This week I received an email offering advice.
That’s not unusual – I receive dozens of emails a day giving me helpful tips on how to do everything from lose weight to meet lonely singles in my neighbourhood. I also get tips on how to learn the secret of running my car on plain tap water, cure cancer with common household cleansers and occasionally an offer to send me a recipe for the world’s best no-fat brownie.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, merchants, con artists and promoters are doubly busy sending out promotions to desperate men and women (let’s face it – mostly men) trying to figure out what to do to impress on February 14th.
The overpriced wilty roses and bargain “lovers’ weekends” offers are everywhere, but one promo I got made me read it to the end.
“Why not surprise your lover with a sexy photo of yourself?” it asked. Instead of a dark and grainy cell phone photo hastily taken in some locker room, this service will help you produce a “quality” snap guaranteed to impress the man or woman of your dreams.
For a fee, they will advise on wardrobe, location, makeup and the all important lighting in making you look your absolute best for your sexy self portrait.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m far from a prude. I’m a big believer in allowing consenting adults to do whatever they want behind closed doors. None of my business, and if it makes everyone happy, well, the world needs more happy people.
The same goes for sexy photos. Let’s face it, without them no one would have bothered to invent the Internet.
But for god’s sakes, leave it to the professionals. “Adult entertainment” is a $13 billion a year business in the USA and a whopping $27 billion annually in China (who knew?). Even with all the makeup in the world, it’s hard for an amateur to compete with that.
Still, more than a third of Americans say they’ve sent nudie shots of themselves to someone else.
But the real reason it should be left to the professionals is a little thing called privacy. While it may be a moment’s giggle to stick your cellphone down your kimono and take some candid shots, those photos can and will go anywhere.
About a quarter of Americans admit they’ve sent along a naked photo of a loved one – or former loved one – to someone else. And more than half of the people who get them, send them along again.
Not a great career move if in your day job you are comptroller of the second largest office supply company in the mid-west and an elder at your church.
How many politicians have ended their careers because they sent out ridiculous locker room photos of themselves?
Last week it was reported that the Bush family had their personal emails hacked and their personal photos released. I haven’t seen them and don’t want to see them. The last thing I need burned into my brain is George W. in a vacation thong or Barbara’s tan lines.
But that is sort of the point. These photos always get out, even if you’re the former President of the United States.
So my wife doesn’t have to live in fear of what she’ll find when she opens her email Valentine’s Day morning.
She’ll have to settle for a box of chocolates, and if I play my cards right, me in person without the benefit of any airbrushing.
© 2013 - Stephen Lautens