Troubling side of X-rated Insta trend
In an age where many people's self-worth is measured in Insta-likes and a single post can take you from obscurity to blue-ticked verified genuine influencer status, one @metaphysicalmeagan damn near broke the internet a couple of weeks back.
The post featured the self-described healer on her back with legs akimbo under a glaring sun. If you're familiar with the happy baby pose in yoga, picture that but entirely naked.
In a country as sun savvy as Australia, the mere act of tanning alone was bound to raise some eyebrows. They remained hoisted when we discovered that this was no candid moment snatched, as it were, from Meagan's day.
Rather, she was engaged in the practice of perineum sunning or as one Twitter wag put it "people out here butt-chugging sunlight".
To be entirely honest, I thought the perineum was a mountain range in Europe but that's actually the Pyrenees, and according to another fan, the credibly titled Ra Of Earth, "In a mere 30 seconds of sunlight on your butthole, you will receive more energy from this electric node than you would in an entire day being outside with your clothes on."
Bearing in mind that combined Ra and Meagan have north of 50k followers, I decided to give it a, um, crack.
After all, who doesn't need an extra shot of vitamin D from time to time? Because I work from home and therefore will do practically anything to not actually do what I'm supposed to, I rang my partner with a suitably loaded question: "Guess what I'm going to do at lunchtime?"
And because I'm a bloke who spends more time at home but somehow still ends up doing less housework than I should, she replied with a blend of hope and cynicism, "The washing?"
"No," I declared with the confidence of an 18th century explorer venturing into the unknown, "I'm going to sun my perineum."
There was a moment's silence on the other end of the phone before she said, "You know what the perineum is right?" To which I replied, "Of course." To which she replied, "OK, have fun."
Ordinarily, I'm not one of those men who is comfortable nude. I'm speedier in the gym change room than I am on the treadmill and after a horrific bacon grilling incident now have a policy of fully clothed breakfast preparation.
And so it was - in shorts and a T-shirt - that I unfolded a yoga mat in the backyard, then stealthily disrobed until it was just my flesh on rubber and embossed letters spelling out namaste slowly being transferred onto my stomach. Not possessing Meagan's level of body confidence - did I mention her photograph was clearly not in her yard but the actual great outdoors - I'd started out face down hard up beside the back fence.
And you know what? It did feel kind of liberating, what with breezes hitting parts of me that had never felt them before. Not to mention the toasty rays creeping ever higher up my slowly opening legs.
But like that wonderful Aussie saying goes, I wasn't there to screw spiders. It was time to go full @metaphysicalmeagan. Rocking onto my back and grasping my ankles in a pose that many men my age know as prostate exam variation #2, I held the position and awaited enlightenment. And waited and waited. I'd estimate there was a solid 12 minutes here.
The warmth was undeniably pleasant but Meagan's promises of "surges of energy almost immediately!", "better connection to my sexual energy and control of my life force", "so much creativity flowing through my life" and "attracting my soul tribe" - whatever the ashram that means - did not materialise.
What did materialise later that evening in the bath was a certain tender stinging sensation. It turned out that while applying sunscreen is now practically automatic when I know I'm going to be outside, it's so ingrained in my muscle memory that certain bits that aren't usually exposed to the UVAs weren't adequately daubed. That's right folks, if there's one thing to take out of this article, it's the importance of a properly slathered perineum.
I'm not the only who's made the mistake with Hollywood A-lister Josh Brolin generously sharing: "Tried this perineum sunning that I've been hearing about and my suggestion is DO NOT do it as long as I did. My bum is crazy burned and I was going to spend the day shopping with my family and instead I'm icing and using aloe and burn creams because of the severity of the pain."
And that from Thanos, one of the toughest villains in the Marvel superhero galaxy.
So, as I've learned, sun protection is vital. I've also learned that for reasons best known to themselves, certain neighbours may not want to make eye contact with you after you've sunned your perineum.
David Smiedt is a stand-up comedian and freelance writer | @Dsmiedt