A friend of mine once showed me a photograph of a girl, somewhere between the ages of 20 and 25, standing in a bathroom, photograph taken of the reflection in the mirror. She was perched on the balls of her feet, glancing over her shoulder, wearing nothing but knee-high socks and the rubber band that held her blue hair up in a top-knot. No makeup. Duck face. Not my type. He and I were at a bar, watching the game.
She had very nice breasts, that stranger, and she had a tattoo of a bird over her hip. There was a grey towel in the background. I still remember this. It was about three years ago.
My friend, whose roguish smile as he showed me the image on his phone was likely the same roguish smile that enticed that sylph into sending such a photograph, was unfazed.
“Who’s that?” I asked.
“Some girl,” he replied.
“Does she know you’re showing that to randos?”
“Hitting send means show your friends,” he laughed.
“Um, I’m not sure she’s aware of that…and that doesn’t really rhyme.”
I never learned that girl’s name, and my friend has since gotten married to someone I have not seen in knee socks, but I have seen a former sexual partner of someone naked, and I don’t know who she is.
The truth is, I’ve always subscribed to the notion of keeping the truly sacred things private, while being willing to have the rest of my life basically torn apart by the rabid bored hyenas of the general public under the age of 40.
There are nude photos of me on various outlets of the internet, and I would say that the majority of my Contacts list has seen R-Rated (or worse) selfies from time to time. There are clips on many phones of me doing things that would cause nuns to have heart attacks and Republicans to pass indecency laws. I’m not proud. I figure that one day I’ll have cellulite, (more) wrinkles, and joints too arthritic to kneel. While I’ve got it, I flaunt it, and I assume that what I flaunt, shoot, or send gets shared.
And, really, if I’m recording it on your phone or sending it to you, I probably don’t actually care. Because real intimacy, in my experience, is the type of thing that doesn’t need to be captured on a pixelated display for future viewing. So if you have me, naked, somewhere in your digital memory, I assume you’ve showed it to others, and it’s just as much an illustration of your despicableness and lack of tact as my own.
Other than revenge porn, the way I see it, both smutty parties are to blame.
That said, I think there is a sort of show-your-work thought process that ought to be employed if you’re so much as musing about sending your tits, ass, or other bits to a friend, lover, or stranger.
SET A PASSCODE.
I repeat, set a passcode. Either change the settings so that your messages don’t blow up your lock screen or enable a means of shutting down access to your phone. Right now. Do this. I’ll wait.
Ok. You do this for a multitude of reasons, one of which is that, if your phone is face up in a place like a meeting, a family dinner at Applebees, or while you are on a date with another potential body to send you a naked selfie, the other parties involved aren’t privy to the goods. Not because that would be an accidental violation of the sender’s intimately shared privacy, and potentially embarrassing to you, but also because those other people might not be into knee socks. Or schoolgirl uniforms. Or half of a mascot suit, whatever.
(For the record, I neither have set a passcode nor have changed the settings to not allow tiny thumbnails of picture messages to magically appear when sent, but I’m essentially a hermit orphan who never leaves the house, unless it’s to get naked with another person.)
Although I have been in relationships where there was basically an ankle tracking device affixed to me, marking my every move, most healthy sex partners don’t necessarily know where their lover is at any given moment. They could be with their family, and unless they are freaky hippie types or blind, that would just make sharing the Bloomin’ Onion kind of awkward. You run less of a risk of having to meet their boss than having to meet their younger brother, the later of which will undoubtedly be an experience for everyone. Merry Christmas?
Forever: it’s a long time.
Chances are, you will be an ex one day. It may not end amicably. Think of the last person you had a nasty falling out with, perhaps you walked in on them cheating with a girl obsessed with ‘kawaii’ culture meowing repeatedly into the pillow, or they forgot your birthday. Whatever. Whoever you were last really and truly angry at, do you want them to see you masturbating while eating a cupcake until the end of time or their phone is stolen and iCloud account magically deleted? No? Just keep that in mind. The Internet is forever. True love is not.
“Bigger than bigger.” Maybe?
BEEN THERE, DONE THIS. Hot presumably lesbian Apple employee asks, “Could I see your phone for a minute?” after I was having issues with getting error messages when sending texts.
Boom. Dick pic.
Well, there goes her thinking I’m bisexual.
The rest of our Troubleshooting consult I don’t remember. I think she fixed the problem, and I almost walked face-first into the glass door on my way out. To my credit, it was a lovely specimen of male genitalia. Good lighting. A+.
Find My Moan
The only thing worse than seeming to have the incorrect gender preference for a potential Apple employee discount is not knowing who is seeing you naked. At least with friends and family, there’s that Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Naked thing. When you lose your phone…
Tit for tats or tits for tits? Not so much.
I can only speak for yours truly, but if I’m posing, I probably want something in return. More often than not, I’ve sent something and gotten bupkis. Often there’s just poorly spelled words mid-masturbation after it’s either saved or delivered. Unfair. Remember playground rules: I show you mine, you show me yours?
Hilarious that, as I type this, I realize that not once did a dick pic entice me to send any image of myself in return. Other than maybe a chastising furrowed brow selfie. If I wanted to send a photo, I would have done it already, dude.
And a footnote to all of this? If there’s something sexy being recorded, chances are I wanted the footage for my own amusement and bragging rights and am now too shy to tell you. See what clothes do?
Ask yourself, “Have I been drinking or doing something else that can impair my judgment, ability to operate heavy machinery, or drive a car?” Did you have trouble taking off the clothes you were wearing due to issues with gravity and balance? If other substances are involved, don’t send the image. What’s worse than drunk dialing? Drunk texting, because it can be screen-capped. What’s worse that drunk texting? Drunk picture messaging. Or video messaging. Or audio messaging, slurred, which is basically the same thing as drunk dialing. There should be a, “Give me your keys, give me your phone” friend policy for wild nights out. Designated driver, designated texter, that sort of thing.
In the immortal words of The Who, “Who are you?”
If you’re making moving images, think about the motivation for him (or her) to record it. If you don’t know the person well enough to answer that, I’m not going to ask you why you’re sleeping with them, but I will ask why are you sleeping with them, on their phone, forever?
Absolutely, there’s a complementary aspect to, “Hand me my phone, I wanna take a picture/record this” as you’re doing whatever, but if it were so easy to be a porn star wouldn’t everybody with a tribal band tattoo and a tube of self-tanner be doing it? Make-up, production assistants, lights, legal, green screens, STD tests…actual porn takes work, and money, and porn stars. You wanna know why? Real sex isn’t always sexy. It’s often weird looking. And awkward.
Lastly, fair warning, do not sponsor a “Beaver Hunt.” Arm yourself and be forewarned. Revenge porn is a very real thing, and it doesn’t have to be you in a Sasha Grey-like scenario. Selfies? Yep. They count. And you don’t want to become just another unsuspecting statistic, may you be the recipient or the sender.
Now if you’re still going to cross the rubicon of Send, at least message me a copy first.
[Note: If you have been a victim of revenge porn, or know someone who has, End Revenge Porn has all the information you need to fight back or help out.]