Friday, October 03, 2008

Incompetent Advice: Is this Guy for Real?

The perennially readable charlotteharris writes:

Hi Shannon,

I am about to cancel a 1st date with a guy but wondering if that would be a mistake. Here's the background:

My Match profile has (7) very recent (only weeks old) photos of me in various angles, some face only, others full length. Good representations, I think.

After emailing with "Johnny" he asked me for some additional photos, esp. if I had any in which I am wearing tank tops/flip flops. I said "oh you must have been burned before by someone who didn't look like their pics, but you don't have to worry about that because all my photos are recent, i really am a size 4, and i cannot tell a lie." I told him that if we meet and we like each other that he can have all the tank tops/flip flops photos he wants of me and was flirty about it.

He will not relent, he keeps asking me for more pics and I keep ignoring those parts of his emails because I have liked everything else about him on email and the phone, even after he (unsolicited) sent me additional photos of himself with his 2 kids. When I emailed him directly (rather than via my talkmatch address) he wanted to know why I didn't email him from my work email and I was like "oh I am a cop's kid, I can't help but be cautious about personal details."

So today he sent me this email:

"Did you ever think that maybe I wanted to do my background check on you?? There are just as many crazy women on the net as men, believe that… That's not too cool though, you even have pics of my kids!….I can understand the last name, address or home phone number but pictures?? C'mon now it's online dating for crying out loud! You trying to hide your hand with six fingers or something? The fact that you keep avoiding it makes me want to keep asking. Hey we found the first thing to disagree about…fun… Wait, you ask if I was at the Sprint in Reston, I think that's too personal of a question, you might stalk me. Let's just say I'm in Virginia…."

I know he's partly being sarcastic, but he is also kinda disrespectful, right? I am about to email him and just cancel the date and wish him the best. Or should I send him some damn pics and go on the date? I just think it's weird he wants more pics when I am confident the ones I sent are very good.

Thanks in advance!

~ charlotteharris

Dear charlotte,

OH MY GOSH. THAT GUY IS FREAKING AWESOME!!!! He’s nitpicking your lack of a flip-flop/tank top photo? Is he for real?

Tell him that not only do you have six fingers on your right hand, you have a penis, a prehensile tail and four earlobes arranged in a ridge formation across your left elbow. Plus, you sleep with a bunch of stuffed animals, and you snore.

On a slightly more serious note, if he's creating that much aggravation before you even go on one lousy coffee date, imagine what it would be like to be in a relationship with him: "Thanksgiving? With your family? I'll need a complete menu, including recipes and potential allergens, photos of your entire family in all forms of footwear, and about a dozen Haldols before I can even contemplate such a step."

It's possible he's a decent guy with an unfortunate lack of social skills, and you've just gotten the wrong end of the stick somehow...but, really, why bother? He's being weird and hostile and he's badgering a woman he’s never even met. There are three billion other men in the world, plus all sorts of high-end electronic gadgetry, so listen to your instincts and run like hell.

And for a dose of actual seriousness: Don’t ever feel guilty for listening your instincts. If your gut is telling you that something is off, don’t worry about being “nice” or sparing this guy’s feelings. He’ll get over it. You don’t need anyone’s permission or validation to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” And if he tries to drag you into yet another stupid argument about flip-flops or extra fingers, you are under no obligation to reply to him.

Lastly, if he is starting to give you the creeps, vs. merely being annoying, I would also recommend reporting his behavior to your dating service.

What do the illustrious members of the commentariat think? Additional advice/insights welcome…with the usual caveat that an actual person, with actual feelings, wrote in. So don’t be a jerk.


charlotteharris said...

Awesome. Thank you. Best advice! And if Carolyn Hax ever quits her column, you must apply for her job.

bh said...

Agree with Shannon. Imagine talking about sex:

"What are you planning to do? I like it when you do this, but not that, and I'll need a written outline of how it's going to go down. I reserve the right to be spontaneous, but I may need to stop at times to readjust or get back on schedule."


Shannon said...

CH - You're quite welcome! Flattery will get you everywhere.

bh - Oh, come on. That's kind of hot!

OneFaller said...

As the pilot said when the plane got hit, "BAIL! BAIL! BAIL!"

it's fine to ask for pics. it's not fine to be persistent and pushy about it.

Zipcode said...

Something shady is going on there - run like the wing - cancel the date seriously! The cop instinct in me says - RUN! Something is off with him.

Shannon said...

Onefaller - Welcome! The pushiness and tone set off all kinds of alarm bells for me - he's blatantly disregarding her comfort level here.

Zip - Yup. I love men and I think the vast majority of them rock. But if a man's setting off your Creep-o-Meter, the wisest course is to walk away. He's probably just a bit of a dork, but he could also be dangerous. Why on God's green Earth would charlotte bet her personal safety to find out?

[F]oxymoron said...

I agree with Zip... cancel. But do it with some style... spell out "no thanks" with flip-flops and tank tops, then send that pic.

Carrie M said...

run screaming, Charlotte. Just RUN. If that was an attempt to be funny, it failed after the first question. Asking for additional pictures if you've already got SEVEN on your profile? Strange. That he's requesting specific shots? Creepy. He sounds like a freak on wheels.

I would email him and tell him that these last exchanges have made you think maybe you guys won't be a great match, and good luck. Block him from your email and your Or you could just copy and paste Shannon's response about the 6 fingers, etc and attach a picture of someone giving the "deuces" to the camera.

And make sure that person is wearing a tank top and/or flip flops.

Shannon said...

Foxy - But he might find that to be a turn-on!

Carrie - Our all-girl blog band is going to be called, "Freak on Wheels." There were about a dozen levels of creepy in that email, and charlotte doesn't owe him one more minute of her time.

And about the creepiness - y'all, read "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker. Or, if you don't have time, let me summarize it for you: "Being "nice" is how women wind up dead."

Zipcode said...

People shouldn't post pics of their kids or share them on the internet period - something tells me he has a flip flop fetish.

Defintely block him from match however the thing with match is - he can check your profile after you blocked him -- gah I don't miss that site.

I am curious if he shared his last name with you - look him up on the VA Sex Offender Registry site -

and the other question - I find it odd about the him wanting to a background check on you - is he in law enforcement cause thats illegal.

Doug said...

So what's wrong with having 6 fingers? Is that actually ugly? I dunno, I think it'd be helpful.... I'm a pianist, so maybe I have a different view of these things...

So, let's just say I'm a divorced guy with 2 kids who has this hot chick emailing me wanting to go out on a date.... at what point do I decide that its in my best interest to hassle her? Perhaps this is why I am no longer married??

Doug said...

oh, and ps - I know Charlotte Harris pretty well, and I can say with full authority that her hands are in perfect shape, and she looks great in any sort of footwear she chooses ;)

Shannon said...

Zip - Yeah, I definitely get the heebie-jeebies when people post photos of their kids. And I second the foot fetish theory.

Doug - Yeah! I could totally have a hot date this weekend! Except I don't want one! I'd rather hang out at home and flip through the latest issue of Dirty Feet Monthly.

Anonymous said...

Shannon, your commenters ROCK. I want everyone to know I emailed him and simply stated that I would have to cancel our date and politely wished him luck in his dating adventures. I did not take his bait and get into it with him. Although I do wish I'd read [f]oxymoron's and carrie m.'s advice first - either would definitely have been a much more memorable way to go!

Tina said...


good for you!!! Too many people get sucked into never ending debates on this crap. You don't owe this guy anything other than a basic level of politeness - you more than met that need with a thanks but no thanks. you don't have to explain why, discuss, debate, rationalize, validate or anything else.

Shannon said...

charlotte - Good for you! I think you made the best choice - in this sort of situation, you want to make your point, then stop talking. Anything else gives him an opening to make a stupid debate out of it. And, yeah, I love my little wacko Mayberry comment section.

Tina - And you just said it better than I did.

By the way, would anyone with a Y chromosome care to try and explain this man's behavior?

Ibid said...

Your instincts are your friend. Too many people ignore them or rationalized so much they can't recognize what their instincts are saying.
If your gut says "run" you run. If you ignore your gut you'll almost always regret it.

bh said...

I'm divorced with two kids, and when I have a cute, size 4 who wants to grab a drink, my reply is:

"DC Coast, 5:30, Thursday"


"Send me more photos."

As my grandfather so eloquently put it:

"When somebody offers you a free beer, say "ok" because otherwise, your an ass"

There's a strong lesson in that wisdom.

HP said...

Sounds like a total freak. I'm surprised I haven't dated him.

Shannon said...

Ibid - Agreed. Instincts are there to protect you.

bh - Maybe YOU should take charlotte out.

Shannon said...

hp - Actually, you DID date him. He just sent me a bunch of photos of your feet.

Justin said...

Nothing left to be said, you nailed it perfectly. Guy sounds like a nut. It makes me think something else is wrong, too.

Zipcode said...

He is definetly hiding something - this makes me so glad I closed out all dating interweb sites.

Glad Charlotte cancelled.....

Carrie M said...

good for you, charlotte! you did the right thing by not engaging him. Tina said it perfectly. The photo would have been funny, but it might only serve to make him creepier b/c he'll think he's valid in his eau d'freakshow since someone mocked him.

shannon - that IS a rather good blog band name. if it's like rock band, I call the drums!

LivitLuvit said...

It's been said to death, but let me concur... he sounds crazy and a jerk. He's probably projecting the whole "crazy people out there" thing onto you, because he knows he is.

I vote you tell him, don't worry baby, you'll love my 6 fingers after you see them in action... WINK

Michael said...

Well, as one of the billions of men who will not be dating Charlotte (because crossing rivers is not safe and because Shannon is my true love), I can safely comment here:

Drop this "opportunity" immediately. He is a giant red flag all by himself, and he's waving it IN YOUR FACE. Heed it. You will thank me soon--and often. You write in complete, grammatically correct sentences, with subjects and verbs agreeing with one another. This means you will find a really sweet, educated, very kind guy who (a) loves good grammar and (b) is willing to wait for the tank top money shot until, oh, about the third hour of the first date (getting beyond my personal best by at least two hours).

Seriously, you'll do fine. Keep a sense of humor and the good ones will find you. And remember: it's only a man, not a career.

Take care and let us hear from you.


Shannon said...

Justin - There's nothing worse than a nut with bad manners.

Carrie - I wanna play the bass.
The fish, not the instrument.

Liv - Everybody loves your six fingers!

Michael - Good advice. And watch it, you'll make Lemmonex jealous.

Michael said...

Shit. She reads this???

Uh...Lem, honey, hi! It's always been you, baby! The other women mean nothing to me. Nothing.

lacochran said...

Amen to all of the above! Who needs that mishugas? Let him be somebody else's psychokiller. (Quest que cest... fafafafafafafafa...)

Ryane said...

Yeah, don't go on that date, or any date w/someone who obviously has so many issues. I agree w/Shannon; you haven't even gone on the date yet and he's giving you the third degree? It's not like you didn't have photos for him to see. If he really wants pics of flip-flops and tank tops, tell him to get an Abercrombie catalog and get over it.

Shannon said...

Michael - I wouldn't worry about it. Lemmonex and I are actually the same person.

Lacochran - Charlotte better run run, run awaaaaaayyyyy....oh oh oh....

Ryane - Actually, he sleeps with an Abercrombie catalog under his pillow. And there's an assortment of chopped-up Abercrombie models under the bed.

This "Johnny" person is the best thing to ever happen on a Friday.

bh said...

I'm working under a strict one girlfriend at a time rule. I know that makes me a prude, but it's in everyone's best interest. Trust me.

Plus, charlotte would have to send me photos of all her turtlenecks. I'm a real stickler.

Lemmonex said...

Michael! How could you?!

Good for canceling, CH. One of my favorite past times is ignoring my never really goes well.

Shannon said...

bh - Personally, I've asked Charlotte to send me a photo of herself in a naughty nurse outfit and clown shoes.

Lemmonex - I guess we'll just have to mudwrestle.

Ellie said...

HAHAHAHAHAH!I can't stop laughing at this whole entire thing. What a lame. Why didn't he just wait to see you in person? He realized summer was over and you may have movedon to fall attire?The comments are cracking me up.
Seriously, this reminds me of the guy who requested "more boob" shots. HAHAHA! As if that even requires a response.
I'm glad you aren't going on the date, but I'm dying to know how he will react!

charlotteharris said...

Despite the polite "dear john(ny)" email I sent last night, I received a text message from him today anyway. "hey girl, how are ya."

Y'all were right - he is a creep.
Thanks everyone, again, for the sound advice AND for some good laughs.

Justin said...

Just because we broke up doesn't mean we can't go out anymore.

Shannon said...

Ellie - the ideal woman wears tank tops and flops year-round.

Charlotte - I'm fine. Just hanging out, scratching my sixth finger with my prehensile tail.

Shannon said...

Justin - Just because I can't drive stick doesn't mean I can't drive your car. Vroom!

HomeImprovementNinja said...

NOT sticking up for this guy, just interpreting.

1) the guy was probably trying to be funny by (repeatedly) demanding feet pics. the only problem with the joke is that it's not funny.

2) the guy is divorced so he probably doesn't know (or has forgotten) what's socially acceptable and what's creepy. (sending pics of your kids if you don't know the person is creepy and manipulative)

3) or...the guy has a foot fetish.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

NOT sticking up for this guy, just interpreting.

1) the guy was probably trying to be funny by (repeatedly) demanding feet pics. the only problem with the joke is that it's not funny.

2) the guy is divorced so he probably doesn't know (or has forgotten) what's socially acceptable and what's creepy. (sending pics of your kids if you don't know the person is creepy and manipulative)

3) or...the guy has a foot fetish.

Shannon said...

Ninja, I'll take Door #3. The email isn't just creepy, it's overbearing and rude. Prime example: "The fact that you keep avoiding it makes me want to keep asking."

I'm divorced, but that doesn't mean I go around making ridiculous demands of people I've never met.

KassyK said...

I agree with everyone and I don't think he was attempting sarcasm or humor at ALL...I think he was straight up trying to make you feel like shit in the hopes that maybe you would think that you were overreacting and send him more pictures!

Exactly like Shannon said--I was fortunately born with all the tools the Gift of Fear teaches and I spotted red flags the minute he asked for a SPECIFIC pictures of flip flops. Uh...I will reinstate...Ewie.

You have SEVEN pictures up there and he needs more?

Tell him to sign up for a porn site not a dating site. ICK galore.

Michael said...

Oh, Lem, honey, I adore only you!

I'm a man. I'm your man. You do trust me, don't you, sweetheart?

Shannon said...

Kassy - Agreed. I think there's a natural human impulse to make excuses for people...but there's no excuse for badgering Charlotte or being creepy.

Michael - Actually, I killed Lem over the weekend. YOU ARE MINE.

Anonymous said...

He doesn't even deserve a response. Block him immediately. He's that guy who will go on a shooting rampage in your office. Disappear forever.