The other night I sent a provocative selfie.
Why? Because I’m a badass. Or, because I was bored and the mirror was right there. Or, because I was feeling skinny. Or, because it was requested.
I don’t know why, but I did it.
I do not make a habit out of sending seductive photographs to people. I have a strict relationship or no rule. Probably because that’s supposed to ensure there’s some sort of unspoken no sharing policy.
I always seem to forget relationships end on occasion, and sometimes they end badly, but so far I haven’t been confronted with any internet surprises. [LUCK.]
The naked selfie (nelfie? no? I’ll keep working on that) is a huge issue right now. The whole question surrounding whether or not it’s child pornography if a minor possesses a picture of a minor, or if it’s distribution of child pornography if a minor sends a photo to another minor is making cyber-bullying and persecuting those involved extremely difficult.
But, the nelfie isn’t going to stop any time soon. People are able to conduct entire relationships via technology these days, and that’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. Sooner or later in these relationships, technology ceases to appear as an unfamiliar barrier and becomes a tool. A tool that, between consenting adults, is totally hot.
But I’m not conducting a relationship between Canada and Afghanistan. I’m conducting a relationship between Canada and 5km away.
I hit send anyhow.
He responded within three minutes.
I’m sorry. What?
No. Unacceptable. Absolutely not. You do not get to use the word “excellent” when responding to a nelfie.
Before The Reporter corrected himself with the appropriate response, I spent a solid three minutes filled with the deepest regret I have ever experienced — and one time, I convinced a drunk guy I had been to Thailand and it changed my life and he needed to book a plane ticket, and he did book it, in front of me that night, with his wedding money, and I have still never been to Thailand (I am so sorry if I ruined your life, Todd.)
I thought it was a good picture. I was happy with it. I wasn’t ashamed of how I looked. I had spent five minutes doing pre-sit-ups, and finding the perfect back bend that elongated my torso but did make me look like I was about to enter Camel pose. I looked good, I’m not going to lie to you.
But then, then he says “excellent.”
All the confidence I had in myself was immediately blown up and passed — in a million pieces — to someone else to manipulate. And if you have ever been handed a shattered-confidence jigsaw puzzle, you know it’s damn near impossible to complete.
Three minutes was all it took for me to go from feeling like Beyonce to feeling like Amanda Bynes in rehab. Sober, passed her prime and sad.
It wasn’t worth it.
Even when he took his foot out of his mouth it wasn’t worth it.
I understand that there are times in life where we have to put ourselves out there — risk failure, risk criticism, risk a soul-shattering outcome. These are the circumstances under which I get to say “be not afraid” and “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “if you’ve never failed you’ve never tried” and “stop being a pussy!”
But there are other times when your safe little harbored ship is probably better off staying out of the 40 foot waves. Being happy with yourself should be good enough. To need someone else to validate or confirm what you already see in yourself is going to end in disaster.
If you want to send nelfies because you’re super hot and of legal naked age, be my guest. You’ll make some people out there very happy. I’m one of them.
But my self-love is still balancing on one foot, and I’ve worked so hard to get here, I’m not going to risk toppling over for the thrill of someone else saying “dayum girrrl.”
Which, might I remind you, wasn’t even what he said.
HE SAID “EXCELLENT.”