Parents, friends, and strangers do a public service by keeping their secret sex photographs and receipts of wrongdoings in their own private phones and laptops—as Valerie Cherish would say, “I don’t want to see that!” But we’ve all had phones left unlocked and doors left opened. So tell us: what’s the weirdest shit you’ve ever accidentally seen?
This is a fairly convoluted story but it is so messed up that I’m going to tell it fully because it is honestly so important. When I was a freshman in high school, I set up a little robot that could tell when a specific AOL instant messenger screen name clicked on my profile links. I saw a certain screen name, let’s call it “DogBoy2005,” had clicked on my WebShots photo album several times, so, because in the year 2000-something and I couldn’t fathom an internet bigger than my small high school, I IMed this dog boy and asked, “Who are you and what do you want with my WebShots?”
He said his name was Jason* and that he went to my neighboring public school, and sent me a picture of him, even though the picture, which was of a very handsome white teen, was captioned, “Fred*.” I asked why the different name, and he said, “Oh, my middle name is Fred.” Of course it was, this all makes sense, I hummed to myself. We kept talking, and he eventually e-introduced me to his friend Newton* who was a year older than me at my school. They were good friends, he said.
The next day Newton found me in the hallway and asked me about Jason, and then we kind of flirted. I kept talking to Jason on AIM and then started talking to Newton too. We were an internet trio of friends, even though I had never met Jason and didn’t really know what friendship meant. Eventually, Newton and I started dating, and he always made sure to say how grateful he was to Jason for setting us up.
Fast forward three years—I’m a senior in high school and Newton and I have long since broken up (I dumped him when the sight of him with a piece of cheese on his face gave my a two-weeks-long stomach ache), but he went to a small college that I wanted to visit, so I visited it and went to his dorm to “catch up.” We were both sitting on his bed, having a chat and a laugh, until he offered to show me a video on his laptop. When he opened it, AIM was already opened on his desktop, signed into the account “DogBoy2005.” He was Jason, I realized at that moment—three years too late—and I had been complexly catfished before catfishing was a thing. That afternoon, I pretended I saw nothing and never spoke to him again.
Jezebel’s own staffers have seen plenty by accident. One once scrolled through a friend’s iPhone photos too far until she got “spread cheeked photo of a BH [butthole];” another saw a customer she was waiting on accidentally enlarge a photograph of his erect penis.
What have you seen that made you nauseous with shame and embarrassment??? Tell us in the comments.
*Names have been changed.