Welcome to "Ask Mister Carl." I'm Carl Sandler, the founder of the gay mobile app, MISTER. You can also find me on SiriusXM Radio OutQ's The Morning Jolt discussing gay dating and relationships. In this series, I invite readers to share challenges that they encounter in their dating and love lives. Remember, there are many ways to look at every issue. If you disagree with something I write, be positive and share your own strategies or suggestions in the comments.
Dear MISTER Carl,
About a month ago, I got dumped because I cheated on my boyfriend. I know, I'm a jerk, blah, blah, blah, but my ex decided to get revenge by uploading a bunch of nude pics of me to Tumblr. They were meant for his eyes only, but now they're out there for everyone to see -- and even being reposted on other blogs! I confronted him about it, and he said that's what I get for breaking his heart. I know I was stupid for sending them in the first place, but I feel like this is a case of the punishment far outweighing the crime. Is there anything I can do to get them taken down? I have photos of him, too. Should I give him a taste of his own medicine?
-- Karma's a Bitch and So Is My Ex
First the good news. Unless you're the Pope, a politician, or Aaron Schock (R -- IL), your dick pic on Tumblr is just not going to show up on the front page of Towleroad.com. In fact, there's nothing inherently wrong or shameful about a photograph of your junk. If anything, be flattered your photos went viral -- people clearly like what they see!
Here's what is worth broadcasting, though, so listen up: Infidelity is often destructive to any relationship. In the future, I hope you can find the courage and voice to tell your partner about your desire to cheat before actually doing it, so that the two of you can use it instead as an opportunity to honestly look at the relationship together.
That being said, I have never broken up with someone for cheating on me. Even with the best of intentions, mistakes happen. In life, I've found there are few things I can do 100 percent of the time. And yet, I don't want to minimize the pain cheating can cause. For some people, cheating undermines their sense of worth, their trust in the relationship and their own self-confidence. It's understandable your boyfriend was angrier than a runner-up in Rupaul's Drag Race.
Yet, being hurt by by you, doesn't give your ex the right to be vindictive, spiteful and share your private photos without your permission. Many private and sacred things pass between a couple over the course of a relationship, and those things should remain private, even after it ends. He does not have the right to make your private photos public, and by no means should you seek revenge by doing the same. That would be what I would call "Gays Behaving Badly."
As for getting your photos taken down from the Interweb? Good luck. Much like your good judgment under the influence of raging hormones, the Internet is virtually impossible to control. By law, if you take a photo, it belongs to you, and a website or blog does not have the authority to publish it without your permission. At the gay website for older guys, DaddyHunt and the gay dating app, MISTER, if someone claims unauthorized usage of a photo, we remove it, so long as they can provide appropriate backup evidence (i.e. a photo I.D.) that it's theirs. But not all sites are as cooperative. It may take more than one attempt on your part before action, if any, is taken.
My advice (since you asked), is to use this experience to understand your ex's actions as a rash response to a whole lot of pain and anger. In the future, recognize that anything you send another person (video or pics) might end up in places you never expected. Stop caring about things that don't matter, like the fact you have a penis (shocker). And for God sake, stop promising things (like fidelity) unless you are sure you can deliver.
Dear MISTER Carl,
I recently landed what's basically my dream job at a high-profile company. I work a lot, and having a social life can be tough, so during my lunch break, I like to log on to gay social apps to chat with a cutie or two. Unfortunately, someone else in my office likes to do the same thing -- my boss's boss, to be exact! He sent me a message the other day that read, "Fancy meeting you here ;-)," and I don't know what to do. I don't see him on a day-to-day basis, but I know I'm going to feel really awkward if I run into him. Should I respond? Block him? Play dumb? Help!
-- Don't Wanna Be the Head Boss's Bitch
Do you know how many cups of coffee I had to fetch, how many weekends I had spend in the office, and how many pairs of tight pants I had to wear during my 9-to-5 days just to get the boss man's attention? And here you are complaining about getting a private chat with your company's head honcho, just by firing up your cell phone?
Okay, clearly I'm joking, and you're not wrong for feeling some awkwardness about this, but there's no reason to panic. The fact is, while it might not have been the wisest thing for him to contact you (many companies and businesses frown upon reaching out to a subordinate in this manner, even if his intent wasn't meant to be suggestive or flirtatious), both of you are allowed to use mobile apps during your free time. What is frowned upon is running off to report him to Human Resources before he's actually done anything other than, in essence, say hello.
Do not play dumb or block him (for now), but do respond as quickly and professionally as possible. I'd suggest something lighthearted and friendly; just be careful not to lead him on about your intentions. Who knows, your tête-à-texts could be your entry into the velvet mafia, and an opportunity to build a more professional relationship with him.
I suggest you thank him for reaching out and tell him you feel a bit awkward seeing him online because of your professional relationship. Chances are good he'll respect your privacy and let it go. If he persists in reaching out, then either discreetly block him after a few days have passed or let him know you are going to block him in order to 'give him his privacy'.
Chatting with your boss' boss on a gay social app can be more complicated that getting to the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee. Drive carefully!