Send “Nudes”

By Puja

If you have ever for even a hot second internet dated, you know that refrain. For those who don’t, you may have missed out on the age of free dating app (OK Cupid, Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, Boondoggle, and WasteYourTime2016 – only a few of those are fake). Most of these apps are basically Open Table for nooners. You upload some pictures, maybe write a witty bio that no one reads, swipe left (yes, please), swipe right (boy bye), hopefully you match and hope you stumble upon a non-troglodyte who you have a back and forth with and then one day this happens:

Match: Ayyye. Whats up?

You: Not much, contemplating a Netflix binge watch. What are you involved in?

Match: Not much. Send Nudes.

OK, maybe it wasn’t always that perfunctory (the above is tame compared to the exhibition of human garbage featured on @Tindernightmares Instagram account).  For the record, I am not on any dating app because I have distaste for saying a machine knows more about my likes and dislikes than my brain. Also I have real fear about AI evolution and computers rising up against humans, but hopefully my single childless ass is dead by then.

AAAANYWAY

Back to the point at hand, “send nudes” usually leads to the un-match button or the cellphone block. But that is when it is a stranger asking. What if that person is someone you like, not seriously dating, not in a committed relationship, just talking to?

First some truths about me:

  1. I hate my body; it is a very visceral hatred. I am working on it, but I am not Rashee.  And to address Rashee directly: no you did not abuse our friendship. It was honestly wonderful to see you so full of love for yourself. SLAY BITCH, slay like you have been doing all these years. Slay for your underappreciated past self, slay for your now self, and keep slaying in the future. And for my other BFFs I will totally do the same for you. I in return, as a show of gratitude, will never ask you to be present for any nude moments of mine.

2. I don’t trust that what I am doing to it would be considered sexy in any sense of the word. I am not one of the younger millennial women who own their bodies and proudly represent it. I am on the cusp of millennial and generation X. I am this weird mix of prudishness but also a supporter of ‘work it if you got it.’ Think of it this way, I have a Tumblr, but I am also keenly aware that my investment strategy for my 401K is too conservative.

At this point, if you are blood related to me (or go to temple with me),  go ahead and close this browser and go back to your regular lives. Please and thank you. If you continue to read this, pretend you didn’t. If you continue to read this and you judge me, I will throat punch you so hard that witnesses will exclaim “Damn that shit on Indiana Jones was TRUE, Indian people can pull a beating heart out of a human’s chest.”

templeofdoom1

 

Mother if you read this, please let us never speak of it. Ever. Yes I know I am supposedly an independent woke AF intersectional feminist, but to my mother I’m her daughter and I don’t want to bring shame upon my ancestors.

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3. I have never sent a nude..but I haven’t not sent stuff. Usually when I get a request for a less than chaste image of my buxom self, this thought pops into my head: I am a feminist, I should not allow myself to be exploited as an object. But I should be more #BodyDamnPositive and cut myself some slack.  The other things that pop into my head (at the same time) are do I trust that this picture would not be shared? Do I feel pretty enough? Will all my imperfections show? Am I relegating myself to THOT status? Will I be respected later? But do I come off as frigid and unapproachable if I refuse? Why is there all this angst? I am struggling to lose the weight I gained over the summer, I don’t feel pretty, let alone sexy. Does this person even care or is this a power move? What if I send this picture, but it is just added to a file in the phone just to prove this person has some power over me? Should I see this through because this is what a more confident woman would do? What if this person got a picture and decided I was disgusting, can I come back from that? I don’t want to be one of many women, I don’t want to be just another girl; I am not a basic bitch. Internal struggle is always such fun.

Going back to the original question: what to do if get hit with the ‘send nudes’ request? I crowd sourced this. Thank you to my  girlfriends who responded; names have been omitted to protect you hussies.

Q: Do you send suggestive pics/nudes?

Those who said yes all had some form of these caveats: (a) never fully nude; (b) never  show my face; (c) Will only send a picture if they get a picture first.

Those who said no said they are either (a) too shy to even take the photo; (b) don’t like the thought of giving someone something that can be picked apart and judged; (c) or because they only give live shows. The exact quote for the last response is worth repeating:

“In real life, once these pants come off…you’re so geeked that I could have a Diana Ross Afro down there and you’re still diving in.”

Q: What is the litmus test to determine whether you send a picture?

The overwhelming response was that only someone who is someone will get a picture. For example, one of these women does include her face in videos (get it girl), but those videos are sent to the Clyde to her Bonnie. You can’t be the fool from Tinder just asking for shit. Did you see my list of personal insecurities from #3? #SafeSpace

Q: Do you ask for pictures?

Those who said yes indicated that it was only asked for as a pre-requisite to sending her own pictures; this is called a quid pro quo. One girl did say she asked for it (she gets shy) to see if she would get a response (she did, but no face). There is one woman who requires especially graphic (ahem) dick pics before she even starts a text conversation with a man. The overwhelming majority of women said no. They JUST get them; unsolicited. For this, I actually advise we all start responding like my hero over there on Tumblr’s Critique My Dick Pick.

One gal pal said “I once had a boyfriend send a photo of his butt saying ‘this is all yours’…I think a more intelligent man would have been more creative, more seducing.”

Q: How do you feel when you take the pictures?

One friend said: Dirty, but not dirty sexy. Dirty dirty. Like shame dirty. “I have always been very self-conscious about my body so I’ve never felt sexy taking pictures like that.Because me not feeling sexy is mainly all in my head; they go nuts over the pictures.”

Another: Men only ask for these pictures to see how much power they have over you. They send unsolicited pics because they think once you get a picture, they can ask for reciprocity; another direct quote “I don’t want the pix to begin with. Penises are useful not attractive.”

I will even throw my story in here: The last individual who asked for a picture, is cut from marble; I am literally the brown marshmallows that no one buys (I think they are covered in toasted coconut). So I felt pressure. Surely this person has been sent pictures by women who don’t look like the sister of the stay puft marshmallow man. I felt pressure to be sexy in a way I don’t know how for a person who is sooo much better looking than me. And it sucks to feel like that.

Q: Why did you agree to send a picture in the first place?

There are a couple friends who freely take, send, ask for, expect and receive pictures and they love their bodies and they are in tune with their sexuality and I aspire to be them…maybe in the next life.

Others said that is just the way modern courtship, dating, and relationships work. This is normal.

Le. Sigh.

Bottom line: when women of a certain age see that request there are a myriad of different reactions. Depending on your level of body positivism, seduction skills, creativity, how you feel that day, if your hair is cooperating, you may decide to go ahead and give this individual you deem worthy that piece of you that you keep so private. Just giving away a part of yourself like that is a struggle for everyone. Power to everyone out there struggling.


Thing Keeping Me Sane This Week: My baby sister is graduating college this weekend. She is the only one out of the five of us who worked full-time AND went to school full-time all four years. I am incredibly proud of all she was able to accomplish (especially this year) and cannot wait to see what she will do next. Also she guest blogged for this very blog before. My baby is all grown up, I love you baboo (but dear God I hope you didn’t read this post).

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