Dear John: My Neighbor Is A Pervert

Dear John addresses a guy next door watching porn, a girlfriend posing nude for art school, and a passive-aggressive neighbor.

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Dear John,

Occasionally, I can see that my next-door neighbor is watching pornographic movies. (Our houses are pretty close together.) It’s not as though it would be visible to someone walking by on the sidewalk, and I live alone so I don’t have kids who might see. But I must admit, I hate knowing that’s what he’s doing. Should I tell him he might want to pull the shade? I hardly know the guy, but I’ve come to think of him as the pervert next door.

I’d Rather Not Know

Dear Rather Not,

If it bothers you so much, have you considered simply pulling your own shade? And if that makes him a pervert, I’m not sure what would pass for normal in our pornography-saturated culture.

Dear John,

Now that school is back in session, my girlfriend wants to earn a little extra money by posing nude for art students. I really dislike this idea because I don’t want a bunch of horny college guys ogling my nude girlfriend, plain and simple. She says I’m a closed-minded philistine, there’s nothing sexual about it, and if I have a problem with it, that’s MY problem. What’s your opinion?

Drawing the Line

Dear Drawing the Line,

I actually have two opinions: one about this situation and one about the way you’re both dealing with it.

First, on posing nude: your girlfriend is being naïve if she thinks this is not a sexual situation (although I’m sure for her it is not). When a guy is in a room with a woman whose clothes are off, for the guy, that’s a sexual situation. (What’s really laughable is the notion that a guy who’s a painter would not sully the purity of his art with carnal thoughts. They’re the worst ones!)

But so what? So a “horny college guy” looks at your nude girlfriend. What’s going to happen? I’ll tell you what: he’s going to think to himself, “She’s hot / she’s not hot / she has too much this / she’s got great that” etc. while he draws a mediocre-to-bad picture of her. That’s what will happen. You have to ask yourself why that bothers you so much. Which leads to my first opinion: you’re way too controlling. Your girlfriend wants to do something perfectly legitimate to earn some money I assume she needs, and you’re basically forbidding it like she’s a child and you’re her dad. This is a very bad sign for your relationship.

Another bad sign is the way the two of you deal with problems. You both sound very rigid and closed to your partner’s point of view. A disagreement that should be an opportunity to listen and also to be heard becomes two people with their arms crossed standing back-to-back. This has nothing to do with the merits (or lack thereof) of posing nude. This has to do with what you both do when you disagree.

For your relationship to have a chance of success, you have to stop thinking of a girlfriend as something you own. And you both have to find a way to solve conflicts that goes beyond “This is what I’m doing whether you like it or not.”

Dear John,

I recently had my house painted. I spent a lot of time selecting the colors and the painter I hired did a great job. Now one of my neighbors takes every opportunity to passive-aggressively let me know how much she dislikes my color choices. Did you consider this color, did you know how much these flowers would clash with the house, did you want it to be that dark, things like that. This is really starting to get to me—what can I tell her to get her to drop it?

Color Me Annoyed

Dear Annoyed,

I’m not sure it will get her to drop it, but simply tell her that your choice of house color seems to be some kind of preoccupation with her and while you appreciate her interest, you’re very happy with your house. If she continues to bring it up, remind her that you’ve already had this conversation, it wasn’t particularly interesting the first time, and it certainly isn’t more so now.

You may also enjoy: Dear John: Going From One Bad Relationship To Another

Photo credit: Flickr / Cubosh

About John Simpson,

John is a middle-aged family man from Providence. If you learn from your mistakes, he’s brilliant. His column runs regularly on


  1. John Simpson says:

    Yes, this applies to doctors, too. I’m certainly not suggesting this is PRIMARILY a sexual situation, but anyone who thinks the typical male physician doesn’t have sexual thoughts at times during a medical exam has a circumscribed view of male sexuality. I had a physician friend many years ago who admitted as much in private among friends. These are simply fleeting reflexive thoughts – they do not compromise a physician’s competence in any way or influence his ability to provide care. I’m not sure why that would make it illegal for men to be doctors. Thanks for reading and commenting.


    • Yikes, this is why I prefer to see female doctors!

      When I was in my early 20’s, I had a gynecological exam from a youngish male doctor who seemed to be attracted to me. He did absolutely nothing inappropriate but I got the distinct impression that he found me attractive and that the exam caused him to FEEL something inappropriate. He was just a little too friendly afterwards and seemed nervous and even slightly upset. He was a very nice doctor and totally professional yet I cannot tell you how incredibly creeped out I was by this experience.

  2. “When a guy is in a room with a woman whose clothes are off, for the guy, that’s a sexual situation.”
    So, does this apply to doctors too? Because geez, that would mean it should be illegal for men to be doctors or, god forbid, gynecologists to treat women.

  3. Paul Norberg says:

    Dear John
    I disagree that any time that a woman has her clothes off in a room that has men it is a sexual situation. For many, I’m sure that you’re correct, however that is the limitation of the individual and not the situation. However the blanket assumption I feel is off the mark. Your response to “Drawing The Line” control and communication issues is spot on in my opinion though. He is not approaching the conversation as an equal, and he is only reinforcing stereotypical patriarchal bullshit. Thank you for having this dialogue. Keep up the good work.

  4. As an artist I have taken many life drawing classes with nude models. If the model is attractive, then yes a few sexual thoughts pass through your brain. But it’s a very formal, academic setting, and drawing is very focused brain work. You should not assume the room will be filled with “horny college guys ogling and making mediocre-to-bad paintings”. It will be filled with art students of both genders studying human anatomy and concentrating on drawing or painting.

    • I agree with Eshto; it’s not a very sexually thrilling environment. The model is usually only nude during the drawing session at which time the students will be more focused on what the charcoal is doing to the paper than the model’s naughty bits; the rest of the time he or she wears a robe, sari, or other piece of loose clothing. Sure some sexual thoughts may pass through some of the students’ heads (guys and girls,) that’s nature and really not all that different from seeing an attractive guy or girl on the street. Will there be some students that are immature and childish, yes, and they tend to be the minority.

      Also, John, shame on you for this:
      “When a guy is in a room with a woman whose clothes are off, for the guy, that’s a sexual situation.”

      Stereotype much?

      • John Smith says:

        From my expirince the once that are there just to draw “nuudy pics” and look at “neked chicks” get weeded out long before you get to life drawing in college because the lectures are well aware that it will attract some of “that type”. Allot of time is spent drawing very boring things for two reasons, one it weeds out those ideots and two drawing the human body take allot of skill.

        Teachers don’t want people who are just there to look at naked people because they are a waste of time and give the class a bad name.

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