Behind a cut for some questionable practices around consent.
I have a situation I hope you can help with. For the last few years, I had a client that I’ve had a major crush on. We had a great rapport, shared political views, easy conversation, he’d bring thoughtful gifts as a tip, I was hugely attracted to him. Only problem, he was married. Last year, he and his wife divorced. By that point, I was seeing him less often in a professional capacity and we had developed a friendship. Newly single, he ventured into the world of internet dating and would talk to me and ask advice about navigating situations.
I finally got the courage to ask him on a date myself. We had dinner, went back to his place, and proceeded to have some of the worst sex of my life-just no chemistry whatsoever and awkward as all hell. It totally destroyed the attraction and crush in general. After a few instances of me dodging getting together again I think he got the point I didn’t care to repeat the experience.
The issue now is that he texts me to tell me about situations he has with women he’s dating, showing me sexy photos of them, passing along compliments they’ve paid him about his sexual prowess, and most recently telling me he had been “exploring depravity” with a woman who would first get blackout drunk before “making requests of him he hadn’t imagined ever entertaining”.
These shares are totally unwelcome and make me uncomfortable. They seem designed to make me jealous/entice me into trying a second round with him, and I’m made SUPER uncomfortable with the fact that it sounds like he’s engaging in heavy kink or other sexual practices with someone who is inebriated (he is 20 years sober). How do I tell him to knock it off, and should I tell him his practices sound extremely questionable? I originally chalked up his inappropriate sharing to being new to online dating and dating in general after 10-plus years of marriage but now he is firmly in “40-something man who claims to be anarcha-feminist but brags about banging much younger chicks on instagram” territory.
What should I say? If it helps, he is no longer a client so I won’t have to interact professionally in the future.
(gender neutral pronouns please!)
Dear Not Impressed,
This dude has crossed the line in all kinds of ways. I think it’s time for extreme bluntness:
“Doing that with someone while they are ‘blackout drunk’ sounds extremely sketchy, dangerous, and possibly illegal if they are too incapacitated to consent. Scary and not good. Also, I do not enjoy receiving these updates about your sex life. Please stop.”
He will say something predictably passive-aggressive about how very into “the depravity” his partner is* and it’s not like he’s some kind of rapist and he thought you were okay with him asking advice and sharing personal sexy stuff and if you weren’t okay with it why didn’t you say something before? You won’t know or care what exactly he says because you will have already blocked him and deleted him from your life.
*Maybe his partner IS into it and it’s allllllllllll above board and they read kink safety manuals together in their free time. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hit your alarm bells and that you’re not allowed to state your opinions and concerns about safety & consent, especially when he’s going out of his way to make it your business.
Sorry a cool dude turned out to be so skeevy.
Steam has a Wishlist feature. It’s presumably meant to function as a wishlist — a way of marking things that you actually want. But that’s not how I use it. I use it as more of a vague interest list. My typical use case goes something like “Hm, that game looks like it might be worth taking a closer look at. But I don’t feel like doing that right now, so I’ll throw it on my wishlist so I’ll remember to look at it again when it’s on sale.”
Consequently, when the seasonal sales come around, I have a whole bunch of obscure little indie games on my wishlist, many of them discounted to less than three bucks, some even to less than one. I’ve been experimenting with a rule lately: when I want to buy something on Steam, I have to get everything cheaper than it off my wishlist first, either by buying it or by just removing it from the wishlist. The theory is that if I’m willing to pay $x for a game I want, then unwillingness to pay an amount less than $x for a different game signifies that I don’t really want it. But when the prices reach the sub-dollar range, I’m very inclined to just pay for them regardless, and make up my mind about them by playing them.
And so for the past few days, I’ve been spending my leisure time on a sort of smorgasbord, sampling many little delights and feeling no great obligation to stick with any that displease me. I’ll be describing some of the more interesting ones in subsequent posts.
Info: the Serpentine Lido is open 10 to 6 every day.
It's (surprisingly) wheelchair-accessible, though they don't advertise this. There's a wheelchair-accessible loo, and a gate they can unlock in the fence around the lido so that you can cross from the changing rooms into the lido without having to go up and down any stairs (this does mean crossing a path in your swimming costume, but the alternative is crossing a small metal bridge over the path in your swimming costume, so).
It is a section of the lake, which you are sharing with assorted waterfowl and algae, so if you have a compromised immune system, it might not be ideal.
Especially on weekdays, the lido is blissfully uncrowded.
Because the lake edge is fairly shallow, a good half of the lido is standing-depth. So if you're a nervous swimmer, you don't have to venture out of your depth.
You need a swimsuit and a towel. There are coldwater showers on the bank, and shower gel/shampoo is forbidden as it runs off into the lake. Therefore, it's best to plan to rinse off some of the pondweed on the bank then have a proper bath/shower when you get home.
If you might be interested, this week or at some future point, just comment or PM me.
- 3997bdb: Issue #1820: extra padding on /entry/new
- Remove left margin for beta entry page buttons caused by #1793.
- 24b9494: Issue #1820: extra padding on /entry/new
- Remove left margin for beta entry page tag widgets caused by #1793.
These are in the queue for next push:
- f8093dc: Issue #1824: Remove userblob
- Remove unneeded database table userblob.
- c56dc03: Issue #1826: Remove reproxying
- Remove reproxying code - better to use an external caching service.
- ead030b: Issue #1828: Cleanup for June 2016
- Remove uninitialized value warnings in t/captcha.t.
- 98a81d8: Issue #1828: Cleanup for June 2016
- Remove tests of removed JS libraries from /dev/tests.
- 47838a9: Issue #1828: Cleanup for June 2016
- Whitespace cleanup in cgi-bin/DW/Controller/Comments.pm.
- 9ea11ab: Issue #1828: Cleanup for June 2016
- Fix attempts to use uninitialized values in cgi-bin/DW/Controller/Comments.pm.
- 949b41f: Issue #1828: Cleanup for June 2016
- Remove obsolete statements using dropped logins table.
- 5c991f9: Issue #1828: Cleanup for June 2016
- Remove unused database table dirsearchres2.
- f362b21: Issue #1828: Cleanup for June 2016
- Remove %REPROXY_DISABLE from config.pl (see #1826).
Dear Captain Awkward,
I reached a major professional milestone that I have been working towards for seven years in college and while working. (Not an unusual amount of time.) My colleagues and I received our results simultaneously. Less than half of us were successful (also not unusual). We’re around the same age, but I am not close to them. I sat quietly within view of them congregating near my desk to discuss, but felt it was not my place to interject much disappointment with my good news. I am sure they did not want to put me on the spot (often we wait to be told rather than ask unless you’re close).
I emailed a few colleagues and texted my family/friends. My family wanted to know what I was doing to celebrate, and I had nothing to report. My three local friends were not available. My colleagues were also unavailable to grab a drink or fancy dessert. My boss encouraged me to leave early, which I was reluctant to do, so I took a break to have dessert at a café. By myself.
As the news spread this week, folks urged me to make extravagant purchases, plan trips, and eat and drink copiously to celebrate. No one offered to join me. Usually there is a happy hour to mark the results, but if there was one I wasn’t informed/didn’t overhear.
I made plans with a friend for today, but she canceled shortly beforehand due to an unavoidable problem with her apartment. All local friends are now unavailable for two weeks. My family lives out of state.
Tangentially, when I first saw my results, I didn’t really feel anything. When I completed the previous step, my success was a huge surprise, and I clearly recall my astonishment and delight. This time, I felt more confident when finished, but I didn’t feel the relief that I remember from before. After the long wait for results, I was expecting/hoping for relief and joy, but neither manifested.
I told colleagues who asked that I felt excited but a little anxious because “I’m already behind with studying!”
There is another optional step that will take at least two more years, possibly much more. Due to company policy, short of a medical exception, I am not allowed to take a break (though I may stop permanently) and must continue these assessments twice a year. This accounts for 400-600 hours of commitment annually outside of work. Most colleagues have made or are making this commitment, and it’s standard for my industry. I am told the previous step was the most challenging. I had a rough couple of months preparing, being very focused but also easily upset.
This process requires lots of my non-work energy. I find group studying to be less productive. I am also a lifelong introvert. (I would even say I’m aggressively introverted.) I engage socially with colleagues/friends once-ish per week outside work in “off” study times, less when I am studying. I often initiate. I try not to turn down invitations because I receive few, and I usually have a good time. I also have lunch with a few people and socialize at work. The folks I started with aren’t in my office anymore, and the group I tested with all started together later. My closest friends live in different states, so I see them rarely. I would rather have a pelvic exam than have to meet/befriend strangers.
tl;dr I didn’t react appropriately to amazing news. Instead I felt sad, empty, and isolated. I am not sure if the root of this is the milestone itself—what have I really achieved? My daily role has not changed, and I am not truly finished, so I must again begin the grueling cycle of preparing for the next assessment. Or were my feelings influenced because I didn’t have an outlet to celebrate and that was disappointing?
So my questions are: 1) How can I better nurture my friendships when I have these responsibilities and this introverted temperament? I feel like my emails go largely unanswered and engagements cancelled as often as not. What can I do differently? I have been told I am a good, supportive friend, and people ask for email updates (without reciprocating), but I feel like Team Me is largely second string, and it’s not my right to demand anything of anybody, while gentle requests for support are not taken seriously. And 2) How can I be more excited and positive about this accomplishment? I am afraid I am focusing too much on the friend-related disappointment or the difficult steps ahead. I want to savor this, but I seem not to know how.
She/her is fine.
Finally a Professional
Dear Finally A Professional:
Congratulations on achieving (whatever it is). It makes total sense that the achievement would feel anticlimactic since so much work on this particular goal remains ahead of you. You’re in the middle, and it still feels like the middle.
You sound to me like a person who needs a break, a short trip to visit someone close to you, and an ongoing local pleasant, low-pressure outlet for companionship.
Could you get a massage? It sounds like you can afford a nice treat, and the catharsis of being rubbed and kneaded until some of the tension leaves your body might help right now. It sounds like your shoulders are up around your ears. See if someone can help you (physically, at least) drop them down a peg.
Could you spend a little time thinking about your career & life goals? Maybe jump on a journaling habit? Are you happy and excited about where all this testing and studying is leading you? Can you think of some people in your field who you admire, who do the most interesting and relevant and useful aspects of your profession? Is there a way to add something that really interests you to your current job duties? Does your company have an opportunity for you to job-swap with another department, cross-train in another role, or transfer to an office (maybe one that is closer to your favorite people)?
Could you take a day off from work to take a long weekend to visit one of your far-flung friends or family? Why not throw some clothes and a book you’ve been meaning to read in a bag and hop a train to see a friendly face? You need a change of scene and to be in a room with someone who loves you. Combine the “celebration of milestone” with “short break” and “refilling your friendship well.” And don’t gently hint at it – ask/tell. “Old Friend, I would love to see your face this weekend. If I make it into town for a day or two can we meet up for brunch or dinner?” “Friend, I want someone to celebrate this big work deal with. If I hop the train this Friday, can we meet up for a drink?” It’s okay to flash the “Hey, I need you!” symbol in the sky. If travel doesn’t work, institute a Skype date or a long gossipy phone call. Email isn’t working, social media isn’t working, gently holding back isn’t working, and you’ve been trying so hard not to impose on anyone that you’ve started to disappear. It’s okay to say, “Friend, I’m a little lonely right now and I need you.” Vulnerability connects us as much if not more than celebrating achievements. You’re allowed to want that and ask for it.
These are three pieces about nurturing friendships among adults that I really like:
My Mother Showed Me How To Hit The Jackpot, by Kate Harding. (You might cry when you read this). I have a group of far-flung friends who make the effort to get together in one place at least once a year, and it is the best. If you can’t visit a friend now, can you try to plan a trip with a few people?
Friday Night Meatballs (about hosting a regular get together, which seems like a weird thing for an introvert to do, until you realize that you control every aspect of it and then kick people out of your house at a set time). To implement: Pick a day, gather your three local friends together at your place, and feed them. “I’m celebrating finishing [MILESTONE], please come join me.“If you enjoy it, try doing it once a month. Every now and then invite someone new and get to know them better.
How Do I Make Friends In My Late 20s, Ask Polly. An excerpt:
“This is the downside of living in a gigantic country like the U.S.: You move away for college, you move away for work, you move away because you meet a great guy or girl, and one day you wake up and you’re 2,000 miles away from anyone who knows you really well. For someone who’s faintly allergic to small talk, who can never quite hit that lowest common denominator of casual chattiness, who can never quite manage to burble happily about the weather and the news and those cute shoes and the new restaurant down the block, making brand-new friends sounds about as appealing as a trip to the podiatrist.”
Sound like you?❤ She’s got some wisdom in there about connecting with people different from you and looking for things to like about people. I know, you said the thought of befriending strangers is literally The Worst. But your distant-yet-beloved network isn’t really doing it for you right now, nor are your work colleagues, nor is the thought of pouring yourself into hundreds more hours of studying. What could you do that is fun (maybe a physical activity of some sort, something that gets you into your body or your hands or your senses in some way) AND gets you out of your office AND out of your house AND into proximity with other people once a week? Join a choir. Try something new, something you don’t have to be good at, or reconnect with an old hobby. Meet a couple of new folks where you live. You don’t have to befriend them, you just have to show up and give it a chance. You need an outlet and a change of pace. I know you hate this advice, but making friends at multiple stages in life is a skill and sometimes there is no substitute for pleasant proximity to other people (even people who don’t necessarily have anything in common with you on the surface) when you’re trying to find your way back to having community.
- Treat yourself.
- Take a small break.
- See or at least call a friend (be vulnerable).
- Do something new that connects you to others, even if it’s just the shared work of petting puppies in the animal shelter.
- Give it time and be nice to yourself.
You’re not weird for feeling this way, and you’re not alone. I hope your friends come through and that you find a place that reminds you that you belong.