7.21.2008

Give your loved ones a complex. Anonymously.

Hey, no offense or anything!

When I first saw this site I figured it had to be some sort of promotional tie-in. Most of the emails you can send anonymously to friends and family are body-centric: body odor, dandruff, bad breath, and the red herring bad table manners. I figured this had to be some sort of Proctor & Gamble viral marketing scheme for some new product or products.

But it turns out, it's just the product of a know-it-all housewife who wants to help you criticize others. From the site's "About Us" section:

The idea for NoOffenseOrAnything.com began in a conversation between a work-at-home mom and her husband. Her husband had a colleague with terrible body odor but didn't know how to tell him. His wife suggested he try one of those anonymous emailers on the internet. However, this still didn't solve the problem of what exactly one should say. So, she decided to put her advice-giving skills to work and create pre-written content to help others out there in the same situation as her husband.

She's just putting her advice-giving skills to work! That's all, you smelly, sloppy lard ass! How could you be upset by receiving anonymous emails critiquing your appearance? Why would knowing that someone in your life thinks you smell be disconcerting?

My issue isn't with letting people know about their hygiene issues per se - although you've got to be pretty good friends with someone to broach that, otherwise you're just a dick - it's the idea that you're doing them a favor by sending them an anonymous note commenting on something very personal.

Why not hire someone to drop ransom-style letters in their mailbox? "I'M WATCHING YOU. YOU STINK. PLEASE SHOWER." If you're genuinely interested in "helpfully" notifying this person, then you do it tactfully and in person. Yeah, it's an awkward conversation and it sucks, but if you are doing it out of the kindness of your heart and not to shit all over someone who's probably horribly self-conscious as it is, then it shouldn't matter.

The other issue is that anyone receiving these notes will immediately dismiss them as a prank. I say this only because since stumbling across the site all I've done is write this in short spurts and take time out to anonymously accuse my friends of having B.O.

So if you're even remotely aware of how the internet works (i.e. hurling scorn, vitriol, and shame upon strangers) you would get this email, accuse your roommate of fucking with you, and delete it. The message wouldn't even get across.

However if you are the shut-in type and extremely uptight about your body, this just might be enough to put you over the edge and into the bell tower. It's a bit of a stretch, but I can totally see some poor, fat college freshman slitting his wrists in the bathtub because someone emailed him saying he has dandruff. Well just in case, you can notify the folks at No Offense or Anything as to how you took their casual advice. No radio buttons for "ruined my life" though.

Maybe I'm projecting. Do I smell? Fuck, now I'm all paranoid.


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