I hadn't really been following the new Anthony Weiner sexting scandals all that closely recently outside of the occasional Carlos Danger highlights here and there. That was until I got asked to speak on a panel about "dick pic etiquette" today from 4:30 to 5 p.m. on HuffPost Live.
"OK," I told the producers, "I can do that."
To prepare, I tried to think of the rules that actually apply to this kind of thing. Besides, like, you know: "Don't do it, dummy."
Because people are always going to do it. It's naughty and lewd and thrilling and you might get caught.
As background, here's my own personal history with The Glorious Dick Pic. I've gotten three on my phone in total in my lifetime. (Does that make me a prude? Maybe.)
One was from a girlfriend to show me the latest guy she was dating. "Check out this great guy I met from Match!" she said. "I like his smile," I wrote back. Yes, men, women do share your cock shots. Be warned.
A second was from a friend who I have had a flirty relationship with over the years but have never actually done anything sexual with nor will I ever do anything sexual with; we just have occasionally perved out together in the past. We're bros like that.
And the third was from a man who I have flirted with on the phone (OK, we had pretty raunchy phone sex) but whom I have never actually met in person. He's Twitter verified, though, so I think that makes it all on the up and up, don't you? No, it is not Weiner. How great would that be? This story would have just gotten 8 million times more interesting.
Sidenote: I have actually met Weiner, though. One year I went to the White House Correspondents Dinner, and he was chatty and friendly as can be. Nothing lewd was said at all. Just "hello" and "nice to meet you." Looking back, I'm kind of hurt. WHAT DOES SYDNEY LEATHERS HAVE THAT I DON'T, DAMNIT?
So where does all of this leave us in terms of sexting etiquette? Let's go with these five little rules. Tell me if you agree, disagree or if your name is Anthony Weiner because that would be awesome if he has a registered Disqus account.
1. Realize that most women just aren't that into dick shots.
I'm not. I love penis. But pictures of them? Eh. I'm way more psychological.
2. Do the old "I'm just joking" or "Wouldn't it be funny" move that has led to so many a threeway in life. You know, you just scope out whether your special someone actually wants a pic of your dick in her life via a "joke."
You could say, "So has a guy ever sent you a dick pic? I'm just curious. Oh, really? Let me guess, it really turned you on, right?" Ha ha, so funny. Well, you never know. Some chicks dig it. She'll let you know. The old "I'm just kidding oh wait no I'm totally not" move works for a lot of things. Yeah, it's kind of a chump move, sure, but whatever, at least you'll find out if she likes dick pics or not.
3. Make sure that you know what you're working with down there.
A lot of guys are not as blessed as they might think. Be honest with yourself. You've been in the locker room, right? When women first see your penis, do you get a lot of compliments? OK, maybe you are blessed. If you are then absolutely, God bless and God speed. Use a nice camera and take a lot of shots until you get the one that really showcases your little guy in a good light. Not too aggressive, not too many other outside elements in the shot. If you're going to do it, do it up right.
4. Ask yourself: Would I be comfortable with this picture getting out there?
I've sent nudie shots to a few guys, and I let one dude who was a photographer take some pretty X-rated shots of me. He swore he deleted them later, and I'm pretty sure guys never lie about that kind of thing, right? So that's good. The difference between me and Weiner is that I have actually asked myself: Would I be comfortable with this picture getting out there? The answer: I would. I wouldn't love it, I wouldn't even like it, but it wouldn't be the end of the world.
If it was going to be the end of the world, I wouldn't have done it. Ask yourself that question. Because if it's going to ruin your career, it's really just not worth it. Because things happen. Pictures get out there even when they're not supposed to. People betray other people, and if it's a real risk to you -- even if you think it will never be shared, just don't do it. Don't.
Oh -- and if you have an imposter complex or some secret subconscious desire you haven't quite yet come to terms with that is akin to a saboteur complex, seek some therapy. Not your iPhone.
5. If you're going to do it, at least SnapChat it.
You can still screengrab SnapChats, yes, but at least there's the whole "Oh I thought it would disappear" appearance of the whole move. Even if you don't have any discretion to save your life, the appearance of it is always a nice gesture, don't you think?
So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Have any shots from Weiner? Let's share.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.