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Twitter is a strange sort of monster. It can be an awesome tool for connecting with people from all over the world, keeping up with news as it happens, and meeting your new best friends. It can also be a skeezy cesspool where creepers from all walks of life send you pictures of their dingles and expect you to be grateful.
This was never more true for me than last Christmas Eve.
I have the distinct pleasure of co-running a horror website populated entirely by women, and every year, we spend the holidays live-tweeting alternative holiday films.
Last year, we were just wrapping up one of our favorites when, out of the spirit of holiday joy and cheer and shit, I tagged one of the stars to thank him for starring in some of my favorite childhood movies. Suddenly, my direct messages (DM) box lit up like a frigging Christmas Tree.
Said film star, and I use that term loosely, had sent me a message telling me “Merry Christmas.”
I looked over at my dad, who was sitting next to me, and said,
“You'll never believe who just messaged me...”
My dad was bemused, and encouraged me to answer. It was the holidays after all. But I wasn't so keen.
You see, two years ago, when I first joined Twitter, a D-list comedian had messaged me with his phone number with the expectation I'd be stoked to have phone sex with him. This comedian was a side-kick to a better comedian, a commercial actor, and also, no. The answer was no. Gross. GO AWAY.
But this actor, THIS actor, really had starred in a bunch of my favorite childhood films. And he was almost as old as my father. What harm could there be in telling him “Happy Holidays”? (I'm an atheist, Wiccan Jew. Christmas? NOT IN MY HOUSE!)
So I did just that — thanked him for the kind message, and for following our live tweeting. That was that, obviously.
First off, my real name is in my Twitter handle, but at the same time, I'm not big on sharing personal info. So I started handling this like a business transaction. Perhaps he wanted to be a guest on our podcast? Right? RIGHT?
This was turning into a MySpace conversation circa 2002. All that was missing was A/S/L. But I tried to keep it professional. Yet, all the time, I was running up and down the stairs, yelling at my dad:
“I TOLD YOU! I TOLD YOU HE WAS A CREEPER!”
Still, business. Don't burn bridges. Light and breezy. PODCAST GUEST! We'd had a lot of extremely well-known actors and directors on our show, and the last thing we needed was me being an asshole to anyone with clout. But then, the inevitable happened.
He wanted a picture.
Oh boy. If there was ever any doubt where this was going, the doubt had been quashed. But the funniest part was that he thought all of my polite shut-downs were flirting, that my refusal to share specific details with him was me being coy.
But then, the clinchers: the messages that took all of this awkward (yet hilarious) banter from “awkward yet hilarious” to “Can someone get me a parachute? I want off of this crazy plane.”
The offer to get my book published was followed quickly by remarks that I looked just like his ex-girlfriend, and was obviously very intelligent (though I ask myself how intelligent as I let this conversation go on way longer than I should have).
However, what followed was the question I will never get out of my head as long as I live. The question I will remember every time I see his face in one of those favorite movies I mentioned earlier: “Did you read 50 Shades of Grey?”
I politely bowed out of the conversation shortly thereafter. He messaged me a few times over the next day or so, but things fizzled out when it became clear I was that atheist Wiccan Jew I mentioned earlier and he clearly wasn't on board (if only I'd know THAT was the trick, I would have tried it earlier).
These days, I will have polite conversations with other celebrities I enjoy via Twitter, but I'm always a little wary of what might follow. And I always double-check tweets directed at people I admire for any hint of fangirl.
Because apparently, that's a cue that I want you to spank me in your red room of pain.