These days, women have begun to use the internet. Like other highly sexual activities — bicycle riding and the showing of one’s ankles — this form of newfangled female audacity can drive a man mad. Faced with all those flirty emoticons and naughty statuses about “walking the dog” and “burrito-eating,” it can be hard for any red-blooded man to restrain himself. Unprompted sexual advances, repeated demands for attention, obscene commentary — in the face of profligate female posting, how’s a man to resist?
We get it: It’s hard to know when it’s appropriate to send a sexually explicit message to a complete and total stranger. That’s why for your convenience, we have put together this handy flowchart! Next time a woman’s existence online fills you with an irresistible urge to send her an unprompted and potentially sexually-explicit message, consult the following:
List A: If you check yes to any of the below, you can probably message her!
1. Do you know this woman?
Y: Cool! You can probably message her. But keep that sexual suggestion or stunning photograph of your genitals to yourself unless she’s explicitly indicated that’s what she wants. If she has asked you not to message her, consult list B question 4.
N: Well, let’s continue – you could have some legitimate thing to say to her.
2. Has this woman asked you to message her?
Y: Cool! Go right on ahead and message her. But remember — no penis pictures without permission!
N: Hm. Well, try number 3?
3. Do you have some genuine social tie with this person? For example, they are a friend of a friend you’ve been meaning to meet, someone in your social circle who can give you professional advice, or an acquaintance from grade school who is now semi-famous and you could be invited to their grade-school-reunion-themed Oscar party.
Y: Isn’t community awesome? Have fun respectfully messaging her things that are not objectifying or sexual, including pictures of your penis.
N: Eh…how about number 4?
4. Do you have some genuine business with this person? For example, you are a reporter and need to contact them for a story, you want to invite them to your political thing, they are your favorite writer and you would like to hire them/send them fan mail that does not involve telling them their writing on rape arouses you sexually because that is creepy/Paypal them a generous monetary donation on a one-time or preferably recurring basis.
Y: Please direct all inquiries to my gmail.
N: Uh-oh…sounds like you may need to proceed to list B…
List B: If you check yes to any of the below, slowly back away from your computer. You should not, by any means, contact this person.
1. Is this woman a stranger and you are about to send her something objectifying or sexually explicit?
Y: Do not message her.
N: Good job! It’s bad to send objectifying and/or sexually explicit messages to strangers.
2. Is this woman a friend who has not expressed explicit interest in receiving objectifying or sexually explicit messages from you, and you are about to send her an objectifying or sexually explicit message?
Y: Why in God’s name would you message her?
N: Phew! For a second there, I thought you might be sending something sexual to someone who hasn’t consented. That would be a bad thing to do!
3. Did you see — but not match with — this woman on a dating platform like Tinder?
Y: Look, if she wanted to talk to you, she would have swiped right. Do not message her.
N: Congratulations! You chose to be a normal, emotionally mature human rather than a creepy harasser! Yay you!
4. Has this woman explicitly asked her not to message her?
Y: Then why do it? She asked you not to! Do her boundaries mean nothing to you?
N: I am so proud of you for practicing basic decency and not violating another person’s boundaries! You are so awesome!
5. Have you repeatedly messaged this woman and she has not answered and yet you wish to continue to message her?
Y: What on earth do you have to say that is so important that you need to keep saying it at her when she is clearly not interested?
N: Wow! It’s super great when men are normal and don’t harass people on the internet! You are like, the best person I know! I am so into you!
6. Are you about to send an unsolicited picture of your penis?
Y: Unless a) she has eagerly agreed to the proposition that you send her a picture of your penis, or b) you are using a hip new app for remote photo-based diagnoses of your penile woes set up by your urologist, do not send her a picture of your penis,
N: Oh my god. You resisting the urge to send a picture of your junk to an innocent stranger shows you are so dateable and attractive. Drinks?
7. Are you about to say something racist, sexist, homo- or trans-phobic, or otherwise derogatory?
Y: I REJECT THEE, SATAN.
N: Wow! Is it hot in here, or are you just so hot for not actively being a bigoted asshole?
8. Would you like to make rape and/or death threats against this person?
Y: Take a deep breath. Slowly close and back away from the computer. Now that you are not reading this anymore because you have closed the computer and hopefully begun to reflect on the toxic soup of violent masculinity and personal entitlement that has gotten us here today, I just want to say that writing this has been exhausting. Now excuse me while I take a temporary vacation from technology.
N: Marry me.