update: my coworker asked me to pose topless for an “anatomy textbook”

Remember the letter-writer whose coworker asked her to pose topless for an “anatomy textbook” that didn’t exist? Here’s the update.

I have to admit that I didn’t wait until I read your reply. I wrote the email to you on a night when both my boss and the coworker in question were not in the office, but my boss was in the next day, and I went in early and told her everything. The coworker in question was immediately terminated. I wrote a report for HR so he is considered non-rehirable for any future campaigns. His desk was packed while I was writing my report to HR and by the time I returned to the floor someone else had even taken his desk.

It was kind of emotionally taxing for me to respond to comments, so I didn’t, but I did read most of them. Our office is INCREDIBLY lax compared to most people’s, I would imagine, and my background is mostly in foodservice … so I was honestly very surprised at how many people had chimed in with “this is incredibly inappropriate of your coworker to APPROACH you about.” I think when one is used to very inappropriate work environments, these sorts of interactions don’t expressly present themselves as immediately inappropriate, if that makes sense? My last job was serving for a celebrity chef’s restaurant, and one of our servers was being regularly inappropriately TOUCHED by a dishwasher, and all that got him was a stern talking-to. I’m glad that your readers are in better environments, lol.

In regards to a certain comment thread, yes, I was concerned about retaliation – this coworker was not only a former Marine, but a knife fighting instructor – but as other people have commented, I think women in general are concerned about retaliation in our everyday lives, not just when someone we know is harassing us. At the end of the day, this clown couldn’t even put any damn effort into making his sleazy scheme smack of the official, so I think he is not likely to put any extra effort into tracking me down over his part-time job. But I am walking accompanied to transit every night, regardless.

Thanks so much for your advice, I do really appreciate it and I appreciate everyone’s comments. I hope that anyone who reads your site knows that they should feel comfortable reporting harassment when they experience it. I am very grateful that in this case things were dealt with very swiftly and justly, because I know that isn’t always the case.

{ 224 comments… read them below }

  1. Lance*

    I think when one is used to very inappropriate work environments, these sorts of interactions don’t expressly present themselves as immediately inappropriate, if that makes sense?

    Absolutely. It’s been said a number of times on here that being in toxic environments too long can skew one’s perception of ‘normalcy’. That aside, though, it’s great that your boss took your complaint seriously, and you no longer have to deal with that coworker!

    1. Hills to Die on*

      Definitely. I’m so glad that this office made the right decision. Thank you for the update!

    2. Miss Fisher*

      I remember the one letter where an employee bit a co-worker and that was a completely normal thing in that workplace.

      1. The Original K.*

        And all the comments were like “?!” And the OP didn’t seem to get why folks were shocked.

        I remember when I went from a toxic environment to a healthy one, I would describe how this or that thing was done at the toxic place and people’s eyebrows would go up, and I’d think “Oh right, that’s not normal.” But it would take that eyebrow raise to jog my thinking, because I’d gotten so used to the old dysfunction.

        1. Observer*

          The poster didn’t just “not seem to get” the problem. They pushed back pretty hard on the notion that this was not just mortifying – and that the fact that others didn’t see this as a big deal was also a red flag.

          1. RabbitRabbit*

            And didn’t the boss respond with the equivalent of ‘what’s the big deal?’ or something?

            Agreed that some industries are bigger magnets for dysfunctional behavior than others. Restaurants definitely, health care as well if you’re the target of abuse from patients or their families. Nurses especially tend to get mistreated (sworn at, attacked, groped, raped) and there is frequently little in the way of policy/enforcement to crack down on the offenders – so much is centered around patient approval ratings – or keep the staff safe.

            1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

              Yes, the boss was pretty much like, well, that’s what he gets for being such a jerk. Instead of “stop being a jerk.” and “We don’t bite jerks here.”

            2. Drago Cucina*

              Health care is very toxic. Surgeons bring in the dollars and the behavior that is tolerated is sickening. I’ve mentioned before that my husband was terminated in part because he made a formal ethics complaint about the way women were being treated. Suddenly his patient care wasn’t up to par. When two surgical groups merged the major condition was that this surgeon not be a part of the practice.

              1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

                Having been on the receiving end of atrocious health care, I absolutely believe this and I’m sorry your husband was treated this way. The experience of many patients is that the decent health care practitioners who genuinely care about patients, especially female, minority and disabled patients, are pushed out of the system. I have also come to have zero trust in male surgeons and gynecologists.

                1. So long and thanks for all the fish*

                  Yeah, I can’t tell you how relieved I was to have a black female doctor when I had to go to the ER. Obviously not all male doctors are terrible… But it just felt like I was so much more likely to be taken seriously.

              2. Queen Esmerelda*

                I could tell you asshole surgeon stories all day. And many times, the better the surgeon, the bigger the jerk. Drago is right–if your hospital has the top whatever-surgeon in the area, hospital management will put up with anything. I saw an anesthesiologist and surgeon come to blows–despite this occurring in front of witnesses (and the surgeon was the instigator), guess which one wasn’t reprimanded?

                1. Michaela Westen*

                  Where I work one of our surgeons is top in his field and I’ve never seen him be anything but kind, gentle and supportive.
                  Our hospital says they don’t tolerate bad behavior from anyone. The only person I’ve seen get away with abuse is an administrator who wasn’t in patient care. I know my boss complained about her more than once. She eventually left.

                2. Drago Cucina*

                  When it came to care of our family it was always balancing quality of care with who was less of a jerk.

              3. Gadget Hackwrench*

                Hospital IT Checking in: Surgeons are the biggest jerks. They can shout and cuss and carry on all kinds of cranky at us and we just have to take it, because “they’re a VIP.” Augh. At least we can all roll our eyes at them as much as we want from behind the phone.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Yes, and food service is one of the most egregious workplaces I’ve ever had to work in in terms of inappropriate behavior.

      I’m so glad that OP went to her boss and that this was handled exactly the right way. This was the best possible outcome, and I wish OP continued success and peace at her workplace.

      1. AnnaBananna*

        ” food service is one of the most egregious workplaces I’ve ever had to work in in terms of inappropriate behavior.”

        Yep. Flirting/sexual harassment is really just called communication on a Tuesday in restaurant speak, unfortunately.

        — ten-year food ind vet

        1. Exhausted Trope*

          Yep, agree 1000%. I worked in food service one summer. I quit partly because one sleazy supervisor loved to make inappropriate comments to the young female workers: “now that we’ve closed up, why don’t you and (another female coworker) get up on the tables and dance for me?”
          I was 19.
          His comments barely raised an eyebrow.

          1. Relly*

            The restaurant I worked at, it was common knowledge that one of the managers was dating one of the servers. He was in his mid 20s. She was 16.

            1. AdminX2*

              Yeah the one food service place I worked at the manager was dating TWO servers. The only reason they got fired is because the servers started fighting with eachother so they all went down. We were glad because the manager was giving massive perks and flexibility to anyone who would flirt with him and ignore anyone else.

      2. SavannahMiranda*

        Couldn’t agree more.

        I’m sure many of the people expressing outrage here have had to work in restaurants and food service, but unfortunately it’s hard to tell.

        This kind of behavior is entirely par for the course in restaurants.

        The second restaurant I ever worked in, one of the key servers was trading sexual favors with the manager for cocaine. That was simply business as usual. It was known and completely unremarkable. And was only the second in a long chain of restaurants I worked in.

        Being approached to have one’s chest photographed for a “textbook” would be one of the more cute and endearing forms of harassment in a restaurant, in that it actually took some faint creativity and vague attempt at normalcy to come up with.

        1. Free now (and forever)*

          When I worked my way through law school as a server, the owner chased me around the restaurant and offered me $150 if zip would show him my breasts. (In 1978 dollars!)

          1. Life is good*

            Gawd! I worked as a waitress in 1978 – manager said I had a NRA. I just smiled and walked away…18-year-old me had no idea he was telling me I had a “nice round ass”. What a dick.

      3. Christine D*

        My very first job at age 16 was in a restaurant kitchen, and if you think both the restaurant and healthcare industry are models for this behavior, imagine combining them. My immature self loved that environment, and it really skewed my perception of harassment for many years (although waitressing for 3 years in college didn’t help much either). I was probably nearing my 30’s before I realized that constant daily verbal and physical sexual harassment were not the norm in most jobs.

    4. Trout 'Waver*

      Not only that, but creeps and predators intentionally seek out these environments and individuals used to them.

      1. From the High Tower on the Hill*

        Yup. Back when I worked at a restaurant this guy would put pictures of boobs on any chicken that was in the fridge or freezer (cause chicken breasts)

    5. Nita*

      Yup. OP, glad that was resolved, and fast. Good that you didn’t second-guess your reaction that this is completely inappropriate, even with the toxic job experience in your past. Stay safe.

    6. Dr. Pepper*

      Yup. I work in an industry that isn’t as bad as food service notoriously is, but there’s definitely the good ole boys bro club culture and the creepy assholes that thrive in it. You really do just get used to it, which sucks, and then you tend to measure everything else by that yardstick.

    7. HS Teacher*

      I was a sports writer for a newspaper in the 90s. It was my first job that wasn’t retail or food service. The inappropriate behavior I saw there on a daily basis didn’t phase me at the time.

      Then I took a job in finance. The stuff thst happened in the newsroom would not have happened in my finance office.

    8. Hummus*

      So true! I worked in retail for a long time, and actually consider it a perk that I’ve never been sexually harassed at my current job. I can’t convince myself that I shouldn’t be scared of losing this “perk” if I move to a different company.

      1. LJay*


        When I was in my late teens my cashier manager at a retail store used to go through my phone (and I only just now, 15 years later, realized he was probably looking for naked pics and not just stuff to make jokey comments about). He also used to frequently tell me he thought I should work for Hooters.

        This was the least-worse of the inappropriate interactions in retail and food service I experience. The rest involved people saying overtly graphic things to me or actually touching me. I thought it was normal at the time.

        Even at the retail position I liked best and where I got along with most people and we were supposed to be “like a family”, I slept with a coworker, and knew way too much about everyone else’s bedroom activities. Boundaries? What are those?

  2. Lil Fidget*

    Sounds like your company did the right thing, OP. I remember being surprised when I got involved in a job that touches on criminal cases – most criminals don’t seem nearly as smart as they do on TV. They do incredibly dumb things like this, that aren’t at all hard to unravel, and it’s pretty clear to everybody what’s going on. Doesn’t require a team of sleuths to get to the bottom of this one.

    1. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Yeah, the tv criminals are always masterminds who circumvent the law with clever maneuvers at every turn; they’re like in the 95th percentile for criminal intellect and tactics.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        Also so many ritualistic serial killers! Can’t hardly throw a rock without hitting someone staging elaborate murders based on ancient hieroglyphs or medieval art!

        1. wherewolf*

          So true. I remember one story where the detectives were trying to figure out why the swastika the killer drew was backwards. Was it a reference to the ancient Buddhist symbol? Or some deeper meaning?? When they arrested the criminal and asked him about it, he responded in surprise, “It’s backwards?!”

          1. Kenneth*

            This brought to mind an episode of CSI where they found four Buddhist monks dead in a temple, shot between the eyes. And Grissom asked the suspect why he shot them in the “sixth chakra” (the third eye), thinking there was some deeper spiritual meaning to how they were killed, in part because of how they were found. And the guy replied that he merely shot them between the eyes.

    2. LadyCop*

      Yes! Seriously people get some crazy ideas about criminals because they only know what they see on TV! If there’s one thing I try to get across to people…and I’m talking about anything not just sexual harassment or the workplace… If something seems off, it probably is! Most crimes are crimes of opportunity (which is why simply protections like locking up your things and telling people where you’re going are super important!) but so many people squeeze through the system because no one reports anything. We as police can’t help if people keep thinking they’re “tattling” or “making a big deal.” Hell, I’d rather you report someone who looks suspicious and let us determine if it’s a big deal or not than me being left to running traffic because it’s a “slow” day.

      1. Anonymous Here*

        Oh man, I wish you’d been the cop who showed up 25 years ago! I was walking home from the bank at 1:30 *in the afternoon* when there was a guy walking in the same area–an open block with a sidewalk running the perimeter and then an x-shape, running from SE to NW and NE to SW. I had entered the X from the SE and saw him enter from the NE, walking toward the same point, and my instincts said “don’t let him behind you” … well, he kept slowing down when I did, I talked myself out of my instinctive , started walking normally again — yep, he got behind me and grabbed me. He ran away when I turned, ready to deck him, as apparently my “fight or flight” is calibrated to “fight”.

        The cop who actually came when I called to report the incident had wanted me to justify why I was walking alone–on a sunny 70 degree afternoon less than a half mile from where I lived!, wanted to know what I wanted done–um, you know, catch and arrest the dude?, and made me feel like an utter nuisance for having called at all. To make matters even worse for me, a few weeks after that had happened to me, there was a 12 yo girl on the way to school in that same area who was attacked and subjected to multiple major felonies. He got away with it, but when the composite sketch appeared in the paper I wanted to throw up repeatedly, because it was almost certainly the same guy, and the height and build were also pretty much spot on. Now, it should be noted, at that time, I was just over 20, but could easily have passed for a middle schooler if you didn’t look close, since I am 5’3″ and back then just over 100 lbs and wearing my hair in a ponytail. It took awhile before I stopped feeling like if I’d pushed harder to get him found and arrested that she might have been spared. Fact is, what happened to me was “only” a class A misdemeanor, and he probably would’ve been walking free on bail regardless.

        So sometimes those “not a big deal” things can also be bits to a pattern for something that is a big deal.

        1. Sandman*

          That’s so terrible. I’m admittedly slow to call the police – I’m afraid of it becoming “what, her again?” – but am rethinking that.

        2. Julia*

          That wasn’t your fault. You did everything you could have done back then, the rest is on the police. If the police didn’t look for the guy to arrest him, you couldn’t have gone and done it yourself, and they didn’t listen to you.

          Also, since when do women need permission to walk outside alone??

          1. Anonymous Here*

            Yes, I realize it wasn’t my fault about the 12yo victim. It’s just something I remember wrestling with at the time. But I know, too, that even if they *had* caught him for what happened to me, there’s no reason to believe that he’d have been locked up and unable to commit the other crimes.

            I recall my answer to the walking outside was something on the order of being unaware that I’d accidentally woken up in Afghanistan.

      2. MsChanandlerBong*

        I’m glad to hear that. I called the police yesterday because my husband and I saw a man carrying a woman across the street and laying her on the ground in the park. The woman looked intoxicated/incapacitated. It looked like they were together (e.g. companions), but I wasn’t 100% sure, and I told the dispatcher that I’d rather call and have it turn out to be nothing than not call and then read in the paper tomorrow that the woman was assaulted or died from an overdose or something.

  3. Trinity Beeper*

    OP, I’m so happy to hear that your boss listened to you. While that level of seriousness isn’t the norm in every office, it should be. It’s not always easy to stand up for yourself, especially when you’re uncertain if anyone will have your back – so good on you!

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      Exactly! Well done, OP.

      I’m so pleased that your company took you seriously as well. They were not messing around, which is fantastic.

    2. RVA Cat*

      It’s such a relief that the OP’s company took out the trash so swiftly!
      (I do have to wonder if the swiftness meant this wasn’t his first offense though….)

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        Right? Because honestly I’m kind of shocked that they did. It’s so abnormal to just believe the victim(s) and punish the perpetrator(s).

      2. Hex Appeal*

        OP here. He had absolutely been in hot water before, for cornering one of the reps after the shift and giving her a hard time over her being excited about getting a large donation. He made her cry, and she told our boss, and he was out of the office for two weeks. I actually wound up telling the same rep a very abbreviated version of what happened, and she actually said he had tried that before on someone else, though I don’t know if it was someone in our office. I think in both instances, he was counting on no one saying anything to our boss.

  4. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I am so glad that you reported him and he’s gone.

    Stay safe and if your company offers an EAP, maybe consider talking to someone about this.

  5. Falling Diphthong*

    I literally started my morning writing art specs for a textbook.

    OP, they were so many miles and miles removed from “See if a graduate student somewhere has a cell phone and can get us some shots.” Sleaze factor completely aside, I can only imagine the conniption fits from the art department if I suggested that as a way to get photographs of a lab set-up. Or a watermelon, or a genuine piece of schist.

    1. epi*

      Yeah, I was involved in co-authoring and putting the figures together for a textbook section a few years ago. I was assistant to one of the subject matter expert section editors, and then our work was sent to professional designers, editors, etc.

      Ultimately the figures that appeared in the book were not even the ones prepared by me, what I made was essentially a mockup of how it should look and what should be conveyed by the image. We had to keep careful track of who was included in the book (these were radiology images) and either make sure they were anonymized and we’d gotten institutional sign-off to do it that way, or document that we had gotten their consent. Then pros fixed it all and ensured a consistent look throughout the book. And even what I did was miles more professional than this guy’s sleazy, dumb attempt to scam the OP.

      1. Hex Appeal*

        The whole thing was so wildly Not On The Level that I was kind of waiting to see how far he would take it. Like…just fully the equivalent of a white van with “FREE CANDY” spray-painted on the side. Just unreal.

  6. Dust Bunny*

    Yes, it’s absolutely possible–common–to become both acclimated to inappropriate work climates *and* to be afraid to speak up. I’m glad you work somewhere now that acted on this craziness instead of just giving that creep a “talking to”.

  7. Katniss*

    I’m so glad OPs workplace handled this well.

    I’ll be a bummer for a second and just note how depressing it is that we live in a world where any man even thinks to try something as creepy and predatory as this AT WORK (or anywhere, of course)

    1. NLMC*

      Agreed. This was years ago (and not as blatant) but I was working in retail and I had a man come up to me and tell me he really liked my hair (pixie cut before it became more popular). He handed me his card said he did hair shows and would love to use me as a model. He wanted me to make an appointment for him to work with my hair and then told me he cut hair out of his basement.
      My boss overheard took the card and ripped it up after he left but there was no way I was going to go anyway. I still think of that sometimes and honestly hope it was legit but I honestly have no clue.

      1. irene adler*

        If he wasn’t able to tell you specifics about the hair shows (location, dates, other attendees, what goes on at one), then I’d wager that your boss did the right thing. That basement thing has me wondering a bit, too.

        1. NLMC*

          Yes, there was definitely something off about the whole thing. We also live in an area of the country where basements aren’t really a thing.
          My thoughts have never really been about my own safety since I was never going to go but I just hope someone else didn’t fall for it. And if they did they are okay and he was just a weird but harmless dude.

          1. irene adler*

            Good point. It is disturbing to think that someone else might have actually shown up at his basement. I hope they got a bad vibe from him and no one was harmed.

      2. Book Badger*

        I have very long, thick hair that has never been dyed. Every so often (particularly on groups dedicated to hair growth, like on Reddit), I get asked to send “progress pictures” via a private message. Like, to that person, personally, to look at my “progress.” I’ve also gotten offers for the person to be the one who finally cuts my hair, as if I’m going to travel all the way to some guy on the internet just to get a haircut.

        Hair fetishists: they exist.

        1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

          Hah, I used to joke that I was going to become a hair prostitute to help pay for college. People were always telling me I had lovely hair so I figured I could probably get some people to pay me for the privilege of brushing it.

          It was just a joke, obviously.

      3. Artemesia*

        I had someone call me about recruiting students to model. Yeah, gonna do that with cold calls from randos.

    2. Database Developer Dude*

      As a man, Katniss, I’m going to agree with you wholeheartedly. Guys like this mean women look at *all* men with the side-eye……and I’d like to beat guys like this for that. I behave, I should be treated like I act. I blame guys like this.

      1. Jiboashu*

        It’s refreshing to see a guy acknowledge the problem is with fellow men and not the women trying to protect themselves

  8. samiratou*

    I’m so glad to see this update, and that he was immediately fired! Very relieved for you, LW.

  9. Amber Rose*

    Yay! What a horrible thing to have gone through but I’m glad they acted on it so quickly.

  10. Delta Delta*

    This is an excellent update.

    Also, what on earth is a knife fighting instructor? I didn’t even know this was a thing someone could get instruction on how to do.

    1. PSB*

      You do have to wonder a little bit if it IS a real thing or if the guy was just trying to make himself cooler. We know he’s not above major deception.

      1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

        I concur. When I read that part of OP’s letter, my mind went to “and I was on the Seal team that got bin Laden. But I can’t talk about it.”

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I did a bit of research on this for something, and learned that real spec ops guys carry Swiss Army Knives. Or a Leatherman. A tool to help with practical jury-rigging in the field. Their message boards rolled their collective eyes in a tired manner at guys who wanted to check if their gen-u-ine Seal fighting knife they’d just bought was the real deal.

          These guys could knife fight, if they had to, but the need meant that everything else about the mission had gone spectacularly sideways. Ideally you deal with a problem from much, much farther away than knives allow.

          1. Liet-Kinda*

            Yep. Knife fighting is totally a real thing you can get trained in. But aside from just shanking someone, which I suppose has its applications, knife fighting per se is not a real useful thing to know how to do. Knives are reasonably easy for a decent unarmed martial artist to counter, and we all know the adage about bringing one to a gun fight.

            My vote is “wannabe Crocodile Dundee badass.”

            1. Jersey's mom*

              I vote for the guy in desert robes who did the fancy scimitar dance at Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then Indy shot him.

          2. Observer*

            I’m sure they also got some pretty good training on the matter. Not because they expect to use the skill often – as you say, it should rarely be necessary – but because these types of folks are supposed to be prepared for a lot of unlikely scenarios.

            Whether this guy was an instructor or not is anyone’s guess. But those guys do exist.

            1. not really a lurker anymore*

              History Channel is running a show called Forged in Fire: Knife or Death on Wednesday nights. It just started the 2nd season. It’s an obstacle course involving things needed to be cut with a knife (meat, fish, ice, sheets of metal, wood, etc.) and they’re timed. Penalties for not cutting something involve adding time to your score. and you’re not allowed to run with the knives. They made a point of showing and talking about it on last week’s episode.

              1. Gaia*

                “and you’re not allowed to run with the knives. They made a point of showing and talking about it on last week’s episode.”

                I just love that this is clearly a show for adults and yet they truly need to make a point about “no running with knives, people!”

          3. gladfe*

            Oh, wow, I met a guy that kept bragging about his seal-fighting knife years ago. This is the first time it’s ever occurred to me that he meant it was a fighting knife for Seals, not a knife to use while fighting marine animals.

            1. RUKiddingMe*

              LOL It does sound like he was using it to fight off those dangerous marine mammals while they are laying all over the beach doesn’t it?

              1. Liet-Kinda*

                Oh, they also sell “Molon Labe” and Punisher skull patches for it. That’s even more awesome. Fanny packs are Spartan af.

                1. neverjaunty*

                  I would be unable to resist asking those guys if the patch was a new Balenciaga imprint.

        1. Snickerdoodle*

          I can’t stop laughing at that resume. I’d probably bring them in for an interview just to see what happened. I’d fully expect shirtless flexing within half an hour.

        2. Hex Appeal*

          oh HONEY. fully every single person in this office is a literal CARTOON. if you would like more information, he also has a strip club concierge job that he hides from his girlfriend lmfao. if this office were a television show NO ONE WOULD BELIEVE IT.

    2. OlympiasEpiriot*

      If he really was USMC, they all get Ka-bars as hand-to-hand weapons and utility knives. I gather there is training for it. I assume that means there must be specialized people who do the training. Loverman was an urban assault specialist who taught rappelling/abseiling for several years when he was in, so I guess there’s knife use instructors.

      BUT, this sounds like the guy’s making up stories based on the fact my friend doesn’t tell people details about his Gunny duties unless it is truly relevant.

      1. aebhel*

        They’re not allowed to keep full-sized Ka-Bars on them in the barracks, though; I think they can’t have anything with more than a 3″ blade. Which I learned to my great amusement when my spouse bought me one for Valentine’s Day (…long story…) and my brother, who was in the Marines at the time, was jealous about it.

    3. Kuododi*

      Back when I was studying Martial Arts my Karate and Kung-fu instructors taught knife fighting as a part of the overall program. None of them however taught from the perspective of being the aggressor but rather defending and diffusing the crisis. I had an adolescent client pull a knife on me during a substance abuse recovery group I facilitated. In Kung Fu class after that happened, the Sifu led two sessions particularly dedicated to knife self defense. Hope that helps!!!

      1. Nita*

        I’m glad someone is teaching that! I took a self-defense class in college and specifically asked what to do if someone pulls a knife on you. The advice was basically “either do what they want or run away”. Great. I didn’t take the darn class to hear that. I was not asking the question for the fun of it or so I can play Superwoman. I was asking because I legit needed to be prepared for a situation where neither of the above was an option.

        1. BadWolf*

          I took a self defense class that was generally great, but one day we had a guest in and I asked what to do when someone grabs your hair. The answer was sort of a shrug and have short hair. Really? No advice at all? Not kick backwards, foot stomp, etc.

          On the plus side, we did do some blocking with fake knives/guns. Which may not be wise to try in real life, but it was interesting to practice.

          1. Snickerdoodle*

            Really? They might as well have said the solution to assault is to not get assaulted. *facepalm*

            1. Liet-Kinda*

              I mean, it wasn’t real helpful phrasing, and there are a few ways around it, but grabbing someone by the hair is really effective. There’s not a lot of counters.

          2. LadyPhoenix*

            Luckily our professor was better. You grab grab your hair (so that your elbows are raised), and quickly spin around to knock away the hands. Then force palm the nose, knee the groin twice, and run and call for help.

            Unfortunately, I can’t remember the knives.

          3. nonegiven*

            The class I took involved hair grabbing, knife wielding attackers, half nelsons, grabbed from behind, etc. We asked “what if he has a gun?”

            Sensei says, “Find out what he wants.” He also told us to run away if we could because the farther we got the less likely he was to hit us.

        2. Nobby Nobbs*

          The self defense portions of my martial arts class in college focused mostly on how to hurt someone enough that they couldn’t chase you when you run away. Which included, yes, a couple of things you could do if they were waving a knife at you.

        3. Who the eff is Hank?*

          I did Tae Kwon Do in college. We were taught a couple different blocks for knife attacks, but my personal favorite was to kick the knife out of their hand. The axe kick was my specialty and an axe kick to the hand/wrist will go a long way (and possibly break a few bones).

        4. Kuododi*

          The most helpful thing I was told in those knife fighting classes was to accep I was going to be cut if I chose to fight back…trick being to make certain to not be cut anywhere vital. Best wishes

      2. RUKiddingMe*

        My son was a serious martial artist (Karate, Jujitsu, Akijitsu) and his primary weapon was the escrima (two handed) sticks. He also was trained in two handed knife fighting but it was basically for exhibition at shows. I mean he could have used them in a fight (probably could have taught it too but IDK about that for sure) but for real that kind of thing is almost always only for show.

    4. OhGee*

      If that’s indeed a real gig this dude has, GOOD RIDDANCE TO THIS TERRIFYING, CREEPY COWORKER.

    5. Liane*

      “Also, what on earth is a knife fighting instructor? ”
      There are martial arts that can be used with knives, such as Escrima and I thought the OP meant he taught one of those.

      1. Oranges*

        Yessss… I just got the picture of a bunch of men all ego-pumped about their knifes and talking about them and training in the… flashier* way of fighting that’s totally useless in an actual fight. Then drinking beer and reflecting how manly they are.

        *I’m assuming just like any fighting style I’ve run across the stuff that would help you in a fight looks boring and the stuff that looks cool would get you killed. Like the difference between MMA and pro-wrestling.

  11. High Score!*

    That’s not how Marines are trained to conduct themselves either (I have a Marine son), and as a long time martial artist, that is frowned upon in the martial arts community as well. I’m female and men who are martial artists are not afraid to ask but they don’t try to trick you or force you as every other martial artist would violently frown on that behavior. I’m glad you don’t have to deal with him anymore.

    1. Imaginary Number*

      Not that there aren’t bad people everywhere, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this “knife fighting instructor Marine” was a basic training washout or just straight up stolen valor. Someone who would try something like this wouldn’t have any problem lying about military service.

      1. Kelly L.*

        Yeah, I’ve known a few of his type. Pretending to have been in the Marines and/or special forces is really popular as bullshit goes.

      2. the elephant in the room*

        Yeah, I come from an area that produces a lot of military employees (poor, rural area with few jobs and fewer ways to escape) and my family is filled with marines. It definitely doesn’t automatically make you respectable (I’ve known quite a few marines who were total sleeze bags), but the general rule is that people who crow about their service and training to civilians is likely lying. Usually they don’t pass the physical or they fail bootcamp, but those two are from my personal experiences.

        1. the elephant in the room*

          Actually, I’ll clarify: Sometimes they brag too much when they’re brand new, but nit usually after their military careers have ended.

          My favorite so far: “I was a Navy SEAL, but I don’t know how to swim.”

        2. Dr. Pepper*

          Yup. As much as we would wish it different, there are assholes and terrible people everywhere.

          I had a similar encounter as the OP with a predatory creep and he was in the National Guard and he talked A LOT about military stuff and bragged about the things he’d (allegedly) done. He pretended he had a lot of special skills too, most of which he was probably lying about. I know for a fact he was lying about a couple things, and based on what else I knew of him I was fairly sure he was making a lot of things up.

      3. MissDisplaced*

        I was thinking along the same lines. If the dude is lying to girls about his nude “art project” what else is he lying about? The whole thing sounds a bit disturbing.
        I would almost consider reporting him to police. Even though he hasn’t done anything illegal, this scenario (modeling, photo & film shoots) is a common ploy to lure young women and it can escalate to a point where bad things happen.

        1. Hex Appeal*

          I did report him, per HR’s request, and the police at the university were more helpful than the city police. University police are of course concerned about the student body. The city police just kind of shrugged me off with “WELL, he didn’t ACTUALLY commit a crime”, which I get but is so annoying.

          1. Uni Anon*

            I wonder if it would rise to the “banned from campus” that we have here? Does the university have a threat assessment team? While presumably the university police would present his case, if you feel creeped out enough, you can also report him to any organization that is concerned with campus safety. On our campus, there is a threat assessment committee that reviews reports in order to connect clues from across campus as well as outside sources. If it seem credible that the person is a threat, the police chief places them on a banned list.

          2. Michaela Westen*

            I hope the police took your report, so they have a record when the guy does something else.

      4. RUKiddingMe*

        Yep. My POS brother-in-law didn’t do I think a full two weeks of boot camp before they discharged them. He tells people he was a marine. #facepalm

        1. Imaginary Number*

          We have a real estate agent in my hometown who was running for trustee last year and every single ad and every single post as about the “integrity he developed as a Marine” and “the sacrifices he made as a Marine” and crap like that.

          He was given a hardship discharge immediately following basic training (30 years ago) to take care of a family member. While that may not have been his fault, you don’t get to strut around acting like a hero who stands out above the crowd because you were in the military for less than six months (I say this as someone who served active duty for 7 years.)

          He didn’t win, but every time he posts on social media advertising his services as a real estate agent, he makes a point of advertising his Marine past.

          1. Michaela Westen*

            Is there a socially acceptable way to call him out?
            Or you could tell people you know, and they’d tell others…

    2. Liet-Kinda*

      I’m trying to imagine what kind of 78th-dan grand master you have to be to frown violently. If I traveled to humbly request to study at his dojo, would he require me to spend five years sneering in a mirror before teaching me the inner mysteries? How close to someone do you have to be to frown at them and hurt them? So many questions.

      1. High Score!*

        LOL! I didn’t phrase that well but now the imagery is great. Don’t know about violent frowning but I have scared off aggressive men in dark parking garages by glaring at them and thinking violent thoughts.

    3. triplehiccup*

      I’m not sure why this guy’s misconduct renders his military service implausible. I just googled “marines rate rape” and the first links are to military news site articles about the Marines having the highest incidence of sexual assault among the services in 2014 and the greatest increase from 2017 to 2018, with high rates of professional and social retaliation as well. To be fair, they also highlight how much the Corps has invested in awareness training, but training /= behavior.

  12. LKW*

    Thank you for the update LW. I think it says a lot about your workplace that not only did they take you seriously, they took serious action immediately and took action to ensure that this problem never returned to their doorstep (at least this specific problem).

    I’m glad that you took action and that it was a positive outcome overall.

  13. EditorInChief*

    So glad you reported it and your company took it seriously. My jaw hit the floor when I read your original post.

  14. Cruciatus*

    Glad to hear it OP! I’m glad your employer took your word for it and did something about it!

    I wonder about the university aspect–do they know? Is he really a student (is he perhaps no longer a student because of this?)? I hope when the OP called that they were suspicious about it and like, “Maybe we better talk to him about this?”

    1. Hex Appeal*

      He is actually a student – I heard from both a person who is a student/faculty liaison and from his department. (I didn’t know what department he was in, so when I called the university I had to explain this whole deal to maybe three or four people before I got someone who could help me). I haven’t heard anything as far as a follow up from them, though.

      1. Cruciatus*

        I guess it’s no surprise you haven’t, however since it sounds like it was explained fully to multiple people/departments that, yes, they will most likely definitely be doing something about this! What a stupid, creepy tool! (On the other hand, good think he’s at least stupid).

      2. blackcat*

        You won’t unless they call to ask follow up questions. FERPA means they would only state that he’s a student if it’s in a publicly accessible directory. Any info beyond that they can’t release.

  15. Emily S.*

    OP, great for you, awesome job for standing up for yourself! That can be hard.

    I’m so glad the guy got canned, because that was not acceptable. I also hope that you can eventually adjust your own expectations for what is appropriate at work; I’m sure it’ll take time, but it’s got to be good to know you’re in a place that takes this kind of issue seriously.

  16. Snickerdoodle*

    That’s amazing! That was a better and faster updated than I could have hoped for, but YIKES, a former Marine and knife fighting instructor? Terrifying. So glad you have someone walking with you when you leave.

    1. Observer*

      It IS terrifying even if it’s probably not true. Because you really can’t know for sure. And who wants to take the chance?

      1. Rainy*

        Well, and what do you bet that “terrifying” is most of the point? “Oh god, he might kill me, I better pose topless for him” is probably the reaction he’s hoping for.

        1. Bea*

          I have more of the feeling this guy thinks he sounds “so cool” more than like he’ll be violent.

          Think Napoleon Dynamite’s brother.

          1. Snickerdoodle*

            “I’m so cool; she’s bound to want to pose topless” is more likely. Think of all those dating profiles where the guy has a big gun or a dead fish next to him, applicable innuendos as you will.

            1. Bea*

              Yessssss, then they’re confused and don’t understand why they never get many dates.

              Frigging uber masculine neckbeards.

        2. Dr. Pepper*

          Probably. He’s likely trying to present himself as far more badass and hard than he really is. Not to expressly be terrifying, but more like “how could you say no, I’m so manly and awesome”. He probably hopes he is intimidating to other men as well. You know, he’s so badass that men cower and women swoon.

  17. LoV*

    Glad something was done. – sorry you had to experience that. I’ve unfortunately been around too many unfair situations to have much optimism in general.

  18. Quackeen*

    Amazing update. You’re a warrior! I’m glad your HR department reacted swiftly to terminate him.

  19. Matilda Jefferies*

    Echoing the others that I’m so glad you reported it, and so glad your employers responded the way they did!

  20. Bea*

    Thank you for reporting this and I’m relieved at the outcome.

    Also I’m sickened a dishwasher got away with that nonsense. That’s not normal either.

    1. Jennifer Thneed*

      Have you worked in restaurants? Sexual harrassment may not be acceptable, but it’s depressingly normal in that kind of setting.

      1. Bea*

        The kitchens I know personally would lay a dishwasher on his backside if they found out he was assaulting a woman. It’s also not normally acceptable behavior but yeah, my rough necks are the ones who pounce on abusive people who enter the pack.

      2. Database Developer Dude*

        Pages 24-25 of Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential”. Yeah, THAT’s not jacked up….much…… that’s what I imagine that setting to be like. And I am decidedly NOT “Billy”

  21. Hallowflame*

    OP, I’m so glad you reported him, and absolutely thrilled that your employer took you seriously and booted him before he could cause any more harm. This may seem strange, since you come from a food service background, but this is how sexual harassment complaints in the workplace are supposed to work. Keep reminding yourself of that, and don’t accept anything less from your employers, current and future.

  22. Susana*

    OP, congratulations – and good for you, for standing up for yourself! I hope this experience reinforces in you the truth that it is not acceptable for *any* employee to be approached or treated this way, no matter what your industry.

    And thanks from all of us, because every time someone is called out for this sort of behavior, and punished for it, it makes it more clear that such behavior is simply not tolerated.

  23. GreenDoor*

    I’m glad you reported this and that your employer took the complaint seriously!
    The one thing that makes me sad is that it’s over…..yet, like a lot of women…..you still have to be accompanied to your transit. I pray for the day when ALL people like him accept that “No! Stay away!” means “No! Stay away!”

  24. Brett*

    I’m not sure how the OP should go about it at this point, but I still think the police must be involved.

    As I explained in the original post comments, the attempt to get the photos is probably an inchoate crime in a lot of states. And this type of action can often be tied to sex trafficking; so even if it is not specifically a crime in that state, police will be interested in a follow-up.

    The update trips even more red flags for me on this guy than the original post to worry that this is not a one-off occurrence for him.

    My suggestion would be to go to the university Title IX office who should both protect the OP’s identity and get the university police involved. Would other people have suggestions on how the OP can do this?

    1. soon 2be former fed*

      Yeah, I think you are right, the crime was not fully formed yet but was in the preliminary stages.

    2. LilySparrow*

      My city and state have both online forms and phone numbers to report non-emergency suspicious activity. Findable by Google.

      Whether anything will come of it is really going to depend on LW’s local situation.

    3. Akcipitrokulo*

      There’s a comment above that she did :) which is awesome. Standard police didn’t do much, uni police taking seriously.

      1. Imaginary Number*

        Even if police don’t have enough to act on, it’s good to have the report on record.

  25. Fabulous*

    Wow, I missed this letter the first time around! Glad they acted swiftly to terminate this creeper…

  26. MassMatt*

    I don’t have the same alarm bells going off in my head you do, to me it seems the OP has handled it well and is taking measures to protect herself (getting escorted to transportation).

    But if there is a concern, I would bring it to the police, not the campus police. Often campus police have a conflict of interest in that they want to protect the reputation of their college/university. And who knows if the campus police share all info/data with regular police? It does no good for the this info to be on some creep’s “permanent record” if only the cops at this particular campus ever see it.

    Glad you and you workplace took such swift action, OP, this is a great outcome!

    1. Brett*

      True, not all campus police are the same. I have had the fortune of dealing with universities where the campus police were certified agencies with the ability to act independently to investigate crimes and bring charges.

      But yes, regular police would be the best option if the OP is comfortable with that.

    2. LilySparrow*

      Do we even know for sure that he’s a student at the University? The original letter just said they denied it was a real project, not that they confirmed he was enrolled.

      His status as a Marine, knife instructor, and graduate student are most likely all cut from the same cloth.

  27. Shananana*

    So I’ll start with saying – Female Marine Veteran here. Yes, we are trained with knifes, as a close combat technique. No one teaches only that though, its part of larger combat training. As a personal guideline, the more someone talks about what they did in the military, the less they did in the military. The closer you were to “the action” in general, the less you brag about it. It took 10 years out in the civilian world before I would tell most people I was a veteran openly.

    Second piece is around talking about coming out of working in fields where you put up with such a high level of inappropriate behavior that it warps your sense of appropriate. I left the military and went into years of food service, and then into the corporate world. I’m going to be helping my family member open a restaurant in the next year and we have been having a lot of conversations around how to create restaurant environments where you don’t cause that numbness to inappropriate behavior and how to help young women’s first jobs not scar them for the future. Not saying we have answers yet, but lots of conversations around how to be ethical restaurant operators. So if anyone has thoughts or resources to share around that, I’d love to hear them!

    1. Empty Sky*

      There is a bit near the end of Kitchen Confidential where Bourdain examined his assumptions and talked about whether restaurant kitchens need to be the kind of crazy place that he described (and admitted he thrived in). He offered the example of a friend of his who opened a small restaurant with a completely different culture. He then lined up all his assumptions one by one, measured them against his friend’s restaurant, and found that none of them applied. He observed that his friend’s restaurant was very successful and high quality regardless, and finished by asking whether the dominant restaurant culture is really a product of the environment or a deliberate creation of people like him.

      So it can be done, and has been done. If you are clear about the culture you want and the expectations you have, and enforce them, then it can work. I think the main issue is likely to be hiring people from outside who are used to the dysfunctional environment and want to bring elements of it to your workplace. You will need to be really clear with them about culture and boundaries and make sure they get it. Since labor in the restaurant business is always tight, you might also want to think about what you would do if you were forced to compromise on your principles and (say) bring in someone you thought would be problematic in order to remain a going concern, and also how likely it is that you could face that particular scenario.

      I know people who have worked in positive food industry environments (often they have had all female staff). The job is still demanding and you are working to unforgiving deadlines and need to address problems quickly and constantly perform, so some of the military style elements remain – it was common for making the same mistake twice to be a firing offence, for example. But it can most definitely be done in a positive and professional way.

    2. Bea*

      Aim to hire a hugely female kitchen crew. There’s power in numbers and it’s hard for women to break into kitchens due to the men involved.

      A kitchen is often ran like a ship with hierarchies involved. It’s used because of the level of teamwork needed to coordinate. You just have to be strict about the way people act and speak to each other.

    3. Aphrodite*

      Would you be willing to take us along with you, perhaps via weekly or biweekly Friday posts, on your journey to opening and then running the restaurant, specifically in regards to this professional atmosphere you want to create? I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d be interested in learning along with you.

    4. chi type*

      It all rolls down from the top. At my worst restaurant jobs, Chef was always an arrogant, condescending ass and the GMs tended to be pretty sleazy and that summed up the culture of the whole place. (In other words, be careful who you hire.)

      1. Michaela Westen*

        As a person with food allergies, I’ve encountered chefs who have some bad attitudes. I once overheard a chef and wait staff talking about people with allergies as if we were all making it up. I decided not to work there.
        I’ve asked if a dish can be cooked in an oil that’s not soybean and gotten “No! this dish MUST be cooked in soy oil!” Ok, I’m not eating here.
        I still remember the fancy restaurant in 2009 where they put vinegar on everything – the meat, the veggies – what a stomach ache I got! And they didn’t have chicken on the menu. It was on their web menu but the chef had decided not to make it.
        Now I stick with good quality burger places or pubs.

  28. bopper*

    He SAYS he is a former marine and knife-fighting instructor. Sounds like the type of thing that a person who wants you to pose for a anatomy book would say.

    1. Hex Appeal*

      lmao i know right. i have to admit that i have no idea how much of his persona is real; i am one of those people whose attitude is “why would anyone bother to lie about xyz” but i know that is kind of a very trusting attitude to have…i guess four years at an institution with an honor code made an honest woman of me lol

      1. cara*

        Hey, nothing wrong with that! I always give people the benefit of the doubt, though I am at the same time aware that there is quite literally NO LIMIT to what people will and do lie about, big or small, despite my own view that lying generally takes more effort than it’s worth. So, benefit of the doubt all the way…so long as it doesn’t jeopardize my own or others’ well-being.

        Trusting and honest you may be — and good on you for that! — but a fool you are not. You had a sketchy-af situation, looked into it, and reported it to the appropriate authorities. Trusting and honest you may be — and good on you for that! — but a fool you are not. So glad to see this has been/is being handled, and that (possibly dangerous, definitely creepy) guy no longer works with you. Here’s hoping you won’t have to deal with any further nonsense related to this!

  29. Pick a name, any name*

    I agree with previous comments that this “Marine” may have exaggerated or lied entirely about his past employment.

    I’m more concerned that it’s apparently okay to imply all military veterans are potentially violent. That wasn’t fair.

    LW, if you are concerned about your personal safety, I recommend Krav Maga strongly. It’s easy to pick up the basics, teaches best practices for survival, adapts for elderly/disabled, and is a huge confidence builder. Worked for me after a crazy and violent ex.

    1. JSPA*

      I read the implication as more nuanced. If he’s not really a SEAL, but is pretending, he wants to be thought of as a trained killer. If he is a SEAL, he’s been taught both to control and to kill — his skill-set (if you will) is much vaster and more varied than that of a random dude. Heck, even if he washed out, he may have made it to the point of having some training, and some of his natural inhibitions to hurting people, trained out. Those are all legitimately worrisome. Especially if the part he failed at was, say, following orders, or adequate grasp of reality. I suppose I’d been picturing a short-ish, flabby, pale art – student borderline basement dweller, whose major threat would be sharing pix online. Not someone likely to know how to use a sniper scope, or the right angle to stick a knife through someone’s ribs.

    2. Observer*

      The issue is not that all military vets are potentially violent, and no one was implying that. The issue here is that this guy who has proven that he has no ethical boundaries around getting what he wants – and what he wants is some level of non-consensual access to a woman’s body. That’s worrisome, no matter who the creep is. If the creep happens to be someone with military training, that becomes far more worrisome because he has a set of skills that most creeps don’t have.

    3. Bea*

      I read it as he’s established he’s got no boundaries and to top it off (if he’s actually a former Marine) he’s been trained to kill. Vets are not automatically dangerous by any means especially if they’re soldiers because of their desire to protect others. But they are highly skilled individuals in combat and trained in defense so they can protect their country. A bad nut in the bunch is absolutely terrifyingly dangerous.

      But so are those in law enforcement or other careers where they learn to use weapons and how to track (enemies) people etc.

    4. Student*

      Nah, skeevy dudes who try to get women alone and naked are potentially violent.

      The military just implies a level of competence that would be worrisome in the context of this creep.

      1. blackcat*


        Percentage of skeevy dudes who try to get women alone that might be violent? Probably like 50% High.

        Percentage of vets who might be violent? IDK. Low. Real low. Almost certainly lower than the percentage of cops who I’d be worried about (cops have a super high rate of DV).

        But the intersection of that venn diagram scares me. Skeevy dude WITH military training? RUN!

    5. chi type*

      As others have said, it’s about the guy you just got fired having (or claiming to have) training and expertise in hurting people. Happens to be through the military (supposedly).

  30. Jennifer Thneed*

    Former co-worker was a graduate student. Was he at all an intern? If so, then his firing probably also involved notifying the campus intern program and that will (hopefully) shut down his academic career.

    But if he wasn’t an intern, then this should be reported to the university specifically. I don’t know who or how, because universities are notorious for making problems sink out of sight. But he was using his university connections for this fraud, so they should care about that if nothing else.

    1. LilySparrow*

      Former co-worker said he was a grad student.

      It would be interesting to find out if the school actually knows anything about him.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        Yeah, there are two possibilities. One is that he made up the grad-school part (along with the ex-seal knife instructor part). If that’s true, then there’s nothing more that the OP can do.

        Or he’s actually a grad student and is using his position to trick women into posing topless. If that’s the case, I’d recommend dropping a line to the graduate program and whatever office deals with ethics/harassment issues to let them know, because this is an offence that warrants being kicked out of the graduate program, preferably before he gets a degree. Although I would not be at all surprised if the university didn’t do anything, given the general track record of universities with even worse stuff.

  31. LadyCop*

    I know retaliation is a legitimate concern…but people also watch WAY TOO MUCH TV! Cowards like this with their hair-brained schemes often do take advantage of people, but are much too afraid to escalate things further.

    And I didn’t comment on the original post…but people in this community are often too fast in labeling a man a predator in these posts, but obviously this was a case where the term absolutely applies.

    1. chi type*

      I don’t think it’s helpful to encourage women to second guess their gut feelings on this stuff. As you just pointed out yourself, they are often accurate. (Read The Gift of Fear for more on that.)

    2. VictorianCowgirl*

      So, which is it? Is retaliation a legitimate concern or so we watch too much TV?

      Please don’t imply that you know more about a situation than the person in it and their instincts.

      1. Judy Johnsen*

        I took this comment to mean, be cautious and aware, but don’t let this fear immobilize you. And, it sounds like this is exactly what she is doing, all the right stuff, and being aware, but moving forward. I am glad she reported this guy and he was fired, hopefully he stops doing stuff like this. Or maybe I’m naive.

      2. Michaela Westen*

        There’s nothing wrong with taking precautions. If they’re not needed, they don’t hurt anyone. I always take precautions on general principles… except in the rare case where I have to walk by myself late night or take the el at 4am – I save my luck for those cases.
        But otherwise, no walking alone at night even if I don’t know of any threats, always take cab/uber to my door when coming home late, and ask driver to watch me in.
        And before I get in the uber I check the license plate and the driver against his/her photo.

  32. Dr. Doll*

    SO GLAD that you decided to act and that this was the outcome. The greatest power women have is our voices. Thank you for having the courage to use yours!

  33. Liane*

    I am so glad the OP’s employer dealt with this so fast.
    The letter really had my alarm bells ringing very loudly. Claiming to be a professional photographer is an old, old murderer’s ruse. The 1950s serial killer Harvey Glatman (aka the Lonely Hearts Killer or Glamour Girl Slayer) told his victims he was doing photos for pulp “detective magazine” stories–which I gather featured sensationalized, violent “true crimes”–to convince them to let him tie them up.
    Then there’s the sad, unsolved 1986 murder of 11 year old Canadian athlete Alison Parrott, whose still-unknown killer phoned her home asking her to meet him (and possibly her teammates, sources vary on this detail) at a local stadium for photos for a sports magazine article.

    1. Hex Appeal*

      OP here. When I wrote the original letter…it is truly the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version of this scenario lol. Like this fool…in no way, shape, or form is masquerading as a Professional Photographer…he was FULLY like, “I’ll just use my PHONE”

      As I said in an earlier comment, basically the equivalent of a white van with FREE CANDY spray painted on the side. No part of this venture came close to sounding legit.

      1. Oranges*

        That’s more see through than three children trying to get into an R rated movie via “child tower” and a trench coat.

      2. cara*

        ….his PHONE. For a TEXTBOOK.

        See, that’s a special kind of lie that goes right past “I’m offended you tried to deceive me” and “how stupid do you think I am?” into “I’m offended, amazed, and a little sad that 1) you lied to me, 2) you think I’m that stupid, and 3) you put in so little effort.”

  34. RUKiddingMe*

    OP thanks for the quick update. Yay for you office acting so swiftly and appropriately.

    Please be careful about your safety. I know you are walking with an escort, and that’s definitely a good thing. The thing is DudeBro™ might think about it for a while and decide to address his feels in a week, or a month, or…so watch your back.

    I don’t want to scare you, but you know these guys can be like a freaking volcano just bubbling for a long time and then exploding. I wouldn’t trust this guy (or any guy like this guy) to not be Mt. Vesuvius. Ok I’m gonna stop now.

    Congrats OP I am so glad that things worked out the way they have.

    1. Hex Appeal*

      OP here. Thank you so much for your concern. This is something that has absolutely crossed my mind.

  35. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

    I’m so relieved this was dealt with and that you work for a decent company. I don’t know you but I’m proud of you for standing up and reporting this. Thanks for updating us and wishing you all the best!

  36. Bookworm*

    Agree on “toxic environments”. On a slight twist: in my first job I had an upper manager who was abusive, both verbally and once threw a balled-up piece of paper in my face hard enough to sting (we were relatively close to each other). Then I didn’t know how wrong this was/didn’t know what to do/this manager knew I wouldn’t complain (what evidence?) so I’m glad you did.

    Thank you SO much for the update. Really great to hear that your office totally backed you up and he was out of there before you even finished. Hope he’s done and doesn’t bother you anymore.

  37. dawbs*

    I have long hair and at one point, when unemployed, I looked into selling it.

    Guy I talked to would just us meet in public but wouldn’t let me have someone (possibly my husband) with me- he worked alone.
    Soi I was supposed to go alone somewhere and let a stranger hold sharp implements to my neck.
    I was desperate, but not QUITE that desperate.

    1. Betty Boop*

      Yikes that’s crazy and of course there should not have been anything wrong with you bringing your husband. The come alone part is all kinds of crazy red flags.

  38. Elizabeth W.*

    I can’t remember if I missed the original letter, but OP, I’m really glad the company stepped up on this so promptly.

  39. Penny*

    I so completely relate to OP’s words about coming from food service and not realizing how inappropriate some work issues actually are. Food service is a land of ass grabbing, sexual innuendo, slap-worthy moments and for those of us who cut our work teeth in that line, some things people get really upset about don’t seem all THAT bad. I’m glad I’m not alone there.

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