Art by Jim Cooke

As an Old Person (and possibly a prude, although I hope not), I’m baffled by the dick pic. As a behavior, first of all—What is it intended to accomplish? Is it meant as an act of sexual hostility? A sincere come-on? Do straight men genuinely believe women are turned on by crappy smartphone snapshots of dicks and balls? My God, are they right?—but also as a phenomenon. Is this actually a normal thing for the youths to do? A standard 21st-century mating ritual? Here is visual proof that I have access to a functioning dick and balls. Behold this dick and balls! Would you not like to interact with it? I really don’t get it! It is the strangest thing.

I suppose it’s possible I would feel differently about this if I were, say, a straight woman. I’m inclined to guess not: I don’t believe I would be turned on in the slightest to find a photograph of vulva, or a boob, in my text message inbox, unless I could, at the very least, see the rest of the person to whom they were attached. What reaction is the dick pic supposed to elicit? Ah, right, that’s what those parts look like. I was picturing the whole wrong thing! Now I can crank my own junk with success.

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New York’s The Cut blog offered purported testimony from dick-pic senders today, and I am sad to say it has not lessened my bafflement. If anything, it has compounded it. Who the fuck are these people?

Let’s take “Ryan,” a 27-year-old cook, for example.

For me, dick pics are the ultimate sign of confidence. It’s important to let a girl know exactly how ready I would be in a situation where she would need me to be naked.

Listen. This is a very shabby “ultimate sign of confidence,” “Ryan.” Just in case you are looking for a penis to do fuck stuff with, I have an erection just sitting right here! Willingness to have some sex with a woman does not make any particular dude special; it’s like bragging that you can breathe through both nostrils. Frankly, demonstrating you are not 30 seconds away from ejaculating at any given moment is the more impressive feat.

My move used to be done purely in person: Get half-erect, involve my dick into the conversation somehow, and then urge her to feel it, under the guise of it being almost scientific to do so.

“Ryan.” What in the hell, man. Before the advent of Snapchat, my dance of seduction entailed hectoring women to grope my dick under the table at Burger King, but now I can just send them a photograph of it instead. This is bad flirting.

No more having to unsexualize my dick with a half chub and sweatpants to make her aware of what I’m packing, so thank god for my Droid.

This is almost—almost—charming. “Ryan,” the people you meet are not wondering whether you possess a dick. They are wondering why you are wearing sweatpants, and why you are asking them to grab your dick, and whether they will be able to call the police without provoking you to violence.

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Here’s “Michael,” a gay 39-year-old videographer:

In gay circles and/or networks and/or apps, not only is the dick pic a courtesy, many decide to skip the dick pic altogether and go for the asshole pic, a starfish selfie.

“Ah, thanks for that. The other day I met up with a dude who’d been lying about about having a butthole, and it was a complete waste of time.”

Here’s “Mike,” a 25-year-old waiter:

I like dick pics cause the camera makes your wang look bigger. Plain and simple.

I like dick pics because I like disappointing my sex partners with a dick significantly smaller than the one they thought I had.

Take a few, narrow it down to the top three, and send away. Save the good ones to use later, you never know when you might have to send one out when your current dick state is not up to par.

“Mike.” Buddy. Through what variety of states is your dick cycling? Oh, well, twice a month it turns into a bowl of tuna casserole, and then it’s good to have a standby dick pic to send around.

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A good rule of thumb is that generally speaking, your dick should really not have all that many states. If your dick has a constellation of states it can be in, and any of them require more than a quick shower to ameliorate, you have dick problems. Your dick is fucked up and possibly bad. Prospective sex partners will consider this need-to-know information.

Here’s “Charlie,” a 33-year-old writer:

I do not share photos of my junk. Call me old school,

Ah, a fellow Old Person, with similarly antiquated dick-exposure opinio—

but there’s still some charm left in letting someone have an extended glance in a bathroom urinal.

What in the damn hell is going on in the world today.

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Here’s “Kevin,” a 50-year-old comedian:

I send dick pics because — at the risk of sounding cocky (heh, heh) — I have a truly beautiful dick.

Note: The first time I read “Kevin’s” testimonial, I could not help but picture Kevin Pollack. With a really impressive hog!

One time, a girlfriend I was living with applied for a bartending job. I knew the gay manager from another bar he worked at years before. I had his number and sent him a pic of my cock. My girlfriend got the job.

What the hell? Assuming these people exist, they are monsters. Here is what you need to know about dick pics, at least as sent by these dick-pic purveyors or anyone remotely like them: No. That is all.

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[New York]