You approach it in the same way that you’d approach a face-to-face chat with any stranger. You’re polite and inquisitive, and you generally keep things on an impersonal level until you’ve sussed out whether you’re talking to Hannibal Lector or a saint who helps old ladies across the road.
During these chats, the last thing that you’d do is suddenly strip down to your birthday suit and stand there grinning, waiting for a response. So you’d think this would be the case when you’re chatting online or via WhatsApp. I thought this until I met The Exhibitionist well in truth, I never actually met him face-to-face, but I’ve seen so much of the guy that it feels like I have!
I’ll admit that my inner superficial teenage girl was quite excited when The Exhibitionist contacted me via a dating website. He was probably the best looking guy on the site at that time, and I mentally did an arrogant Paris Hilton hair-flip at the sight of his message.
We chatted for a while and he didn’t disappoint he was charming, funny, and polite, and seemed to be without a USP (Unspoken Potential for Strangeness). In hindsight, that should have been my first clue that all was not as it seemed.
When The Exhibitionist finally asked for my phone number, he did it so politely and with such hesitation that I broke my “no Internet weirdos” rule and gave it to him.
After one or two normal messages, he dropped his bomb of USP. I casually reached for my phone when a message came through and my jaw immediately dropped. This was followed by so much giggling that I’m surprised that the guy at the desk next to me didn’t ask to be moved to another office.
The Exhibitionist had sent me a full frontal nude shot, taken from the always attractive angle of “selfie shot in mirror”. When I finally pulled myself together, I deleted the selfie and The Exhibitionist from my phone. He seemed shocked by this and tried to contact me a couple of times apparently my reaction was stranger to him than the photo had been to me.
We’ve all heard of the term “sexting”, and hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. But surely there’s a bit of etiquette involved? Or at the very least something that is a bit like the first date rule no nude shots on the first chat?
Perhaps people need to add that to their online profiles something along the lines of “must love dogs, long walks on the beach, and naked photos of me.” That way no one is surprised when they quite literally get more than they bargained for.