To Men Who Pose Shirtless In The Bathroom Mirror
Dear Shirtless Sirs,
I guess I should be thanking you. Sure, your OkCupid photo is of you posing shirtless in the mirror, trying not to make it look like you’re flexing when it’s blatantly obvious to everyone in the world that you’re flexing, but it could be worse. You could be wearing an Ed Hardy shirt. How do I know that Ed Hardy is your style? Oh, just a guess, based on your jaunty little slicked back hairdo or the Axe Body Spray I see sitting by under the mirror, or the fact that your Ed Hardy boxer shorts are sticking out of Ed Hardy pants, held up by a belt buckle with a large, fire breathing dragon on it that I’m pretty sure is the work of one Edward Hardy. Also, because your screen name is EHardy4Life4Eva. Which, by the way, is redundant.
So you’ve decided to use, as the primary picture on your Internet dating profile, this self-taken snapshot of you and your abdominals. You’ve also posted that picture on Facebook, Myspace, and Pinterest – suggesting a wild misunderstanding of the sort of thing that is supposed to be on Pinterest. Look, I understand the thought process. You have a very nice physique. Far better than mine, to be sure. You’ve got a legitimate six-pack there and I have a one pack, built primarily of butter and jam. And so you thought to yourself, “I have this impressive body, and women are obviously going to want to see it. But how do I get the word out? I know! Photography!” But see, here’s the problem: women don’t really wanna see it. They like to know it’s there, and sure, in the confines of the bedroom, or at the beach, or any traditionally shirtless environment, they’re down to check it out. But when you’re standing in front of the mis-matched towels in your bathroom, not so much. I know, I know, you think that because you’d like to see a hot, random stranger without her clothes on that she in return would like to see the same from you. But sadly, EHardy4Life4Eva, it doesn’t work that way. If it did, Anthony Weiner wouldn’t have been thrown out of office, he would’ve been given his own TV show. And you would be getting the number of responses you expected. But that is not the case. Because there are so many of you shirtless minions, I’d like to get to the bottom of this phenomenon. So here are some questions I’d like to have answered.
1. Is there really no one else who could’ve taken this picture? Surely you have other friends, fine gentlemen who appreciate the necessity of a nude torso, right? If you say to one of them, “Hey Vic/Carl/Randy/Bro, snap a picture of my sweet ass abs!”, they’d totally be down. Or your Mom? Just give her the camera and tell her to surprise you sometime when you’re topless. Moms love that kinda stuff. There’s just something about you taking the picture yourself that lends an air of desperation to what is already, let’s be honest, a fairly desperate enterprise. Like you were having a shirtless emergency, and just needed it documented right that second. There are no shirtless emergencies, Ed, I promise.
2. Why The Bathroom? I mean, sure, there’s a mirror there. But there’s also a toilet. And grout you haven’t cleaned. I know you have other mirrors. Give one of those a shot.
3. Did you focus group this idea at all before taking it public? I’ve never heard a collection of women agree more enthusiastically on any topic than they do on the issue of shirtless profile pictures. They hate them. They all hate them. There’s disagreement on Katy Perry, Barack Obama’s politics, and the appropriate shoes to wear to a wedding – but not on seeing your pecs before they’ve even met you. Honestly, this letter is as much for them as it is for me. I don’t really care, I don’t ever look at your profile. I do come across your photos on Facebook every once in awhile and have a good chuckle, but it’s not affecting me one way or the other. But I feel like someone has to step in here. I mean, do you see the facial expression you’re making? You’re sort of smiling and sort wincing and sort of winking, all at the same time. Either you’re posing for a weird photo, or passing a kidney stone. Either way, the ladies are not impressed. I’m trying to help you, Ed, I really am.
4. Have the pictures ever worked? Has a woman ever felt guilty and said, “Well I’ve seen him topless, it seems only fair that I return the favor”? Or maybe been so overcome with lust that they ignore the cheesiness and asked you to be hers forever? “You’ve clearly spent a long time posing your stomach in just the right way. I’m thinking June wedding, you?” If so, I take back everything I’ve said. You can write an open letter in return to me. “To Men Who Write Jerky Things to Others Online.“ It’s fair, I would deserve it. But presuming that hasn’t happened, I’m begging you, shirtless Ed, adopt a new policy. Your dating profile is just like a 7-11: no shirt, no shoes, no service.
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Image – MySpace Sexy
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Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.