I'm pretty sure Hotty McHotpants would've Snapchat'd me back in high school. (Yes, Snapchat. More later. But first, Hotty.)
Oh man, she was hot. She had blonde hair (crimped), a white leather jacket (fringed) and a lot of Spandex (clingy). She had smoky eyes, a smokin' body and she also smoked, which was still pretty hot back in 1987. In short, she looked like she lived inside a Whitesnake video.
And she liked me. She didn't "like me like me,' but she liked me. Which was good enough, as I was tall, gawky and acne-ridden. I had glasses the size of my face, a mullet the size of a history textbook and a nose the size of a really, really, really big nose. Think a young Ichabod Crane, and not the Johnny Depp one.
But I was a nice enough guy - a personable chap -- and so I wasn't totally invisible to people like Hotty McHotpants. (Can't give her real name. Sorry.) Now, as you might imagine, Hotty had a bit of a reputation. Deserved? Who knows. Who cares. But one thing was obviously, painfully clear: I was never going to be a contributor to her reputation. I had better odds of getting to first base with the New York Mets than I did of getting to first base with Hotty.
But a boy could dream. And believe me, there was dreaming. Daily. So I had a thing for Hotty, and I'd like to think I was just nice enough (and she was just naughty enough) that if I asked -- and if Snapchat existed, of course -- Hotty would've given me a Snapchat shot of her. Nothing dirty, but something just a little ... imaginative. But hopefully dirty. It would have been the proper thing to do.
Ah yes: Snapchat. Are you familiar? It's an app that allows users to send pictures and video to anyone they please. The catch -- and the draw -- is simple: The pictures and video will disappear within 10 seconds after viewing, unless the recipient grabs a screenshot of them, a glitch I'm pretty confident will disappear within weeks.
So who uses Snapchat? The vast majority of users are kids and teens. A good use for the app? For kids to send pictures to their parents alerting them of their whereabouts. A bad use for the app? Hotty McHotpants sending selfies of herself -- clothed or otherwise -- to pimply, desperate 14-year-olds.
As you might imagine, the latter scenario is causing some concern with anyone who isn't lusting after Hotty.
For instance: A pair of Ridgewood, N.J. freshman girls Snapchat'd themsevles in various states of undress to a boy in their school, and the kid grabbed the screenshots and posted them to Instagram. All of a sudden, "child pornography charges' are being bandied about.
Of course, hard to blame Snapchat for this kid being a creep. I mean, what's wrong with him? These girls were trying to do something nice and ...Oh wait. I see. Hold on a second. I'm a dad now. I have a daughter. If she's sending naked pictures of herself one day I'd probably ... well, are we still allowed to tie our children to their bedposts? Not up on current law. But she's only 2 years old. I have time to worry about it.
In the meantime (and while I shop for twine), it's not Snapchat's fault some people -- heaven forbid, teenagers - decide to send each other nudie shots. We're humans, we're Americans, we're brought up to believe sex is somehow bad, and if there's technology that allows us to explore these not-so-dark corners of our psyche in semi-private, you better believe we're going to take advantage of it.
Instead of demonizing the technology -- just do a Google search for Snapchat and you'll see some good ol' demonizing -- maybe we should just loosen up when it comes these hard-to-shake Puritan ideas about our naughty parts. I'm not saying we should meet up for an old style Greek orgy or anything, but come on, in the grand scheme, what's a few sexy shots among friends?
And before you think I'm giving the OK for kids to be doing this ... well, all I'm saying is we were kids once. If we had modern technology -- from Snapchat to just about everything else -- you don't think we would've found ways to co-opt it into something less than pure?
That's why talking to kids about this stuff seems a lot more level-headed than raging against the tech and threatening teenagers with child porn charges. That's a losing hand, right there.
Another losing hand is the fact I was born 25 years too late. Just one Snapchat shot from Hotty McHotpants would've been a dream come true. So uh ... if you're out there reading this Hotty ... well, do you have a Snapchat account?
Jeff Edelstein can be reached at facebook.com/jeffreyedelstein and twitter.com/jeffedelstein.