I got a lecture not long ago from a guy on Manhunt. Yes, a freakin' lecture, like I was all of fourteen years old.
I'd logged into the site and promptly done what I ordinarily do when I cruise Manhunt—which is not to cruise it at all, but put it in a background tab and go about my business. Every half-hour or so I'll check back to see if anyone's tried to hit me up. If they have, as long as they haven't done anything egregious like asking Do you and your buddies want to fuck me?, or haven't flown off the handle because of some imagined slight, I'll respond politely. If something happens, fine. If it doesn't, I don't feel I've wasted a lot of time.
So I came back a few minutes later—I'd been in the kitchen, cleaning up from the day, actually—sat down, sorted through the email, and looked through what had accumulated. One of them was from a gentleman whose profile I examined before I read the letter. He was one of those slightly stocky but not unattractive guys in his fifties, a clean-cut type with a fringe of hair shaved short around his head. In his photos he wore striped button-down shirts and slacks. The shirts were of slightly different colors, and the pants of fewer shades still. Although the photos looked a little like action poses from the Sears & Roebuck Khaki Line for the Older But Still Active Young Granddad, the guy had a nice smile and a good face.
In a positive mood, I went back to his letter, which started, I'm sure you hear how nice your dick is all the time. Promising (and true) enough. You're not going to hear it from me, it continued. I frowned a little. In fact, you're not going to hear how nice your profile is from me because I think it's shameful you feel it necessary to have a photograph of your penis next to one of your face.
And I was like, what? My penis next to my face? Am I self-fellating in some shot and I didn't know? Then I realized what he meant.
There are two attitudes about posting photographs in profiles for sex sites. There's the one extreme in which the guy shows absolutely nothing. No photos whatsoever. Or else they'll all be locked, and when you ask the guy to unlock them for you, he'll reply, I'm very very discreet and refuse. And then there's the opposite extreme, which me. I post it all and unless the sex site has specific rules about what has to be locked (like penetration shots or photographs of cum), it stays unlocked.
Now, this older guy went on to chastise me for five very long paragraphs (on Manhunt!) about how terrible an example it was for someone of my advanced age to show both naked shots of my hard dick and smiling photographs of my ugly mug, out in the open, where anyone could see them. I was without class, he wanted to let me know. I was exposing myself to risk at my place of work, if my supervisor were to happen across them. And not just that, but I was giving the youth of America the mistaken impression that my genitals were nothing of which to be ashamed.
Think of the children!, the note could have ended and I wouldn't have been surprised.
I wrote back a chillingly polite letter in which I included my stock answer that I use whenever anyone attempts to tell me what I must and must not include in my profiles. I thanked him for his concern and told him when he started paying my Manhunt subscription fee—no when he started paying for my cable modem subscription and my computer both—I'd start listening to his damn advice. But probably not even then.
He wrote back something huffy like, I'm just trying to save you grief down the road! No skin off my back!
I don't lock my photographs on Manhunt for a couple of reasons. The lesser of the two is that I get annoyed by the one-word emails I used to get when I had some locked photos, which simply demanded, "UNLOCK." (Though I still get them from the idiots who don't seem to realize that they can see thumbnails of eight or nine photos without pictograms of locks on them.)
The bigger reason is that I just don't really give a damn. I'm not ashamed of my face; I'm not ashamed of what's between my legs. I'm not particularly offended at the notion that someone might think I'm a sexual being. I am. I don't have a supervisor who is going to "stumble across" my profile. I'm not running for public office, ever. And I'm not trying to pretend that Manhunt is a genteel dating site instead of a place where horny guys meet when they want to fuck.
I understand that not everyone is in my position, or feels the same way about their looks or body or sexuality. Some people do have sensitive careers they shouldn't jeopardize by flashing their dicks on Manhunt so that their elderly female audiences won't die of heart attacks, Clay Aiken. Want to lock up all your photos? It's your dime. Go right ahead. I don't really care. I'll never meet you if you don't unlock them at some point, but I won't be dictating what you can and can't do with your profile.
Which is why I was surprised, I guess, that this fellow was so vehement about ragging on mine. Did my free expression of sexuality truly offend him so deeply that he felt moved to write a five-paragraph essay about it? Was my dick so raunchy that he wanted to write a letter to the editor? Especially, if you think about it, that my dick shot was what got him to open up the profile in the first place?
For this week's open forum, I'm curious. What's your take on online sites and profile photos? Do you show all yours, or keep some concealed? If you're half-and-half on it—which seems to be the prevailing style in this part of the country at least—do you show your pearly whites and keep your bait and tackle under lock, or vice-versa? What's your reasoning for not showing everything? Or, if you're one of the types who'd never have a profile at all, or one with photos, what's your reason for not showing?
I'm fascinated about your experiences and thoughts on the matter.