Dear Instagram Acquaintance,

It’s @dylangelula from Instagram. We’ve met once, but somehow I have been following your movements for several years. So, I hope this letter finds you well.

Look, I won’t waste any more of your time. Since you don’t post that often, I assume you have some sort of important job to get back to.

I write to you today to ask that when you post a photo of your dog you stop visibly blurring out his penis.

I already know where you’re going to take this: “Dylan, you sick freak, you’re trying to get uncensored access to what my dog’s penis looks like.”

Convenient how you turn this back onto me.

I’ve come to find that it is profoundly more disturbing to see a pixelated dog penis than it is to see the normal kind of dog penis. The one that’s just kind of there, if you want to look. Which I don’t.

I understand the impulse to point out that in saying I don’t want to see your dog’s penis twice, it makes it seem that I “doth protest too much.” That’s fine with me, if you need to deflect by being childish.

Take, for instance, burlesque. The supposition behind that sort of adult entertainment lies in the idea that it is often actually more suggestive to obscure the naked form. Allow just a hint at what titillates and the imagination is sparked, focusing the audience’s attention on the erotic. The art is in the intentional placement of the eye, thus bringing with it the conscious mind.

The same theory applies to placing a smiley face over your dog’s penis.

I don’t know how receptive you will be to me on this. I only know about you from the time when, happening upon your page in something of an app-induced trance, I launched a whole fifteen-minute investigation into whether or not you’d broken up with your boyfriend, who is also a stranger to me. My conclusion was that probably you did. So I do also want to say that I wish you both the best on your separate journeys.

Please consider my request. A request that I trust you will not deliberately misread as sexual curiosity about your dog.

— Dylan