She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.
You've answered so many "do I tell them that..." inquiries lately, but I really hope you'll help with mine, too. I'm in an awkward situation, and I would love to hear your thoughts because I don't know how to tell them this uncomfortable info!
I'm a kinky girl. I especially like to exhibit my body to others, mostly by taking somewhat artistic nudes of myself. Since exposing myself to unsuspecting strangers is a sex crime and I'm all about being safe, sane, and consensual, I am really careful about how I exhibit myself.
I am on a website specifically for voyeurs and exhibitionists. (Think FetLife but kink specific.) Since this is a risky kink, there are rules in place to protect member's identities. We can't share anything that could identify the person in the photo. Even recognizable decor in the background is discouraged.
Awhile back, I started a thread seeking like-minded friends in my area. One of the guys who answered and I shared a few emails and PG13 pics before deciding we weren't a good match and moved on. We never discussed details like our names or jobs.
He recently shared a photo with the group in which his face is visible. I don't think it was intentional. There's a mirror behind him, and you can see his profile in the reflection.
The problem is, when I saw this photo I realized I used to work with him!
We were co-workers very briefly about three summers ago. While we joked and got along at work, I don't remember any sexual tension between us. If he had a thing for me at all, I was oblivious. I'm pretty sure neither of us was interested in the other. I don't see this as a really crazy meet cute.
I don't think he's going to be excited to know he's accidentally been recognized. All the same, as awkward as this is for both of us, I think I'd want to know if someone ever recognized me. And if he didn’t mean to show his face, he might appreciate a heads up. We talked about trust and not showing photos to others without permission, so I'm not concerned about him outing me at all. If he did, I have far more juicy dirt on him anyway. But it seems like I'm doing something naughty (and not fun-naughty!) by knowing about this and not telling him.
How in the world do I go about letting him know that he was exchanging dirty pics with someone who is not a stranger after all?
Ohmygod this is so uncomfortable! Pretty please help!
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There are few things less pleasant than seeing unwanted junk. And, yes, more awkward if you know the person attached to said junk IRL.
You know the old expression that it’s better to rip the band-aid off than peel it away slowly? Well, that applies here, too.
You should tell him.
Why? Because, as you said, he may not be aware that he is recognizable in the pic and you would want someone to give you the heads up if the situation were reversed.
How to tell him?
Be thankful we live in the age of electronic communication. Send him an email or message through the site. Just get straight to the point.
“Hey! Hope you’re well. I wanted to give you a heads up (no pun intended) that your face is recognizable in the last pic you posted. I recognized you from us working together awhile back and thought you should know because if I recognized you, others might too. Take care!”
And the beauty is that how awkward can you possibly feel over email/message?
Lastly, I doubt he is going to out you for giving him the heads up.
I wouldn’t pay that much mind. Let me know how it goes! And here’s hoping that soon you’re feeling the fun kind of naughty again!
The information within Ask Erin should in no way be interpreted as medical advice because I'm not a medical professional. But I am here to help — to share with you the wisdom I've gained after years of making mistakes. If you have a question for me about relationships, addiction, dating, friendship, depression, sex, consent, my current fave snack, Citrine, or anything at all, use the contact form below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, your anonymity is golden. Lastly, I’m so excited to share my Ask Erin Self-Care Guide, free when you sign up for my weekly newsletter. xoxo