my coworker drew genitalia on a going-away card for someone else

A reader writes:

I’m a senior member of my team at a tech firm, and I’m a mentor/trainer-type to most of my immediate coworkers. I’m also the person who organizes cards when team members leave. One of my team members, “James,” is leaving today for a new opportunity. We have a piece of 8.5×11 that we’re calling a card. Most of the team members wrote the usual things (“best of luck,” “stay in touch,” all of that). But one of them, “Bruno,” wrote: “Good luck in the future, my friend. Also, here’s a dickbutt.” He then drew the accompanying picture. It’s not huge but it’s noticeable.

Bruno is one of the younger people on our team and one of the most junior; he’s been here seven months. He’s started university twice and dropped out twice, and then he spent a year abroad. He’s not the highest performer, and I know he spends a lot of his time on non-work (YouTube videos) while he’s here. I’m not interested in a millennial/not-millenial/kids these days thing – I was born in the nineties. I’m just trying to illustrate that overall he’s not the most professional and he hasn’t had many opportunities to learn office norms. Our corporate culture is laid-back but not THAT laid-back and I’m not sure what to do.

I don’t know if James would appreciate the comment and picture, maybe he would, but I’m not proud of handing it over. There are other people who still need to sign, but I don’t especially want to show them the card with this on it. I don’t mind this sort of humor personally, though I don’t find it appealing, but I don’t think this is the place for it. Do I just go ahead and get over my discomfort and let everybody else attribute it to Bruno? Should I point out to him that this is a bit much (for what it’s worth, he’s written various other unprofessional things on the cards of the two others who’ve left while he’s been here and I let it slide) and that it’s a public thing? Or is this all pretty par for the course and I’m just overwrought about nothing?

In addition, on the professional norms thing, Bruno is leaving at the end of the month to go back to school and try again, so well done him. All this being said, I don’t know how or if I should give him a heads-up before he leaves, or just wait it out.

Oh, Bruno.

Bruno does not understand about work.

Sadly for you, it is going to fall to you to explain it to him.

As in: “Did you draw genitalia on a card for someone at work? Why?”

Followed by: “We don’t draw genitalia on things at work. We don’t do it because it’s unprofessional, and because drawing genitalia in places where it’s not expected to be found is often seen as a hostile or anti-social act, and because most adults prefer not to have to look at illustrations of genitalia while they’re doing their jobs, unless they’re working in a health care field where it might be relevant.”

Followed by: “Please get some Wite-Out and fix this.”

Followed by a mention to Bruno’s manager that he needs some more guidance on professional norms before he should be allowed to interact with others.

And no, not par for the course. I mean, maybe it’s been par for the course for Bruno, but you’ll be doing him a favor by helping him realize that this isn’t how the work world functions.

{ 340 comments… read them below }

  1. MC*

    Many years ago I had to have a conversation with my team that included reminders that we do not discuss porn, porn stars or the plots to porn movies while we are in the client’s office. Sadly common sense isn’t altogether common.

      1. Ellie H.*

        Just because Reddit has already been introduced into the conversation and re. the artistic merits to be found (or not) in porn – there was a recent AskReddit best of that queried about the funniest line ever seen in a porno. One of the top choices (which was related to studying in a library) was also praised as having some of the best acting people could remember. Having verified the claim I agree 100%.

    1. Pwyll*

      Yeah. Definitely had to have that conversation with some interns once who were discussing 70’s Alice in Wonderland musical porn.

      While the conversation was hilarious, I put my foot down on singing porn songs at work. (Who knew that would ever be a thing?)

      1. Blue Anne*

        Oh my god! Other people know about that!

        I threw an awesome party in college showing it for my friends. It’s surprisingly wonderful. Very sex-positive message, and the wonderful little number “his dingaling’s up”.

        I followed it up with a “Female Ninjas Magic Chronicles Volume 3” party. Their best moves are radar boobs and acidic vagina bubbles.

        But would I ever discuss any of this at work? Hahahahaahaha. No.

      2. Sally Singer*

        Rules of the internet: everything that exists has a porn version of it somewhere, and if it doesn’t, it at least has several varying-quality parodies. An internet reviewer did a video on that Alice in Wonderland you mentioned, so I know that really exists. What was harder to grasp was not one, but several foreign porn movies about E.T. the extraterrestrial.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Rule 34! And it’s true!

          Trust me–there were these incredibly squeaky-clean girl detective novels I used to read as a kid, and someone told me there was internet porn of it. I found it.

          I ended up getting rid of all the books because I could not re-read them without thinking of the porn. Plus they were so dorky I just couldn’t stand them anymore.

            1. Christopher Tracy*

              Lol that would be amazing if it was. The Hardy Boys would certainly make an appearance.

          1. Anon Accountant*

            Why do people ruin a good thing? I loved detective stories as a kid. To make a porn out of it seems so wrong. Ugh!

    2. addlady*

      I had an adult salesman talk about his time in, let’s say Nevada, at a work party. Not too, too graphic, but definitely weird. Thing is, I’m a young woman and he was definitely over 30.

        1. addlady*

          No, the age thing doesn’t matter, somehow it made it creepier to me. Although really, I think he just . . . forgot I was there? I work with a ton of guys, so maybe he thought he was just in a group of fellow guys and could talk about his exploits. The age thing also just goes to show it really isn’t millennial behavior.

          1. Blue Anne*

            I’ve definitely experienced “Oh, I forgot there was a woman in the room”.

            It can be dreadful. Most memorably, I had to pull aside a manager I’d really liked and remind him that jokes about killing strippers were not appropriate for work. He apologized. Later that day in the same room of guys I spat out my drink when another dudebro said “Women have it so easy, if they want some time off work they can just have a baby”.

            1. addlady*

              I have an idea! How about we restrict our discussions of sex or sexist behaviors in the workplace regardless of who we think our audiences are? I bet there were some guys who are uncomfortable with that sort of thing as well.

              1. The lazy b (with spaces today for no particular reason)*

                I bloody hope so, else I despair for humanity.

          1. addlady*

            I meant it as in “can’t use immaturity as an excuse.” The age difference wasn’t really all that bad.

            1. The other anon*

              I work at a college, and have to remind the professors that they are often the age of their students’ parents, and that adds to students’ revulsion at off-topic discussion of things relating to intimacy

    3. Hattie McDoogal*

      I used to work at a garbage dump right after some of the municipalities introduced compost pick-up, sifting through the trash piles to separate out plastics and other “non-organics”. Everyone who worked there was either a college student or a fairly recent, under-employed grad, and it was a gross unpleasant job, so we made games out of the weird things we could find in the trash. At some point someone started a collection of found porn and sex toys (of which there was a surprising amount), which we would pile up near the edge of one of our work sites. Our supervisor got fed up one day and threw it all away (never mind the philosophical questions raised by throwing something away when you’re already at the dump) and when we were all incredulous and asked her why, she just kind of raised her hands in exasperation and said, “Do I really have to explain to you guys that it’s not appropriate for the workplace, even this one?”

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Well, there you go; if it’s not appropriate for the dump, it’s not appropriate anywhere. I love that she said that, though.

    4. Lissa*

      I worked at a chain restaurant and the owner used to loudly talk about porn, genitalia, and sex acts at work. His manager was his son, and his other son was also employed there, and both of them would look deeply uncomfortable. It was…bad. Really bad. I mean, the atmosphere there was never exactly formal, and we’d all joke around, but this went way way beyond a “that’s what she said” comment. I had worked there for years but left a few months after he took over. For so many reasons.

    5. Lindsay J*

      I had to shut down discussions about BDSM at work, several times.

      One of my employees claimed that she was a professional dominatrix that had several members of the New York Yankees as customers. This was around 2006-2007ish I think. She did assure one of the other employees that Jorge Posada was not one of her customers. She also handed me her time off request on a post-it note that had the address to her adult fanfiction website on the bottom of it, along with a little illustration.

      One of the other employees overheard a discussion one time and asked if BDSM was the name of a gym. She was a proper old lady and I feel like she would have been in for a shock if she looked it up when she got home.

      I don’t understand how people get to be full adults who hold down jobs and don’t understand work/life boundaries. I’ve written fanfiction. I participate in the kink community. There is no reason my coworkers or boss need to know about it.

      At another job I found a coworker on fetlife. We managed to keep all of our discussions about such outside of work.

  2. Dawn*

    That’s the most hilariously crass thing I have heard in quite a while!

    I think a shocked incredulous reaction like Alison suggested above is the way to go. If it were me, instead of “Why?” I’d be asking “What in the F&%$ made you think that was OK???”… but Alison is usually much better at suggesting wording for these types of conversations.

    1. NASA*


      I cracked up at the title and applauded the incredibly good advice. Bookmarking this one…

  3. Guy*

    Wow, what an idiot. You aren’t supposed to bring attention to Dickbutt, you’re supposed to subtly leave it in an unexpected place.

    Tell him to go back to Reddit

    1. Karo*

      And really, if he wants to do a Reddit joke, there are tons of work-appropriate ones. Draw a picture of a narwhal baconing at midnight.

    2. RedditIsForKids*

      Reddit crap should stay on reddit, not out in the real world where a majority of people are adults and dont know what reddit is.

        1. Biff*

          It is a dark and strange place full of memes, questionable opinions (about everything) pictures, odd jokes, and is the natural habitat of dickbutt.

          Basically it’s the world’s largest forum. There are subreddits for everything.

          1. Blue Anne*

            There is also a lot of really good stuff. Some of the subreddits are very constructive. I found a lot of help in dealing with a specific type of abuse there that I just wouldn’t have been able to find a support group for anywhere else.

        1. Liz in a Library*

          Yeah…honestly, I kind of hate Reddit, but that doesn’t mean it’s not ok for other people to like it. We don’t have to all be into the same thing!

          1. Sadsack*

            I find plenty of entertaining stuff on Reddit that is not immature or crude, and even see breaking news there sometimes before I see it anywhere else. I just try to avoid the things about it that I don’t like.

            1. CMT*

              Reddit, like the rest of the internet, has some very lovely parts and some truly awful parts.

            2. MashaKasha*

              I keep hearing good things about it. But then, I keep hearing horrible things about it too, that people who tell them to me do not recognize as horrible. Each time I try to go there, I get lost, it’s so vast. I’d love to be able to selectively read it, take in the good stuff, skip over the bad stuff. Maybe one day.

                1. TL -*

                  YES! I will not browse Reddit because I hate the interface that much. (I will read a subforum if linked there and told it’s promising by a trusted source. Mostly ask-me-anythings.)

                2. Honeybee*

                  Yeah, I actually use (and like) reddit but the interface keeps me from using it more than I do. It’s really poorly organized and is a bad user experience, IMO.

                3. MashaKasha*

                  Oh god yes! My very first forum that I joined, back in the early 2000, was laid out something like that. It was annoying then. It’s beyond annoying now.

              1. Lindsay J*

                Basically the website is what you make of it. You can subscribe to different forums. Some are wonderful (I really enjoy trollxchromosomes, trollychromosome, makeupaddiction, femalefashionadvice, photography, cooking, explainlikeim5, and some others. And relationships and relationship_advice are my version of like a daytime talk show combined with a soap opera). Others are completely vile. They’ve begun to shut down or quarantine some of the more hateful ones. I usually don’t see that stuff because I don’t subscribe to any of that and I read my main page instead of the front page.

      1. Jen RO*

        I have seen many a dickbutt on a post-it in an office populated by human adults, and I found it funny as hell. I am 32. I guess having a different sense of humor makes me a kid…?

        1. Sketchee*

          As the letter shows, many of your coworkers may find this inappropriate and don’t know how to react.

          Definitely if I wasn’t your supervisor and observed this, I’d probably keep my judgements of your professionalism silent. Unless it was like the card in the letter where it broadly could be seen as coming from the group.

          I’m the same age as you, so it’s not an age thing. I have a pretty broad sense of humor. Even at work.

          Still, I don’t think it’s cool to make coworkers uncomfortable for humor.

          1. Jen RO*

            My point was that “a majority of people are adults and dont know what reddit is” was not relevant to the conversation, as in my office a majority of people are adults, do know what Reddit is, and do find many of the in-jokes funny.

            And my assumption here is that both people involved did know what dickbutt was because otherwise… why would anyone draw it? If you don’t know what it is already you can’t even tell that it’s supposed to be, well, dickbutt (I first thought it was a chicken).

        2. Sadsack*

          The guy at work may very know all about dickbutt and have an in-joke with the guy who drew it. But I agree with OP that the company card is not the place to put it.

          1. AMT*

            Exactly. Discreet post-it in the guy’s desk drawer? Sure, whatever. Card that will be seen by his supervisor and all of his coworkers? Not good optics.

      2. Rebecca in Dallas*

        I’m not on Reddit and even I know what dickbutt is. And I wish I didn’t, it’s one of those things that is so annoying every time I see it.

    3. LawBee*

      … I must hang out on different parts of Reddit. I’ve never seen this.

      Although, a going away card is unexpected.

      1. Anna the Accounting Grad*

        Me too. I’ve seen this browsing random mode on Imgur, but not on Reddit.

        Then again, I unsubscribe do from most of the default subs and replaced them with my own custom blend of yarncrafts, local interest, and historical diminutiae.

          1. Misc*

            Reddit, Reddit, oh please unsubscribe do,
            Reddit, Reddit,
            Oh please unsubscribe do,
            I’m half crazy,
            All for the reading you!
            It isn’t a stylish forum,
            I can’t afford to log in
            But you’ll look sweet upon the net
            Once I’ve unsubscribed from you.

  4. Amy G. Golly*

    “If you have a private joke going with James and you know he’s going to find this hilarious, that’s fine: you buy your own card, draw as many genitals on it as you like, and give it to him privately. You do not draw genitalia on a card that’s going to be seen by EVERYBODY ELSE YOU WORK WITH.”

    On second thought, given Bruno’s general inability to suss out social norms, I don’t know if I’d trust him to decide whether James would be cool with a genital send-off or not.

    1. KellyK*

      Yeah, I think that’s one to pull out if Bruno says “But James and I have a running joke! He sends me these all the time!” rather than starting off with it. Because, yeah, I don’t trust his ability to gauge appropriateness at all.

      1. Edith*

        Exactly. My work will sometimes have a card that everyone can read and sign and a separate envelope for more personal messages that will only be read by the recipient. I don’t think the practice started with doodles of genitalia in mind, but if you really thought the other person would enjoy such a drawing, the envelope is where it would go.

    2. Lily in NYC*

      Yes, this! I have a pretty juvenile sense of humor and even I think he was in poor taste. I had a coworker who used to write odd things on people’s cards (we usually framed something with a large mat for farewell comments) and then not sign his name so the person would wonder WTF was going on. On one he wrote “you were like the father I never had” to someone he only met a few times. I couldn’t help but laugh at them because they were usually hilarious (and never dirty).

      1. Adlib*

        At a former job, we got a card for a guy who had surgery on his 2nd Achilles’ tendon tear (seriously, he snapped ligaments like it was a hobby, also tore an ACL within that 5 year span).

        One guy we’ll call Kenny just signed his name. The next guy wrote, “I can never say anything as touching as what Kenny said.” We could not stop laughing.

    3. Young'n*

      Yes. In fact I just gave a going away card to a coworker privately that was nothing but photos of cat butts. She got it … But I would not have done that on the public card.

    4. LizM*

      Maybe I’m a prude, but I still don’t think it’s okay if they have a private back and forth. I wouldn’t be pleased to find out that my employees had a running joke sending dickbutts at work, even if they kept it private and they both thought it was funny. Some things aren’t appropriate at work.

      1. LizM*

        Just to be clear, I can think of times when this would be funny. I just don’t think “it’s an inside joke” makes it okay for it to happening at work.

      2. Lily in NYC*

        I joke around with my best friend here all the time, and we have plenty of gross jokes between us. I just don’t see how it would affect you in any way or how it’s anyone’s business.

  5. BlackEyedPea*

    My first thought was that it’s some kind of inside joke. But, even if that is the case, it’s still not appropriate for a workplace setting.

    1. Karo*

      It’s a common thing on Reddit (and probably elsewhere on the interwebs). If they’ve both acknowledged that they’re redditors, then I’d count it as an inside joke. Still not appropriate in any way, shape, or form, but at least it’s a thing, I guess.

        1. Blurgle*

          Forgive me, but I was hit by a car yesterday and broke my ankle and am on most excellent pain pills and the “really inside” wrt to dickbutt had me giggling uncontrollably for ten minutes straight.

          1. JMegan*

            I’m so sorry about your ankle! Hope you’re okay otherwise.

            FWIW, I am not on pain pills of any kind, and I also giggled at “really inside” related to “dickbutt.” High five to motherofdragons for that one!

            1. Audiophile*

              I think I broke my foot last year, but since I never bothered to have it checked out, I don’t know for sure.

              So its’s not all ankles.

          2. SusanIvanova*

            I broke my ankle last year at Easter. You’ll find that recovery follows the same rule as software development: the last 10% takes 90% of the time. I’m a few decimal places past 99% now, but still twinge when I walk a lot (curse you, Pokemon Go!)

        2. Liz Ludgate*

          I’ve had an awful day and don’t know a thing about Reddit or dickbutt, but this comment thread had certainly made me smile. Thanks AAM readers!

      1. Shannon*

        I wouldn’t, because it’s not a common thing on Reddit. They’d have to not only acknowledge that they’re redditors, but, also that they frequent the same reddits. This is the first I’ve heard of Dickbutt and I’m fairly active on several reddits. Reddit has a lot more depth and breadth than anyone gives it credit for.

  6. Cory*

    I once received a “it’s been nice working with you” card from a staff who was moving on. Great guy. The card was made out of a xerox copy of his genitals. Yep. We were close (no, not THAT close) and not much offends me so I actually found it hilarious. That being said, it was between him and I and did not make the rounds amongst all the staff. That would have been far more inappropriate

    1. Wendy Darling*

      I actually just sat here with my mouth open for a few seconds. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before.

      I hope he wiped down the copier…

      1. Cory*

        Knowing him he probably cleaned it thoroughly while laughing to himself. We were working with some very behavioral adults with developmental disabilities. Some rather edgy humor is pretty commonplace on this field, helps blow off steam.

    2. Purest Green*

      I can’t decide if this is fantastic or completely horrible. Maybe it’s both.

      1. Cory*

        Unless he put somebody else’s testicles on the xerox machine I’m pretty sure they were his.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      People who repair copiers usually have couple good stories about copier glass getting broken, because, someone was, uh, copying themselves. The broken glass happens more often than you’d believe.

    4. The Expendable Redshirt*

      I….ummm…am glad that you found the card amusing……

      …What? ….


    5. Rebecca in Dallas*

      That’s a “know your audience” kind of thing, I would *not* have been amused! But glad you were!

  7. WhichSister*

    I don’t even think its a generation thing. My EX is 45 this year and still has the mentality of a 12 year Beavis and Butthead fan. He cannot say or hear the word “duty” without snickering.

    Yeah this needs to be direct and nipped in the bud, so to speak.

      1. Pwyll*

        Let me tell you how bad it is when you chuckle at the word “duty” and also attend law school, where one might use “duty” dozens of time in the same class.

        1. Lore*

          Never perform a stage adaptation of “Moby Dick” for an auditorium full of high-school seniors, is all I can say.

        2. Revolver Rani*

          When I was in law school, a friend and I once almost imploded from trying not to laugh in Corporations class, because the professor had said something like “So what happens when you do due diligence is …” and I wrote on my friend’s notebook, “He said ‘do due diligence'”.

          We were both turning 30 that year.

          1. LawCat*

            I almost didn’t make it through Torts when we were going over duty as an element of negligence. I sat in the front row and I am sure the professor could see me almost losing it when he would ask things like, “What is the nature of the duty? What does the duty look like? Did the defendant owe a duty to the plaintiff?” God, I am even chuckling to myself/feeling mortified remembering it. I really couldn’t help it though.

        3. Sir Alanna Trebond*

          Physical chemistry was particularly challenging when we were discussing the Hartree Fock method. No matter how carefully the professor said “Fock”…

      2. Cath in Canada*

        I have an otherwise supremely professional colleague who thinks it’s just about the funniest thing ever when anyone accidentally says “do do” (e.g. “yes, we do do that”). Unfortunately, it’s proven to be infectious – if I’m ever in a meeting with her where someone says “do do”, I can’t meet this colleague’s eye! I just know that she’ll be red faced and struggling desperately to suppress her laughter, and that in turn makes me want to burst out laughing too. The instructor for our PMP prep course said “do do” once and we both almost suffocated ourselves as we attempted to keep our composure.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I have this problem with the word “dongle.” I don’t laugh but I do grin. I’m sorry, but it’s funny.

          Kumquat also makes me laugh. I can’t help it!

    1. Chassity*

      Ha! My husband is 38 and we’re currently reading a historical novel together and every time one of us has to read a character’s name of “Mrs. Cox,” he giggles, which makes me giggle because it’s so ridiculous that’s he’s giggling. I’ve just begun calling her Margaret to get around this annoyance. But it’s even more amusing that someone who enjoys reading a novel set in the 18th century also thinks “cox” is funny. Wonders never cease!

        1. Rat in the Sugar*

          Heh. I remember being quite startled as a teenager to find out what fanny is slang for in the UK. Here in the US it’s about the mildest possible slang for bottom.
          “So what do you call a fanny pack then??”
          “A bum bag!”
          “Bum bag! That’s not any better!”

      1. KG Ph.D.*

        My parents’ ISP is called Cox Communications, so I used to have an email address. Before I wised up and got a gmail address, that used to elicit some snickers.

        1. frabjous*

          I used to work for a consulting firm that had Cox Communications as a client. A coworker who was on the account said “yeah, there are so many double-entendres, after a certain point you just get inured to them.”
          But someone did swipe one of their bathroom “wash your hands” signs that said something like “Wash your hands for a healthy & clean Cox” and put it up in our office kitchen, to general hilarity.

        2. Mr. Manager*

          I work as a manager for a call center where we are sending email confirmations on nearly every call. I frequently get calls from people who didn’t get the email. I go to look up their email on file…””.

          I always share it with my husband because we both find it endlessly amusing!

    2. MC*

      I worked with a guy who’s last name was “Doody” – every email I felt like a snickering 12 y.o. To this day… I’m still in awe that he never considered a name change. Then again – I also have a client who’s last name rhymes with Boar but starts with an H. Scrambled for privacy reasons – don’t want it to be searchable online.

      1. BadPlanning*

        I had a coworker with the last name of Fu. I was on the phone with a different coworker who was having a hard time understanding me and wanted me to spell coworkers first and last name multiple times. So I’m on the phone going, “F, U” “Yes, it is F, U.”

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          “F. Scott Fitzgerald.”
          “What did Scott Fitzgerald ever do to you?”

          (Yes, I just saw Ted 2. And yes, I’m apparently 10 years old, because I find this hysterical.)

      2. Apollo Warbucks*

        I worked with a Cockhead once, it wasn’t pronounced like that though more like the difference between Bucket and Bouquet

        1. Brisvegan*

          On of the teachers at my high school was Mrs Cockburn (which she pronounced Coe-burn). The high schoolers did not use her preferred pronunciation, poor woman.

      3. Pennalynn Lott*

        Back in the early 90’s I worked in an IT consulting / contracting firm. We had a contractor named Harry Wiener. And he pronounced it “weener”, not “whiner”. He also didn’t go by Hank or Harold. I sat near the recruiter whose job it was to place contractors and laughed every time he had to repeat himself on the phone to a new client, because the client thought he was trying to be funny.

        1. Tris Prior*

          We had a TV news anchor here whose name is Dick Johnson. He’d always introduce himself so proudly too – I about died laughing every time I heard him say his name.

          1. JustaTech*

            I had a real estate agent named Randy Johnson. My husband did not understand why I laughed so hard the first time I read his name! (I never, ever laughed at the guy; he was very nice that that would be unbearably rude.)

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I was working with our accountant to enter quotes for a large piece of machinery that a professor wanted to purchase for his lab. Part of the process was entering names of the contact person at each company that had submitted a bid, so I was reading the names and the accountant was typing them into the requisition. When I read off the name “Harry Beaver”, we both stopped, looked into each other’s eyes with our mouths hanging open, and then laughed for a good thirty minutes.

  8. Valentina Warbleworth*

    “Bruno, would you have drawn that on a card for a female employee? Exactly. So why would it be appropriate on a card for a man?”

    Yeah, yeah, Reddit, I know. Doesn’t excuse anything. If it’s not publicly appropriate for “a woman” (strange weird breed of impenetrable alien moods that we are, and yet some men still insist they can tell us what we want and tell us what we feel, and somehow never see that contradiction), it’s not appropriate for anybody.

    1. Jen RO*

      Well. I don’t think a dickbutt is more inappropriate on a card for a female coworker so… maybe this phrasing would not get the right point across.

      1. Valentina Warbleworth*

        That’s my point. It ISN’T more inappropriate for a woman. Therefore, it isn’t less inappropriate for a man.

        1. fposte*

          I think Jen is saying she wouldn’t find dickbutt inappropriate on her own card, and therefore isn’t bothered by its being on a man’s card.

          It is deeply amusing to soberly create sentences involving the word “dickbutt.”

          1. Jen RO*

            Yeah, exactly. I don’t think gender has anything to do with this – it’s either inappropriate for everyone or for no one.

    2. Ellie H.*

      Eh, I don’t think gender plays a role in this – just that it’s incredibly crude/crass/inappropriate/etc. for work regardless of who it’s to and it would confuse the message to mention something like this. Not to be disingenuous, I think it’s pretty possible that this type of juvenile humor is more typical for guys than women to find funny but that doesn’t make it relevant to why you don’t write it on a work card, even in a more informal context.

      1. OhNo*

        Gender doesn’t really play a role in this, but for the terminally oblivious bringing it up can be a good way to make them actually pay attention to what they’re doing.

        A non-gendered alternative might be “Would you put this on a card for your elderly grandfather?” or “Would you put this on a card for a four-year-old child?” or “Would you present yourself this way to someone you’re trying to impress?” If the answer is no, it’s probably best to skip it at work, too.

        1. Jaguar*

          Boy, “would you act this way towards a 4-year-old?” is not the standard I want my co-workers to adhere to.

            1. Jaguar*

              I mean it more in the sense that I would rather not have people sanitise themselves to such an extent that nothing they say or do could ever cause even the slightest offence to anyone.

              I’m offended by dickbutt, but because I think it’s lame and unfunny, not because it’s vulgar. I find doge deeply lame and unfunny as well. It would make me a lot more comfortable if people didn’t expect me to laugh at that! I think there’s a point at which accommodating everyone that could be offended becomes pointless and counter-productive.

        2. LBK*

          Yeah, I like that better because it doesn’t carry the vaguely sexist implication of women being too delicate for mildly vulgar humor.

        3. Rusty Shackelford*

          I don’t think any of those are going to work.

          “Would you put this on Jane’s going away card?”
          “Sure, cause it’s awesome.

          “Would you put this on your grandfather’s/four-year-old’s card?”
          “No. He’s not on Reddit. He wouldn’t get it.”

          1. neverjaunty*

            Yeah, this. Bruno doesn’t need analogies. He needs to be told this is inappropriate, full stop.

      2. SystemsLady*

        I agree, plus how Dickbutt is usually drawn and drawings of him are used arguably falls more under the immature/Beavis and Butthead category of unprofessional than the genital graffiti/porn category.

        Keeping in mind drawings of Dickbutt certainly could be used for sexual harassment, of course.

      1. Anna the Accounting Grad*

        Well, you could just start with Alice and Bob — who are collectively A Thing, after all — and go from there. But only if you’re OK with possibly falling down a rabbit hole.

    3. disconnect*

      About 20 years ago, I was midway through a co-op job at Large Office Machine Manufacturer, and our team went to lunch one day in honor of team member Fred’s last day. We went to one of those places that had the big roll of paper for each table, and they left out plenty of crayons so everyone could draw whatever while we were waiting for our food. I was friends with Engineer Bob, and he was sitting across from me, with Manager Carl next to him. The waitress came over and did her thing, and when she left, Bob said, “Did you see that? She was flirting with me!” Carl: “Uh, no, Bob, it’s called waitressing.” “No, man, I think she was hitting on me! Watch!” She came back with drinks, and started taking orders, and when she got to Bob he started laying it on THICK. So she played along, because, y’know, waitressing, and Carl rolled his eyes so hard I think a seismograph could have picked it up.

      Now, it’s important for me to tell you that from my perspective, there was the waitress on the left, standing; Bob in the middle, sitting and looking up at the waitress; and Carl on the right, sitting there shaking his head; and it’s important because then you’ll understand why Bob failed to see it when Carl took a black crayon and drew a rather large cock-and-balls on the paper in front of Bob. The waitress, however, did see it, and I noticed her smile widen fractionally, to which Bob stepped it up a notch.

      To this day, I have no idea how I managed to hold myself together, at least until about 4 minutes later, when Bob finally stopped gushing about how awesome he was for getting the waitress to interact with him on that level, looked down, and saw the Wilhelm sketched out in front of him. I passed beer through my nose at that point (Michael Shea’s Irish Amber, as I recall).

      Anyway, know your audience.

  9. The Bimmer Guy*


    I just really don’t understand how you could ever think something like that was remotely appropriate, even in the most lax of work environments.

    And, for the record, I was born in the nineties, too.

      1. EmmaLou*

        No, it wouldn’t. And, no, it’s not. Please do not paint all of a group of people with one brush.

        1. Jaguar*

          I don’t… what? Did you mean to reply to that post? I was talking about my personal experiences, and doing so specifically as a way of dispelling the idea that there is one single standard.

          1. EmmaLou*

            Every blue-collar environment it would have been fine – maybe even expected.

            It would not have been fine in every blue collar environment and would possibly get you written up. It would not therefore be expected, nor appropriate. Many blue-collar environments are really working to stamp out stereotypes. It makes for a more welcome work place.

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Jaguar, I think you probably meant to write “In every blue-collar environment I’ve worked in it would have been fine,” but without the italicized portion it came across as a broader statement than you meant!

              1. Jaguar*

                Jesus, I think I’m losing my mind lately. Whole clauses are disappearing from what I write.

                Sorry, EmmaLou!

          3. N.J.*

            I think what Emma Lou is saying is that assuming that all blue collar environments would find this acceptable is stereotyping people in blue collar environments or alternately saying that you support something like this happening in a blue collar environment. Since you didn’t add the disclaimer about this being based on your personal experience, it’s not surprising that your comment was interpreted less than favorably. Yes, I’ve had similar or worse experiences in one blue collar environment I worked in, but that doesn’t really support the generalization for all blue collar environments. YMMV of course but it just appeared a bit dismissive, like all blue collar environments are a lost cause in relation to expecting a modicum of professionalism.

            1. Jaguar*

              Yeah, I only meant to comment on the places I’ve worked, not all blue collar work. And I didn’t actually mean it to be dismissive or disparaging of those work environments, either! I actually take a rather dim view of this kind of “professionalism.” I’m completely on board for not being vulgar, abusive, or anything else harmful in the workplace. However, being shocked about something like Dickbutt seems really puritan to me. I think it’s a problem (albeit very minor) because of Bruno’s lack of maturity, not because of a lack of decency.

              1. Student*

                I find it offensive to be exposed to random depictions of genitals.

                Maybe you’re genuinely not aware of this, but some men use such depictions in an effort to make women feel threatened, harassed, generally unwelcome and unwanted, or to assert that they are superior to women because they have exterior genitals. There’s often a “this is a penis zone” vibe to it. There’s also offensive homophobic vibes to this stuff, too, especially this character. And what exactly does anyone gain from this message?

                The specific character at hand also has only negative connotations in terms of a personalized message. This isn’t like some sort of penis friendship salute; it’s a penis version of the middle finger. I can’t imagine defending the general concept nor the specific implementation.

    1. Vroom Vroom*

      I wasn’t born in the nineties but quite close, and I can see some of the younger guys I work with doing this – to each other, privately – but not on something that the whole office would see. I have to wonder if he is very lightly on the spectrum if he misses something so profoundly obvious to (almost) everyone else.

      1. Lemon Zinger*

        We don’t speculate about autism (or any other disorder) on this site. Thanks.

      2. Elsajeni*

        I think it’s more likely that he just has a juvenile sense of humor and assumes everyone else does too, or even that, as some people have suggested, he actually knows James would find this funny and it just didn’t occur to him that everyone else would also see it, or that “finds this joke funny” and “finds this joke appropriate for a goodbye card from a coworker” are not the same. The OP says he’s written slightly-unprofessional things on previous cards, but not as unprofessional as this — to me, that suggests that he’s been testing what he can get away with a little bit and is about to find out that the answer is “not dickbutt.”

        Regardless, as Lemon Zinger said, armchair diagnosis is discouraged around here. It isn’t really useful to the OP (whether Bruno is on the spectrum or not, the advice to the OP would be the same, especially since, even if Bruno is on the spectrum, he doesn’t appear to have shared that information at work), and it’s often hurtful to people who do have the diagnosis being speculated about.

  10. Pwyll*

    The struggle of being at work and unable to google this “dickbutt” thing to figure out what it is.

    But the temptation to do so . . .

      1. Anon for this*

        It’s a penis with another penis on it.

        Look it up when you can. Pretty funny. Just doesn’t belong at work. I’m trying not to laugh in case someone asks.

        1. A Bug!*

          I… never realized that Dickbutt was himself a penis. This is an unexpectedly-heavy revelation for me and now I have to spend some time figuring out if Dickbutt has been ruined by this knowledge.

          1. fposte*

            That’s why I find Dickbutt so confusing. And then I realize I don’t want to spend brain power thinking about it.

            1. Koko*

              I don’t like it for the same reason I don’t like chewing gum stuck underneath a table. It provokes the same disgust response from me – like not anything to do with being sexual but it’s just a really gross-looking caricature.

        2. addlady*

          i posted with an ancient Roman dickbutt. Probably not the best idea, and it might not go through. but google it if you’re interested.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      When I was writing this answer, I said to my husband, “This is a question for work. Do you know what a dickbutt is?” He said yes and didn’t even question the “this is for work.”

  11. AnotherAlison*

    Oh dear. This reminds me of the time by youngest son brought home his body picture from elementary school (where you lay on the paper, trace yourself, then draw in your non-reproductive organs). He brought the drawing home and laid it on the floor to show us. My oldest (probably around 16 at the time — too old) impulsively grabbed a Sharpie and provided the body with large reproductive organs. My youngest burst into tears because, you know, his project was ruined. I still have this drawing and it is stashed away in the “keep forever” box, and I will pull it out when my son starts his first professional job to remind him not to draw genitalia on other people’s stuff.

    (I shouldn’t laugh at Bruno, but having raised boys, it’s really hard not to.)

    1. MashaKasha*

      I believe the proper term is “enhanced”, not “ruined”!

      (then again, I have also raised two boys, so, who knows if I’m correct here?)

    2. Gene*

      Or post it at his wedding reception.

      Better yet, get access to the honeymoon suite and post it on the wall there.!

  12. MillersSpring*

    Because Bruno is leaving in a month anyway, for the drawing, the YouTube watching and the previous inappropriate card messages, I’d end his employment early.

  13. CC*

    I’m guessing this is a start-up or otherwise small organization. If so, it may also be worthwhile to consider the company culture as a whole and how professional standards are addressed. Enough people do seem to have trouble distinguishing between laid-back in the wearing shorts, sandals, and occasionally sending emails in haiku form sense and unprofessional.

  14. Bend & Snap*

    The explanation for why we don’t draw genitalia reminds me of explaining to my 3 year old why we don’t draw on the walls.

    Crazy that this level of education is necessary in the workplace, for anyone.

    1. afiendishthingy*

      yes, this exactly. I work with kids and say things like “Please don’t lick the DVDs. I can’t believe I have to say that.”

      Bruno appears to have the social intelligence of a middle schooler. Good luck in the future, Bruno!

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Ha. We have a sign in our office kitchenette that reads, I kid you not, “No licking and reusing the coffee spoons”.

      2. roisindubh211*

        I once took slightly vicious joy in listing all the reasons it’s a bad idea to drink paintwater to two 14 year olds who had just done that in art class (pointing out that the brushes end up on the floor a lot, etc, among dire warnings about toxins in paint [this was in a school, so I doubt there was actually any danger from the paint residue itself]) and watching them get greener and greener.
        Hey, I told you not to drink it when you started joking about it!

    2. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

      I had an intern put together a display board (like one of those science project boards) for an information fair a few years ago. It looked fine, except that it had clearly gotten very, very wet along the way. The color was running all over the place, and the paper was wrinkled. She presented it to me like it was all normal. How did that even happen? She’d been in the building the entire time. I would never think to say, “please put together a display board. At no point should it be soaking wet”

  15. Macedon*

    I get the need to remove the drawing, as it unnecessarily exposes other people who are due to sign the card to a crass mark — but I think that is the part that you should focus on when bringing it up. At least, until you confirm that James and Bruno aren’t on such terms that make the drawing a welcome prank or a private joke. I think Alison’s response prematurely assumes the latter isn’t the case.

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      No, the point here isn’t whether James and Bruno are personally on that level. The point is that you don’t do that at work, regardless.

      Like my coworker I loved to chatter with books about — but I had to shut her the heckie down when she tried to talk about how badly-written 50 Shades is. I don’t disagree with her, and outside of work I’d be happy to join the rant, but work is neither the time nor the place, period.

      1. Lore*

        Unless, like me, you, um, work for a publisher that actually publishes that kind of thing. I had to copyedit a piece for one of our public-facing website that was a guide to the different varities of menage romance fiction.

        Though I still shudder to think about all the awkward involved in the totally work-related conversation I (straight woman) once found myself having with my boss (straight man) and my boss’s boss (gay man) about new trends in male/male erotic historical romance.

    2. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

      It’s not a private joke, because everyone is signing the same card.

      1. Macedon*

        That’s what I mean — the fact that it’s exposing other people to this kind of thing is a no go, regardless of the personal J-B relationship. I yhink that should be the focus of OP’s objection when brought up. I think Alison’s current script lends itself more to an angle of the genitalia drawing being something J would be opposed to on its own — which we don’t really know.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’m willing to do issue a blanket “don’t do it to a coworker even if you think they’d appreciate it” because I don’t trust this guy to appropriately assess an individual situation. Even more broadly than this guy, though, there are just too many cases of someone thinking their coworker is comfortable with sexualized humor and then finding out later that the person in fact wasn’t.

          1. Anna*

            Yeah. Perhaps Bruno thinks they have that kind of relationship, but James thinks Bruno is an immature jerk. Bruno has already proven himself clueless. There’s no reason to trust his insight check.

        2. Emilia Bedelia*

          As other people have said, I don’t necessarily trust Bruno to discern that successfully for himself, and the consequences of being too conservative are much better than being not conservative enough. What’s the worst that could happen by telling him he can draw genitals on very specific cards in certain situations? He miscalculates and someone gets angry and he gets fired. If he’s told not to draw genitals on anyone’s card ever? … People have to suffer without dickbutts on their going away cards. I think it’s a much better idea to give a blanket “don’t do this”.

  16. lowercase holly*

    wow, amazing. i mean, maybe they have an inside joke or something, but still no.

  17. Elder Dog*

    I think, when Bruno leaves, instead a card, you should get him a giant bottle of whiteout and have everybody sign it.

  18. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

    The day of the supreme court decision about marriage equality (which I very enthusiastically support), I had to explain to an intern that we do not announce our sexual orientation to every client walking in the door of our social services agency, as in “Hi! Welcome! I’m gay so this is a great day for me. How are you?”.

      1. blackcat*

        Indeed. Many people have taken my rainbow earrings for a quiet declaration of queerness.

  19. bridget*

    My husband spent several years in a workplace where this would have been appreciated by 85% of his coworkers, if they received the card (one of the few infuriating things about my spouse is his refusal to grok the fact that this would reasonably make many around them very uncomfortable). Even so, I think almost everyone there would have had the sense to not put it on a group card that would be handed to everybody in the workplace. It would have been a personal/small group dickbutt drawing instead.

  20. Anon for really good reasons*

    I work in an office where, because of the industry of one of our clients, we need to do things like discuss the placement of genitalia or verify sex positions (not THAT WAY, but I’m trying to be vague… even though the adult industry is large and I’m sure that neither us nor our client could not be identified).

    Ours is one of a handful of offices where this actually has been done: dickbutt on a card… because it is still wildly less inappropriate than the client’s work, and helps us deal with the oddities and awkwardness of that client’s work. This way of ‘venting’ sprung up after we got this client’s work.

    Even then, your mileage may vary and in other offices dealing in explicit materials, this would still be inappropriate.

    (I am totally numb to almost all sexual content at this point, for those who are wondering how I react to this; it’s just another thing to check for. I was chosen for this project in part because I am not offended by it.)

      1. Anon for really good reasons*

        All I’m going to say is that this client is a huge outlier for our business; most of our clients are typical offices.

      1. Anon for really good reasons*

        Nah, my job is otherwise bog-standard. It’s just this client is in the adult industry, so I spend a lot of time looking at explicit images when they have work for us.

    1. Creag an Tuire*

      …heh, you said “sprung up”.

      I really need to get out of this comment thread.

    1. Sparkly Librarian*

      I missed it the first time, but this comment got a full-on LOL.

      Thanks; I needed that.

      1. Bibliovore*

        Omg…had a really, really, long day and just got home…catching up on AAM….wolfing down my dinner.
        Thanks I needed that.

  21. HR Caligula*

    I think that’s the first question posted I teared up laughing with, some of the follow ups kept it going.

    1. Christopher Tracy*

      Yes, this letter and the comments are highly amusing to me. Bruno is a trip.

  22. LBK*

    The very serious use of the term “genitalia” several times throughout this post reminds me of The Bloggess’ first book when she’s discussing being in HR and becoming jaded about asking people if the picture she was showing them was their penis.

  23. De Minimis*

    I had to look it up on my phone since I’m at work…

    What’s funny is Google filled it in almost immediately [think I typed in “What is D”]

    Even funnier that it somehow ended up on a Formula 1 car.

    And now I’m wanting to add something about it to other AAM questions. “My Coworker monologue for 20-30 minutes about dickbutt every time a work issue comes up.”

    1. addlady*

      . . . Everytime I said “I think you’re trying to make this into a date” he just kept going on and on about that dickbutt.

      1. Creag an Tuire*

        “A week after I was laid off, my ex-boss posted pictures of dickbutt on Facebook. I feel this was insensitive.”

  24. APracticalReader*

    Squee! Two of my favorite things come together AskAManager and APracticalWedding! Alison has an article on my all time favorite (not just wedding) feminist websites today! Way to go Alison!

    1. motherofdragons*

      Also a big APW fan, this is really exciting! An excellent post per usual, Alison!

  25. disconnect*

    About 20 years ago, I was midway through a co-op job at Large Office Machine Manufacturer, and our team went to lunch one day in honor of team member Fred’s last day. We went to one of those places that had the big roll of paper for each table, and they left out plenty of crayons so everyone could draw whatever while we were waiting for our food. I was friends with Engineer Bob, and he was sitting across from me, with Manager Carl next to him. The waitress came over and did her thing, and when she left, Bob said, “Did you see that? She was flirting with me!” Carl: “Uh, no, Bob, it’s called waitressing.” “No, man, I think she was hitting on me! Watch!” She came back with drinks, and started taking orders, and when she got to Bob he started laying it on THICK. So she played along, because, y’know, waitressing, and Carl rolled his eyes so hard I think a seismograph could have picked it up.

    Now, it’s important for me to tell you that from my perspective, there was the waitress on the left, standing; Bob in the middle, sitting and looking up at the waitress; and Carl on the right, sitting there shaking his head; and it’s important because then you’ll understand why Bob failed to see it when Carl took a black crayon and drew a rather large cock-and-balls on the paper in front of Bob. The waitress, however, did see it, and I noticed her smile widen fractionally, to which Bob stepped it up a notch.

    To this day, I have no idea how I managed to hold myself together, at least until about 4 minutes later, when Bob finally stopped gushing about how awesome he was for getting the waitress to interact with him on that level, looked down, and saw the Wilhelm sketched out in front of him. I passed beer through my nose at that point (Michael Shea’s Irish Amber, as I recall).

    Anyway, know your audience.

    1. addlady*

      Lol, some people just don’t realize that people will act nice in order to get money.

  26. Lead, Follow or Get Outta the Way!*

    “Oh, Bruno”

    This was all I needed to see to crack up laughing. Why could I hear it in my head followed by a “tsk, tsk” sound. As always, excellent advice.

  27. Jo*

    Glad to know inappropriate cards aren’t just a problem at my office. We often have official, safe for work cards but some of my coworkers have taken to together giving very not safe for work cards and comments in said cards

  28. Jennifer*

    Well, this just gave me grade school flashbacks, except instead of genitalia it was a get well card for a guy who’d been in a fire and someone drew a little charbroiled person on the card. WHY.

    I wouldn’t even white that out, I would get a replacement card (too bad you probably can’t make Bruno pay for it, certainly can’t let him pick out the replacement), pass that around again saying that the first card had an accident, and not let Bruno sign it. Because seriously, how the hell are you going to explain a giant whiteout blob on the card? If I were James, I’d sure wonder wtf.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      OMG what!

      Apropos of nearly nothing, when I was in second grade, my nemesis in my class gave me a Valentine’s card with a snail in a sandwich bag taped inside of it.

      1. JessB*

        Oh my god, I HATE snails.
        That child would have been the object of my evil plans for the rest of our time together.

    2. LizLiz*

      Wow that’s horrible. At least mine was meant to be funny (OP). I can’t see how that could even be framed as a joke.

      And that’s actually a really good solution, I wish it had occurred to me. I’m actually known for spilling water on myself at least once a day (it’s not me, it’s my waterbottle) so a non-genitalia accident such as emptying my waterbottle on it would have been perfect. But at the time I had no clue what to say except “Bruno ruined James’ card, everybody come sign it again please” and I didn’t want to put people through that. I need to be more devious.

    3. mehowe*

      When my daughter was in kindergarten, she drew a card for a friend who was going to have dental surgery. It was comic-strip style and showed the girl in the hospital, and ended with “And that was the end of Sarah.”

    4. Lissa*

      Aaah, I could totally have seen myself doing this in grade school! (do you mean K to Grade 7?) I was a confused kid about what was going to be comforting or helpful. So if this was like, grade 3 or something I could see it. Soooo many times my mother made me redo a card/letter because I had put something in there that was totally reasonable to me but just…no, no why! in retrospect.

  29. LizLiz*

    OP here! Thanks Alison for posting my question, and thanks for the perfect reaction. This is exactly the reaction I wanted to have, but missed in the moment for a couple of reasons.

    First, I was just extremely nonplused. Then, we work in a very open open-concept setting (boo) and so I didn’t want to call him out on it in the hearing of everyone else on the team and other teams (including James himself). And then too, my humour tends to skew conservative around anyone I don’t know really really well, and Bruno was just so nonchalant about this that I wound up second-guessing myself. (He forgot to sign it and came back. I didn’t see what he had written until after that.)

    So I didn’t catch it or stop it, and the card went out as was – one more person signed, but she signed a different part and I’m not sure if she noticed. James I know did see it, but he didn’t say anything out loud at least (he could have IM’d Bruno later, I don’t know). For those who are saying that it might have been an inside joke, that’s totally possible, but then it should have stayed between them and not have gone on the completely open-face card.

    I want to still say something, prefaced by “I should have said this earlier, but I was so totally surprised that I couldn’t think clearly:” and then sadly leaving out the Wite-Out part. I just feel a little ridiculous, contemplating explaining that this is not an appropriate farewell message, and a little responsible (maybe I should have called him on the earlier messages – e.g. “Run while you can!!”?). But OTOH I don’t want him to be the guy in future drawing Dickbutt on everything and then saying, “Hey, it was fine at ExJob!” So thanks again everyone for reassuring me that this is not normal – I will let you know how it goes.

    1. stevenz*

      He’s clueless. Soon he will be someone else’s problem. And if you’re ever called for a reference for him, remember that this incident actually says quite a lot about his character, or lack thereof. Much more than the Youtube thing.

  30. Kay J*

    I feel it’s important to mention that dickbutt was created by KC Green, and he’s had a hell of a time trying to get control of the original image/character because of the nature of internet memes. If you’re a fan of the joke, consider throwing him a dollar on Patreon or check out his comic He is a Good Boy. People tell him constantly he doesn’t “own” the joke even though he literally does, so it’s always nice to give him credit.

    Just don’t draw the damn thing on an office card.

    1. Vicki*

      Oh …my. I looked that up. I found it at The page begins “Warning: This page contains material that may be considered not safe for work.”

      So, dear Bruno, definitely NSFW. Bad Bruno.

      (The Spore video is both amusing and very very wrong.)

  31. Fafaflunkie*

    Tell Bruno he’s no longer 14 and shouldn’t be spending work time on Reddit or YouTube. Then restrict all access to any website on his computer that isn’t specific to the job. If he wants to act like a child, he needs to be treated like one.

  32. Tris Prior*

    I am so glad I didn’t have time to read this at work today – I am sitting at home on my couch laughing so hard I’m in tears.

  33. BananaKarenina*

    I can only assume that Bruno began his Michelangelo art era in middle school, where genitalia etchings in Sharpie Fine Black can still be found on nearly every student desk – and probably got away with no punishment even after getting caught.

  34. stevenz*

    It’s prats like Bruno who give men a (often deserved) bad name. And, no, it’s not a millennial thing, it’s a “there’s one in every crowd” thing. We just have to hope that our crowd is the exception.

  35. Baconditch Capncrunch*

    I (a lady) just told my wife about this, and we both agreed, as long office veterans, that had we received this in a card we would have demanded that Bruno be commended, if not promoted.

    We’re both approaching 40, for what it’s worth.

    1. Kyrielle*

      Across the world (or even the work world), I’d venture:

      There are a _lot_ of people who would enjoy it.

      A lot who wouldn’t. A lot who would except they don’t have the context, and thus would perceive it as random.

      And some of the latter categories would be outright offended.

      The problem is, offices are usually a mix. It’s best to keep this to the card you give directly to the guy, at least, and not to the general office card.

  36. Vicki*

    Oh, Bruno.

    Bruno does not understand about work.

    Alison – We need a new book. “Fergus and Jane Go To Work”.

  37. acahacker*

    Far out.
    (Home sick today and you have all miracle-cured me by making me laugh so hard, the virus left in a huff)

  38. Lanya*

    We once had to circulate a new birthday card after someone in the office felt it was appropriate to include an unprofessional joke about the planet Uranus on the original planet-themed card. That was especially awkward. Not as bad as dickbutt, but still inappropriate.

    1. Janice in Accounting*

      When my daughter was in second grade she played Uranus in a school play about the solar system. I know for sure her teacher assigned it to her on purpose, and my husband and I could barely contain our giggles through the whole thing.

      I didn’t talk about it at work, though . . .

  39. boop*

    Specifically dickbutt? Isn’t that the meme that’s best used unexpectedly and in view of as many surprised gazes as possible?

    Nice job, Bruno.


  40. The Kurgan*

    It’s bad enough he provided an illustration but did he have to refer to it, too?

  41. Sarah*

    OP, if you don’t want to deliver the card with the dickbutt in it, and also don’t want to buy a new card and pass it around with an explanation of why everyone needs to sign it again, and the card is some color other than white where it would look strange to use white-out — stickers.

    You can get stickers that look very polished and have generic platitudes on them at craft stores and the like, such as silver/gold circles that say “Congratulations!” or “Best of Luck” or “Excellence” or the like. Stick one over the offending drawing, maybe at an angle to make it look like it’s intended to be just another one of the well-wishes on the card, and the recipient doesn’t have to know what’s under it while you have a talk with the other employee quietly about why that’s not ok.

    Might be worthwhile to add a daub of glue under the sticker in case the recipient does try to peel it up; then the card will just tear.

    Alternative, depending on size and placement/free space: a generic mailing label with the company logo on it, with a longer message or higher-up’s signature on it, covering the drawing.

    None of these are supremely graceful, but if you’re trying to avoid awkwardness they’re all better than handing the card with the drawing on it directly to an unsuspecting recipient.

  42. Swansseee*

    We had a woman retire after 35 years working part time. Prior to her retirement, a card was passed, including the union workers outside. One of them signed the card “Have a nice life!”.

    When the receptionist and A/P clerk were COMPLETELY scandalized and offended, I pointed out that this individual is not exactly literate, and probably meant it as a sincere wish for her to enjoy her retirement.

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