It’s an uncontrollable urge, a reflex action. No matter how hard you try, you can’t help yourself. Like a tantalising ‘Do Not Touch’ sign at an exhibition or a ‘Keep Off The Grass’ warning on a beautiful lawn, if you see a link to a picture on Twitter, you’ve just got to click it. What will it be? Another cooked breakfast? Perhaps a cordon bleu luncheon in a fancy restaurant? Maybe a heavily filtered Instagram rendition of a darling chimney pot at a vintage fair? Check the calendar before you click. If it’s a Sunday, the chances are your click is going to lead you to some eager naked flesh. Welcome to yet another sleazy reinvention of Twitter. It’s Naked Sunday.
Naked Sunday is pretty much what you’d imagine, but if you really need me to draw you a diagram, here’s how it works. Somebody with severe self-esteem issues or a colossal superiority complex takes a picture of a part of their body – usually a ‘sexy’ one, such as toned torso, pimpled ass cheeks or, more unfortunately, huge throbbing sex rod – and posts this picture to Twitter using the hashtag #nakedsunday. That’s the first part of the process over and done with. So far, so ‘good’.
This ill-advised craze really comes into its own, however, with phase two. Lonely pervs or prurient types with unadventurous sex lives look at these pictures and, occasionally, send an @reply to the hapless poseur congratulating them for having breasts or a penis, giving a new burst of air to the rapidly inflating ego of our sexy snapper.
If you expose yourself on a bus or a train or the high street, you’re likely very quickly going to be taken into custody; bang your ballsack onto your worktop and photograph it gonzo-style for Twitter, however, and you’re a hero.
Occasionally, for balance, a burgeoning porn paparazzo will post body parts and pretend that they’re less than perfect. “Oh, boohoo, here are my sparrow legs and monkey feet,” they cry, and you look, for the same reason that you peer through your fingers at motorway pile-ups to see if you can spot any blood on the mangled Ford Mondeo – you simply must. Yet presented before you is a perfect pair of toned pins, expertly photographed with feet which seem carved from marble. Back away from them. They want you to say how great they look. Naked Sunday is the more mental section of the internet pleading “Does my bum look big in this?” and hoping for, expecting, an onslaught of fawning comments to the contrary.
What is it about the internet that makes us want to share every bit of us, to seek approval? It’s not a particularly new phenomenon: sites like Hot or Not and, disturbingly, Rate My Cock have long helped part-time compliment hunters gain an audience. The voting functionalities of these sites giving the participants a much-needed confidence boost, perhaps, or, for the more aesthetically challenged, a swift, unforgiving kick up the arse.
But these sites were specialised, their users knowing what they were coming for and the photo posters accepting the limitations of the voting systems. Naked Sunday takes this to the next level. It’s an open-mic night for the cocksure (pardon the pun), with every body part welcome, from mountainous guns to sculpted abs, underwired breasts to pulsating dick and beyond.
Hardly anyone ever says “Yuk, get it away from me” on Naked Sunday; marking down is poor form and there’s only room for congratulation. Those pursuing validation on Naked Sunday are only pretending they need it. They know they look good; they just want to be adored, and in as public a domain as possible. If they could sit in their bedroom window with their genitals pressed up against the glass without being arrested, they probably would. But then they wouldn’t be able to filter out the unwelcome stares of ugly neighbours, or passers-by who may call them out on the ridiculousness of them wanting, needing to be appreciated and gazed upon, like a bandwidth-stealing demigod.
Instead, they hide behind the #nakedsunday hashtag. Out there, but secret. For your eyes only, but maybe theirs too. And theirs. With nary a thought to their friends, family, careers or futures. Only now matters. And right now, they look hot.
Disgusting. Now take your top off and send me a picture. And don’t forget the hashtag.