He didn’t even bug her with asking awkward questions about nudity, he just started putting his damn clothes on when he leaves our bedroom. And not just boxers but actual pants. This is how safe, trustworthy, nudist men behave! This dude you’re dealing with isn’t just overenthusiastic about his new hobby, he is violating your boundaries. It doesn’t matter if he’s doing it with malicious intent or whatever, he needs to knock it off, yesterday.
So much no. Listen to Cap. And when you have the conversation with him, if he is anything but apologetic AND CHANGES HIS BEHAVIOR NOW AND FOREVER, listen to Cap more and way, way less to that tiny voice manufacturing 10,002 excuses for why this is reasonable behavior because I mean we’ve known each other for years so there must be a reason for the penis.
See, I knew all this. And yet: I once asked a friend/former fwb to stop talking to me about his junk or sexytimes and it turned into a half-hour long recitation of my faults and how I treated him poorly that somehow ended with me apologizing instead of me telling him to eff all the way off.
The next three things we interacted over involved him either mentioning some other sexything (but! not! his! junk! or! actual! sexytimes! like that made it better) or sending me half naked pictures of other people at which point I decided additional conversations around the topic were actually not worth it and lost his phone number, doing, effectively, one of the things he accused me of during the recitation of my faults and feeling really okay about it. If he’s texted me since, I don’t know because I blocked it too. About three seconds after the blocking, I stopped caring if he thought I was a monster and told the world. It was really very freeing.
Which is all to say: I hope your dudefriend fixes his behavior but aslo, be prepared for this to be a garbage fire and bring your own matches for his garbage.
This is perfect.
Nobody unthinkingly leaves a dick in a pic. They just don’t. Even if you’re a dude who’s just super-cool about nudity, you’re still going to be aware of where your penis is at all times.
I can’t imagine being that comfortable about my bathing suit parts (or any uncovered part of my body) that I would just allow it to be in a photo without wondering if it was appropriate. I once took a picture of an anklet I was wearing. My foot was bare. I literally spent 20 minutes cropping the photo to cut my toes out of the pic because I knew that three of the friends I was sending it to would have commented on them. And that was MY FOOT!
Yes, I was coming into the comments to say that I’ve taken pictures of things and my feet have been in them and spent a lot of time trying get them out of frame. This is my feet. I was sending this to people who see my bare feet a lot as I dislike shoes and socks. I still noticed and made a concerted effort to keep them out of frame. He knew what he was doing. We’re much more conscious of our genitals than we are of our extremities. This was not an accident.
LW, I hope that resetting the boundaries goes well. Very much expect there to be massive pushback, though.
YES, totally! I am morbidly fascinated with even *how* one contorts oneself to get a photo of a pair of footwear on the floor and even *get* a dick in the photo, it taxes the mind. But even with extreme curiousity of like *how*, I don’t want to see the pic.
Accidental genitalia inclusion could happen, especially if someone was a nudist – there were a bunch of examples upthread about exactly that, where people just didn’t realize.
But that letter would like this: My friend sent me a picture and I just realized there was a penis in it and I’m not sure if it was intentional or not; he’s never done anything like this before or ever made me sexually uncomfortable and oh god this is awkward. Do I talk to him or do I ignore? I’m so uncomfortable help please!
This letter is: My friend has been pushing genitalia boundaries for a while and this is one instance of several where I have seen his penis and heard about his nudity interests, even though I am not interested in said penis or nudity.
And even if Nude Friend is just not observant of who can see his penis and when (highly unlikely), he needs to learn to be observant because he is creeping LW out and putting on a pair of sweatpants and double-checking photos taken when naked is both respectful and not hard. Either way, the conversation is the same: Um, you’re doing this and it needs to stop, please. It’s not okay.
Agreed with everyone here. It doesn’t matter if his exposures are accidental. But they’re not accidental, and here’s how you know: they’re staged.
You are in a situation where you *think* you know the parameters, because they’re common, everyday things: a virtual tour, a conversation with a recently showered housemate, a ‘let’s look at recent purchases’ interaction. And slyly, the dick is revealed. No warning, no ‘oh, hey, i’m doing a naked thing now’, Enough deniability to make you do all the ‘wtf is going on here?!’ in your mind, while avoiding the ‘omg cover up you creep!’
Your (reasonable) expectations are in one (extremely predictable) place, and he upends them. Because he’s predicted your (reasonable) expectations. He’s become a creep. If he doesn’t stop, banish him to the sunken place.
Wow, I didn’t know it was possible to lowkey send someone a dick pic but this guy has figured it out.
I think it’s fair to freak out LW, very very fair. Sometimes nudity happens in places where nudity is acceptable, but come on now.
There is one script tact that the Captain didn’t mention which might be “You must be so embarassed, did you know your dick was in that photo?” Cue return to puritanical social norms. Though at this point it is likely he wont pick up on that or will try to rules lawyer around it, but, dude, he should be so embarrassed.
I’m not so sure. I am more familiar with the European mentality which he seems to be embracing. It’s likely that he truly isn’t embarrassed and would say so. The focus belongs squarely with LW’s discomfort and the boundaries she wants to set, her feelings not being negotiable.
Except, LW’s dickfriend ISN’T a European raised with that mentality or anything like that. It reads very much like he’s using “Look how natural it is in Germany” as a very convenient excuse to show his stuff with plausible deniability.
And in any case, LW herself definitely isn’t comfortable with it and has zero inclination to embrace that mentality, so yeah. Hair splitting
An European here – and most of the people I know would be embarrased. This would not be normal in here, either.
Another German here: While most of us are comfortable with nudity (like in changing rooms), it‘s very unusual/strange to see nude people outside of designated places (like nudist beaches/parks or baths/spas/swimming pools). Exposing yourself in public is considered an offense that is punishable by law, so there are limits here as well.
Additionally: I don‘t know anybody here who would go to the nude sauna with co-workers. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, and maybe it‘s a regional difference, but where I live it would be seen as very inappropriate to plan an outing with co-workers to a nude sauna as a regular teambuildimg event (unless you‘re friends outside of work AND/OR know that you‘re all fine with it).
I have family in Finland and have done the whole naked sauna thing, and Finns don’t accidentally flash each other ever; people are only naked in the agreed-upon and designated times and places. Except among immediate family, the men and women sauna separately. This whole idea that Europeans run around with all the bits hanging out is just unrealistic.
Even if it were true, it doesn’t matter. LW doesn’t want to see it and she shouldn’t have it waved at her.
I live in Germany and yes, people are extremely comfortable with nudity. Co-workers will have no hesitation in inviting you to clothes free events. This is still weird.
It’s the stealthy build-up and the sneaky penis shots. Germans who are doing non-sexual nudity do not make a big fuss about showing off their genitalia. Its exhibitionist to someone who isn’t playing along which makes it creepy.
My RL experience with continental Europeans is limited but I did go swimming with a bunch of Germans who were all happy to strip off in the changing rooms without doing the awkward fumbling under a towel that we Irish and UK folk do. HOWANDEVER they did all put on actual bathing suits because, you know, we weren’t at a nudist swimming pool.
I’m German, currently living in East Germany (a.k.a. nudist land) and NOONE I know (oh well, except that ONE guy who’s actually weird & mildly creepy) would be comfortable with their dick hanging around in a camping boots photo. Showing off your genitalia is NOT NORMAL hereabouts. Yes, people do hang out at the lake naked (though in West Germany that would be a problem if it’s not an explicit nude-beach – East Germans don’t seem to care), no-one makes an awkward dance about being undressed in a changing room. But the general concept of ‘do not show your genitalia to people who haven’t explicitly opted in’ is well known here, too.
Also: I have no clue where this idea stems from that coworkers keep going to naked things together in Europe. I have never, ever been to a naked thing with a coworker, and when I (female) happened to see my boss (also female) in the sauna, it was embarassing and we both pretended to not recognize/notice each other.
Odalisaiza: Huh? What do you mean by the “European mentality”? I don’t think Europeans routinely display their peens randomly.
Hi, longtime reader, first-time poster. I’m somewhat surprised, on a site like this that’s usually so culturally sensitive, to see talk of a “European mentality”.
There is no such thing, which is clear even if you look at our politics, never mind our social values round things like nudity.
Europe is a huge place. The population of the EU alone is over 500 million, and that excludes large areas of Eastern Europe. What is standard behaviour in Rome is not standard in Riga or indeed in Rotherham.
a) There is no single “European Mentality” and b) Even if you are super cool with nudity you can’t mindtrick other people into feeling that way, too. The focus belong squarely on the person who is slowly and deliberately trying to cross the Letter Writer’s boundaries.
Well, I feel piled on. I am going through one of the most painful and terrifying experiences of my life right now and often feel like I’m in a nightmare. That being so I don’t choose to expend spoons on finding the optimal way to articulate what I meant. I apologize for the sweeping generalizations and any offence caused.
I think that feigning innocence will just lead to a round of ‘splaining. It would be nice if he were embarrassed, but people who have an appropriate sense of shame don’t send non-consensual nudes in the first place.
I think what S was going for can work sometimes. It’s the weaponizing of good faith. Sarcastically pointing out the existence of this big, obvious wall of boundary that friend is running into with, “Surely you must not have seen that there. Because if you had, Good Person That I Know You Are, that would be really weird! I’m sure you’ll avoid this mistake in the future,” doesn’t really rely on embarrassment so much as the very human trait of reflexive ego protection. I’ve seen it recommended in other situations where a person is breaking social norms, to just reaffirm that the boundary still exists by deliberately displaying shock in the moment, explicitly pointing out the breech, letting the speaker know that the attempt at a breech is recognized for what it is and rejected, while acknowledging that your willingness to let them continue as a Good Person going forward is a kindness which is not socially required of you. For example, “Wow, you must not have realized you were using your Out-Loud Speaking Voice when you made that Very Rude Comment to me just now. How nice of the rest of us to refrain from the appropriate response, allowing you to save some face *just this once*. So… moving on with better manners, let us discuss Next Subject!” They can either take the graceful exit and adhere to the boundary you just gave them, or they are forced to contradict your assertion and admit deliberate hostility, at which point you can be like, “Oh, my bad, how wrong of me to assume you were a Decent Human who can be depended on to adhere to baseline standards! Well, now that we have established that much, I can avoid your forever without guilt.” It’s forcefully Returning Awkward To Sender, and escalating within the social contract. See also: Visibly and Audibly Startle. “Oh Glittery Fairy Godmother!! WTF, friend?! I know you wouldn’t flash me on purpose, but damn that’s seriously unacceptable. I’m sure you won’t let that happen again.” LW’s ‘friend’ is the one stepping out of bounds – he’s trying to casually and surreptitiously edit the script. This is grabbing a red pen and circling those edits, with an, “I know your pen must have slipped on this part here because surely my friend would not edit social scripts without my consent.”
Sort of like the, “What did you say? I Must be hearing wrong, because there is no way you actually said THAT! So, what *did* you say?”
That can work, sometimes. And like you said, if they double-down, you know precisely who they are, and can avoid them forever.
Yeah, I expect his thing is “look how unembarrassed I am, I’m so comfortable with my nudity and my embarrassment would be the only reason to wear clothes.” So the thing to say is probably more like, “Hey I know you don’t care what I see, but I do, and I don’t want to see your junk.”
It’s as if someone watched that How I Met Your Mother episode about “the naked man” and thought it was an instruction manual. Gross.
(Premise of the episode: if you just strip down naked on a date, there’s a 2/3 chance your date will have sex with you! Just….no. My husband and I do this to each other now, because we’re both in on it and okay with it and it’s become a fun game of trying to undress quickly and silently while the other person is using the bathroom or getting food. But it’s not cool to do to an unsuspecting date or friend. Not cool at all.)
I didn’t watch that show, because it irritated the fuck out of me, but holy crap that’s horrific.
(I’ve *been* in a situation where my date stripped down unexpectedly, and yep, I allowed him to have sex with me. I was pretty sure that if I didn’t allow it, it was going to happen anyway, and I didn’t want to have to endure violence on top of it.)
I think one thing that might be worth including, if it hasn’t been already, is that you can do this NOW, LW. You don’t have to wait for the next accidental-except-how dick pic to employ the scripts. It’s totally ok to text him right now and say “Friend, I have been thinking a lot about our interactions lately, and your casual inclusion of nudity in photos has made me deeply uncomfortable. This is affecting our relationship. Please knock it off immediately.” And then go from there.
So sorry this is happening with who you considered a close friend. Jedi hugs if you want them.
A general emotional labour strike is long overdue.
I do emotional labor for a living. I am a firm believer that if I am doing emotional labor for you, I expect a return of either commensurate emotional labor or money. It’s so so so liberating.
I am finally at this point, and I just started working as the only paid person in an otherwise all-volunteer organization that includes several people who have to be managed because they’re so enthusiastically hlepy but you can’t point that out directly because they are very good at acting bewildered and sorrowful and plausibly persecuted. A few years ago, I would’ve done my very best to accommodate them. Now it’s:
PERSON: I super can’t do this thing I volunteered to do the straightforward and timely way! I must do it the roundabout and belated way that lets me produce drama!
ME: *cheerfully repeats how great it is when they do it the right way and how other volunteers are happy when I am able to do the thing that is made possible when Person does it the right way*
PERSON: Hmmmm. Let me repeat myself.
ME: *lather rinse repeat and smile while mentally beaming “No, honey, you cannot get me to waver so don’t even try” waves at them*
PERSON: I have returned to tell you that doing it the right way was my idea all along! Here is the information!
ME: *lots of praise*
PERSON: …but maybe if I cast out a feeler you’ll let me go back to manufacturing crises again?
ME: *turns on the Smiling Beam of No*
PERSON: hurried subject change
I would have been a quivering wreck five minutes into this exchange back in the day. Now I kinda feel like Wonder Woman.
I think that is because YOU ARE WONDER WOMAN!!! 🙂
I know it’ll only last until whatever other tap Crisis Person is using to get a regular drink of drama dries up, but for now I am lovin’ it.
I don’t know about y’all but I’m done with doing this much work around men behaving badly.
Tangentially, Captain: thank you, thank you, thank you, for articulating this. I got very done earlier in the week and told a man where to shove it, with words my grandmother thinks I don’5 know, and so obviously I am now The Bad Guy in this story that contains me and a person who was being an abuse apologist. And I’ve been struggling to articulate all week why I said it and why I didn’t regret it, but this.
LW, there is no conversation that you can have with this guy that won’t feel awkward to you. But that’s okay! This is already awkward! My read on this situation is that he’s counting on that, and on you feeling too awkward to call him out on the fact that he is exposing himself to you without your consent. The good news is that saying bluntly to him, “I don’t want to see your penis, stop,” can absolutely not make this any more awkward than it already is.
I think if we had to select a sentence that sums up the wonderful advice that Captain Awkward has shared with the world, “Neither his penis nor his feelings are your work to manage.” would be a good one.
yes. we need this embroidered on a pillow
But just the words. No pictures.
I actually come from one of those cultures where it’s a-okay to go to the sauna nude with your friends, family and complete strangers. I firmly believe that nudity in itself is not sexual or weird or something to be ashamed of. However. What he is doing is clearly wrong. It’s one thing to be nude in an “appropriate” setting, like the clothing optional beach or a sauna (where I’m from), but being naked unexpectedly and somewhere were people wouldn’t regularly be nude is just wrong. It’s all about consent: if I go to a sauna I consent being naked and seeing other naked people, but if I saw the same people walking around the office naked, I would be pretty shaken and pissed. You haven’t consented in seeing his dick-a-swinging when talking about his new place, so even if he is doing it in a non-sexual way, he’s violating your boundaries and he needs to stop. As people above have pointed out, responsible and good people who actually are naturists, never would impose that nudity on another person without asking if it’s okay first. You are not making it weird by telling him to not send you dick pics, he’s at being insensitive at best (and predatory at worst) for sending them you in the first place.
Yes. The nudist thing is just a red herring…this is about him wanting to push her boundaries. Kind of like a flasher who gets off on his victims’ discomfort and distress.
Also the penis in boots photo is so total on purpose. like…try taking that shot…try and replicate it….where do you have to hold your phone to achieve that angle? pretty sure it’s highly strategically positioned. If I wanted to share a picture of boots I would hold arms at length towards boots and click photo…end of story…more than a foot from any body part.
Penis in Boots needs to have a little altercation with Puss in Boots from the Shrek movies.
Penis in Boots wouldn’t put up a very satisfying fight. It’d just sort of lie there.
hahaha perfect accidental play on words!
This confused me, too, for that very reason. How does that “accidentally” happen with such a photo?
I can’t even imagine how you would take that picture ON PURPOSE. I just…WHAT?!!?
Seriously. Mirror shots have plausible deniability (though it gets less and less plausible the more it happens), but taking a picture of BOOTS, ON THE FLOOR, and somehow getting your dick in the frame? No fuckin’ way that was an accident. It wouldn’t be okay if it were, but it’s definitely and inarguably NOT.
Everybody here is right, LW. Crude Dude made it skewed with his lewd nudes, not you. There is no reason whatsoever to feel awkward and guilty about this. For real. Even if we assume these have all been accidents (which they super weren’t, as you are well aware), the onus is still on him to freak out and be like, holy shit, I accidentally sent my friend my dingdong forty-eight times!!!!! Once he figured out you don’t need one-on-one time with his dick, showing it to you repeatedly under the guise of plausible deniability was rude. The cold calculation behind all this actually sorta makes it more creepy.
So it’s totally fine to hit him up right now with, “Hey, I haven’t been saying anything because I’ve felt uncomfortable about it, but I gotta ask you to quit showing me your dick.” You don’t need to specify. If he pretends not to know what you’re talking about, it’s liquid bullshit. All of this was 50% deliberate and 50% on purpose. “Am I the only one getting the dick treatment? It’s so weird, quit it.”
If “Butyousaiditwasokthatonetime!!!!!” then “Yeah. That one time. Now quit it.”
If “Butyouhaven’tsaidanything!!!!!!!” then “I mean, yeah, I didn’t have, like, any preprogrammed social responses for ‘Wild Old Friend’s Dick appeared,’ because it didn’t occur to me that would become a recurring issue?? Bottom line: quit it.”
If “It’sjustthehumanbodyandI’mreallyexcitedaboutthisnewlifestyle!!!!!” then “Rad. Your ‘new lifestyle,’ like all lifestyles, is predicated on the concept of consent and reciprocity, and I am revoking both. Quit it.”
If “Butmydickfeelscagedandneedstobefreed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” then “Make some nudist friends, Craig. Our friendship has always taken place within a dickless context, and I want it to return to that. Quit it.”
Deliver this news with a tone that fully communicates how bizarre this behavior is.
Denude your mood and once he’s shooed, let him brood and stew in your nudeless ‘tude, and keep him queued until he’s eschewed this feud and excludes his booed nudes. Take a break from the friendship and let it reset to its original non-dick edition. If he can’t take it, if he tries to redownload the dick visibility DLC, or if he whines or grouses about it, then ten years is a long time! You had a good friendship. “We were friends for a really long time, but then he started showing me his dick all the time for some reason and it got weird.” The pro-naked folks up above have all proven that there is no one who won’t understand that.
“Crude Dude made it skewed with his lewd nudes” might just be the best words written in any language.
I LOVE the articulate nature of the commentariat here.
Honk, I have been reading this site for years, and I have never commented before, but I have to comment now to tell you that your comment is the best comment of all Internet comments ever. I laughed so hard I woke up my baby, but it was kinda worth it.
Dr Seuss Does Captain Awkward
Now I have “If You’re Into It” by Flight of the Conchords running through my head…
“Rad. Your ‘new lifestyle,’ like all lifestyles, is predicated on the concept of consent and reciprocity, and I am revoking both. ”
I agree with everything else, but this. You can’t revoke something you never gave, and LW never gave consent or reciprocity to these dick pics.
“Rad. Your ‘new lifestyle,’ like all lifestyles, is predicated on the concept of consent and reciprocity, and I am *never gave either*. ” Fixed it for you.
Ugh, I could barely get through reading the Captains (amazing, A+) advice because I totally knew this guy. A couple variations on him, actually. LW, your friend is definitely pushing your boundaries. I think it would be worth telling him once to stop, and his reaction will inform you how to proceed. I’m not hopeful, given he is still sending you information about a thing you have not demonstrated interest in.
Variations on This Guy:
Guy #1: He and his wife were (are?) swingers. They (him, mostly) kept pushing and pushing, talking about how great it was to “play” and sending me links to swingers websites including their profiles, asking me and other female-presenting people I knew for nudes (for totes non-nefarious reasons). I think I told them once or twice that the topics make me uncomfortable, but he wouldn’t drop it. Eventually he pushed too far, and I have 98% dropped them out of my life. My dad is still friends with them. I doubt he knows as much about their personal lives as I did, or maybe he does but it doesn’t affect him the same way.
Guy #2: was my BFF’s best guy friend. They lived together, and he was a good solid presence in her life. I considered him a friend too. One year, I was visiting for a con and he and I were home alone watching a movie. For whatever reason, he was behind me, and I’d turned around to look at him, and he was slouched on the couch, apparently asleep, with his erection sticking out of his pants in full view of both me and the front windows. I said nothing to him but told my friend. She told me that he often did things like that, “accidentally” being naked when she was home and would see him, telling her very intimate details about his life, that sort of thing. We both let it go cuz he was just so nice, and maybe clueless? He obviously felt comfortable around us… A year and a bit later she found out that even before this incident, he’d been recording her from behind or underneath her closed bedroom door. He was not clueless. He knew what he was doing. (She went to the police with the videos and 18 months later he was convicted and served time.) I know that telling him would have resulted in nothing changing, cuz my friend DID tell him to stop telling her those things and to put some damn pants on, but he kept doing it anyway.
Sort of Guy #3: my dad calls himself the King of No Pants. Even when I told him I didn’t like the lack of pants, he wouldn’t wear them when I wasn’t home, and only made a token effort at covering up when I was. We no longer and will never live together ever again.
Oh, totchipanda, I’m sorry your dad did that to you! He does not deserve to have you visit him ever again.
“Neither his penis nor his feelings are your work to manage.”
Pretty much true always and forever in every context in the universe.
I’m friends with a couple who enjoys the nudist lifestyle. They go to retreats and clubs. I have gone with them, and have willingly and gladly participated. They asked once – and only once – if I would be okay with them going clothing-optional when I was visiting them at their home. I said I wasn’t super comfortable with it, and they have never brought it up again. THAT is how you do nudism responsibly.
In the interest of doing less emotional labor, I’d stick with one response: “Do your male friends see this much of your penis?” If he’s got any social skills at all, that should take care of it.
That sounds kind of homophobic/biphobic. And what would LW do if he says yes?
She said he was hetero, so assuming he’s hetero isn’t biphobic. 🙂
I think the question is really getting at “if we’re just friends, why do you only treat women/a woman like this?”
And if he says yes, everyone in his life is currently getting pictures of his dick, that’s also a good thing to know – and LW can still be like “okay, well, I’m glad it’s not about me specifically, but I still don’t want to see it.”
He knows she’s asexual and not into him sexually, so homophobia/biphobia doesn’t come into this.
That is a great response.
Except people with decent social skills don’t send accidickal stuff in the first place.
(Also, “LW doesn’t want to experience this” is a stronger argument than “he doesn’t do it to others too”. I mean, I’m sure he doesn’t treat his male friends to casual dickening, but it wouldn’t matter if he did.
Casual dickening! This is a shitty situation but it has given rise to a treasure trove of witticism.
“LW doesn’t want to experience this” is indeed a stronger argument. If he’s truly embraced the European mentality, his male friends will be seeing it too, but it doesn’t matter.
Doing it to men, too, doesn’t make it okay. I do think it’s a question worth asking *of the situation* (not necessarily of the man) if you are a woman because straight cis men spend so much time arguing that their actions couldn’t possibly be sexist. Was Harvey Weinstein bullying Batt Damleck into nude massages? Does the dude who takes your earphone out of your ear because he “just wants to tell you you look beautiful” do that to men? It wouldn’t make it okay if he did, but also, no, no he does not do it to men and if he did it would be WEIRD and UMCOMFORTABLE. Men would notice and not react all “oh this is totally normal” if he did. So, why should we?
When it happens to men too it’s still a power play — the ONLY people not saying “me too” in my twits and friendfaces are cishet men.
Which made me cry a little bit more and hug my friends more because I never considered.
Exactly. Post the Harvey Wienstein revelations, Terry Crews (from Brooklyn 99) talked on Twitter about being sexually harassed and groped at a Hollywood party. He didn’t name the assailant, and he didn’t go after the guy and try to fight him, because he was (and still is) afraid of the professional consequences of outing this guy or fighting him. Afraid of getting blacklisted, even though he’s a very popular actor and very tough looking. Crews mentioned that the assailant wasn’t a gay man.
So, exactly, sexual harassment isn’t about sex, it’s about power. Women are sexually harassed more because they are more likely to be seen (correctly or not) as powerless. In Terry Crews’ case, the harasser correctly guessed that Crews’ lack of Hollywood social power meant he could get away with humiliating him, regardless of his physical strength.
It’s all shitty and it all needs to stop.
I once had a guy at a gay bar walk up and SQUEEZE MY BOOBS. When I looked at him in shock, he said, “Oh, it’s okay, I’m gay. I just wanted to see if they were real.”
In retrospect, I really should have said, “What did you think they were, hypothetical?!” but I wasn’t quick enough.
I hope I won’t come across as ranting and I really don’t want to target anyone, but can we please stop with the “European mentality” thing? There is no such thing as a “European mentality”: Europe is a continent and, even though we generally have more relaxed views about nudity and sex than Americans, customs vary a lot from country to country, esp. between North and South. And even in Germany, the Netherlands and other countries where people have no problem getting naked in certain circumstances (sauna, dressing rooms, etc.), it’s not customary to shove your privates in other people’s faces…
I’m truly sorry if I sound aggressive and it’s certainly not my intent, but I’m really getting tired of the “European” stereotypes.
I certainly learned some new and slightly disturbing things about my supposed mentality today *sigh*
Yup. Also Britain and Ireland are part of Europe and *definitely* don’t have the sauna culture.
LW, may I say something off-topic? You are a fabulously entertaining writer. You completely had me at “two-excruciating-Mississippi.” If this guy loses your friendship, he’ll regret it.
Same! I immediately wanted to be friends.
Yes! I was sad at the situation LW described but so enjoying the way it was described!
Hey LW, I’m gonna go back and read the answer to your question in a minute, but can I just please request that you have a lot more problems in your life (only really really really innocuous ones after this situation gets resolved, though. Gentle and tiny problems) and write to all the advice columns for each and every one because you are a wonderful and hilarious writer and I want more.
And also I hope your pal can pull himself the eff together because gross. Stop being such a shit heel, dude.
Gods yes. Please tell me you have an opinion column somewhere, LW! Or a Patreon. I would read the shit out of it.
Maybe she’s a regular commenter here. The comments here are always sparkling with wit. If she isn’t, she should join in often!
LW here is your formal invitation to always give your two cents.
Ugh yeeees. Same!
To continue the rounds of mutual appreciation, your screen name is excellent and a perfect defense against the LW’s problem (all women are too witches for unsolicited dick pics, no matter how hypothetically unintentional!)
Holy cats, that’s inappropriate. To the Captain’s excellent advice, I’d add that I would not advise any hiking or camping trips with this friend until he’s had a good long period where he’s listened to, understood, and consistently adhered to your boundary. Next summer is almost certainly too soon.
Yeah, basically any one-on-one situation that cannot be ended by you hanging up the phone/closing the app should … not be taking place for a good long while. He has showed you several times that he will not respect your boundaries around Surprise Nudity! and it’s not clear where this is headed – however, the phrase “escalating boundary pushing” comes to mind.
If you speak up and he shows remorse and a pattern of improved behavior – fine. But you’re completely justified in putting him on probation after speaking up. He needs to really earn your trust again.
I believe in second chances, and that people can be redeemed. But I, too, believe that it will take no less than a full year of excellent behavior to prove that redemption (and frankly, for this, I’d go for five), before it’s safe to go hiking or couch-surfing with this guy.
And you know what, LW? YOU DO NOT OWE HIM ANOTHER CHANCE! Yes, I’ve put forth the option, but you don’t owe it to him. You can call it completely quits right now, and be perfectly justified and within your rights, no matter what he says about how wrong you are to judge him, and how much he says you owe him. You don’t.
“Cool story. But now you know that I don’t like it, so, STAHP.”
For real! Captain, thank you for reminding me that this is an okay and reasonable thing to tell someone. I was in a group chat for planning an event, and when I said I was sick and might not be able to make it, one guy I barely know told me (a lady) that “if you were one of my guys I’d suggest you push some garlic up your bxxt” followed by ~just a joke~ disclaimer comments. In the group chat I just said “…okay, well that anecdote aside + subject change,” which worked. I messaged him privately telling him I was sure he didn’t mean anything by it, but I didn’t appreciate that kind of “joke” and to please not make more like it in the future. And he just doubled down! Over and over! Even after changing the subject he had to bring it up and double down on it again! Why are dudes being so gross this week?
OP, I’m sorry your friend is pushing your boundaries like this. If he really wants to be your friend, he’ll be cool with you telling him to stop. But the fact that he’s taking your silence as consent is really gross. That’s not how consent works! As others have mentioned, he likely doesn’t do this to his male friends or his family members!
Ah, Ananda, that’s terrible!
This guy should be banned from the chat group, and from event planning.
Thank you, Michelle! I wish I felt comfortable enough to talk to one of the main organizers, or the woman who invited me in the first place, but they’ve known him for awhile and only just met me. I worry that if I try to bring it up, they’ll just say “you obviously don’t like him anyway, you just have a grudge” or something. Tale as old as time, I’m sure!
They might. Or they might think “He only does that to me, so I can’t really call him on it. If only there were some other witnesses to back me up,” and with your witness, as well, might actually be able to do something about it.
Maybe. There’s no way to tell without sticking your neck out, first, which you are NOT obligated to do.
Unfortunately, both the victim-blaming and the “It’s only me, so I can’t do anything” until suddenly it’s a deluge of witnesses who finally do come out (first one, then another, and then KRAKABOOOOOM! hundreds), are both tales as old as time.
Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and I don’t even know who else. Weren’t the first, won’t be the last. But I’d put money on this jerk of yours being on the list.
The reason I’d put money on it with this guy is that he obviously feels safe and comfortable doubling down, and going over and over and over and over and over right there in that group. Maybe he doesn’t do it elsewhere, but that group IS NOT A SAFE SPACE.
Now, if you complained to another woman about it, I don’t know if it will be a victim-blamer, drunk-the-Koolaid, self-effacing “we deserve it” type, or if it will be one who was too scared to do anything before type. Or maybe “We’ve already talked to him about it, but he won’t budge on his behavior, and we need what he brings to the table, so the group has no choice but to suck it up.”? CA has posted a few letters about toxic groups, where the leaders, (or just the men) in the group don’t seem to realize how the one problematic man causes problems for all the women there.
I wonder what would happen if you showed a log to some man in the group, and asked, “Yeah, how would you feel if he did this to you? Please talk to him, because he won’t listen to me, but he might listen to YOU.” Because he will listen to men. Misogynists listen to men. Sometimes, if the men call them on their misogyny, they complain that the man is a “white knight” or a “mangina,” but they’ll at least listen in the first place, and know that they are not going to get away with it in that particular space/with that particular man, anymore and it just might make it safer for you in that group.
Anyway, whether you report him or not, good luck dealing.
I was already getting uncomfortable when he kept sending you articles. I mean if you sent somebody a couple articles about *knitting* and they didn’t respond with enthusiasm, you should STOP trying to rope them into your hobby, because they are clearly not into it! It’d be pretty uncool to keep sending articles about it!
So, it was already inappropriate at that point… and then he sent you dick pics.
I thought for sure someone else would mention it, but…
> The chances that the hiking boots were accidentally photobombed by his junk approach .001%.,
There’s a thing on EBay where people photograph reflective things so they can post an item for sale ON THE INTERNET that has their naked picture. But that’s not porn or anything, oh no. Because accidental. Because reflection. Shyeah.
Here’s an article about it from the UK.
In this case, I do believe that the poor woman didn’t do it on purpose, but they go on to talk about other cases where the person CLEARLY did it on purpose, even if the article doesn’t realize that. My wife used to use EBay a lot and do message boards and the like, and this is definitely a Thing.
LW, this wasn’t an accident. I really don’t often make absolute statements like that, but I’ll make it this time. (Maybe your friend is trying to end the friendship? Maybe he’ll accomplish that regardless of his intent? Doesn’t really matter, but at the rate things are going, that’s where he’ll end up.)
I clicked on that link. My main take-away is that there’s an album called “Naked Warrior” by a band called “Mortalia.” Learn something every day…
This is a thing I found out the sad way. I was searching for men’s swimsuits and this older dude was ‘modeling’ the very tight Speedo suit that was purportedly for sale. I expect he monitors the hit count on his item listing very closely . So much GAG. I hope I flagged it.
Holy Maude, people! How hard is it to PUT ON CLOTHES before taking a picture of something???
Just want to say that I Iaughed quite a bit at “Dude, consider the pants”
Flashing your dick uninvited = permabanned from my life and blocked on all forms of contact.
Uninvited dick pic = permabanned from my life and blocked on all forms of contact.
Best case, he’s divided the world up into people who are anti nudity and people who are pro nudity, and has now decided that since you once agreed to go to a nudist beach you are therefore in the pro nudity camp and he probably need never again wear clothes around you unless he wants to. And he’s testing his theory by being nude around you and seeing what happens (not a good way to test a theory, for anyone wondering).
Or he thinks you’re very interested in nudism and want to learn more about it.
These are both pretty optimistic interpretations, but even if they’re true, he’s being rude and making assumptions and making an ass of himself.
“he’s divided the world up into people who are anti nudity and people who are pro nudity…” and also thinks anti-nudity is close-minded and wants to convert LW to his pro-nudity ways. [this is the vibe I got].
It’s absolutely harassment, but in addition to being harassment, I think it’s also this thing where…there are people who think it’s a good thing to push *other* people out of their comfort zones. Like, they want the other person to be more adventurous, or whatever. It’s harder for me to pinpoint in non-seuxal / non-nudity situations, and instead of the other person being labeled a “prude” they’re accused of “playing it safe” or being “boring.” It’s like a whole broad thing, and I know CA’s advice with setting boundaries against that is to accept the label sort-of, by saying, “Maybe it makes me boring, but I’m not going to do [x].”
For some reason that’s so much harder for me to enforce than body boundaries. Maybe because people violating my body boundaries is so hugely uncomfortable, but people violating other boundaries, I feel like I should be able to deal with? I dunno.
This sort of boundary pushing can happen with food choices too.
There is a certain mindset of person who think it’s perfectly ok to constantly question people raised as vegetarians, for example. “How do you know you don’t like x until you’ve tried it?” “Don’t you feel resentful your parents raised you this way? You can choose to eat meat now.”
There is a difference between a parent of a young child trying to encourage them to expand their palate and try new things, and an adult telling another adult what foods they should be trying.
When I was in my early twenties, I didn’t drink much. There was a person in my life who was constantly insisting that scotch was The Divine Beverage of Gods and Smart People. I gradually grew to like cider, wine, beer, cocktails, and bourbon, in roughly that order – but I still don’t like scotch. Maybe that was always going to be the case, but being pressured to drink something that I thought tasted like a Celtic tire fire when I was 21 didn’t help.
Then they don’t know what they’re talking about, because if a human being has not eaten meat by the time they are about six years old, they CANNOT choose to eat meat as adults, because their bodies will reject it.
Adults who were raised to eat meat can choose to be vegetarians, but if you choose to raise your kids as vegetarians, you are, essentially, “dooming them for life” to have that lifestyle, unless you (or someone else) allowed them to eat meat a few times as young children, anyway.
I know a young man who has an extremely limited palate. There are so many things he hasn’t tried. I like to give him the opportunity to try things, and tell him that I admire his bravery in trying the new things, when he does try it, but if he doesn’t want to try it, I’m not going to push it. I’m sure he gets enough of that elsewhere.
I get the same thing about medical advice regarding my chronic illness. Everyone has something they want me to try, and annoyingly many of them are *determined* to see to it that I try their advice, whether or not I (or my doctor) thinks it’s wise. I get bombarded with articles about stuff they think I should try, pretty regularly. Also follow-ups demanding to know whether I’ve done the thing yet. It sucks. I’ve had to back off from a few friends who wouldn’t stop doing this.
Indoor Cat, you articulated something that’s bothered me for a long time about a bunch of interactions I had (probably around 90% with cisgender men) in a leftist space where I volunteered for years. There’s something tricky about certain kinds of boundary-pushers who try to push boundaries that aren’t sexual or body-related, but who instead focus on these “but you should challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone!” tactics. You’re right that there’s something more nebulous about those kinds of situations, where the thing I don’t want to do (go to XYZ event; join ABC activist group; defend my position on an issue in a long, spoons-draining debate I don’t feel up to having; accept your OneTrueCorrect! ideology; engage in a conversation about something I don’t feel comfortable discussing with a total rando stranger) gets framed as being a failure of someone’s ability to challenge oneself. I don’t want to derail, but you’re not alone–I also had way more trouble trying to enforce those types of boundaries than when someone (in the same space) would try to push my physical or sexual boundaries. In the moment, it was harder to articulate and defend why my boundaries existed and mattered in those situations.
He knows exactly what he’s doing. I’m sorry your friend is turning creepy, LW. That is never fun to deal with.
LW, I think this relationship may be over. If so, here’s a sad angsty theme song for you: https://g.co/kgs/sfkJ9k
Attention, All: In the name of science, my husband and I just spent some time testing the likelihood of accidentally photobombing with one’s junk while taking a picture of a backpack.
Our extremely scientifically rigorous experimentation led us to conclude: Not Fucking Likely. That is all. Please remember to cite appropriately should you use our conclusions in your own work.
A Real Scientist
So would you say the findings are junk?
Yeah, that’s real junk science!
Thank you for your efforts to SCIENCE the bullshit away!
Could you please describe your process? We would love to repeat your study, but we have made some preparatory images. So far I have not understood in which position one should be to get a pair of hiking paraphernalia and one’s junk in the same picture. Feels like we should do much more yoga – or to use much more mirrors. I fear that by this pace the only dick we manage to catch this way is a spotted dick come the holidays. I probably have to find a recipe.
LOL!! Thanks – I needed that laugh!! These comments are pure gold!
Does anyone living in the year 2017 not know the male dominance display of sending dick pics is offensive? A former congresscritter just went to jail for it.
Quite simply this man is sending you dick pics. Does not matter why. He knows it is offensive and he is doing it anyway.
CONGRESSCRITTER and I’m dead
My sister uses Congresscritter alllllll the time and I don’t know where she picked it up but it is the best damn thing I’ve gotten out of this year!
I don’t have the first clue where it originated, but I’m a big fan, and I’ve been seeing it in the wild (and using it myself) for a few years now.
The repeated emphasis of one of the central responses here — IT DOESN’T MATTER WHY! — is one of the new responses to creepiness in general. I’ve been weighing in on the “but- but- but-!” deflections and rationalizations with this. “But Kevin is socially awkward!” “But Sanjay was just trying to be nice!” “But Dave was just joking!” Know what? It doesn’t matter why he did a creepy thing. We get to define it, not them or their apologists.
So true! I have been going back and forth about whether to post “me too” because (almost) all the stuff that has happened to me is mild and I was never sure if it counted. Because uninvited hugs and kisses and touching from men is okay so long as I’m not *entirely* sure they were copping a feel or had a bad intent.
But, I mean, does it even matter? I didn’t want it! And they didn’t ask or follow any of the social conventions about when it is and isn’t okay to hug/kiss/grab someone! I was taught that, if you’re a dude, you’re supposed to let a woman set the tone for how much physical contact your relationship contains. If she goes for the handshake, side hug, or hug, you follow her lead. But apparently not all men were taught this.
Or they were, but they just don’t care because their intent absolutely is to harass you.
It shouldn’t be “let the woman lead,” because men are entitled to choose NOT to have physical contact just as much as women are. It should be, “the level of contact is determined by whoever wants least of it.” Doesn’t matter which one, or whether they’re some gender combination that is not M/F. What matters is that any contact which isn’t wanted by ALL participants does not happen.
Indeed. I am a woman and having danced a bit, mainly with men, in a dance style that sometimes has a lot of very close contact, I can confirm that men not wanting closer touch is very common. Even if it _was_ unusual that wouldn’t make it OK to ignore, but it isn’t even
Bleaaaggh. CN for explanation of why I am a card-carrying member of the clothed tyranny, inc. mentions of a grabby ex.
That said: clearly, I am not a nudist, and with (icky) reason. Even in my own home – and I have lived on my own, with the exception of brief periods crashing with friends or relatives between permanent addresses, for nearly five years now – I am only ever fully unclothed while I am in the shower and the thirty seconds before and after that time. That is because of a) a general distaste for the human body (though I am a fully pro-sex-education-and-access-to-birth-control-AND-abortion lefty, my asexuality comes with such a hefty side dish of, “Ewwww, nekkidness,” that I fervently wish the Renaissance had been sexually permissive enough for its pre-eminent painters could’ve satisfied their artistic desires with *clothed* models) and b) an ex who “just couldn’t help” grabbing at my breasts every time I was rooting through my drawers for a clean bra after taking a shower. Even though I was able to help him help himself (by totally losing my shit with him one day), I still never felt comfortable going unclothed after that…not even years after I dumped him due to his continued inability to help himself in other ways, such as: applying for jobs, doing chores, not talking while TV shows I’d never seen before were on, etc.
The other troubling bit of backstory informing my instinctive “nuke the everloving fuck out of this friendship” reaction are that I had more “friends” like him than I care to count. They weren’t interested in sending me dick pics themselves (thank FUCK) (although I imagine they’d have been thrilled to oblige if I’d asked), but they were always “joking” about me sending…suggestive pictures and videos of myself. They were also dismissive or in outright denial of my asexuality, which I’m seeing some overtones of here (the power of delusional thinking seems to run hard in a certain type of guy, and it seems to run like this: asexuality is a disease which can be cured with application of the right Magic Penis, and of course the thinker of such idiotic thoughts is the owner of the Magic Penis in question!). Suffice to say, my “friends” who talked and behaved as if they felt this way are friends no more.
I understand the desire to hold onto friendships with people who share your hobbies. I’m a hiker myself, and it’s damned hard finding people who are into the same kind of hiking I am (though – derail here – if any other readers are based in or near Colorado and think tackling 14,000-foot mountains…or maybe 13,-, 12,-, 11,- etc. -foot mountains sounds fun, maybe I can organize a hiking-based meetup?) and go at the same glacial pace I do. It sucks having to ditch formerly trustworthy hiking partners because they can’t keep their dicks out of fuckin’ everything.
Maybe you don’t want to cut him out at all. That’s fine, too. But I’d definitely make him a small-doses, hiking-only friend – no more crashing on his couch, def. no more video tours of his new hobby- uh, I mean, place. In the meantime, Meetup exists. Reddit, as awful a place as it can be, is where I went on my very first real-world get-together with total strangers on an event organized by a guy in a hiking sub I’m part of, and it was fun! 14ers.com, if you are a place with 14,000-foot mountains and have the desire to climb them, is a fantastic resource for meeting new peeps who are totally into the outdoors, are really cool, and manage to keep their genitals from photobombing their nature pics!
The TL;DR being that there are other awesome people out there who are also into hiking but not into trying to convert you to nudism or sending all kinds of, “Ooopsie! However DID my penis wind up there, tee-hee!” photos and vids. Based on my own, similar experiences, I highly recommend ditching this jerk and focusing on the awesome hikers.
Oh hey, I’m a Coloradan who loves hiking but has to take it slow for medical reasons. I’m just not on reddit.
I’m dropping by just to say that I’m loving the puns The Commentariat are making. 😂😂😂 You people deserve a monument erected in your honor.
I’m sorry I couldn’t help it. 😂😂😂😂
Well, it was *hard* to resist.
I am curious, what kind of monument would it be? Decorated with family jewels? Or modern art with geometric shapes, like balls? Or perhaps made of fruits so we could all go bananas over it? Or perhaps textile so it could just casually hang out?
We need a prototype to calculate the risks taken to lift the real monument up; perhaps we need an erection manager?
This entire comment section has reminded me I still all know the words to my Rennfaire’s song “Has Anybody Seen My Cock?”. My big rhode island red! It’s mostly pink with a little bit of blue and purple ’round its head.
“You left it near the hiking boots!”
I am so sorry you have had to put up with behaviour like that. Just like The Captain said, no reason behind this kind of behaviour makes this ok – you do not have to put up with it even a minute longer. I know it is hard to stand up for yourself – I have been there myself, too (although not in an accidental penis-photobomb situation).
Even if this was all about a person being overly enthusiastic about accepting his body as is (and this is not!) this kind of behaviour is not cool, not in the least. I come from the culture (or one of the cultures, we are having arguments about it) where sauna was invented; actually even the word “sauna” comes from my native language – and, oh boy, are they doing it wrong. In our culture sauna is a holy place: a place where people were born and where their bodies were washed after they died. It is a place of purification, body and soul; a place for deep conversations, for equality. The holiness of sauna runs deep in our culture. Usually in here people went to sauna with the same gender (in the era where people did not understand that there are way more than two genders) or possibly with close family members. People did not go there to flaunt their genitals; in fact even looking at other person’s genitals would be considered against the etiquette – and especially showing off one’s genitals would be equally bad as doing it in a temple. Yes, I have seen most of my friends naked – and no, none of them would ever dream of sending me pictures where their genitalia would just happen to be “by accident”. The rules which apply in the sauna do not apply in other places. It does not make you a prude – it just makes your friend’s behaviour completely unacceptable.
I wish I could offer you a purifying sauna experience to cleanse your soul of these unsavory sights (safely in a bathing suit or in a towel, because both of these are completely as acceptable). After that a relaxing time of swimming in a clear and warm lake water, listening to birdsong. Then back to sauna and back to lake and back to sauna… Until you are exhausted, relaxed and very happy.
Rude genitalia flaunting people, please do not use the ancient holy place of our culture as an excuse to show your genitals to people who do not want to see them.
And dear LW, please have all of my strength when you make your opinion clear to your friend.
Oh, and you are not the only one who loves hiking. Here we have several country’s worth of people filled with them. Your friend is not the only one; I am completely sure you can find someone else to share your passion with.
I have frequented a sex club, and obviously seen a lot of genitals. It goes with the territory. I also once cancelled going to a barbecue I was very much looking forward to going to, because it was stated that the venue was appropriate for nudity and some people were going to be nude. And some of the same people I’ve seen at the sex club were going to the barbecue. So clearly it wasn’t the genitals themselves, but the *context*. I’ll accept you naked in the pool, but not over the potato salad.
Exactly this; different rules apply to different occasions and places – and usually that is clear to people. So far I have never encountered people I know and have seen nude due to being close friends offering their naked selves in video calls or in photos. Is it not very usual in human cultures that different rules apply in different situations – and usually people do not even have to explain it to adults. Like, in Halloween people go trick and treating – but would that not be really weird on any other day? Like, if people would come to your front door in scary clothes demanding food and if you do not give it, threatening to do something you would not like? Would you not call the police or something – if it was any other day except Halloween? How come people are not expected to tolerate this but they are expected to tolerate unsolicited nudity because of bodies are cool? I am all for body positivity but the behaviour of this so called friend is a misrepresentation of it.
Also, I completely get it, Canadakate; in my country we, too, dress before eating after sauna. For some reason it is not weird to drink when nude, but eating is a different thing entirely. If some people are fine with it, cool for them, but I would not do it, either.
Talk about a weenie-roast!
GOD I wish this platform had a like button
D Y I N G
Nude barbecue???? That sounds so unsafe! I mean, what if the grill won’t light and some naked penis-haver uses gasoline to light it?
“Right in front of my [potato] salad?” Seriously. Ew.
The only thing I can think about is from Monsters Inc: “Put that thing back where it came from or so help me….”
This guy is a friend or someone you used to consider a friend, right? Then, if you’re even a little put off by the idea of telling him to stop what he’s doing, consider that your doing so is likely the nicest thing anyone has done for him. Your letting him know plainly and in clear language that what’s he’s doing isn’t appropriate. On the off chance that he doesn’t know, your telling him is the kind thing to do. Think of it like parents who calmly tell their 4 year old what behavior is and isn’t permissible. That’s nicer than the parents who don’t correct their kids and allow them to get into more and more trouble as the years go by. The others who won’t tell him? They’re the ones who are being mean. I’m assuming he’s either done the same to others or likely will do the same shortly unless told to stop. Which leads me to my next point: Save the pics you have. Squirrel them away somewhere where hopefully you never have to see them again. But if it happens that his behavior escalates with someone else, and if it should happen that the someone else isn’t believed, it will be nice to have proof if you need to have proof.
No, no, no. This guy knows EXACTLY what he’s doing. And even if he didn’t, it’s not the LW’s responsibility or obligation to teach him how not to flash people. The fact that he used to be a friend and STILL feels okay doing this makes it all the worse. Cut him off and let him experience the consequence of his deliberate actions.
I don’t think this is analogous to parents teaching children. Parents have an obligation to teach their children how to behave and to reinforce appropriate behaviour. The LW and the guy are both adults. Sure, they’re good friends but the LW isn’t obligated to be ‘nice’ and teach him how to behave, the most is, if she wants to continue the friendship, to establish boundries. Teaching him something he should already know and is very likely deliberately pushing on is not the LW’s job. It’s a tonne of emotional labour the guy would be getting for free and could potentially use to continue pushing the boundries.
(I put nice in quotes because I feel like it’s often used to either represent the bare minimum of decency or to pressure people into putting a lot of effort into/giving something they don’t particularly want to and shouldn’t need to.)
Ok, when I first started reading this, I thought “maybe it was a thoughtless towel slip..?” then I got to the mirror nudity, which didn’t bode well. But then I got to the part about the stealthy dick photo bomb! Yikes! That was not cool at all and you definitely deserve an apology and for him to swear up and down to never act like that again.
I’m a casual nudist. I go to the local nude beach in the summer and enjoy swimming, sunbathing, playing frisbee etc totally naked, but that’s pretty much the extent of my involvement in the community. I also have the belief that the human body is no big deal, and that it is not merely a sexual object and therefore nudity needn’t be inherently sexual. I too have found nudism empowering. As a woman, it has allowed me to reclaim my body from a culture that reduces it to a sexual object. I get it. I love getting naked in the right circumstances. I think nudism is great.
HOWEVER I would never ever ever do any version of what your friend did to you. I have friends who have seen me naked at the beach dozens and dozens of times, but I would never dream of say, inviting them over to my apartment and then wander around topless, or wearing only an unitied robe. That would be fucking weird as hell.
I am betting that when you say these things, you will get a full Creepy Bingo of:
1. Arguing. “But you SAID …” “But SOCIETY …” Name-calling. negging.
2. Backing it off but only by the very tiniest single step. No more photos of his junk, but his ass and upper thighs are totally ok. No more dropping the towel in your presence, but dropping his pants and walking around in his briefs is fine. The basic idea is to make you say every single boundary out loud until you get so sick of it that you give up and stop inconveniently having boundaries.
3. Exaggerated obedience. “That book is old as balls. — oh, SORRY, I forgot, that kind on language OFFENDS you, I didn’t mean to make you UNCOMFORTABLE.”
4. Letting a bit of time go by and then starting it up again.
5. The Sad Tale of how he’s lost friends sometimes by just trying to be his own authentic self, and how much that hurt.
Yep. It will somehow be about “but I thought you were sex-positive! why are you being so closed-minded!” “why are you shaming me for enjoying my body?”
Sometimes it feels like every time we develop new vocabulary and techniques of stating boundaries, men co-opt it to manipulate their way around it and violate them.
I would bet a good amount of money that this guy knows that it’s making you uncomfortable and is getting off on that.
“Why are you shaming me for having boundaries?”
OMG. How have I never heard this phrase before? It so accurately sums up a thing I’ve experienced over and over. Wow. Wow. Thank you.
It’s also called “vicious compliance”
It’s called a ‘White Strike’ in labor union parlance, I believe, and was also included in the WWII espionage manual as an effective sabotage technique. “Bothering by the book” is also common.
I always heard it called “work to rule”, though I suppose that’s a bit different.
I, myself, love the term “creepy bingo.” Okay, hate the actual process, love that a wise person recognizes this as a thing.
“White mutiny” in the Navy.
The comments for this have demonstrated the talent and humour that CA’s commentariat should forever be famous for. I have nothing so witty to say, but I would like to agree that LW’s friend’s “accidental” nudity is no such thing, and LW does not have to remain friends with the owner of a photo-bombing penis.
To be honest, I have nothing new to say and am commenting entirely because with shit like this, because the social pressure to be the Cool Girl is so strong, it helps to have not just one, or two, or ten versions of “no there is no possible way that’s innocent or accidental AND even if it were you don’t have to ignore or put up with it”, however eloquent, but the actual entire goddamned chorus of the Messiah.
THAT’S … NOT NORMAL
THAT’S … NOT NORMAL
IT’S NOT OKAY
IT’S NOT OKAY
PUT YOUR DI-I-ICK AWAY!
I really like the two-step process outline in the Cap’s answer, like
1-Does he do it to men too
2-Is he doing even a tiny amount of emotional labor around this
I’ll be using that to sniff out the casual sexists in my entourage and figure out who doesn’t actually deserve the emotional labor I provide.
Surely somewhere in all those articles Nude Friend has sent to the LW there will be some mention of the courtesy of asking spectators if they mind nudity in each new context?
The Hike to Nude Beach was context 1. He had the okay for context 1 and context 1 only. Every other occasion he got his dipper out required a new conversation before the mouse left the house.
Actually, I think even his last-minute “is this ok?” at the nude beach is giving him too much credit (I mean, better than NOT asking, I suppose).
Why? He didn’t ask BEFORE THE HIKE.
And I’d bet you a solid gold banana hammock that Swarmy Schemington’s hike to “oh my goodness, what do we have here? a NUDE BEACH??” was absolutely, totally pre-planned out and intentional.
“We could do the 1,000 other absurd, exhausting mental and emotional gymnastics where we deep-dive into the intentions and feelings of men and try to find the most reasonable, gentle, benefit-of-the-doubt approach that won’t startle them or make them feel bad for even a second about the things they do to women.”
This so accurately sums up how I feel about this entire horrible week in general. People asking me to do this and I just—no. No.
One other thing I want to say is that while nudity SHOULDN’T be inherently sexual, right now it often is in most contexts and you can’t just erase that by making people uncomfortable. And more importantly, harassment isn’t about sex, it’s about intimidation and humiliation and control. Flashing someone your penis constantly is not about deconstructing our views around nudity, nor is it about sexual repression. It is, full stop, about intimidation and making someone uncomfortable.
I just had a conversation the other day with a good male friend who is getting into nudity in small ways and we had a lot of positive conversation around it, but I did point out to him that his idea of having a naked drinks party was different than going to a nude swim event, and that while I might feel okay being topless at his party, I’m not sure I could feel comfortable exposing my vulva because PTSD/rape/vulnerability. It’s not about being repressed!
One last thing. It doesn’t matter if he’s doing this by accident or not, obviously, but it’s also pretty clear that it’s deliberate. He’s not openly and casually strolling about naked as a jay bird; he’s putting you in situations that make you think “did I see that/was it an accident/should I assume he didn’t know.” That shows right there that he is doing this ON PURPOSE to make sure he can react with defensiveness and try to accuse YOU of overreacting/“reading too much into a mistake” if you call him out.
Yeah, it’s the stealthiness factor that really creeps me out. I feel like someone who was embracing nudism, and who really believed that naked bodies are non-sexual, would just be openly naked and make no excuses. The “accidental” exposures have a nasty air of someone getting secret thrills by involving unwilling participants in his nudity.
Yes, this. My partner genuinely believes that naked bodies are non-sexual and is a very keen nudist. When friends come over in summer, he’s mostly nude. Being accepted while being nude is incredibly important to him. But he isn’t sneaky about it, he acts the same to men and women, and he wouldn’t show people nude shots without consent.
I would add: not only can’t you change/erase the sexual aspects of nudity by making people uncomfortable, if you actually want to make nakedness less sexual, making people uncomfortable is counterproductive, because it’s a reminder of how often the naked body is sexualized.
I often take my clothes off at home on hot days, for comfort. I will do that around certain friends, with prior discussion. The prior discussion is either “are you okay with me being naked?” or “it’s too hot for clothes right now; if you wouldn’t be comfortable seeing me naked, come over some other time, when it’s cooler.” I’m not making a speech about the merits of nudity or why people “should” be comfortable with my naked body. At least as important, if they do visit, we’re not talking about why I like being naked: we’re talking about books or food or politics or any of the other topics we’d be discussing if everyone had clothes on. Similarly, I’ll get into a hot tub naked with friends, or friends of friends (people who are also visiting a mutual friend who has a hot tub), because I like soaking and am more comfortable doing so naked, not because I want an excuse to show those people my naked body.
I wonder whether the nudist beach wasn’t the first boundary-pushing event: who planned that trip, and who planned that particular day? There may have been boundary-pushing before, but that feels like a step up.
I don’t get the ‘maybe friend will share my hobby’ vibe from this; it feels inherently creepy, boundary-pushing, and very much sexual. It shouldn’t be, but you’re not the one who made it awkward. LW, if you want to send him a clear message so he considers not doing this to the next person, that’s up to you, but you have made it very clear that you are not interested in his dick, and if he – literally – keeps pushing it at you, then you have every right to just walk out and look for people to hike with who learnt to keep their trousers on when they were four.
Creepy yet relevant take. Given his behavior, he might as well have planned the visit at the beach.
“My GOODNESS, what have we HERE?? A NUDE BEACH?? Who could have KNOWN??” (He says, after hours of painstaking online research and map making and hiking paths just so they would end up there…)
No doubt in my mind, based on subsequent behavior.
So a lot of people are giving him a pass about his asking if she would be ok with him stripping off (which is better than the alternative, I suppose), but that isn’t the same as asking if she would like to hike to a nude beach.
So I’m kinky, and some of my good friends know that. But it’s not like that means I’m going to answer a skype call from one of them in BDSM gear, right? Because I understand that accepting my kinkiness is not the same thing as consenting to being involved in it.
I don’t know what this dude’s intentions are and I don’t care. People get to opt in to seeing other people’s genitals. End of story.
LW, I really enjoyed your way with words! I’m sorry you’re going through this. I keep thinking about how easy it would be for me to be in your situation: I’m afraid I would politely and awkwardly keep the curtain of plausible deniability drawn for an old guy friend too long. I’m starting to wonder about an old guy friend myself after your letter…someone who, unlike anyone I have ever known, regularly and without a word, undoes his belt and unzips his pants to tuck in his shirt in front of me.
LW: He’s not just being naked, he seems to like being naked at you.
Once again Capt. Awkward nails it! When I was an undergrad I lived in an apt complex where a bunch of us were friends and had bbqs together. Once when I was helping a 40yr old male neighbor get salad and stuff to take outside I noticed some nude pics of him and his girl on the wall. Not sexual just normal stuff only without clothes. I freaked and bolted. Later he brought it up with his girl present and told me he noticed my rxn and explained they were naturists. He never once creeped on me, never once tried to convert me, never once ever showed me any part of his body ever. Was so completely appropriate. I have since occasionally met other folks claiming to be naturists who i strongly felt were just jerks trying to get to hang with naked girls they were all up in others boundaries. I’m lucky I got to measure all by my first naturist who nailed it on ‘how to interact with non-naturist people and not creep them out or make them feel preyed upon’. LW your ‘friend’ is a creep. Naturists DO NOT send non-naturists nude pics. I’m willing to bet this guy isn’t really a true naturist but a sexual predator in the making who is co-opting naturism to hide in plain sight.
I read something once about how kids get told the difference between ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ – but there is also ‘confusing touch’, where the abuser deliberately goes little by little from good touch to bad touch, to make sure that deniability can be maintained and the victim doesn’t realise that lines have been crossed, because the line has been carefully adjusted one step at a time.
This can be literally physical hands-on touching, but also metaphorical, as in this letter.
This letter is a really good example of this step-by-step process. This dude has been doing confusing touch things for a while, but because he was the LW’s friend, she (quite rationally) assumed they were meant to be good touches, but because the confusing things still happened she got confused.
It’s great she’s spoken up and has been given some tools to shut this down now, because how long would it take to flip over to bad touch?
LW I’m sorry this has happened to you. This dude was never really your friend but I’m really glad you asked for help (and got it) before things got worse.
I don’t think we know if he was ever really her friend. Ten years is a long time; people change, and some of those changes can be bad as well as good — not everybody grows as they age. But it doesn’t really matter to this situation: he is not acting like a friend NOW. Whether or not he was once a real one is irrelevant… it’s the now situation she has to deal with.
Yeah – that’s what I’ve been thinking about from what she said, and from the responses. He’s decided that her asexuality and lack of interest in him don’t matter, or that they aren’t real, or that her asexuality means that he can “get” her even if he isn’t attractive – he’s going to keep pushing and pushing the boundaries with his “confusing” touch until he gets what he wants, or she drops him cold. This seems unsafe. I am afraid for her if she trusts him. Her instincts are telling her there’s something hinky here, and she needs to listen.
…you know, I have a nasty feeling Mr. Dickswing will find a way to bring LW’s asexuality into it if she pushes back on this. “But it *shouldn’t* bother you, you don’t have a sex drive, etc. etc.”
I too am wondering whose idea the nude beach was.
Anybody here *accidentally* show their vagina to a buddy? 3 times? Me neither.
I mean, I’m just not that flexible….
Any time someone’s seen my naked body without my planning it, it’s because someone opened a door without knocking. (Side note: what kind of person makes it to at least adolescence and is at a house party and just randomly opens a closed door with light coming out from underneath it? Even if it *is* the bathroom, someone’s clearly using it!)
I once knew a woman who would flash other people because she was so proud of her new vulva. Yes, you read that right. Repeated explanations that singing about her vulva to a mutual lesbian friend was not something said lesbian friend needed/wanted to hear was met with, “She’s a lesbian. She should like hearing about/celebrating her vagina.”
I had no idea how creepy she was being until I actually wrote this down. I thought I had to “support” (read: enable) this woman’s behavior to be a good ally. Yes, I was completely out of my tree on this one.
I’ve known a couple of people who were like that about their new boobs – one of them a neighbor when I was about 12; we ALLLLL saw them repeatedly. Eventually, so did everybody who read the amateur section of Hustler or whichever mag it was, too.
You know when abusers get a second chance?
AFTER THEIR ***FIRST*** OFFENCE
There’s a saying that goes something like, “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action”
You’re at three times. That’s a pattern.
Also, it might be a good idea to go and look up one of the several letters out there from MRApist-types complaining about being ‘friendzoned’ and denied the sex they feel they’ve ‘earned’ like a long-service badge by ‘putting up with’ their – well, women in their life who think they’re friends with a nice guy, who haven’t realized yet that their ‘friend’ is actually a Nice Guy[TM].
A lot of Nice Guy MRApists seem to think their female ‘friends’ are like PEZ dispensers: pat them on the head often enough, and they’ll dispense sex. I’m not saying your guy is an actual MRA wazzock – but there’s a continuum of toxic masculinity, and seeing the extreme forms can help identify the less-toxic versions of that MRApist cockwomble BS.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but there has been exactly ONE conversation about nudity between LW and her um… friend/acquaintenc? In that conversation she said nudity was okay in that context. Sadly, it sounds like he has assumed that is a carte blanche for him to be casually naked in front of her without further discussion. He is in the wrong, but given the information here, I don’t think he realises.
My script would be for the next time they communicate (regardless of method). “Um… I need to let you know about something that’s been bothering me. When we went to that beach that was clothing optional and you asked if I was okay with you being unclothed? Remember? Well I was ok about it for THAT time but I ain’t keen on seeing naked bits any other time. Will you make sure you have clothes on when we video chat or you send pics in future?”
I suspect his thought process is something like “She’s asexual… she won’t care if I’m naked. She even said so (one time)”. That doesn’t make it right and he needs to hear that she is uncomfortable.
Everything The Cap has said is DEAD ON. But if you need some validation around the nudist piece: I am a nudist and I would never in a million years do any of this. I have nudist friends and they would never do any of this. This is not about his newfound love nudity (and hatred of clothes – which I don’t have, I also love my tyrannical clothing) this is about exhibitionism without your consent. It’s gross and invasive and entitled.
This is Not Normal behavior and you feeling any type of way about it, is TOTALLY NORMAL.
(sorry for all the caps but jeez louise this guy is creeping so hard and likely trying to gaslight you with plausible deniability while, likely, getting off on showing you his junk and that’s just foul).
I am Prudie Prudence of Prudetown. I have no time or interest in dick pics or in seeing dicks or anything else swinging about. Everyone, clothes on if you’re not at your own home or at a specific clothing-optional venue, please!
With you on that, but when he argues “But I WAS at my own home,” he was inviting someone into that home, and not giving them any warning that he was going to go full-frontal on them. Your house your rules works just fine, if you TELL people what the rules are.
If the guy decides that he’s going to be nude at his house, and LW needs to just expect the random dick shot, whenever there is anything photographic happening at his house, then he needs to tell her that is the situation, and ask if she wants to stick to voice-only communication from now on.
This is the first time I comment after having read everything on this site for a while. I’ve been having a situation where the advice from CA has been helpful to me because I’ve been able to use the “I don’t want to see that, thanks”, script.
I met a man at the pride festival in my town who is bi, just like me, and he immediately wanted to be friends. We have talked a bit on fb later but never met up even though he has asked if we could meet. His position is very “it’s so sad how prude everyone is and everything to do with sex is so taboo and why??” and I understood it in the context of him feeling ashamed of his bisexuality and afraid to come out of the closet. Because I’ve been struggling with similar thoughts. And I liked to consider myself not-prudish about sex and I accepted some conversations where he asked me about sexual stuff.
But then I started realizing I wasn’t really interested in being his teacher on sex or bisexuality and it was a little too similar to the way many men in the past have pushed sexual talk on me when I am not sexually interested in them. When we got to the point where he said, why won’t you answer me, why can’t you just say no if you don’t want to meet? I said, I don’t want to date you, I just want to be friends and he did the, oh, I wasn’t hitting on you, I just want to talk! Yeah, it’s just that the talking and chatting have included very sexual photos and videos. Which he seems to think is just a fun/not prude/ open/ So Sexually liberated thing to do?
So now I just said, “I don’t like that, I’d rather you don’t send me any more”. And I just got an, “okay, sorry”, sad emoji back.
And I’m thinking, dude, how hard is this to understand? Why do they keep sending stuff when they don’t get a response? Another great thing I’ve learned from CA is, No response is a response. It basically means, no thanks.
I don’t know if I should do anything else about this dude. I definitely have no more interest in meeting him, and if I do see him by coincidence I’m hoping to keep it casual/superficially polite. He hasn’t written me any more after the ok, sorry message.
I think I’ve definitely and once again walked into the Cool Girl trap on this one and I don’t want to do that any more, but I’m not sure how to deal with these things better in the future.
“Which he seems to think is just a fun/not prude/ open/ So Sexually liberated thing to do?”
Yeah no, that’s what he told you/implied. I’m fairly sure you guessed his agenda just right (if he wasn’t interested, he was enjoying bothering you which ain’t better).
The only thing that comes to mind to avoid this in the future is drawing boundaries early and often. If people make a fuss about tiny boundaries when you’ve just met, you know you can move on.
On the other hand, you were only able to walk into the Cool Girl trap because you were trying to be a kind and understanding person. That’s not a bad thing to be. Certainly don’t beat yourself up because of what that dude did.
He’s basically going “Why didn’t you perfectly draw boundaries at the exactly right time?” which can be translated to “Why did you draw boundaries at all? I don’t like it, stop it.” and you don’t have to pay any attention to that.
Hey, thanks for your comment, that makes a lot of sense, the “why did you draw boundaries at all?” interpretation.
Drawing boundaries is another thing we all should be allowed to do at any time, and with the people who are actually my close friends or partners, I discuss them, and usually way more than once. Great insight.
Two things stand out to me about this situation with the guy:
1) You can be a fun/not prude/open/So Sexually liberated person, and still have no interest in talking about sex or sharing sexy pictures with anyone who is not actually a sexual partner (or at least a potential sexual partner), so the “It doesn’t mean anything” argument doesn’t fly.
2) You said “I’d rather you don’t send me any more” sex talk/pictures, and he said “okay, sorry,” and has not said one word to you since then? If he can’t send you sexy stuff, he won’t talk with you at all?
Yeah, it was ALWAYS about getting into your pants. Nothing else. He didn’t want your help coming out, or even dealing with staying in. He just wanted your sex.
May he dance on Legos.
Also, you might be right about that. The “oh I’m actually bi and looking for a male partner now I think” was something I’d never heard before. But I was still getting that weird feeling and I don’t really feel like talking to him any more.
Also, thank you! was what was missing from my first comment.
May they all dance on Legos!
Yeah, I’m a bit of a casual nudist myself, but, “Dude, I don’t want to see your dick, please cover it up” is a totally acceptable thing to say in this case, and any response other than, “Oh, shit, I’m sorry for making you uncomfortable,” + immediately covering up and never doing it again is totally unacceptable.
He doesn’t have to be doing it with sexual intent for it to make you uncomfortable. You’re uncomfortable, if he’s your friend he should care about that, and if he wants to walk around his own place naked all the time, that’s fine, but there’s literally no reason he needs to send you pictures of it. Even in the best-case scenario, he’s being horribly inconsiderate.
” “But you said it was okay that day when we were hiking, it’s not fair for you to change the rules on me now””
That day, 1) you asked, and 2) LW was already in an environment where she knew, for a fact, that she was likely to see something on somebody, and 3) being pre-warned, she was able to make that decision about seeing it for herself.
That is a world different from having it suddenly, and without any warning, in an environment where it is completely unexpected, having it sprung on her like a remote-controlled Jack-in-the-Box.
Dude’s problem is not his nudism. Dude’s problem is that he forces it on people without any warning, whatsoever, or any chance to opt out.
Being naked is not sexual as such. After all, We are all born naked, and we put off our clothes for all kinds of everyday things. In placed where all people are naked, nudity is not per se sexual.
However, once people wear clothes normally in a society, nudity is ALSO sexual, because putting off your clothes is ALSO what you do before sex.
Because of this, nudity (while not inherently sexual) can be extremely sexual depending on the CONTEXT.
So what is the context? The context is that he gets naked in front of you outside of places and situations where people are normally naked. Also, I’m guessing he doesn’t do this to everyone, so he is doing this to you selectively. You, as his female friend, are being singled out for his nudity.
Which is very sexual indeed, and you have EVERY SINGLE RIGHT TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE AROUND HIM.
(You do not have to be comfortable with his nudity either way, but this makes it even more creepy.)
Yikes. I know people who are actual nudists (they prefer to call themselves “naturists”) and they DO NOT behave like this! This is blatantly sexual in nature and I’m guessing he’s enjoying LW’s discomfort. I don’t know why he’s started doing this after a decade of platonic friendship, but LW should probably ease out of this friendship and not be alone with him again.
So… I’m a man who has a penis, and I have a bit of additional perspective to add to this. If I were a nefarious sort who wanted to “accidentally on purpose” include my penis in an otherwise-innocuous picture being sent to a colleague, it would take a lot of work. Maybe it’s just because I’m a “grower not a shower” or whatever, but the sheer awkwardness of the angle is nearly insurmountable – I feel like it would take me hours of work and a hundred attempts before it looked sufficiently “accidental.”
Which is to say, in addition to all the all the other really good advice in this thread… Captain already pointed out that the photobomb was not really an accident. I would add, conversely, that he probably went through a lot of trouble to get that mise en scene juuuuust so. Bear that context in mind when figuring out how to handle future interactions with him.
I got into a discussion elsewhere about why a person would want to send a picture of their penis.
There were a few ideas, but the main one is? They’re exhibitionists. And sometimes? They’re exhibitionists who ENJOY the fact that you’re uncomfortable with it. (even if they don’t admit the 2nd bit to themselves).
I completely agree with Captain Awkward.
I think my personal script would be something like,
“Hey, [friend]. We’ve been friends for a long time and I’ve enjoyed hanging out and chatting with you… until recently.
I was cool with you joining in the nudist thing when we were there, you know it’s not my thing, but whatever. However, I am not interested in nudism or voyeurism. Please stop emailing me about it, and take care to cover up around me and in pictures you send me. I will take any further emails or pictures that reveal more than they propose as a consent violation. If you value our friendship, don’t make me ask again, because I won’t.”
Lots of good advice here. The only thing I can add is that for the moment in the initial conversation you need to have with this friend it’s best to focus on ‘what he did’ (pole bombing photos)
“I am glad you have a new hobby but don’t drag me into it. When we talk you WILL wear clothes”
If he escalates like everyone suspects I’ve found the words “not cool bro….you are pushing it” helps a lot. it reaffirms your friendship and puts it on him to shape up or ship out. Whatever happens after you set that boundary is not your issue.if HE continues to act problematic it’s not on you.
And if you get an inkling that they weren’t quite sincere GET AWAY….don’t look back don’t stupidly let people like back in your life like I did. because “hey they aren’t bringing it up and the photos have stopped its safe right?” it’s not they will wait…..linger and suddenly you will be dealing with it again.
Do not accept anything less than them apologising and taking steps to never do it again.
It’s so disturbing how he was able to use..I wanna say, progressive type language to try and weird you out about your boundaries? I saw that as someone who knows from experience I am very vulnerable to stuff like this. As soon as someone starts doing this on me I start saying to myself things like ‘but what if clothes ARE a form of societal repression??!’ Consequently my tolerance for anyone doing this shit on other people is 0%. You seem to be dealing with it much better than I would and I love how funny you were when you told us about it. I hope writing it out here and the overwhelming ‘what the fuck?!’ from everyone commenting gets rid of any ‘but what if he has a point?’ doubts you may have.
I think it’s very ‘interesting’ that in the 3 times where he made you look at him naked, 2 of them were specifically about him making you look at his dick.
I’m sorry that he has basically fucked up a long friendship and made things all horrible with his actions. If you do want to try and keep going with this friendship, I hope the Captain’s scripts are enough to nip this shit in the…well, not the bud exactly, it’s more of an overgrown weed at this point. But at least make it so he does not do it ever again. If you cut ties with him over this (I would NOT blame you) then at least it will be a great ‘what the fuck even?’ anecdote for parties. Best of luck with whatever you decide.
I like nudity, but the tenacious purposeful display of “accidental dick, all the time” is like a well thought out still life with banana and grapes.
I hope the letter writer isn’t too freaked out- unsolicited member pics are my Waterloo.
Comments are closed.