A Word About Dick Pics


Ahhhh, The Dick Pic. A relatively new tool (ahem) in the single (?) man’s arsenal of … um…courtship strategy.  Or an opportunity for perverts to cast a wider net. Or a novel approach for the exhibitionist. Whatever, but The Dick Pic has become a thing. (ahem)

For those of you who aren’t in the know, i.e. haven’t been in the dating world for the last 10 or so years, you may be wondering, “Why would anyone want to send, or receive, a pic of a dick?”

It’s a fair question.  And I’m not sure I can answer it. But, let me give it my best shot. (…ahem.)

First of all, for those of you who have not dated in the last ten years, do I need to tell you dating has changed? Like – a lot. Texting, Facebook, Snap Chat, Match.com, OkCupid, Tinder., Bumble – these things have changed the landscape completely. So when I dipped a toe in the pool six years ago, I couldn’t have known what to expect. I ventured into the world of online dating and I kept it a secret. There was a stigma attached to meeting someone online. It was the equivalent to taking out a personals add in the 90s.

But smart phones and technology put online dating on the Fast Track. The inter-webs have virtually transformed the way we seek and find relationships. There are so many dating apps and websites, the stigma has all but disappeared. “Where’d you meet him?” On Tinder. On Match. Eharmony. OkCupid. Bumble. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are over 7,000 dating sites online, and of the 54 million single people in the US, about 49 million have tried online dating at some point. It’s a massive industry with annual revenue in the billions. (for more amazing online dating statistics, go here)

And not only that, but 17% of marriages in the last year started online, and one-fifth of committed relationships also began online.

So, where do the dick pics fit in? I don’t know why, but some men seem to find it exciting to “show the goods”. Is it a form of harassment? Absolutely. Are these men exhibitionists? Perverts? Predators? Maybe. Hard to say.

I just wonder, do they really think, “Hey, I know! A dick pic will win her over! Wait’ll she sees THIS!”


SPOILER: Not. Won. Over.

I still remember the first Dick Pic I received. I’d been emailing a man from Plenty of Fish. He was nice and seemed interesting, and we decided we’d meet for dinner. We moved off the site and started texting. Here’s what I recall:

Him: Where shall we meet?

Me: How about (Local Restaurant with amazing flatbread)?

Him: *dick pic*

Me: stunned emoji face

Him: Sure, that sounds great. 7:00?

Me: You just sent me a pic of your dick. Did you mean to do that? 

Him: I just thought you’d like to see what you’re getting.


Him: …

Me: I think I’ll pass. I’m afraid I’ll reach out to shake your hand, and…

This wasn’t a so-called hook-up site where we’d began chatting. There hadn’t been any flirting or any reason to think I’d somehow signaled him to send a pic of the goods. It was 100% unsolicited. It was the first – but not the last – dick pic I’ve received over the last six years. There has even been a dick video over skype. That was…neat.

If you do a quick google search of “Dick Pic” you will find a whole culture appears to have popped up around the phenomena. (Okay, I did that one on purpose…) There are sites JUST FOR DICK PICS. It has its own hashtag! #dickpic is a thing! There are Tumblr accounts, Twitter accounts – even a “Critique My Dick Pic” page (I am not including that link. You’re on your own, there). You can find How-To advice (How to Take A Dick Pic That Actually Looks Good), Cautionary Tales (click here), and an app that apparently lets you locate the men sending them, ostensibly to put an end to the unsolicited variety.

A word here about “sexting” vs. #dickpic. There is a difference between consenting adults sending one another sexy texts, which may or may not include pictures or videos, and the kind of dick pic I bring up here. Couples at any stage of dating, courtship, or even commitment may find that technology can enhance their sex life and you’ll get no judgment from me.


For the most part, I’ve handled (I just can’t stop with the puns) the dick pics I’ve received and carried on, not feeling particularly threatened or even assaulted. Over time, it got the point that it wasn’t even surprising. I usually just delete the offender. Or I might say, “Oh, sorry, you sent  a pic but I can’t quite make it out.” Let them worry about what I mean.

But I have to imagine that many women are deeply offended and even traumatized by receiving such a pic. For anyone with sexual abuse or assault in her past this could be a trigger. Not that any of us want that dick pic. But sending out random dick pics for shock value is not just ballsy, it’s an odious use of technology. But I suppose that’s the point for some of these offenders.

And you don’t need to tell me that #dickpic is part of the #metoo conversation. But that’s another post.

So, the moral of the story? If you’re a woman and you’re dating for the first time in a while, you’re probably going to get a dick pic at some point. Or, maybe not. Maybe by the time you read this, the #dickpic will be passe.

I won’t be sorry to see it go.

And if you’re a man reading this here’s the message: if you’re wondering if a dick pic is a good idea? Let me help you out. No. No. No. Never. No. Thank you. But, no.





Destination Unknown


Just returning from Writers Conference, and I’m simultaneously coming down from the high and nursing the exhaustion that accompanies these types events. This was my fourth- and easily most valuable – conference. Every year, I gain some nugget of wisdom that rejuvenates me, rekindles my inspiration, reminds me why I love this particular brand of creativity. And this year, I left feeling utterly hopeful.

I always say tutoring pays the bills but writing feeds my soul. It’s true. Although I find my day job immensely rewarding, it’s the writing that sets me free. This has been more and more true over the last 6 years as my life has taken a number of turns. When my children were little, I found it tricky to carve out time for creativity. But as they grew and my marriage fell apart, I (happily) embarked on a new path. The call to create never left me. It waited, patiently, for me to be ready. 

As I build my tribe and learn more about this process, the take-away for me this year is this: the destination is unknown and it’s not even the point. No one sits down knowing how to write a best-seller (except maybe Jonathan Maberry). If you’re only looking at that as your endgame, you’re missing the point. I don’t sit down and write every day because I think I’m creating the next Harry Potter. Or that my brilliant prose will surely and certainly be noticed and hailed by Oprah. (Okay. I’m lying. I might fantasize about that a little bit…)

I write because I love it. I love creating. I love the challenge. I love that it’s not easy, that it’s fun, that I can make something original and tell the story that’s unique to me. And maybe some people will think, hey, that’s cool. And maybe no one will, but the point is I enjoyed the process.


So much of what I’m learning about writing and my creative process I can apply to life in general. We humans can be a little “Once I get (fill in the blank), I’ll finally be happy.” Or, “If I only (lost ten pounds, had a million dollars, made partner, had a cute boyfriend, got married, wrote that bestseller, lived in Italy…) life would be complete.”


Dear Reader, you don’t have to admit it to me, but do you have a fill in the blank? A thing you’re thinking will solve all your problems if and when you finally get it?

Between the wish and the thing, are you enjoying the life you’re living?

I listened to a podcast a few weeks ago that asked this very thing. I’m nodding along…yeah, that makes sense, and yeah, I do a pretty good job of enjoying life without having everything I want. But then, he specifically used dating as an example. And I’m all “screeeeeeech”.


Hmmmm. Dating. Dating? I have to LIKE dating? Because this is a process I can’t say I love. Especially: online. Sure, there are aspects of it that are fun. And I have met some great people – two of my best friends in the world actually grew out of online connections. But, mostly, I find online dating a chore.

So I struggled with this one. And it kept nagging at me. To be clear, I don’t think “finding the one” will be the answer to all my prayers. I don’t need someone to complete me or fix me or make all my dreams come true. But, I simply don’t enjoy dating.

But wait. Who says the process of being single is exclusively about dating? And which parts of the process do I actually like?

I love that there is something to look forward to. That I don’t know what’s coming, but I’m excited. Almost like waiting for Christmas! I like that it could happen any time, and won’t that be a lovely surprise? I like that my plans are my own. I can decide to go out, or I can decide to stay home. I can stay up late, or go to bed early. I can sleep-in, or get up early (usually I sleep in…) I can watch TV, or not. I can decide I’m gonna run in the morning, and then decide to roll over and turn off the alarm. I can plan a trip to wherever I want to go. I can go out with my friends as much as I want. (Well, not really, cause I have kids, but still). I can sleep diagonally in my bed. I can pick the restaurant, the movie, the concert, the whatever. I can eat hummus even though that sometimes – okay, always – results in some unpleasant after effects. I can watch Friends more than any human probably should, but I can do it and no one can complain (except my kids, but this is Mama’s House).

You get the point. I’m getting a lot out of my journey and I can and will continue enjoying all of this, partner or not. (Okay, maybe I shouldn’t watch Friends so much, and maybe I won’t always get to pick where we go. I’m not unreasonable. And maybe no hummus because that’s embarrassing. But most of the stuff stays.)

Well, would you look at that?  In my quest to learn more about writing, I learn about life. And that’s kind of cool.

Between the wish and the thing, life lies waiting. Destination unknown.