Let’s Talk About Dick Pics

Love and Sex

Let’s Talk About Dick Pics

Illustration: Akshita Monga

I

woke up one morning to a shrieking phone. There were six missed calls from Miss Purple Lipstick (the executive producer, who gives feedback on my TV soap screenplays). As soon as the fact registered, the phone rang again; it was her. “Daaling, I’ve called you eight times. Are you dead?”

I cringed. Six times, I corrected her, pronto. “No, I was asleep, my phone was on silent,” I replied. She shrieked about some crisis on the set because Radha was unwell and we would have to shift all the scenes to the hospital, where she is currently ensconced. Can I change the location of the mehendi ceremony to the hospital? While she continued to push my sleep-addled brain with her ridonculous “creative” suggestions (Dadi can fall down the stairs and be taken to the hospital), I idly began to check my WhatsApp messages and saw 153 unread ones on the group chat with my girlfriends. I opened it and out popped a… wha… the… a dick pic! There it was, hooded, uncut, and baring itself in its shining hairless glory. Pissed at this unwelcome early morning visual treat (not), I pretended that the connection was lost and slammed the phone on Purple.

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I immediately dialled Pixie, my rampantly sexual 30-something BFF. She was expecting my call and promptly launched into a tirade without as much as letting me say,“Fuck whose goddamn dick was THAT!” Pixie is active on Tinder and she is currently chatting up Amar, Akbar, and Anthony. (Names changed, religions intact.) Two of them, she has met and also had sex with. (Amid her busy sex schedule, how she manages to get any work done in daily life is a mystery I’m yet to solve.) Last night, she was chatting with another prospective partner on WhatsApp, deciding when to meet, when he sent her his shaft to preview, and labelled it, “Johnny says hi.” Taken aback with his… er… uprightness, she promptly forwarded his appendage to the girls’ group chat where we all had an unwarranted look-see.

Even as Purple’s call-waiting beep throbbed impatiently into my ear, Pixie started guiltily pondering on why men felt the need to send us unasked for pictures of their phalluses and why we, mature, smart women in touch with our sexualities, were repulsed when they did that? Now Pixie liked dicks – she in fact, admired her ex’s fabulous package greatly. So then this prudishness seemed kind of double-faced, especially since she sent pictures of her naked body all the time to her lovers. I stopped her ruminations mid-sentence and threw a simple, “Pixie, do you like dick pics?” After a beat, I heard a small “no”.

The consensus, at the end of lots of mojitos, was that women no matter what the state of the relationship, want nothing to do with dick pics.

After my call with Pixie, I dialled Purple and patiently heard her fabulous ideas for the hospital-mehendi scene, told her I’m sending it in a jiffy, and sat down to join the chat on WhatsApp that had been blazing all morning between the four of us from our individual beds, where we sat in our nighties, braless, drinking tea. The subject of discussion was naturally the pictorial revelations of the male body part “laden with fruits of desire”.

Pixie: (still in guilt mode) No one reacts to women’s body parts so repulsively… whenever I send my pics to any guy they are so appreciative… then why are we so mean?
Vini: Coz it’s gross to look at. The female form is more beautiful and aesthetic as compared to men.
Me: Coz unless you’re turned on, they are funny-looking and a bit scary too. Unless, of course, it’s a pretty penis, which is so rare. U don’t wanna look at it head-on…
Eva: But why… we’ve all seen them in real life… what’s wrong with a picture?
Pixie: Wtf is a pretty penis?
Eva: One like Hank Moody’s…
Pixie: Oh. And you’ve seen Moody’s dick?
Eva: Also it makes a difference na… if u’re into the guy…
Vini: Even if I’m into the guy… I’m not always in the mood to look at his dick!
Eva: But you can’t deny it that we are more accepting of a dedicated penis…

Eva, who was being strangely defensive of dick pics, proceeded to tell us her latest “dedicated penis” encounter on Tinder. She is single, 29, and is looking for love now. She has kissed many a frog in her search for the prince. She has been chatting with a very talented cameraman, who is in Chennai at the moment. From texting they’ve moved on to sexting. Last night, Eva told me that she would meet him, when he returns from Chennai. “He is so honest and genuine, ya,” she gushed.

So cam guy sent Eva a picture of his body… neck down… and there it was, artistically shot, nestling among flowing curls, the supposedly magnificent, Dravidian testicled, erect penis. Eva had already decided BDP (Before the Dick Pic) that she would meet this man. His sense of humour had turned her on, but now ADP she wondered.

Dick pics, which seem to have become a Tinder protocol these days, are a confusing subject for pro-gender-equality women like us. We want to be equal on all fronts, and so if we are sending sexually explicit pictures, we should certainly be prepared to receive some explicit stuff in return, shouldn’t we? But we don’t seem to be prepared at all. Were pictures of penises offending us only when they came out of the blue, or were they a no-no even in the middle of hot sexting? The questions were many, the answers confusing, and the tea had turned cold. So the debate was temporarily abandoned, to be taken up in detail over drinks later in the evening.

***

Eva prodded the conversation that evening. She reported that her “Tinder boy”, the man who’d so graciously sent her a picture of his fabulous Dravidian member just a week ago, had called and sheepishly told her that he was in Chennai because he was getting married and could he please meet her when he was back in the city?

There were collective gasps around the table of our favourite bar. A serious nail had been put in the coffin of dick pics and the kind of men who sent them. But Pixie still hadn’t rung the death knell.

“So do you think, I should do him?” asked Pixie, very seriously, as she tapped on the head of the salt cellar and stroked its diameter with her forefinger. Simultaneously grabbing the pepper grinder and stroking its length, she declared, “The girth doesn’t look as great, although it’s longish, don’t you think?” Our recently married girlfriend Vini, choked on her mojito, while Eva nodded sadly and said, “P, you know girth always matters.”

The debate continued, as Eva manhandled the poor salt cellar and decapitated the pepper grinder.

Me: Dick pics are just not the same as say the boob pics. They don’t evoke the same feeling.
Vin: Why? What’s the difference?
Eva: One is art, the other is just hairy balls.
Me: One is erotic beauty and the other is Donald Trump.

The consensus, at the end of lots of mojitos, was that women no matter what the state of the relationship, want nothing to do with dick pics. Ever. Not from dedicated penises or non-dedicated ones. Not in the heat of sexting or the cold of fighting. As far as we were concerned, there was no reason to photograph a penis – not unless the penis is a murder weapon and needs to be pictorially presented in court. We could maybe stoically “accept” those sent by dedicated sexual partners, just like one accepts bloating and acne breakout as a part of PMS, but unwarranted advances would be thwarted. Thus bolstered, Pixie WhatsApped Dick Pic guy her middle finger and bid adieu.

That night, I couldn’t sleep because I had saved Pixie’s ex-almost-boyfriend’s dick pic on my camera roll, and I was scared that by some crazy technical glitch it will get uploaded on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter along with my daughter’s kathak recital pictures. I got up at 3 am to purify my phone by deleting Pixie’s hairless dangling intruder. And then I slept.

***

Hung over, I sat across Purple at the channel meeting the next morning. She was earnestly telling the producers that it was perfectly fine to put up floral decorations at the hospital for the mehendi. When the harassed (and intelligent) producer asked her, quite nastily, how many mehendis had she attended in a hospital, she stared at him blankly, and signalled me to join her for a cigarette break.

As Purple smoked angry rings into the air, I watched her; she looked frustrated to me. Purple was known around town for her voracious sexual appetite, so I asked her, “When did you last get laid?” She lamented that it had been months. I immediately opened the WhatsApp group chat and showed her the face of Pixie’s Tinder guy. Would you want to date him? She looked interested, and then I swiped to his finely shot, evidently seductive, supposedly alluring dick pic. Purple jumped a mile away, revulsion written all over her face, and screamed, “Never!”

That, as far as I am concerned, was the acid test for dick pics. I’ve known Purple to get it on with out-of-work actors, shifty cameramen, and even a driver, who was a bit of a stud. She’s a liberated, firm believer of the “have-dick-will-do” philosophy. So if she’s not taking the bait, you can be sure that there is literally nobody out there who will.

Boys, there’s a reason it’s called “junk”.

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