Monday, February 07, 2005

Isn't it Shocking?

I am a lifelong bachelor, and sometimes it’s easy to see why.

On the other hand, occasionally I realize that I’m probably better off.

And yet, on still another hand, it’s a lonely life. Not being a drinker, a dancer or a socializer, it’s extremely difficult to meet people. And so it has come to pass that I have attempted to meet people online, via a variety of professional networks whose track record is impressive. Indeed, I have met several very interesting candidates. I have also met (and even dated) some women who have proven to be singularly inappropriate for me—and vice versa.

When you’re getting to know a romantic prospect who has been matched up to you by a computer, I find that it is very helpful to provide the maximum amount of data to the other person to make the screening process as easy as possible. Among the data that I have chosen to share with these women is an online photo album I recently assembled, showing me and some of my pals, my apartment, my work, etc. I believe this album is an honest depiction of me and my life as a loving uncle, devoted friend, professional editor—and an employee of Larry Flynt.

Here’s a link to the album:


One way I feel I can best illustrate the dichotomy between my professional life and my private life is to include in my online photo album a series of photos that were taken within a week of each other. Last August, I attended my company’s 30th Anniversary party for Hustler Magazine, at which there were at least 100 naked women in attendance. Literally the morning after this debauchery, some close friends of mine and I flew to Florida to spend a week at Disney World in Orlando. (There’s nothing like a week with Walt to purge you of the filthiness of being around porn actresses.) Photographs taken at each of these events were juxtaposed appropriately, to underscore both the absurdity and the reality of my life.

Regrettably, one woman with whom I had been having a particularly interesting correspondence was horrified by the two brief glimpses of nudity revealed in this photo album after I sent her the link. Today I received this email from her:

"I found your sharing the photos from the Hustler Party with me to be too much—we were just getting to know each other, and I don't yet have a comfort level with you in which this kind of sharing is okay. If this was an oversight, perhaps this will help you with the next person you're in touch with. If you were doing it for the shock factor, it worked.
Best of luck in finding the right person."

My reaction to this email was to send an immediate and unconditional apology for having offended her. Although my mea culpa was sincere, I think it's reasonable to assume that any woman in her late 30s knows what a naked woman looks like at this stage of her life. After all, there was no actual sex depicted in the images...just a couple of nudes. It'd be one thing if my entire album of 50 photos were nothing but unclothed porn stars, but in actuality, there are only two "shocking" images.

Naturally, I do respect that any adult has the right to be shocked or horrified by any images they want to be shocked or horrified by. (I considered the idea that this woman was simply using the nudes as an excuse to break off our correspondence, once she got a better look at me. But when I sent her the link, I told her very frankly that if she didn’t like what she saw, she could simply not reply and there would be no hard feelings.) My point is: Are these images really all that shocking? Has she never seen an R-rated movie on a first date?

Are you offended by the images?


dUgE k said...


I was HIGHLY offended by the naked ladies in your photo album.


Could you possibly send me 8x10 blow-ups of those naked lady photos? I'd like to be offended some more.

Brett said...

Doug, I just emailed you some photos I know you're going to be EXTREMELY offended by.

dUgE k said...

Those were disgusting Brett.

Please send more...

Melissa said...

Ha ha! I was about to ask for some photos... in order to... ah, research this issue further, y'know?

Maybe she wasn't so much offended by the nudity but maybe she was under the impression that, like she said, you were trying to shock her. And I'm sure you weren't, because you work for Larry Flynt and attending these Hustler parties are all a part of your job and your job is an extension of what you are. Sounds like she didn't see it that way and thought you were trying to initiate something overtly sexual right off. Maybe she wasn't offended by the nudity itself, but by the idea of some man she never met before sending her nudity, because she doesn't know you well enough yet to know what your intentions are. Just what I extrapolated from what you said in the post.

As a woman, I can say that I've seen plenty of naked women in my life (well, okay, just myself really, but that's every day, so that's plenty!) and I can't see how another fellow female could be offended my female nudity in and of itself. I don't think you did anything wrong at all, but it just sounds like she wasn't going to be the right person for you right off the bat. Sometimes somwething like that is a good indicator of how things might go between you two later on down the road.

Brett said...

Thanks, Melissa. Your insight really means a lot to me. I totally respect your opinion on both ends of the spectrum. Funny how seeing a couple of bare boobs makes her jump to the conclusion that I might be suggesting something sexual, but seeing Mickey Mouse didn't make her jump to the conclusion that I own a giant rat.