Whenever I first start dating someone, I tend to romanticize their every action. (“Aw, he used my toothpaste and left a glob in the sink—how cute!”) When we call it quits, the once rose-colored memories turn black. I can’t believe I’ve overlooked major (and I mean, major) warning signs, many of which screamed “You’re dating a narcissist!” through a megaphone.
Praise be, it looks like that particular oversight may be in the rearview mirror. A very 21st century study of 1,087 men published in The Journal of Sex Research found that (hang onto your hats, singles) participants who reported sending unsolicited dick pics also tended to show the traits of narcissism. As if that weren’t reason enough to cancel those who send you junk mail without your consent, those particular individuals also “endorsed greater ambivalent and hostile sexism than their non-sending counterparts,” according to the study. You know, all the qualities you look for in a loving, caring, respectful soul mate.
To come to this (obvious yet helpful) conclusion, researchers gave participants an online survey and a questionnaire that measured narcissism, exhibitionism, erotophilia-erotophobia, and sexism. And just like that, we had science to prove that no (no! no! no!), you should not hit send on that below-the-belt selfie. If you’re a narcissist trying to go undercover as a lovely human being, please, dear me—save it for your camera roll. To those who frequent the dating scene, don’t let your potential match’s charming smile and a proclivity for running marathons obscure your memory of the explicit visual you received OUT OF THE BLUE AT 3 A.M. ON A TUESDAY.
As the researchers write rather academically in the study, this ballsy move has quite the history. “The phallus and corresponding phallic imagery have long been used to represent both the male sex in general and a variety of traditionally masculine themes such as strength, power, and virility. From ancient Roman graffiti to the undersides of school desks found in the classrooms of school-aged boys, the masculine obsession with showcasing the penis has been evident for as long as history records,” reads the study.
Lucky for us, 2020’s iteration of said phallic symbols sends faster than the speed of light with the highest resolution. So it’s never been clearer (painfully so, in fact) who’s a narcissist—and who is not.
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