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African American businessman using cell phone on balcony

On the heels of a conversation with my best friend about no longer wasting time and energy on men who, quite frankly, aren’t sh-t and have never presented themselves as such, and this study that alleges “Being single will kill you faster than obesity,” I find myself wanting to be more open to men, and then as soon as I do, thinking, “just kill me now.”

While I’ve dealt with the major offenses most women have when it comes to men, lately it’s little things that leave me extremely confused and perturbed when it comes to the opposite sex. In fact, it’s one thing in particular that grinds my gears like no other: A “Send me a pic” requesting a– man.

When I dipped my finger in the online realm of dating, I understood the photo request thing was a commonality, if not a necessity, to avoid getting catfished. But now I find men whom I’ve met in real life find it routine, not to mention acceptable, to request a photo of me within 24 hours of meeting. Subtext: bruh, you just saw me yesterday; you know what I look like.

Just last weekend, I found myself in the awkward position of being followed by a police office on my way home from grabbing drinks with a friend. As I prayed to baby Jesus and all the disciples to make it home safe in this Black Lives Matter era, it eventually became apparent the officer was following me because he wanted to holla not handcuff me. I gave him my number because (A) It’s dry in these streets and (B) Is there really a safe way to turn down a man carrying a gun? He sent me a customary “Did you get home safe?” text withing a few minutes of departing one another’s company and I suggested he may want to meet women in plain clothes going forward.

The next afternoon he texted me to ask how my day was going, I responded and in turn asked about his shift the night before and then, after declaring, “I’m here to keep you safe baby… ur personal bodyguard,” he said: “You gotta send me some pics of that pretty self of you love so I can save it to ur name.”

A 5th grade level of texting and a pic request? Hard pass. I never sent the pics; he never sent another text.

Fast foward to yesterday afternoon when I met an older gentlemen of 44 who appeared to be quite distinguished upon meeting. Though he, too, would prove to have some grammar issues on the texting front, I decided to push through, reminding myself not everyone writes for a living. I even gave him the dyslexic benefit of the doubt when he turned my name into a completely new one even after I spelled it out for him. And I didn’t completely dismiss him when he proclaimed he wants a woman who is strong but not “to strong” (sic) because there can only be one man in the relationship.

It was, however, the “So can I ask for a pic” question that sent me overboard and seeking backup as I told my friends who were there when I met said suitor the afternoon before about his message.

In the midst of disbelief that men are still out here just getting older and not wiser, one friend made the perfect observation: “Why doesn’t it occur to men that their first question should be can I call you instead of asking for a pic?”

Ding. Ding. Ding!

Even as this man was texting me this morning with his long wish list of qualities he looks for in a woman, explanations of the type of man he is, and his inquisitions into what I look for in a man, I thought, “Why are we doing this by text?” It’s not that I necessarily wanted to have a phone call about those things at 10:30 in the morning — not to mention less than 24 hours after meeting someone — but I just knew at 44 he was going to be a “Let me call you” type of brotha. Nope, another “Send me a pic” requesting a– man.

After I told him asking me for a picture is literally something I loathe, he replied that he was “Just asking” and he likes to send pics throughout the day “that’s all.” And that’s fine if (A) I know you, (B) I know you enough to know my photos aren’t going to end up somewhere I don’t want them, (C) You’re my man or on my way to it. It’s been a cool 22 hours since I encountered this person. You are a stranger, sir. I am absolutely uninterested in sending you pictures of me at my desk working and now I’m equally uninterested in you as a whole.

As a hard rule: Don’t ask me for a picture before you ask me on a date. I don’t care if the request isn’t salacious in nature, it just signifies a man’s intent to get something from you without earning it. And, trust me, I’m not bend-over-backwards-for-me, make-you-jump-through-hoops kinda girl. But when pics are your priority it sets a precedent — one I’m not quite fond of.

Just as I said before when it comes to unsolicited d-ck pics, men need to learn to proceed with caution. That whole “men are visual” line is a tired excuse for sexualizing women before getting to any type of substance. And, in this case, is proof the man didn’t comprehend anything I texted him about wanting to be treated like a basic human being by men instead of some romantic conquest, which is when the lying, posturing, and picture requesting come into play.

Men, if a woman likes you, the pics will come, naturally. Don’t attempt to rush them with a hasty, inappropriate request, or else you put yourself at risk of never getting a pic, much less, anything else from her.

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