Trolling A Troll

It’s probably not actually related, but I will remember it for this reason: Donald Trump was elected president of the United States on the day I got my first dick pic. My cellphone chirped in the middle of the night, waking me. (I keep it on because I know no one will call unless it’s an emergency.) I don’t even have to click on the message to see in the preview it’s a dick pic. I didn’t realize how upsetting it could be. I’m not traumatized, no, nothing like that, but I felt oddly somewhat violated. I hadn’t wanted to see that, I’d been woken up, it startled me, and it disgusted me. I’ve been attracted to both men and women, but a random image of a dick has never been an attractive image, yet a lot of men still don’t seem to realize this. I quickly smirked to myself a moment later; “Well, that’s never happened before. That was the first,” I thought. Without even thinking about it I immediately deleted it and tried to fall back asleep. But, I couldn’t fall asleep. Now I was wondering if I shouldn’t have deleted it in case I need to use it as evidence. Then I start wondering if there’s an app that will bring it back. Then I start wondering who sent it. Did it belong to the person who sent it? Why did they send it? Was it a prank? Was someone laughing at the idea of me receiving it? Was it a wrong number? Was it one of the people I’d messaged on a dating site? How did they have my number? Did I give my number to a creep at some point in time? Did someone give my number out? Is my number listed somewhere? Was someone upset with me? Do they know who I am? Did someone think I’d actually want that picture? Unless requested or in some kind of relationship, this seems completely inappropriate. It shouldn’t have gone on for hours, but it did and I didn’t get much sleep.

My first reaction had been to ignore it and hope it went away, but I woke up determined to get some sort of revenge. I Googled the phone number, but could only confirm it wasn’t spam and it belonged to someone with a zip code in my city. I typed it into FaceBook, but didn’t get very far. I looked through my physical address books to confirm it wasn’t someone I knew that I’d lost touch with. When I got to my office I checked the company directory and it didn’t belong to anyone at my job either. I blocked my number and dialed theirs. I’d pretend I was calling to sell them printer toner. I’d start out, “Hello, Mr…I’m sorry, how do you pronounce your name?” and see if they’d fall for telling me their name. It went to voicemail. I’d Google dick pics and I’d send one back. I’d come on to them as a guy. It might have been sent by a straight, homophobic guy who’d lose it over that. But it’s been done too many times. It was just before lunch time and I decided I’d scare them worse than homophobia. I texted, “This is Jason’s mother. Who would send something like that to a seven year old boy?! I just picked him up from school and we’re going straight to the police!” They never responded.

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Dickless Pics

You can’t tell a guy you’ve never received a “dick pic” without that smirk appearing on his face. I went out for a drink with my coworkers the other night which turned into drinks, shots, and would-be-extremely-office-inappropriate-conversation. It wasn’t even a Friday night but it wound up being the latest we’d stayed out with each other since any of us had started at the company. This is one of those “let’s grab a happy hour drink after work” gatherings that take place a minute after 5pm, before you’ve had any time for dinner. We’re getting better and realizing we should order a pizza to our usual bar, but that thought hadn’t occurred to us yet the other night. I’m starting to like that we have a usual bar and a usual group. It’s a crappy bar. The drinks aren’t all that cheap, the glasses aren’t cleaned well, and the bathroom’s basically on the other side of the planet, but it’s growing on me. We’ve got a usual group, a usual bar, and even a usual waitress and usual booth –Isn’t that what every sitcom lover has always hoped to have?

But this night we all got a little too personal. The morning after was one at the office where not one of us could make eye contact with the other. Maybe it was the brutally honest round of “who would you do at the office?” that pushed it too far. The first drink arrived and I had my nose in my phone, fingers rapidly tapping against the screen. I threw it in my bag with a smile and announced “Sorry, it’s morning on the other side of the world.” The girls chimed in, “Well, you were talking to someone you’re into because you’re smiling.” I couldn’t deny it, but what does one make of a crush on someone you’ll likely only meet twice, briefly, in your lifetime. “Yeah but this-” I pretended to type textmessages on my phone- “is really the extent of our ‘relationship’ –I don’t even know how to react when he sends these sexy kind of pictures when he’s in bed with his shirt off and whatever. I’m over here all ‘hey uhh here I am bundled up in my winter coat.’” They giggled, “Well, you just gotta send one of those pics back!” I glance at the one guy at the table before the others arrived. He was squirming around in his seat. “We’re making him uncomfortable with our girl talk!” He laughed and took a long sip of his beer. I passed around a picture of my crush. Yeah, that’s right, I wanted them to know who *I* was capable of attracting. I actually appreciated that one girl sounded a bit surprised when she exclaimed, “wow, he’s pretty hot!” I flashed the phone at my male coworker, explaining that I didn’t want him to feel left out. He shrugged, “yep, a guy.” “Well, I was out when he sent me one picture in bed,” I continued my story, “but he asked me to send him a picture while I was at the office. So I did. I actually went in the bathroom because I didn’t want anyone to see me taking a picture of myself at my desk.” They giggled and asked if I’d taken nudes in the bathroom. I hadn’t.

The rest of the group showed up. We explained how uncomfortable we seemed to have been making our coworker when there wasn’t much testosterone around the table and they wanted to be filled in. My coworker started, “Well, if a guy sends a girl a sexy picture, how should she respond?” “Send one back!” both guys replied simultaneously. “And if they’re at work?” she continued. “Go in the bathroom” they agreed. “That’s what she did!” my coworker announced, pointing to me. Their surprised expressions were priceless as they stood up, jaw dropped open, demanding I hi-five them. I insisted I hadn’t been nude in the office bathroom, but of course they weren’t about to drop that idea. The conversation inevitably moved to the topic of dick pics, and how I never received one. “Dick pics” remained the recurring topic of the night. It circled back when a couple of the guys decided to text another coworker asking to send dick pics –from my cellphone. Luckily, I caught it before too much time passed and was able to explain the joke.

The buzz from my third glass of wine on an empty stomach was strong. Cellphone in hand, I couldn’t resist the urge to drunk-dial. I messaged my far-away-crush while the room seemed to be spinning and the chatter of dick pics hadn’t ceased. The next day he responded with a laugh. Only then had I remembered I’d messaged him before passing out in my bed. I scrolled up to reread my jumbled rant about how I’d never received a dick pic and I didn’t want one, but I did want one of him in his underwear. I thought, “aw what an innocent version of that request.” But, I’d followed it by some sort of, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” A few days passed and one morning I awoke to a new picture message. It was my far-away-crush in his underwear. Request honored! Shortly after this message I remembered my part of the deal…But, I was running late to work so I sent an “IOU” message and let it be. I’d never sent this sort of picture before with the paranoia of where it might end up, and because it had never been too difficult to arrange an in-person-meeting posed this way. If there ever was a time photos like these were appropriate, this was definitely the type of “relationship” that called for them. My mind raced- “I don’t actually have to follow through, but I kind of want to because I’ve never done that. If I’m just in my underwear it’s really not that different from a picture in my bathing suit at the beach. But it is different if I’m not at the beach. I can’t have my face or anything in my bedroom in the picture so no one will ever be able to tie it back to me. I should probably shave. What kind of underwear should I wear? What was I wearing that night I was with him? It can’t be the same or he’ll think that’s all I wear. It shouldn’t look too posed, it should look realistic, but it should look good.”

All those questions considered, I took the picture –or rather I chose the picture that came out the best- and clicked “send.” It was only minutes if not seconds, but such a simple and small action had felt like such a rush for me. I nervously awaited his reply, phone in hand. I’m now convinced guys always see your message right away, but they don’t always respond right away –unless your message is a picture of you with clothing removed. So, after this week, our messages have evolved to include occasional nearly-nude picture messages, and for the first time I’ve joined the rest of the world in becoming extremely paranoid about whose hands my cellphone falls into.