It’s Creep Week on Paging Dr. NerdLove – we’re talking about reforming creepers, how to handle them when you’re confronted by them and how to not be that guy at popular nerd gatherings.
Today we have the letter that kicked things off: a reader who wants to know how to handle a creeper in the fringes of her social circle:
Hi Doctor NerdLove,
I’ve been following your blog for a couple months now, and I think you could really help out with something, or someone in this case.
I’m a cosplayer, and I like being connected with the cosplay community in my area. However, there is this one cosplay photographer (let’s call him J) who has a history of being problematic and frankly, a creeper.
To sum him up, J is in his mid-30’s, single, and really looking for a girlfriend. He uses his photography as an excuse to meet younger cosplay girls (some of them underage). He often asks for private photoshoots (usually in a public area, but still alone with a girl), offers to buy them things, or takes them out, usually for meals or a movie.
I will admit that I was one of J’s… “targets” for a while, when I was fairly new to the cosplay scene. He would constantly IM me on Facebook, to the point where I would only check Facebook for a few minutes before he had the chance to start chatting. He also would hover when I was at cosplay meet-ups, and asked for photoshoots that separated me from the group. One time I did cave to an offer to hang out, and there was some photos taken that made me feel uncomfortable, which I asked him to delete later. All his attention stopped as soon as I got a boyfriend though, which I’m grateful about. Other girls however, have had to deal with a lot worse.
J’s behavior has been going on for a while; it’s happened to enough girls that there’s a Facebook group all about him and trying to prevent him from creeping on other girls. Some of his guy friends are in said group too, but more because he has other problematic qualities that make him difficult to deal with. He invites himself along to group hangouts when he’s unwanted, he owes some of them a fair amount of money, and he often complains and makes himself out to be a victim.
This past summer, there was an intervention for J where a few friends pointed out his behavior, and asked him to start changing. He said he would work on it, and for a few months there didn’t seem to be any major new developments; no bad news, but not a lot of good news either. However, he seems to be up to his old ways and unwilling to change. His few friends are at the end of their ropes and want to cut ties all together.
How can you help someone who’s unwilling to change? How can you make him see that he has to change, or else alienate everybody he knows? Personally, I would like to just sit him down at a laptop and make him read the entire Doctor Nerdlove archives, but hopefully you have a better solution.