Save Yourself From Pictures of Strangers’ Penises

I am one of the lucky ones. I, an attractive, heterosexual single woman who has been dating attractive heterosexual single men for upwards of two decades, have never received a photo of a man’s penis without explicitly asking for one. (And that is neither your business nor the central thesis of this post so focus, please.)

And yes, I am in the lucky minority.

It seems like in the last five or six years, good girlfriends, close acquaintances, a stray co worker here and there have casually mentioned having to avoid a man in real life or block him in internet/smart phone life, because “this fool sent me a picture of his peen…and it was such a sad picture…and peen, none the less.” Each time some perturbed woman has shared this with me, I have wondered the same thing she was wondering, “Who sends unsolicited pictures of their special place to people they don’t really know?” After that question goes unanswered, I have usually moved on to the one that has inspired these words you are now reading: “Why have I been spared this pervasive tom foolery?” Don’t get me wrong; I am grateful to the universe for its compassion, but I do wonder how this trend in 21st century courting has managed to bypass my screen.

Mr. Monkey, the unofficial cab driver of the faculty at the boarding school where I teach, has caused me to reflect on the subconscious strategy I have employed to inadvertently shield me from ugly, ill shaped private parts greeting me at 7 o’ clock in the morning. He has made me realize I am acutely aware of how dick-pic-sending men vet their victims.

Mr. Monkey speaks approximately 7 phrases in English. I speak 2.5 words of Chinese. Thanks to Wechat’s super useful translate feature, he and I are able to send text messages through the app that result in my being able to use him for regular rides to the airport, metro and the bank. For some reason, Mr. Monkey has taken to sending me videos randomly. And by random, I mean…truly there is no rhyme or reason to the videos and when he sends them. Three days after we arrange my pick up from the airport, I see a video on the thread. A guy gets on a bike and runs into a tree. I assume Mr. Monkey meant to send this to a friend with whom he shares funny memes and other internet silliness and just ignore the post.

A week after that, I get a video of goats running around carefree as if they are at recess in goat primary school. Then, someone starts chasing after the goats with a machete. Mr. Monkey sends a message with the video this time. “Very funny?” It strikes me: Oh, he intends for me to engage in banter with him about these videos.

Now, here is when the strategy to not have to look at a man’s wrinkly, itty bitty johnson comes into play. There is a slight chance Mr. Monkey just thinks I am a nice teacher lady and he wants to practice his English. There is a chance he sends random ass videos about random ass things to several of his customers. There is a chance the videos are harmless.

But, I am not willing to take that chance. When I was much younger, I joked with a man about something I can not remember now. It was a typical smart ass remark that playfully mocked some trait he professed to have. He seemed to take me seriously so I quickly explained, “Oh, don’t mind me; I am just teasing you.” His response: “Oh, you like teasing people, huh?” I took his question as a literal follow up to my very literal explanation. I then found out we were having two different conversations; the one he was having was laced with delusional assumptions.

The minute or so of awkwardness that ensued taught me a valuable lesson: Men be vetting women.

I have not responded to any of the three videos that followed the one with the goats who were unaware recess would end with their slaughter. I have ridden in Mr. Monkey’s car once since the random videos started showing up on my Wechat. I made no mention of the videos and “Why don’t you say anything about my funny videos” is not one of the seven English phrases Mr. Monkey has memorized and can repeat with confidence.

My messages that only say: “Need to go to metro. Tomorrow at 4” let Mr. Monkey know my only interest in him is as a reliable driver who can get me to and fro in a timely fashion. His possible vetting of me should have left him with this conclusion: She is not one of those un-owned women who wants to engage in negotiations with potential buyers. Any possible follow up of a picture of his peen, a video of his peen or a link to a picture or video of his peen should be effectively averted.

Yes, I realize the flaws with my strategy. The not so subtle reinforcement of victim blaming it suggests. There is, also, sufficient evidence to prove my don’t-engage-with-terrorists defense is shaky. One of the first women who shared her trauma of an almost-stranger gifting her a picture of his abnormally large peen ended her story with: I really don’t know how he got my number, either. She had met him through other people and imagined that given the context of that meeting, he could have gotten her information from a mutual acquaintance who assumed this seemingly sane and civilized person was just collecting numbers to build a network of young professionals with whom he could exchange useful resources.

Flaws and hypocrisies aside, I will again state: I am in that minority of single women who have only heard about this phenomenon of adult men peddling their marked down merchandise via the smart phones of consumers who still don’t want whatever it is they think they’re selling. If you have been as fortunate as I have been, I suggest you increase your awareness and be hyper vigilant. Mr. Monkey tried to figure out where I was going the last time he drove me to the airport. I stared at him blankly and continued to look out the window.

I no longer get videos.

You’re welcome, Single Women of the World.

3 Responses

  1. There we have it again…such plain truth and timeless advice given in a Keturah-esque manner. This is just pure wisdom that only the non-hypocritical few would take. Kudos to you ma’am.

  2. I feel you. Reminds me of the time that an Uber driver tried very hard to ask me out. Yes, he came across respectful and nice but still…not appropriate and it was my home that I got dropped off at. I think, what if he was someone with bad intentions that would try to come back later. I think about these things more because it is just too easy for weird people to find info, use their professional access for unprofessional means, etc. Interesting post.

    • Yes! And there is the part of this equation that is not funny at all. Men just assume women really don’t spend much of our time trying to preempt assault. And to be clear: unsolicited dick pics are just that…assault. The “good” guys who mean no harm when they try to illicit real interactions from women who have shown no interest lose out, but oh well…I will continue preempting assault on my person.

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