Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.
Question: “Hello. I’ve been reading TMN regularly for three years, and somehow you have never addressed my #1 concern in all of your Non-Expert columns. So I write: how do I know if I’m sexy? Peace from the Middle West, Darren”
Answer: Click “Start.”
A man? It’s dark all around him. Can’t see.
Another man? Hard to tell. Gender-nonspecific person. Looks very bored.
“Hello?” I ask. “I have a question to ask you.”
A girl. Teenage? Might even be wearing some kind of school uniform. I am instantly wary. No, terrified. Can I get locked up for Chatrouletting teenage girls? I wave hi. She waves hi. I can’t ask her a sexiness question. No way. My turn to click “Next.”
Two girls. Women. Much too close to the camera. Laughing. They shout: “HIIIIIIIII!!!!!”
“Hello. How are you two today?”
They laugh again. One of them flashes her breasts. Is that a good sign or a bad sign?
“Listen, I have a question for you.”
Now there’s a kid—sorry, a young man. He looks like an idiot, and I know he’s going to show me his penis even before he does so.“WHAAAAAAT?” One of the girls puts a spoon in her mouth. She’s eating cereal. At this time of day?
“I want to ask you: How do I know if I’m sexy?”
They laugh more, cereal spits out everywhere. One of them clicks “Next.”
A bored teenage dude.
An empty chair. Movement beyond, but I can’t see what it is.
A man. Balding, wearing clothes (phew). Behind him there’s a Christmas tree. On his desk there’s something furry, like a cuddly toy. I can only see one end of it, though.
“Hi,” I say.
“Hello, how are you?”
“I’m good. I’m trying to ask people here how I can know if I’m sexy?”
The man smiles a little. The cuddly toy suddenly moves; it’s a cat, not a toy. Catroulette.
“That’s not what I’m interested in. Bye,” says balding man.
Now there’s a kid—sorry, a young man. He’s got a goatee and square sunglasses. He looks like an idiot, and I know he’s going to show me his penis even before he does so. Chatroulette and penises: It’s been done. Get over it. Sadly some men will never get over their penises. Time up, penis dude.
Another guy. Age indeterminate. Chin-strokin’. I’m not going to bother with any small talk now.
“How do I know if I am sexy?”
Indeterminate guy gives me a blank look. He says something, but I don’t understand it. Russian? Something from Eastern Europe? There’s music playing in the background behind him. Sounds like rock, some screechy guitar solo. The guy says something else, and from the look on his face it’s probably insulting.
“How do I know if I’m sexy? I just want to find out.”
They fall backwards laughing.
“You are not sexy!” one of them shouts. She’s sitting backwards on her chair. Her friend’s hair is all spiky, and her eyes bulge out a little. Weird.
“No, I don’t want to know if I am sexy. I just want to know: How do I know? How does anyone know?”
A black square.
Seriously, it’s John-fucking-Lennon sitting there. The glasses, the hippie hair. Smoking something. He looks at me.
“How do I know if I’m sexy?”
He blows out smoke and answers in a very un-Lennon East Coast accent.
“Uh, do you ever get any sex?” he answers.
That’s not the sort of sexy I meant, I think.
“No, I mean: How do I know? How does anyone know? If they’re sexy or not? What’s the identifier for sexiness?”
Wait, did I just use the word “identifier” in a web chat? What the hell am I doing?
Lennon-clone glances upward, then to one side. Then he shouts over his shoulder.
“Marianne! Marianne! Guy wants to know how to know if he’s sexy!”
He turns back and looks at me steadily, silent. A few awkward seconds pass, then Marianne appears. She is stupendously tall and thin. Her hair is cut in a straight fringe, two snips in a line: snip, snip. Her eyes are a tiny bit crossed as she peers down to get a closer look at me.
“How long have you been doing this shit?” she asks.
Lennon-clone keeps staring at me as he answers. “I don’t know. A while.”
“Is it all full of crazies? Is this guy a crazy?”
I’m about to interrupt to prove myself a non-crazy, but Lennon-clone slowly shakes his head.
“I don’t think so, Marianne. He just doesn’t know how to know what sexy is.”
My turn now.
“I just want to find out how I know if I’m sexy,” I blurt.
Marianne jumps like someone’s pulled a leg out from under her.
“Jesus, can he hear us?” Her face looks at me in horror.
“Sure he can,” says Lennon-clone. “It’s chat, Marianne. You talk to people.”
Marianne looms right up close to the camera, so it loses focus.
“I’ve seen a whole lot sexier,” she declares, then disappears back where she came from.
“I don’t think she can help you,” chuckles Lennon-clone. He leans forward. “Nice talking to you.”
Masturbating penis. Sigh.
Some youngster, maybe a teenager. Curly blondish hair, a blue T-shirt that says “DROP AND” on it. There must be a third word, out of sight below the edge of the desk.
“WANNA SEE A MAGIC TRICK?” he shouts.
“OK, let’s do a deal,” I reply. “I’ll watch your magic trick, if you’ll give me an answer to one question.”
“SURE!” shouts Shouty Kid. “HERE, I HAVE A PACK OF CARDS.”
He waves a pack of cards at me. Yup. Pack of cards, alright.
“I’M GOING TO SHUFFLE THEM AND SHOW YOU ONE, OK?”
“Fine, yeah. Listen, could you stop shouting?”
“I’M NOT SHOUTING.”
“OK. Never mind. You’re going to show me a card.”
“YEAH, I’LL SHOW YOU BUT I WON’T LOOK AT IT MYSELF, RIGHT? I WON’T KNOW WHICH CARD IT IS.”
Shouty Kid shuffles the cards. I can hear his breathing. He cuts the deck, and holds up the bottom-most card from the top cut. It’s the two of clubs.
“NOW YOU LOOK AT THAT AND REMEMBER WHICH CARD IT IS, RIGHT?”
“Yup. I’ve done that. Got it.”
“RIGHT. NOW, I’M GONNA SHUFFLE ‘EM ALL UP AGAIN…”
He does so, a bit feverishly. He turns to look me straight in the eyes and says:
“WAS THIS YOUR CARD?!”
And stands up, revealing two things. His penis, which lands on the desk in front of him. And the final third word of his T-shirt, which is “ROLL”.
I sigh, and say: “OK, are you going to answer my question now?”
Even if no one else does, that guy knows he’s sexy. Sexy as hell.