Saturday, December 27, 2014

This is going to get me into big trouble

Pictures of scantily clad women are flooding my computer screen.  It’s not what you think.  I'm the victim here.

Okay, so, this is awkward. 

I’m in sort of a predicament that I’ve been trying to keep secret.  But I’ve decided to come clean about it. 

It’s a problem that of late has forced me to do my home office work behind closed doors.  And the situation in which I find myself has me hurriedly reaching for the mouse to dump the Internet and call up an innocuous word processing screen or something every time my spouse knocks on the door.

No, it’s not what you think.  At least not precisely.

It all unfolded like this.  In searching for Christmas gifts, I decided my lovely bride could use a new robe.  A trip to the mall didn’t turn up anything I thought she’d like.  So I did what a lot of people are doing in the 21st century:  I hit the Internet.

In doing so, I discovered that there are a lot of websites out there offering lingerie.  A lot.  But despite that, it struck me that there isn’t a whole lot of variety.  If you’re looking for sexy, oh yeah, it’s out there.  Some of the alleged garments, even those offered by big name stores, didn’t feature enough material to manufacture a self-respecting handkerchief.  I don’t knock it but that was not what I was looking for in this instance.  I wanted a nice satiny robe.

Most of the practical sleepwear that was offered (on most sites those items have their own category to separate them from wares intended for situations in which sleep is not high on the list of priorities) was just that—intensely, drably practical.  If that’s what I wanted, I could lend the wife one of the many oversized promotional T-shirts that I’ve picked up over the years at media conventions and whatnot but have never worn, and be done with it.  That wasn’t what I had in mind, either.

Finally, after a very patient hours-long search involving many websites, I did find what I was looking for, offered at a respectable store, and I purchased it.  I thought my lingerie experience was done.

It was not.

Ad screen cap from a news website page
The very next time I got on the Internet, I noticed a lot of lingerie advertising, featuring many pictures of scantily clad women hawking various items.  Some of the ads surprised me—many were risqué enough that it seemed surprising they’d pop up at random on sites intended for the general public.  In the course of preparing my daily radio show, I peruse quite a few web pages.  And suddenly it seemed that every one of them was sprouting appealing young women wearing not much of anything.  There’s suddenly a worldwide advertiser splurge on lingerie advertising?  Really?

No.  Not really.  It finally dawned on me that all those randomly selected news and information websites and pages I tend to visit in the course of my work somehow knew that I’d been shopping for lingerie.  They found a way to track me across the Internet and custom feed me shots of women wearing only slightly more than what they’d brought with them into the world. 

Ad screen cap from Facebook
Now, I’m an old guy but I still appreciate the opposite sex.  So I was not offended.  The problem this has left me with, though, is as follows.  At any time of the day or night, anyone walking into my home office and glancing at my computer screen would see a parade of half nekkid women—some, considerably more than half.

I’m really not sitting at my desk here in my office perusing that kind of material all day long.  Honest.  I’m diligently working on completing the final steps preparatory to the print publication of my second novel, and am finishing up my third, while keeping a blog and also producing a radio show.  I don’t have time to sit and gaze at the aforementioned alluring females. 

Screen cap from a blog site
It seemed inevitable that sooner or later my bride would catch me in flagrante delicto spending time with my new friends.  So yesterday I confessed to her.  She has been very understanding.  She observed that the advertisers are probably tracking me via cookies planted on my computer, and suggested that I clear my browser cache to see if that gets rid of the unwanted intrusion.

I will probably do that very soon.  However, I do have a professional curiosity as to how long the advertisers will keep flooding me with this material before they give up. 

I’ll assess that and get back to you with the results.  After all, in this privacy-is-dead 21st century Internet age, knowledge is power, and the more we can learn about how we all come to be targeted by such unwanted attention, the better off we’ll all be.  Look for my next update on this issue in three months or so.


If you enjoyed this, please share with your friends.  You can find more snarkograms here.  My well-reviewed novel Messages, a TV news exposé and crime drama, is written largely in this style.  And I invite you to subscribe to this blog.

©2014 by Forrest Carr.  All rights reserved.

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