By Anthony Paull
I shouldn’t talk about my asshole. It’s not that amazing. It’s pink and whatever but it’s not like it’s the only one that color.
My friends tell me a lot of people dye their assholes to match my shade so I should be silent and thankful. I should just shut up and stop bragging about it on Facebook. They’re starting to get mad at me, erasing the naughty things I post on their walls. But if only we could rewind back to a time when Facebook was fun. Back in the day my friends didn’t give a hoot about what I posted. Back then they knew better than to “friend” their shithead relatives. Now, they delete my posts in fear of what others might think.
Can someone tell me what happened? I remember when my friends would get drunk and post unflattering pictures. Now everyone is mature and talking about babies and crockpots and anti-aging creams and going to bed early on school nights. I guess it was bound to happen. We’re at that age. But the truth is I don’t ever want to be so old and mature that I can’t talk about things like assholes and sucking on lollipops and falling asleep with Bic razors up my ass, because, well, there was that one rogue hair.
“That’s why Facebook invented private messaging,” my friend Pete reminds me. “Not everyone is so public about things. I mean…I have a whole other life in Facebook messages. It’s like Narnia…starring my dick.”
“Oh. Is it a short?”
Pete groans explaining that he is involved in several love affairs, each on a different social media site. It’s wonderful because he doesn’t actually have to meet the guys. They just give him the attention he needs when he’s lonely, then he goes about his day. He states Facebook is the best because the messages can go on for days. “Twitter limits your characters,” he says. “I need more than 50 characters to translate my stats and needs. Twitter is just so superficial.”
Presently, Pete is in five pseudo-relationships, each varying in levels of intimacy and meaning. He hasn’t had many problems with it because what happens online stays online, according to Pete. He has no intention of actually meeting these guys in public. In fact, if he sees them in public he runs the other way or feigns indifference, casually passing them on the street.
“Can you believe it? Some guy actually expected me to know his name just because I sent him a picture of my penis the night before,” he states, as we grab a cup of coffee. He huffs. “Some people.”
Pete finds this humorous until a week later when we’re at the bar and one of his “regulars” attempts to speak to him.
“Pete?” the guy asks, approaching.
The room is dark with pink lasers slicing the smoke and Pete turns to me, his eyes glowing with concern. “Oh god,” he says.
“Pete. Pete,” the guy calls, approaching. “Hey, it’s me. Roger.”
Pete eyes him then me like I’m supposed to give him clues, like I know the identity of this random guy with the nose-ring and Carrot Top hair. I elbow Pete in the side.
“Roger…Roger…Roger!” Pete says, having an epiphany. If only his acting skills were a level above Barbizon his reaction might be plausible. What follows is that awkward moment where two people know each other online but don’t know each other in reality. So we stare at each other smiling like this exchange is normal even though Roger has a picture of Pete’s penis on his phone. Isn’t it wonderful how we’ve all become porn stars in our personal lives?
“I need another drink,” Pete says, rushing off to the bar.
In the darkness I’m left alone with Roger with the big red hair. Unfortunately he doesn’t know when to walk away so we shake hands and he tells me that he plays the accordion and that he just got back from the hospital because his mother had a hysterectomy. Yeah, he’s that person.
“That’s lovely,” I say, gritting my teeth. “Good for you.”
“Are you on Facebook?”
“I know I’ve seen your pic before. What are you on?”
“Earth…here…in front of you…having this really awkward conversation about your mother’s uterus.”
He eyes me dully and I shudder, casually looking over at the bar to find Pete is nowhere to be found. I don’t know whether to be mad or sad. Am I the crazy one or has Facebook and Twitter and Grindr completely eradicated the concept of social etiquette? Tell me, how do you go from “here’s a pic of my dick” to a casual conversation? A few minutes later Pete apologizes, stating Roger should have known better. “He’s acting like a stalker,” he says.
But I don’t fault Roger. How is he to know the dating rules when they’ve become so skewed? Lately, even with friends, I have a hard time knowing what’s allowed. Is it OK if I call on the phone? Should I just text? Maybe I shouldn’t post on his/her Facebook wall. Is it OK to say hello in public? What am I allowed to do? Someone enlighten me.
“You can do whatever you want,” Pete tells me on the drive home. “Just don’t be so open about it. That’s your problem, Anthony. You’re too open. You say the most random things in public…really loud so everyone can hear. Why do you do that?”
I think for a moment then turn to him. “To keep my friends talking.”