Whenever I encounter some strange new behavior from a guy, I like to do empirical research in order to better understand what the fuck is going on. Usually this research takes the form of silly little questionnaires that I dole out to my coworkers and customers at the bar, which is great because it also doubles as a conversation starter or a way to break the ice and then learn even more about other people’s sex lives. Which is cool, because I love hearing about other people’s sex lives because they’re always so different from mine, and by learning about other people’s sex lives I learn about my own in turn.
My most recent questionnaire was, “What does it mean if you’re hanging out with a guy, and he takes a picture of you without asking, and then the next day sends the picture to you?” This is something that, since the advent of cell phones, has happened to me in various permutations, but I’m also aware that a dude taking a picture of a woman is precedented in recent times and is pretty much the basis of the modern art form of photography. Taking pictures of women is a favorite creepy guy pastime, but its effect has been accelerated due to new technology that allows us to take a plethora of pictures and then send them off immediately into the Internet or other people’s incoming text messages.
When I asked several of my slutty male friends this question, I was met with the surprising if not somewhat disingenuous response of, “Oh, that’s weird. Probably he thinks you’re pretty or something. But I’ve never done that, so I don’t know.” I could feel the side eye on my face every time I got that response. Like, “Oh, sure, you’ve never done that.” At first I didn’t ask other women, mostly because a woman would never do that. For some reason, women aren’t inclined to do creepy things like that as an entry level go-to move. But after getting too many nondescript, indirect answers from men who I really thought would be into that kind of thing, I asked my friend Indigo what she thought, and she gave me the best response, “My boyfriend does that. It means he thinks you’re a precious flower.”
“Woah. Really? That’s such a good response. So it’s not like an ‘I’m in love with you or want to date you’ kind of thing?”
“No, I mean, it is on some lightweight obsessive shit, but mostly it’s like ‘I thought you were really pretty in that moment and I wanted you to know’ kinda stuff. But definitely…it’s some weird dude shit.”
“Yeah it always makes me feel like…oh, cool, thumbs up emoji, that’s what I look like.”
“Well, you know how dudes are.”
“Yup. And how.”