Putting the “D” in app dating

Watch out for the pricks

MUCH has been written about the dick pic as a harmless rite of passage for sexually active young adults and an often-unflattering mode of sexual communication used by men to the dismay of most women on the receiving end. Indeed, a culture of resistance to the dick pic has emerged over the past few years, including hundreds of YouTube videos and online posts that have been viewed millions – yes millions – of times.

So, let me share with you just ONE of my experiences on the full-frontal nudity front.

Not long after I began my foray into the land of dick and honey, I came face to phone with the much talked about (and much less anticipated) delivery of an unsolicited picture of an erect penis into my inbox. This man wasn’t a complete stranger per say; we had sent several messages prior to the dick pic. But, his rather quick draw on the “dictures”, if you will, made my nose crinkle.

I would like to emphasize the “s” on dicks here because his deliveries were certainly plural in nature. All of a sudden, instead of scrolling through black and white texts and yellow emoticons, I was basically up dick’s creek, floating around without a life preserver, as confused as I was intrigued by the intention behind this proliferation of penis.

To be honest, I was a little grossed out when they arrived during our fleeting dating experience. As a newbie in the digital dating pool, I thought to myself, “Why is he sending me these? Why so many?” Meanwhile, as an anthropologist, trained to explore the cultural practices and behaviours of different societies, including our own, I also found myself fascinated by them: What is really being transmitted here?

Instead of wondering, I asked him. To put it gently, his response was less happy-go-lucky than his rather enthusiastic member.

The sender bristled at my inquiry, and instead of telling me why he was sending them, he made an off-hand comment about women who do not find them appealing being “lame.”

Hmm, I thought, if a man were to expose himself unprovoked in public, it would be considered a crime. And yet, now I am being made to feel like Old Mother Hubbard because I expressed surprise at my digital cupboard suddenly being overwhelmed with dicks. Modern dating is weird.

My dick pic sender also informed me that a woman’s reception of these images is a proxy for the man’s evaluation of her as a prospective partner. Apparently, if a woman recoils and expresses said disdain with the sender, she’s not someone worth pursuing.

Does he not realize that most of us, the washed masses, typically delete, gag in silence and share these images with friends while screaming with laughter?

Both women and penises are victims of the preemptive dick display.

While dick pics are typically a great source of comedy, there’s also a more a sinister underbelly that drives theses acts, which they should KNOW we don’t want.

There is much emotional and psychological work thrust upon the poor penis, which typically appears alone in these images and in a constant state of craving. Who can appease this digitized dick? Of course, the sender can, but then why engage the female to begin with? Is her pleasure at all a consideration or is she just being used as a conduit of self-satisfaction and ego inflation? How intertwined is the man’s sense of self with his dick selfie? What are the consequences of this conflation?

And, what of the man who encounters an icy reception to the photo? Is his masculinity somehow softened or called into question? What about his feelings towards women? Will his future objects of desire be contaminated by his feelings of resentment about the women who previously decried the dick pic?

Cultural interests in the prominent place of the dick pic in the global sexual economy aside, I am also curious about the gaping disconnect between these tech-mediated displays of prowess and the rather flaccid reality we are sometimes greeted with in the flesh.

But, my experience with this last contemplation will have to wait for another day – it’s time for me to buzz off and for you to detail your dick-ventures in response to mine!