An unexpected ‘bonus’ of turning 50

Sometime last summer, I started getting emails with subject lines like :

Discover the Best Kept Secret

Get BIGGER with free sample

Enlarge your pink just by popping a pill

Enlarge your PINK????

Penis growth free trial: grow a big package today

Package? At least now the real P word has been ‘spoken’ (and, no, I don’t mean ‘package’)

the boy who called wolf

(Not sure how that one fits with the rest of this amazing marketing strategy – but I sure didn’t open it up to find out)

Achieve maximum sexual nirvana

and the oh-so-hard-to-resist:

Become a sex magnet in your neighbourhood

It took me a while to figure out why I was suddenly receiving these irresistible offers, but the lightbulb finally clicked on.

I had turned 50 in May

and my email address is maxspence@shaw.ca

The ‘max’ part probably caught the eye of the cyber sharks looking to cash in on the sexual issues and inhibitions that suddenly cripple men who hit the half century mark.

At least they circled their prey for awhile before launching the harpoons. I received the following message only four days after I turned 50.

Eric Bond wants to be friends with you on Facebook.
Supervisor at United Nations Foundation · University of Oxford
11 friends

Eric Bond? Who’s Eric Bond?

There was a creepy message attached to the friend request that I just tried to find to reprint for you, but this particular Eric Bond has disappeared. I can’t find it, but it went something like this:

Hello, my pretty. I like your picture. You seem like a very interesting person. I’d like to get to know you better.

There were some charmingly misspelled words for a guy who works at Oxford, but perhaps a lonely just-turned-50 woman might be tempted to ‘just see’ what this guy was about and accept the friend request and then exchange a few emails and find out that Mr. Bond is a very charming fellow, brimming with ego-boosting compliments so that really it would be silly not to meet him for coffee and — oh, my, he just swept me off my feet — and then a few short months later cleaned out my bank account.

Cynical?

Yeah.

Paranoid?

Maybe, just a tad.

But it was way creepy.

I never would have imagined that there would be a predator gauntlet to run at turning 50.

I ignored Mr. Bond. And my ‘delete without opening strategy’ worked for the other campaign as well. The unsolicited pink-enhancement emails have stopped. I guess those cyber-sharks swam off to a more receptive part of the ocean . . .

so that another group could swim in . . .

inviting me to join Britney Spears, Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Alba, Nathalie Portman and Beyonce Knowles in their incredible weight loss program. Free samples abounded.

I opened nary a one of these enticing messages so I can’t even report how free they actually were.

Some of the emails were made to look like the information had been forwarded to little old me directly from Rachel Ray and Reese Witherspoon.

(Did you know Madonna lost 47 pounds?)

And I could follow suit by accepting their generous Free Trial Sample.

Except that they’re barking up the wrong tree.

If I lost 47 pounds I’d blow away on the next stiff breeze.

I heard a CBC report a few months ago explaining how the advertising gurus are no longer the ad creators but the computer geeks running the tracking software that monitors our computers and lets them know what sites we’ve been visiting so they know exactly how to target potential buyers. It, too, was kind of creepy.

But at least the advertisers worked on it a bit. Even if it is a major invasion of privacy, they did do their homework and paid someone for tracking and reporting our cyberhabits.

They didn’t just assume that every person turning 50 would be fat, lonely and flaccid.

This week I turned 51, but I should be safe from the internet hucksters. I’m thinking it’ll be a few more years before another round of ‘invitations’ arrives in my inbox.

I wonder what the perceived achilles heel of 60 year olds will be in 9 years time?

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