I Was Sexting Before the Age of Smartphones - OZY | A Modern Media Company

I Was Sexting Before the Age of Smartphones

I Was Sexting Before the Age of Smartphones

By Perry Moss


Because no one in public needs to see your privates.

By Perry Moss

This story took place in a time many years ago. There were no such things as travel bans, the NSA, heightened security and HPV. We drank water from the tap and we liked it. It was a simple time. It was a time during which I figured out I could meet women — lots of them — on AOL chat lines.

I was in pig heaven in those chat rooms, rolling around in the unbridled access of the new and different. Full of possibility, absent dangers and harmless — or relatively so — sharing of sex secrets and flirting, eventually yielding what some might have called a love match. Though — to paraphrase Tina Turner — love probably had very little to do with it, this one woman was everything I was looking for: alive, close in proximity, beautiful and funny.

It was the funny that got me. That and the fact that she was a pervert. That also got me. But after months of mutual cuteness over landlines and computer chat rooms, we decided to meet. I set up a meeting date and we continued our love affair, chatting online whenever we could.

On a fateful evening in late March, before our scheduled meeting, she had a request: She had wanted to see what I was “working with,” as she put it. Well, since I was not in the trades — construction, plumbing, electrical — I was unsure what she meant. She explained that she wanted to see my penis before she saw my penis.

After the initial excitement wore off, I was sad. How the hell was I going to do this? My computer was obsolete and slow, and a video camera wouldn’t work on it. I was bright, but technology was outside of my wheelhouse. So I went down to a local large chain drugstore and bought a throwaway camera. I went home that night and took some of the best work since Robert Mapplethorpe met Terry Richardson. Really classic stuff.

Shit, my computer doesn’t ask me questions. 

I did it and let her know I did it. Her excitement was … well, pretty low, actually. I had hoped for a screech, a yelp, a slight moan, anything. I then found out the reason for her low enthusiasm: She wondered how the pics were going to be developed. I told her not to worry and mulled this next part over for quite some time: I would take the film to get developed and then send it to her.

After I properly weighed the pros and cons, I dropped the film off at the drugstore and waited several days to pick it up. Finally, I got the balls to go in and grab it while wearing that famous fail-safe disguise of a baseball hat and sunglasses. With my heart beating like a drum, I walked up to the counter and plopped down my claim ticket. Without hesitation, the clerk handed me the package with the photos.

“Too easy,” I thought, as I looked around for security, all the while fighting the urge to run out of the store. Safely home, I looked over the photos and relished the thought of sending them to my beloved. Except she didn’t want them sent physically via mail now. She wanted them scanned and sent via email.

She wanted them scanned with a scanner I didn’t have! But Kinko’s had a scanner, and computers. And I was running low on paper clips and white-out. So I hopped in my car with my floppy disk and drove to the Kinko’s in the neighboring town where I was not well-known. Or even known.


I walked in, scanning the room for the farthest computer from the front door and counter. I sat down and after logging on, I proceeded to insert the floppy disk in the hard drive and started to download the photographs I had taken for my new love. From there, a simple click or two and I would email the photos for her to feast her eyes upon. 

But the computer wants to know the resolution quality of the pics that I would like. Shit, my computer doesn’t ask me questions. Well, let’s give my love the highest resolution possible. Wow, resolution goes up to 1800 x 2400. Sounds like it will be lifelike! OK, click on download and save. … OK, taking a while, here we go …


Little by little, like someone with palsy drawing a still life, the segments were coming together, and you could start to see a giant 1800 x 2400 penis appear in full color on a 28-inch monitor.

I hit “delete.” Nothing. And now? Well, now it’s frozen.

Let’s recap: a giant penis in full color, frozen on a big screen for the entire Kinko’s to see while I frantically hit every button on the keyboard and try not to attract attention. I mean, beyond the big, frozen penis. 

Unplug the damn thing! Yes, that’s it. OK, shit, the plug is way, way over there. Too hard. People will see. But at least they won’t see my love offering. Look, there’s just no way to explain to anyone why you’re doing this at a Kinko’s. No good way, at least.

“This is for my anatomy class, sir” just doesn’t seem like it would work. Finally, after what seemed like the longest minute ever, I pushed the on/off switch that made the giant picture box come to life … and it worked. When the giant beast finally went dead, I composed myself, calmly got up and exited the establishment as if nothing had happened.

I was sure there was police waiting by my car, or at least some sort of ethics committee letter on the windshield. “It’s over,” I thought, saving a small part of my dignity. Up until now.  

And what about the disk I left there, you ask? Well, I left a lot of things at that store on that fateful day. Lots of pictures of my bat and balls, a shitload of the rest of my dignity, a prepaid card and lots of perspiration. But I like to think I learned a lot also. I learned that, um, in regard to taking life-size pics of your junk: Smartphones? A rather valuable contribution to both science and love.

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