The idea had seemed so…. pure, almost. I know that some people will roll their eyes or stifle a laugh.
Pure… to have a stranger take naked photos of you? Come on…
But the intention behind it was romantic. Honestly.
Things had been rocky between Daniel and I for a while. I can’t say when I started to feel him slipping away. It wasn’t anything that could be marked in ink on a calendar: ‘on this day, he started working late at the office. On this evening, he cancelled a dinner date.’ It was less a specific fracture and more like a gradual erosion of intimacy – the intuitive sixth sense that our foundations had become perilous which, once acknowledged, was impossible to overlook. Like a bead of water trickling down a windowpane and gathering more droplets on its descent, there was no chance of retraction, and the feeling only grew in force.
With Valentine’s Day approaching and the shops rapidly filling with cuddly toys, heart-shaped chocolates and fabric red roses, the gnawing sensation of unease became impossible to ignore.
It had been during an evening with girlfriends that the idea had sprung into my mind. The third bottle of Picpoul had been ordered and the topic had progressed to the more salacious side of dating. Ruth, the most active singleton of the group, was lamenting the latest attempt at a dick-pic that a Tinder match had offered.
‘I mean, he asked if I’d like to see his dong with the same kind of magnanimity that used to be reserved for picking up the bill. As if it would be a treat for me! And they’re never even great pics! The last guy who sent me a dick pic was in the most appallingly decorated bathroom, and the toilet seat was left up in the background. Not exactly screaming ‘I’m a keeper’.’
‘I mean, jeez,’ she’d continued as we all laughed and studied the guy in question via her phone screen. ‘There’s no way I’d send a saucy snap to any of these Tinder guys. But if I were going to then yeah, I’d go fully Annie Leibowitz in my approach! If you’re gonna do something, then do it well!’
‘Didn’t you have some sexy snaps taken Audrey?’ Louise piped up.
We all turned to Audrey, who was trying unsuccessfully to spear a slippery green olive with a wooden cocktail stick.
‘Oh yeah! That was so much fun. I presented them to Gaz on the eve of our wedding as a naughty little gift.’
‘Sexy snaps?’ I asked, immediately intrigued. ‘I didn’t know this.’
‘Classy ones, obviously,’ Audrey replied with a wink. ‘A friend of a friend is a photographer and specialises in the female form, so he came and took them. It was great, I felt so at ease and the results were gorgeous. Gaz is trying to convince me to have one blown up and framed for above our bed. Imagine! I mean I’m all for female self-expression and feeling relaxed with one’s body but I’m not sure I could stomach seeing my foof every time I turned in for the night.’
We all fell about laughing, but the idea had lodged itself in my head.