I was in high school during the cusp of the nude picture phenomenon. Before the invention of Snapchat, kids my age had to send to our nudes the old-fashioned way: in a picture message with the faith that our boyfriend of three weeks loved us enough not to show or share it with anyone. We were young, naïve, and absolutely clueless. When Vanessa Hudgens’ nudie pictures were leaked, every girl in my grade had a mini panic attack that one day, something like that would happen to her. It instilled a fear in us greater than the horror of going to prom without a date.
Now that I’m in college and my peers have lesser morals and the clever guise of Snapchat, sending nudes is more common than actually getting laid. Personally, I’m not a fan of sending or receiving such images, mostly because I don’t like looking at my own body, and penises by themselves scare me. So imagine my surprise when the first thing I see in the morning is straight up shaft. Not in my bed, not in my dreams, but through my cracked iPhone screen–which did not do the picture any justice. I immediately cursed Gmail’s spam filter for allowing such filth to reach my inbox, but then I realized that there was a much more plausible cause for the horrifying images on my screen.
What the fuck did I do last night?
Last night was a typical Thirsty Thursday. Like clockwork, around 8 p.m., I got the usual “Going downtown?” text from friends and ex-lovers alike. Peer pressure is my favorite excuse for making regrettable decisions, so I put on the first outfit I could find, downed half of a bottle of wine while putting on my makeup, and left my apartment with my tiny purse in hand to catch my Uber. In typical girl fashion, I didn’t pay for any of my drinks that night, which meant I got way drunker than I intended to, but still I managed to get tucked safely in bed by my kind best friends who also put an Advil and a glass of water on my bedside table. I woke up alone (thank you, baby Jesus) with a pounding headache and the eerie feeling that something bad happened that only comes from a blackout. I had no idea how bad it actually was.
Like any good millennial, the first thing I do in the mornings after I wipe the sleep from my eyes is check social media. Like any good millennial with a (semi-professional) job, I also check my email. After checking Twitter and Facebook and deleting all statuses I posted while inebriated, I opened up Gmail to see that I had a new message from an address I’d never emailed before. It’s marked urgent, because apparently Gmail has a sense of humor greater than God’s.
I opened the email and read a very misspelled paragraph saying how glad this person was to have met me last night, and how he hopes I’ll give him a call soon. He left his number and two attachments, which, in my morning haze, I opened before the preview could load. Oh, the mistake my impatience cost me.
There it was, literally staring at me in the face. Standing at attention was this stranger’s sperminator. The next picture was similar, but taken in a different location. Apparently this guy couldn’t choose between the two, because they were both SO visually appealing, so he decided to send both. In an email. To my university-given email account. That would be an awkward judicial hearing for misuse of university property.
Once the shock wore off, I tried to put it behind me (pun intended). I couldn’t delete it, so it just sat there at the top of my inbox, mocking me. I was already late to work and I couldn’t waste time deciphering the context of this email or how it came to be, so like most of the problems I face, I decided to ignore it and hope it would go away.
I got to work that day around lunchtime, and the whole gang was in the break room eating and talking. Working in an office where 90 percent of the staff is under 30 is great because they’re young enough to revel in your drunken adventures and not look down on you for them. Most of them own homes and cars and invest in their 401(k), but they still enjoy living vicariously through people whose self-esteem is still astronomically high and have yet to stand in a line and cross the stage at graduation like lambs waiting to be slaughtered. Seeing as I’m crawling into the office with my head twice its normal size (or maybe that’s just me?) and stuffing my face with greasy pizza, they correctly assume I went out last night. “How was your night?” someone ask innocently. “Same old, same old,” I reply. “I drank too many gin and tonics, ate shit in my new heels, and I woke up to dick pics in my email.” Conversations halted. Heads turned. Some asked for an explanation, someone (Veronica) asked to see the pictures. I pulled them up on my phone and after commenting on the size of the monstrosity, she pointed out something I had failed to notice on my first look.
The guy was wearing a wedding ring. A WEDDING RING. He was holding his iPhone with his left hand that conveniently showed off the silver band around his ring finger. A married man was sending me (multiple!) dick pics through email. I couldn’t even deal. I hung my head in shame, took the laughing and pointing from my coworkers in stride, and vowed never to give my email to strangers in bars ever again. But what about the story?
The dirty details of how the legendary dick pics ended up in my inbox is less than climactic: I don’t remember. The only explanation I have is that I’m usually pretty reluctant to give guys my number at a bar, but this guy must’ve been persistent enough for some kind of line of communication, so I gave in and told him my email address. I know how stupid that sounds. This isn’t 1999 and the guy obviously wasn’t cute enough to warrant giving out my phone number, but blackout brain doesn’t understand the concept of rejection, with drinks or men. I had no idea he would molest my inbox with his member. I guess I thought I was being nice? Consider this a lesson learned. Don’t give out your email to strangers, because they just might abuse that innocent form of media with their penis..