TYPING: Move over selfies! A new photo-craze is taking over the city campus!
Remember that Dead Or Alive movie where all the main characters were busily going about their usual activities when… was it daggers? came flying from nowhere inviting them all to that grand fighting event?
Well, so was our encounter too. Except there was nothing like daggers for my man-ho roommate (Raymond), his deranged ex-girlfriend who happened to be my (self-imposed) personal stylist (Celeste), his fuck-buddy (Maya), my naughty grandma (Grannie-Grandma), and plain simple me (Kobby). It was just one surprising phone call.
Twin 1 (snapping his fingers in glee): We’d love you to get on our billboard.
Twin 2: We’d love you to get on our billboard sans clothes, naked.
On the raised platform of the auditorium we’d assembled at, we all stood transfixed.
These two twin-execs who claimed they were from some big, smashing ad company were shooting an ad for Fiesta condoms. And for some reason they thought we’d just take off our clothes and jump in view of the camera for——
“A thousand dollars.” My eyes almost popped out. OK, I hadn’t caught THAT. “Plus, you’d be getting all that exposure you’ve all been craving.”
Grannie-Grandma snorted. “No shitting about the exposure there.”
“Wait,” My brain was still wrapped in confusion. “Why us?”
“Great question.” Twin 1 jumped in before I could elaborate. You’d think he was about to answer till he passed it on to his brother.
“You,” He pointed Celeste, “we chose because you are very well-known in the fashion circles. And you,” Maya, “you made a name for yourself by tripping at a fashion show. You there,” Raymond, “Heard all the girls liked you on this campus. Kobby,” I was surprised my name was readily on his lips compared to the others’, “you are a popular blogger on campus. And Gran,” His eyes scrolled through a chart he held, then finally, he remarked, “you are just a granny.”
“Fine by me.” Grannie-Grandma intoned with an unperturbed shrug.
“So, we would leave you all to be briefed by the photographer.”
Before we all opened our mouths to protest, that we (——OK, it was just me) hadn’t even agreed, they were already through the gangway and heading for the exits.
“Brandon.” Celeste called to my surprise the bald muscly guy taking the little flight of stairs to the elevated platform. “Good to see a familiar face.” She strutted away from us to hug him.
I was struggling to put a location to where I’d seen this guy, but my mind was completely useless. Practically the default state of every brain when processing the idea of going nude on a billboard.
There was something strange about the eyes looking over Celeste’s shoulder though that got me intrigued. I would have willed myself to take me back where we’d first met if Maya hadn’t leaned in to whisper.
“Hey, isn’t that the photographer at fashion week?”
Click. That was enough for my brain to go at ease. True, he was one of the photographers at fashion week.
“Hello.” He spoke in an all too familiar bass voice as he neared with Celeste’s hands draped over his shoulder.
“Slut.” I could hear Maya mutter, rolling her eyes over Celeste’s gesture. I wasn’t going to point out that she, my roommate’s fuck buddy, had slept with almost half of the guys on campus. I’d just let her hatred for my roommate’s ex simmer down.
“So, I believe Marco and Marcus have already briefed you?”
How he could tell their difference, I was amazed.
“Yes, they did.” Raymond was the one to speak. “But we, didn’t agree on anything.” I was almost tempted to scream a ‘Preach on, bro.’ when…
“Well, I’m not here to make you agree.” Brandon responded, crushing my little victory. “I’m just here to go over the details you need to know before the shoot happens and answer any questions you might have——yes?” He cocked a questioning brow at Grannie-Grandma who’d just shot up an arm.
“When do we get started?”
If Brandon was shocked, he didn’t show. A slight giggle, then he resumed, “Taking nude photos is always a challenge. Especially for people doing it for the first time—“
“Not for me.”
I glared at my deviant granny, willing her to shut up.
“So, I want you all to get comfortable with the whole idea and each other before the shoot begins…” His attention diverted to the backlight of his iPhone, but he went on speaking, multi-tasking, “First of all, I would like to ask all of you if you have Selflesslies.”
There was a uniform nod from everyone, but why didn’t I just know when to keep my mouth shut sometimes. Because right at that time, I said, “I haven’t really downloaded it yet. My phone’s internal storage won’t allow me.”
Everyone turned to me like I’d dropped a very conspicuous bomb from my behind.
“You don’t know what a Selflesslie is?” Raymond shot me a look as though I might be the silliest person he’d ever encountered. I didn’t blame him. He wouldn’t sit through an episode of the Kardashians with me.
“Err…” I looked to my feet for inspiration. “It’s not on the Play Store?”
“Kobby, I love you,” Grannie-Grandma whispered, “but you are making me want to keep it a secret we are related.”
“Selflesslies are selfies.” Celeste replied cheekily. “Selfies taken naked. You do have a naked picture of yourself, don’t you?”
I swallowed hard as they all waited for my answer. I badly wanted to tell the truth. That this was all bullshit, and why would anyone want to have a naked picture of themselves when they knew how they looked naked? But I watched Grannie-Grandma, and I decided telling the truth would, err, complicate things. You see, I didn’t want anyone to assume my granny was way ahead of me even though that was what they were already thinking. Next minute, you’d be shocked I’d be blacklisted and would have to walk, eat, shit with the unpopular kids as Grannie-Grandma took my place——I’ve seen 21 Jump Street. “Of course, I have a naked picture of myself.” I ejected with a dry laugh, then throwing my hands in the air, “Like I wouldn’t.” I really hoped being smug didn’t make me look like I’d had shit shovelled into my face, which was how I looked anytime I told a lie.
“Great,” Brandon beamed. “Then I would want you all to exchange your Selflesslies with each other.” I muted the gasp that escaped through my dropped jaw. “It helps in alleviating all awkwardness on the day of shooting.”
TYPING: How do you take a Selflesslie?
This should be easy, I thought as I raised my phone’s front camera to the mirror. I can also take a Selflesslie. I can prove to the world I could be way cooler than my granny. Snap, the shutter sound exploded.
Few minutes later, I think I was rather enjoying this Selflesslie thing. Yes, yes, everyone should give it a try if they had a sexy bod like mine. Of course, I did have a sexy bod. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be through my fifteenth almost good pic. Snap, snap, snap, off the shutter sound blasted from the mirror I’d hooked the phone onto. Sixteenth was a little bit contrived, if I’d positioned my legs well I wouldn’t have to obstruct my dick. Seventeenth was just too dull, I didn’t have that much intensity in what was supposed to be my come-to-bed eyes. Eighteenth might have been perfect if I didn’t show the world I was one of the six per cent who had gigantic horse testicles.
I set the timer, set the multiple shots to three, ran back to the mirror and flew onto the bed to strike a pose.
Nineteenth, twentieth, twenty—
Shit! Was that a key in the lock? Raymond!
I was immediately torn between rushing to my phone and concealing my nakedness. I only had a few seconds to decide before Raymond saw me butt-naked, or knew I hadn’t ever taken a Selflesslie, which was worse? Certainly both.
I played possum, throwing the sheets over my body. As I heard Raymond enter, I winced at the shutter sound of my phone going miles per second. Fuck, why hadn’t I disabled shutter? Through my linen sheets, I watched him stop at the camera by the mirror, watched him shift his curious glance to me. He walked away into the bathroom. Whew!
OK, so the average time everyone was supposed to take a dump was five minutes, I figured. I could totally consider that too much time on my hands to take a Selflesslie. But to take a perfect Selflesslie? I was willing to give myself the challenge.
Except lying in bed with your penis pressed to your sheets wasn’t really ideal if you didn’t want to go all hard like Rihanna. Oh no, and staring at yourself in all that naked penis-shooting-straight glory was… very distracting!
Oh my God, how was I supposed to accomplish the perfect Selflesslie if minutes later I’d pulled out a ruler from a shelf somewhere taking measurements of my dong! How did I find myself with my laptop on my desk googling the average human penis size (——Google results confirmed I was huge!). Trust me, I would have logged off the internet and gone on to take the perfect Selflesslie. Trust me, I really would. But I’m sure no guy would resist a pop-up ad that gave them the chance to upload pics of their penis and…
GET YOUR DICK COMPARED TO THAT OF A PORN STAR’s!
Ooh, I might as well click 'next' to the seventh porn star then.
TYPING: How do we handle body image issues?
I was grinning. I was sitting at a resident hall’s café and grinning to myself. I might have looked stupid. But wasn’t I still sporting the afterglow? I had a big, big, big, burger, teamed with a big, big, big, glass of orange juice. Oh, wasn’t the world just a bigger, better place after I found out that I had a big, big, dick bigger than that of nine(!) of the World’s Top Ten Male Porn Stars? (—At least, that was something.)
“You are grinning.” Celeste spoke as she headed for my table all professional in a tailored suit with fur shoulder pads.
“I am?” She didn’t add that I was glowing too, but I couldn’t help but pull on my faux-modest act. “Anyway, you called us here to talk…”
“About the Korkor Effect.” She said breathlessly, her eyes fixed onto her phone.
“The Korkor Effect?”
She looked up from her phone with an impertinent expression on her face. “Kobby, do you know anything at all?”
I knew she was being a bitch, but that was knowledge I chose not to brag about. You know me, all modest. “No, I do not.”
“Well,” she went back to using her phone as she spoke. “There was this girl called Korkor up in one of those universities in the country, she aspired for a position as SRC president. The next day when everyone was expecting to see her posters out declaring her intentions to run for the position, they saw striptease vids instead. They went like, viral.”
“So I your gran might have to deal with the Korkor Effect.”
I reclined in my seat. “You think my grandma would want to send videos of herself stripping for all to see? I do not think so.”
“Are you sure?”
“This isn’t Big Brother Africa we are talking about, Celeste,” I snapped, peeved. “It’s my grandma and she wouldn’t reduce herself to that.”
“Well, she’d pose naked for a billboard?” Why wasn’t she ever staring at me? What was so important on her phone she’d drop such a bomb and still go on scrolling? “And her husband called late at night to inform me his wife was going bonkers.” Why would my step-grandfather call to have a late-night chat with my self-imposed personal stylist? This all didn’t make sense. “And we are hoping this doesn’t go out, but she’s standing in front of a mirror singing Wiz Khalifa’s Black and Yellow——the exact song Korkor used for her videos.”
OMG. My heart sank to my stomach. If I needed confirmation my gran didn’t need to be residing on campus, this was it. But why wouldn’t Celeste look up from her phone and at least console me?
“I know what’s bringing this, Kobs. It’s the whole billboard thingy, it’s making her feel so comfortable in her skin. Not to mention, smug. So whilst I’m worrying if my boobs are too perky to be on camera, your granny is so content these people from Fiesta admire her sagging tits.”
I took out my phone. I needed to call her. I was getting concerned even if Celeste didn’t see this news as too much of a big deal to look up from her phone and relay it——
Christ, my weekend assignment for my Ghanaian Literature class!
Priorities, Kobby. I was sure my lecturer would understand if he was in my position.
I quickly dialed my Gran’s number off head and pressed the phone to my ear as I waited for her to answer. “Granny,” the phone was answered. “Granny?” Except she wasn’t speaking. “Grandma? It’s your favourite grandson, Kobby.” What was that faint music I was hearing in the background? Oh no… my lids shot up wide open. I immediately disconnected the call. “I think it’s time we put my Gran in a nursing home!”
“Yes, yes,” Celeste responded. “But that’s besides the point, are you thinking off doing the billboard?”
I could slap her if I hadn’t taken the gentleman’s pact never to hit a girl. “Celeste, that’s the last thing I would be thinking off. My grandma might be making home videos, taking off her clothes to THAT music this minute! Of course, I do not give a fuck about some billboard which I never agreed to doing anyway. So, now would you please help me go capture my Gran so we could send her to the nearest nursing home?”
TYPING: Why all these assumptions we are not good enough?
Celeste was no help. I might as well have tied her to a tree and told her to wait for me as I chased my Gran around. Yes, you read right. Chased my gran around!
I did not know how. But my grandma seemed to have received an anonymous tip that we were on to her. And before we even reached the homestel she was residing at, she was already running around the neighbourhood for fear we might get to her. Talk of paranoia stemming from bad intentions and a guilty conscience. Would my grandma ever realize she was too old to be acting like a slut? (Hint: No).
I tailed her through car parks, bushes, over the tables of alfresco diners. I summoned all the strength I had to dive and grab a part of her body, but all I had in my hand was a lock of her soft silver hair.
It was midday when I gave up the chase and warned her from afar that I would get to her soon sometime but just not now because I didn’t have the heart or enough time to finish my assignment before the tomorrow’s deadline. All she did was giggle as though I had somehow shape-shifted from her favourite to her funniest grandson.
“You did get her, didn’t you?” Celeste asked, still texting on her phone.
“You see me dragging her over with her hands strapped to her back?” I answered irritably. “You’ve been on your phone since! If you’d helped we would have made progress.”
“Well, then,” she had a determined look on her face as she texted into her phone. “If persuasion fails force is applied.” She snatched my phone from the breast pocket of my shirt. “I have the number of a good nursing home around here,” she began thumbing through my phone. “I could give you their number so we call and before heading over. Now.”
I thought for minutes as I watched her knees buckle, trying to get me the number from her phone. “Why don’t you give me their number? I don’t think I could go today. I have an assignment to take care of.”
“So you are going to your room?” It was the first time her nose shot up from her phone.
I stared at her through the slits that were now my eyes. “What is happening in my room?”
“Why then do you have a Scottish accent?”
Minutes later I broke through my room with Celeste following behind breathless. There was Raymond and Maya hunched over my laptop who swivelled and met me with their shocked expressions. There was the stereo blasting out Wiz Khalifa’s Black and Yellow and there was my Grannie-Grandma at a corner of my room winding her waist to it.
“What the heck is happening?” I yelled out of surprise, shocking my gran onto the floor.
“You said you would stall him!” Raymond glared at Celeste over my shoulder.
I turned to Celeste with my ‘You Got Some ‘Splaining To Do, Young Lady’ glare expecting her to fall in a heap at my feet, crying and apologizing. But she didn’t.
“So, I thought you needed the push.” She said vaguely.
“Sorry, Kobs,” Maya spoke. “I told Raymond that teaming up with Celeste to put up naked pictures of you on your blog might not be a great idea.”
“What?!” Knee me where it hurt the most, and I wouldn’t have looked that betrayed.
“Why would you do that?”
“We were tired of you being a prude.” Celeste once again answered vaguely as though that could pass as reason enough. My steeled jaw forced her to elaborate more. “You own a sex blog for crying out loud, and you have no adventurous streak. I figured out if we leaked pictures of you, you might get to think ‘What the hell’ and do this billboard thingy I’d worked so hard to orchestrate.”
I screwed my brows together. Was there any way I could interpret their ridiculousness without employing a psychic? “How did you get hold of my pictures?”
“You had it on your laptop.” Raymond answered, again that look that depicted I was made of silly stuff. “I told Celeste it’s the only way around getting you to do the nude shoot, but then we had to crack your website to get through the administrator’s log in.”
“That’s where I walked in.” Maya butted in. “Boy, do you have a huge penis.”
I really do, don’t I? Oh, flattery would get them nowhere! “So, all the Selflesslies I took. You’ve put them over the web?” I could toss a few things around the room.
“Not yet.” Celeste spoke. “We were holding them hostage to blackmail you into doing the shoot.” She walked around me to head for the desk. “I was put through Fiesta, I told them all about this brilliant new ad campaign I had for them. You’ve always wanted to promote your blog, haven’t you? I realized this could be the one-chance to allow you do so. Because even if you didn’t, I would still get the chance to promote my Personal Shopping services anyway. But if you say no…” She gave way to Raymond who had his hand hovering around the mouse pad. “… he clicks.”
“So, what do you say,” Raymond shot me a sinister look. “Do you want to do the billboard or reveal yourself unglamorously to the world?”
I cast a glance at Grannie-Grandma. Now any normal granny would urge their grandson to stay clear of bad influence. But there she was nodding vigorously and giving me double thumbs-ups.
Why was I even considering this? I thought to myself as a smile formed my lips. “You did say I have a huge penis, didn’t you?”
Maya smiled back. “Plus being on camera adds fifty pounds.”
TYPING: Sometimes in life, we go through that Not Good-looking Enough phase, or Not Hot enough Phase…
The set consisted of dictator-sized bed, fluffed with gigantic pillows and draped behind it was a warm grey wallpaper acting as background. White lights jutted out from the ceilings, and a huge propeller in a corner not far from the set was in full action.
All five of us were naked as the day we were born. Except for jewelled girdle gears for the ladies, and head gears for the guys.
The moment we took our positions (Maya leaning into Raymond on the wooden poster, Grannie Grandma alone on one poster, Celeste on the floor with her head lying lazily against the bed post, and I, being lead——thanks to my little gigantic friend down there——sat crosslegged with one leg fully stretched), Brandon began firing away with his camera.
TYPING: … should we know it’s all just a phase? And with time it would blow away into thin air…?
Who knew white feathers would be flying into the set? Who knew Lady Gaga’s Applause would be thrown in from the stereo to increase adrenalin levels? Who knew I could turn all raar, behind a camera with no clothes on?
Snap, snap, Brandon congratulated that it was good we were all having a blast.
TYPING: … Should we know we should revere the days we are so confident in our own skin?
I guessed I really hadn’t taken any Selflesslie because I really hadn’t taken that much pictures of myself clothed. I’d always figured I was the one always too short, always too dark-skinned. The one who always had the huge nose.
“Kobby, you are doing marvellous!” Brandon screamed over the music as I struck, um, dynamic poses. Hold dick. Twist dick. Wiggle dick. Oh, I am such a demigod! Applaud, applaud!
But I could definitely get used to taking Selflesslies. Because then, right in that moment, I felt good in my skin. I could wish for time to still, so I could just hold dick, twist dick——
“Kobby, are there other things you could do with your penis besides…? It’s all getting monotonous on this end.”
Oh. “I could just, um, like, stare at it?”
TYPING: Because just as those phases would pass, they are sure to rear their heads again.
We all stayed up with tumblers of champagne to see how the Billboard shot would look like. (“A toast to Kobby,” Maya screamed, “who we all didn’t know had it in his jeans.”)
“It’s here people,” The twin execs sizzled up to us holding eight-by-tens of the final draft of the ad campaign.
Who knew Grannie-Grandma would be cupping her breasts and looking into the camera like her life depended on it? Who knew Raymond would be burying his head into Maya’s chest? Who knew Maya would be throwing her head back and pretending as though she was moaning in ecstasy? Who knew Celeste would be snarling into the camera from her position below? And who knew I would be holding my dong, gazing smugly into the camera with my intense——wait for it, wait for it——come-to-bed eyes?
The whole photo looked amazing with all the best parts censored out. (“No need to send conservative vehicle owners flying off highways.” the twins barked with laughter) A huge red banner curled around the top reading, ‘Love Your Body, Love Your Sex.’
TYPING: Then we must acknowledge through our Bad Hair days and Lumpy Boob weeks, we are not all perfect. So when the perfect days come…
I grinned. In my mind I was imagining it up there looking down at anyone who bothered to wonder what the heck was towering over them. I inhaled satisfactorily, and raised a glass to Celeste winking at me over the brim of her champagne. I could certainly get used to my Google Alert pinging anytime Big-dick Boy on Fiesta Condom Billboard came over the web. If that wasn’t accomplishment, what was?
But of course, I was alien to the knowledge that my perpetrator was still out there. And though I didn’t know, he was already flicking through my poor attempts at Selflesslies, considering if he should step out of the shadows… and strike once again.
TYPING: …why don’t we all take a picture? Because they last longer.
Author's Note: Let's all help promote the new Photo Craze that teaches #Selflove, #Selflesslies. Catch Sex And The City Campus on the blog every Saturday. (If in Australia, by Sunday I'm sure you should see it) Anyways, love you all readers to bits. Your comments and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org are always encouraging.