January 5, 2021

When Algorithms Go Bad: From Bike Parts to Dildos. {Funny}

I was in the kitchen pouring myself a second cup of coffee when I heard, “Whoa!” ringing out from the living room. It was George, looking at something on his laptop. The look on his face was a mixture of astonishment and amusement.

George and I have been married for 35 years. We’re a good match.

There is no doubt we fell into lust before we fell in love, although that feeling of “geez, I don’t want to ever be without you” came pretty quickly for us both.

As 30-somethings, we both had voracious sexual appetites, and we were crazy about each other. We had sex in cars, jeeps, the forest, lakes, swimming pools, the sauna, restaurant bathrooms, on the stairs, in the kitchen, in the garage, in the shower, the bath, on the roof of a houseboat, and, yes, in the bed. Sometimes it was slow and luxurious with lots of flirting and foreplay; sometimes it was a quickie that lasted inside of 10 minutes.

We’d tried “a toy” here and there over the years, but our favorite was to enjoy one another’s unadulterated body. Nothing else needed. No porn. No exotic apparatus.

There was that one time we went to our video store to rent an X-rated movie. They had a special room in the store for “those” movies. Feeling pretty naughty, we looked around to make sure no one we knew was there, then entered the forbidden territory. Soft porn in hand, we made our way to check out only to find one of my business associates in line. Oh geez. Mission aborted.

My favorite thing, always, was kissing. I love Costner’s famous quote from Bull Durham, “…and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.” “Oh my,” I believe Susan Sarandon said in response.

It’s hard for me to choose the best parts of George. Let me just get this said: he is kind and generous, loving and sentimental. He’s smart and goofy. He’s a smart-ass, which I love, even though it’s sometimes annoying and indefensible. He’s more well-read than anyone I know. He’s witty (though he thinks he’s far wittier than he really is, that’s kind of endearing too). He’s not afraid to be seen crying, and he’s tender with small kids and animals.

You get the picture. He’s what moms used to call “a good catch.”

My intention, however, was not to give you the laundry list of his virtues. I really wanted to talk about his other “best parts.” He has always been my type. He’s tall—6’2” and lean. He has a cyclist’s body. Strong legs and arms. High, tight butt. Dark hair. Well, silver now—he’s 72. Maybe think George Hincapie (star Tour de France cyclist for many years) in his prime.

But my favorite part of George has always been his smile and his soft lips. I cannot overstate how much I have always loved our kisses. No matter where we were or what we were doing, we always held hands and kissed. A friend once gave us the moniker, “The Amorous Couple.” We weren’t that gag-inducing amorous couple. You know, those people to whom you just want to say, “get a f*cking room already.” Nah, we were the cute amorous couple. Everyone knew we were crazy about each other.

I may have misled you when I compared my George to George Hincapie. My George is not a road cyclist; he’s a mountain biker. Much more kick-ass, in my opinion.

So, let’s get back to what George was reacting to as I was getting my coffee.

“Whoa!” He had said.

“What?” I asked.

“Did you know they sell porn on Amazon?” He asked.

Turns out he was doing an Amazon search for a product called “Uncle Dick’s Bead Slick.” It’s a lubricant you put around the rim of a bike wheel so you can snap the tire on easily. Without a product like that, you might be at it for hours. (No analogy intended).

What do you think he got when he googled “Uncle Dick’s Bead Slick”? Go ahead, let your imagination run wild.

Yep. His computer immediately populated with hundreds of porn websites and products that might go well with Uncle Dick’s slick desires.

You know how you do a search for, let’s say, a certain kind of winter hat, then everything—all your searches, all your social media, all your shopping sites are suddenly flooded with winter hats, winter gloves, down parkas. The algorithms are fine-tuned to meet your desires, even before you realize you are desiring something. Just mention it and it appears.

One quick search and George is now being hawked every imaginable dildo, vibrator, S&M delight. You want to talk lubricants? He is now aware of every flavor and scent available. Porn sites. Articles in Psychology Today about porn addiction. It’s all there.

I think my husband has been labeled a freak by algorithm standards.

Moral of the story: watch what you search for. You may get a dildo instead of a bike tire lubricant.


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