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Mar. 28th, 2012

Hi, everybody. I'm new to this community and relatively new to the world of commissioned artwork (as you'll probably be able to tell from this post), and I had a situation I was wondering if the more talented artists would be willing to review and assist me with. I know it's partially my fault because I could have cut it off already, but at this point I'm a little nervous about the whole thing...so:

I became an acquaintance of someone who lives in my town, a man of about 60 years of age, and he seemed very nice and interested in my artwork (I have some drawings hanging up in the library I work in). He was very polite and quiet but enthusiastic and asked me if I would meet with him sometime to discuss a project that he had in mind that involved drawing, something I could contribute with. Phone numbers were exchanged and I called him, and we met for coffee.

He seemed very polite, still enthusiastic, and told me that so far the project he has in mind is still developing and he didn't want to tell me too much because he was afraid that it would affect the creative process. Kind of weird, but whatever? The concepts he gave me to draw were fairly simple and not at all limiting, so I told him I would do some sketches. I told him it would take me a while because I've already been commissioned to do a mural, and he said okay. I asked him if a week or two would be okay, and he said that was fine, to call him when I had something to show him.

Cool, right?

But then he started calling me himself. He called me once, and left a voicemail that was a little irritating, I think it started with, "Hellloooo, earth to ululare....hellooooo", which was irritating in its own right. I called him back, no answer. Two more voicemails, each getting a little more annoying - "I seem to recall I met a beautiful, talented girl who I asked to draw some things for me..." - "Earth to Astronaut ululare...come in...!".

I called him back but never got him, twice, then gave up for the weekend. Yay, Monday.

So he shows up at my other job, at the local grocery store. He stands in front of the door to the desk I work at and blocks the way for my coworkers manning the safe, asks me questions about why I haven't called him more and if I have anything to show him, and what have I been up to, and why am I so busy? In the meantime, I'm dealing with customers, doing my job, answering the phone, trying to understand what he's asking over transactions, and trying to convey my apologies via my eyes to my coworker who keeps having to ask him to move out of the way. He said he wanted to meet on Friday to see what I had done. I said, okay, I'll think about it and see what I have to do, and he said he'd call me. I planned on calling him tomorrow to ask him to let me finish the mural and contact him when that was done, removing a lot of stress from my life and our interactions.

Only he showed up at my job again today. He told me I looked sad. Cute, but sad. I was put off from the beginning, my heart sank the instant I saw him, and I'm sure he could tell I was a little resentful. He kept telling me I looked sad, like he wanted me to pour my heart out to him, although I told him I was just tired. He asked me if I was on drugs, and I almost lost it at that point. I told him that I needed to finish the mural, so with my apologies I would have to postpone our meeting. He couldn't seem to understand that the mural needed to be done to generate publicity for a future event, "That's not until September, why does it need to be done now?". I was getting irritated and it was beginning to show. I told him that I needed to get back to work and that I had made arrangements to do the mural first, it's half done, and they're paying me. He has not mentioned money at all, and I need to finish the mural, because, well...it's my responsibility? It came first. They're paying me. They've already paid me an advance. I don't see what's not to get.

So what does he say as he leaves?

"I'll call you."

I have no idea what to do except say, "Sorry, I would prefer if we forget about this entire thing, I've signed no contract and there has been no word of payment. You can take the sketches I did, and do whatever you want with them, as long as you leave me alone."

I have no experience with things like this. If I was a boy, I know he wouldn't be treating me like this, calling me "cutie-pie" or "beautiful". I don't need anyone calling me beautiful. Maybe he thinks he's just complimenting me, but it makes me so uncomfortable.

But I don't know if I'm overreacting. My flist says I'm not, my family doesn't seem to think it's a big deal (his behavior). I'm really grateful to anyone who has even read this far, let alone thoughtful enough to comment for me. I'm really sorry this got so long. I don't mean to be whiny. I'm just a little worried. Thanks for reading, really!

EDIT: I just wanted to thank everyone for their advice. You're all wonderful and you all had some great points. My boss(es)/coworkers have all been made aware of the situation. I'm almost afraid the guy will come to bodily harm. I haven't called him because I haven't heard or seen him. I'm hoping it stays that way - forever! But I will update if something does happen, good or bad.

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( 97 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 29th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
If your gut is telling you this is wrong, then it is, period. It doesn't matter if your family thinks you're overreacting, because they don't have to live with it on a level that you do. If you are uncomfortable, then cut communication with the guy. The guy is sexually harassing you, bare minimum, and that's not cool.

ETA: Him showing up at your job and asking if you're sad and on drugs is way too far. I'd cut contact as soon as possible. That kind of thing can get you potentially fired, and is really, really inappropriate.

Since you haven't taken any money, I'd just say that everything was off, and that you don't appreciate him showing up at your job to harass you about working for him.

This doesn't even touch the inappropriate nicknames he's giving you.

Edited at 2012-03-30 12:37 am (UTC)
Mar. 30th, 2012 01:31 am (UTC)
I wanted to hurl when he called me cutie-pie. I almost said something then and there but - I was at work. I felt kind of trapped at that point!
Mar. 29th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
1. That's creepy as fuck
2. Best thing is to cut off contact, I'd just give him what you have done and tell him "do not bother me again".
Mar. 29th, 2012 11:55 pm (UTC)
This man either lacks a clear understanding of boundaries, or he either knows what the boundaries are but chooses to ignore him.

While your family may see your behaviour as not inappropriate, he has harassed you at work, contacted you several times against your wishes and made unwanted advances along with treating you in a patronizing manner. Maybe I'm being a little quick to judge, but this seems like it's not... about a business transaction at all, and just a way for an older man to have (or demand, if you prefer) the attention of a younger woman.

Don't let him have the sketches for free. While you may just want him out of your hair, it's essentially rewarding bad behaviour. Send him an invoice for your time - then cut off all contact. Block his number or save it on your phone as "do not answer." Try to make your family see your point of view, they'd probably treat it differently if this was a young man hassling you but why should his age give him a free pass? I really wish you the best of luck in this awkward situation.
Mar. 30th, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)
Agreed. Send him a quote for his project, and feel free to invoice him for consulting services. Tell him you will not touch pencil to paper until you see some money.

Right now he's harassing you for free art.
(no subject) - syrusb - Mar. 30th, 2012 12:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ululare - Mar. 30th, 2012 01:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - ululare - Mar. 31st, 2012 01:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - shukivengeance - Mar. 30th, 2012 07:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 29th, 2012 11:58 pm (UTC)
If you don't like it, cancel. Right now, there's no commitment one either side, so you can call it off at a moment's notice.

Whether or not it's too much for you to deal with is really up to you, but I'd say he's unlikely to get better. If you want to try again, set firm dates. If he doesn't stick to those, just apologize and say that you are not the artist for the job.

You can also ask him more about where this project is going and give him a quote of what it would be worth to you, including what it would be worth to put up with him acting the way he is. Just make sure that you're actually willing to deal with him for the quoted amount.
Mar. 30th, 2012 12:34 am (UTC)
And totally feel free to quote a high price to put him off, IMO.
(no subject) - ululare - Mar. 30th, 2012 01:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - animecat - Mar. 30th, 2012 01:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ululare - Mar. 30th, 2012 01:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - animecat - Mar. 30th, 2012 01:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ululare - Mar. 30th, 2012 01:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - animecat - Mar. 30th, 2012 01:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ululare - Mar. 30th, 2012 01:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dinogrrl - Mar. 30th, 2012 02:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Mar. 31st, 2012 12:39 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 29th, 2012 11:59 pm (UTC)
You are absolutely not overreacting. His behavior is absolutely inappropriate. (Regardless of age, but if you are young enough to be his daughter? Double the creepy factor.) Your family may not see anything wrong, but I highly disagree. You are uncomfortable, and you absolutely do not have to put up with that even with a paying customer.

You are likely going to have to put your foot down on this. Tell him you were PAID to do the mural and it is going to come first before anything else.

But you know, if it were me, I would just cut him off completely and state that he is to not come to your job to bug you, period. If he does, you are going to your supervisor and/or calling the cops. Honestly? Him just showing up at your job more than once is enough of a red flag for me.
Mar. 30th, 2012 01:33 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm way younger than he is. I think I'll cut him off completely too =(
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 30th, 2012 01:53 am (UTC)
This. This X 100. I wouldn't be surprised if he's gotten away with harassing young ladies in the past and that's why he seems so oblivious to common courtesy-guys with a sense of entitlement like that, whether they're 20 or 80, are ticking temper bombs, especially if they feel they're "being really nice" to you. Drop it like it's burning your hand, I say.
(no subject) - ululare - Mar. 30th, 2012 01:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - meglyman - Mar. 31st, 2012 12:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2012 12:02 am (UTC)
Tell him in any format you like, that you'd prefer not to have contact with him any further.

I can see how most people would find his behavior the typical "harmless nosy old man" but honestly, this sounds a little more then that. He shouldn't be harassing you, or coming to your workplace. He should not be leaving such irritating messages on your phone. He should absolutely not be making comments like "cutie pie" and "beautiful". He's a complete stranger, not your doting grandpa.

So yes, tell him that you cannot take his proposed work, and that you'd like him to stop contacting you. Sometimes people can become fixated like he seems to be, and the further they're strung along, the harder it will be to distance yourself from him. So be upfront.
Mar. 30th, 2012 12:05 am (UTC)
If he hasn't paid you and may not pay you at all you should cut off contact with him asap. If this is how he is behaving in only the beginning stages of the project it's not going to get any better, and frankly someone (let alone a 60 year old) repeatedly showing up at your places of employment and calling you pet names is inappropriate, and a little unsettling. I'd highly advise taking the course of action you suggested, telling him you are no longer interested, only give him the sketches if he doesn't react in a terrible way to this. If he continues to seek you out in public tell him or have a friend/co worker tell him he needs to leave you alone.
Mar. 30th, 2012 01:34 am (UTC)
It sucks because I live in the tiniest town ever, so asking him to avoid the store altogether would probably be problematic, but if he could just stay away from me? That'd be nice. Thankfully I work somewhere where my supervisors would be more than willing to help me out in talking to him.
(no subject) - elmenora - Mar. 30th, 2012 02:39 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2012 12:05 am (UTC)
Not over reacting, dude is getting pretty creepy..... I'd stop just based on that.
Mar. 30th, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)
I'd be seriously weirded out. He has no right to harass you at home, or cause problems with your other jobs. I'd firmly let him know this is unacceptable behavior and that YOU will contact HIM when you have something or for him to give you more details because it seems like hes just stringing you along. If he doesn't get a clue then get compensation for your work thus far if he wants the sketches. If not, then just wash your hands of it. But I wouldn't give him anything. You have no obligation to do anything for him.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 30th, 2012 01:34 am (UTC)
OMGGGG I would probably barf on him. And then run away.
Mar. 30th, 2012 12:16 am (UTC)
That guy is stepping over boundaries, not understanding other priorities you might have and acting more like a 'friend' than this is a business deal.

I'd politely tell him that you can't provide what he wants (art or friendship wise) and that you need to focus on your jobs, art or otherwise. And that you don't appreciate him showing up to chat while you are on the clock, nor do you appreciate him calling at all random times.

Also, the calling you beautiful, cutie pie? That is unacceptable to.

He either needs to treat this like a commision, a business deal, or you will walk away.
Mar. 30th, 2012 12:19 am (UTC)
yyyyyyeeeeaaaaah that's creepy as fuck. cut off the work for him and cut all contact with him. block his phone number. If he approaches you again, tell your manager or someone who can do something about it that he is harassing you. you shouldn't have to deal with that anywhere, especially at work.

Edited at 2012-03-30 12:20 am (UTC)
Mar. 30th, 2012 12:32 am (UTC)
Sounds like he is hunting for more then just art. :I

I would politely ask him to leave you alone from here on out. I would also keep a journal of when he comes to bug you/call you. You may need it in the future if it gets to a point of needing a restraining order. I'm afraid that might happen, because he tracked you down to your second job...
Mar. 30th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
Refund him and tell him to never contact you again. He's gone way over the line, and if you see him at your work again, call for your manager. That's completely inappropriate, and he's not treating you like a professional adult woman by any stretch.
Mar. 30th, 2012 02:28 am (UTC)
I don't think he ever paid her yet actually. So yeah, he really needs to back off for sure.
(no subject) - starcharmer - Mar. 30th, 2012 02:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ululare - Mar. 30th, 2012 02:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sigilgoat - Mar. 30th, 2012 02:40 am (UTC) - Expand
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