Biff America: Making new naked friends (column)
Buttercup texted me a nude photo of herself.
OK, in keeping with my new found pledge to be totally factual — for this one column only — I will clarify.
First of all, Buttercup was not completely naked in the photo — she had on a swimsuit or some sort of matching undergarments. Secondly, she did not send the photo to me; she sent it to some guy nicknamed “Westerly.” (For the uninitiated Buttercup and Westerly are characters of the book and movie “Princess Bride.”)
I was sitting in the back of our camper in the middle of Nevada, post bicycle ride, when I was alerted to a text message from an unknown number. I clicked on it and up came a photo of someone I did not recognize. She looked to be in her 40s or 50s, not overweight but stout; she had on, as pre-mentioned, either a red bathing suit or matching underwear. You could tell the camera was propped up against something and she was using a self-timer feature. In the background was what looked like a modest kitchen.
Buttercup was laughing; she had one hand behind her head in that typical (but outdated) glamour pose. Beneath the photo, included in the text was, “My sweet Westerly, thanks for my new cellphone — I LOVE IT — here’s my first photo. A little something to distract you during your lunch hour; don’t show this to the guys or I’ll kill you.”
I passed my phone to my mate and said, “Look at this.” At first we thought it might be some sort of scam or prank. But it didn’t take long to get the “Princess Bride” reference and conclude it was a wrong number. We decided that Buttercup got a new phone and had not figured out how to transfer her address book and mistakenly texted my number instead of Westerly’s.
Our best guess was she transposed one number of Westerly’s area code and hence it was sent to me.
About 10 minutes later we got another text, “Please delete the photo. I sent it to the wrong number. LOL”
To be clear, the photo was not obscene but certainly personal and, perhaps, for a woman of Buttercup’s age and size, slightly embarrassing. But perhaps, and it was only me speculating here by her attitude expressed in the photo and her ending her second text “LOL,” she did not seem embarrassed, just amused.
I wrote back, “DELETED.” I lied. I did not delete it right away. We looked at it again — this time more closely.
Upon closer examination, (I’ll admit to expanding the snapshot), Buttercup looked nearer to 60 than 40, built like a lady who was healthy but not obsessed with diet or fitness. She was in fact wearing a matching bra and briefs and she was certainly not embarrassed. She looked joyful, confident and beautiful.
I deleted the photo.
I had a very wealthy and older woman once tell me money does not buy happiness, only privacy. We also know that money cannot buy love — only rent it. And in addition to those life lesson chestnuts, I also have learned to never take, at face value, anyone who insists they are honest, moral, godly or tough … often they are not. But it wasn’t until I aged a little, and my brain made inroads on my hormones, that I discovered that beauty has little to do with appearance.
The lucky ones are those who don’t let others define them. Those who feel valued, loved and worthwhile … are.
“Happiness makes you pretty,” Drew Barrymore.
I thought about writing Buttercup, later in the day, to tell her that she looked really good, but my mate said that might be, coming from a stranger, construed as creepy. Upon reflection that was good advice. To think she needed or wanted my approval was presumptuous on my part.
If society put more worth on who a person was and less on how they appeared, we’d be a happier, albeit, perhaps plumper place. There was a self-help book published in the early ’70s — “I’m OK- you’re OK.” I tried to read it once but it was way over my head and there were no car chases, secret agents or bar fights. What I do remember was the book had to do with relationships, ego and self-worth. I always thought a better title would have been, “I’m not OK, and you’re not OK, but hey, that’s OK.”
There was no need to tell Buttercup she was beautiful. She already knew that……..
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Biff’s new book “Mind, Body, Soul.” is available at local shops and bookstores or http://shop.holpublications.com/products/biff-america-mind-body-soul
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