My mind has been wandering of late. In fact, ever since I learnt of the practice of sending pictures of one’s genitalia through the ether to an unsuspecting or participial audience, I have wanted to write about it. But how to do so and not fall victim to every lewd pun short of repeating the Penis Song from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life?
Thank you Ombudsman Otálora for making this debate topical in Colombia and reminding us of events surrounding New York’s dexterously named Anthony Weiner. While I am on the subject, it would presumably be too much if FIFA presidential hopeful Tokyo Sexwale fell victim to the “penis selfie” (PS) form of today’s ostentatious selfie-culture as well? A headline writer redundancy would surely loom for that scandal.
But the subject of the PS needs to be taken seriously as it goes much further than a simple penchant for sexting, far beyond the obvious dangers and examples set to further induce our adolescents and tweens into poor decision-making, in that adults themselves feel that they have an unwritten assent to post an unsolicited picture of their Percy.
We’ve reached an evolved stage where The Guardian’s Soulmates is too demure and the casual encounters section of Craigslist has given way, I suppose, to the thrilling immediacy of Tinder and Snapchat.
Surely I’m already behind the times and there’s a new option or app out there. Experts can feel free to laugh at my expense. What now makes the front page of the press represents some strange zeitgeist influenced by the effortlessness of capturing your John Thomas on camera.
And it baffles me.
Call me an uptight old prude but it would never cross my mind to take a penis selfie, let alone send it to someone. Is it appropriate to say that I am camera shy in this department? On Instagram would you use the Gingham, Slumber, or Lo-Fi filter?
Thankfully my dating years were done before the camera phone became ubiquitous, and I was never able to be tempted into such a display of artistic free expression.
Don’t confuse this PS practice with courtship and gallantry, lobbing over an unrequested dick pic on a dating site is quite possibly the online version of a park bench flasher. It’s a power game employed to elicit a reaction to this form of exhibitionism but without the beige mackintosh.
After doing some research online and speaking to friends who have been involved with various dating sites, it becomes clear that the phenomenon of the PS is indeed quite the norm. In using the collaborative power of the internet, gents get snap happy and, on occasion, a lady may send back a picture of her breasts or so I have heard.
I have read that there are women out there who request the image, fair play to them. And I have it in confidence that there are those who collect the images too. This is not a Panini sticker album. Not knowing any better I am inclined to believe that these women are an exception to the rule. Correct me if I am wrong please.
The danger is, of course, that these pics can be held on to forever, used for ransom and resurface years later as with the scandal now surrounding Mr. Otálora and unravelling (shriveling?) his professional and very probably private life. Guilty or not, consenting or not, he’ll never shirk this reputation.
Remember when people were scandalized by the toe-sucking story as it broke in August 1992? I’ll refresh your memory. While Princess Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew had effectively separated in January of that year, all hell broke loose when the Daily Mirror published the grainy images of John Bryan, an American financial manager, canoodling with Sarah Ferguson’s toes. Oh the innocence of the early 1990s!
I know we cannot return to the naiveté of the good old days when a member of the royal family in a toe scandal was too much to handle? Where does one go from here in that it seems to be quite normal to post intimate pictures and share them? What are we left with now as an option for the next fad? The mind boggles as this unacceptable boundary is drawn and then crossed.
Presumably, in trying to grapple with this difficult science, allowing men and women to cut to the chase, we are grappling with another darker taboo embracing consumerism and social media.
I suppose, in writing this random stream of consciousness inspired by Mr. Otálora’s exhibitionism, I remain befuddled by this behavior, but ask of my fellow man to think long and hard about participating in this practice and with whom. What kind of response are you expecting? What if your target audience responds to your PS with a picture of a better looking penis or another appropriate putdown?
As my investigation into the penis selfie continued I have been made aware of sites which are “appropriate” for this conduct. My advice is therefore to keep your trouser snake under wraps, it’s debatable whether any good will come of your miniature portrait.
However if you are interested in exhibitionism, you can direct message me and I’ll pass on the details of these dedicated websites. Unfortunately, due to Messrs. Weiner, Otálora and Co., I cannot return to my state of blissful ignorance (and innocence) regarding the existence of the PS.
The PS is now forever in the public domain and Colombia is no exception.