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Tracing this mind-bogglingly weird, inexplicably hilarious photo of a condom stuffed with spaghetti, lying on a bed.
A theory: There’s a direct relationship between a Tumblr post’s popularity and its lack of context. Case in point: the mind-bogglingly weird, inexplicably hilarious photo of a condom stuffed with spaghetti, lying on a bed.
It’s flying around the Yahoo-owned network with (virtually) no backstory whatsoever. That’s about par for the course, though. In August, the same thing happened to an even more bizarre clip of a man having sex with a snake. But the condom—how? Why? Who? Is it some Pastafarian totem? That 4chan meme about spaghetti in the pockets translated into real life? Just a meal sealed tightly for a midnight pasta snack? Many Tumblr users have no idea.
Lack of context often turns Tumblr into a blank slate onto which users can project their spaghetti-condom fantasies and create weird image macros. But this image, referring to someone’s dad leaving the condom under a school-aged kid’s pillow, hints at a much deeper, darker undercurrent of Tumblr from which the spaghetti condom was unearthed (and unwrapped, stretched, filled, and posted):
How does one even fill a condom with spaghetti? pic.twitter.com/h0hlCD7w0i
— Veronica de Souza (@HeyVeronica) October 21, 2014
There may be a loose connection between the spaghetti condom and a roleplaying community on Tumblr devoted to dad-daughter relationships. It’s called “daddy dom,” or “ddlg” for “daddy’s little girl,” or “daddy dom/little girl” in written erotica. It features a lot of disturbingly cutesy stories about incestuous relationships and child abuse. (Baby roleplaying is arguably one of the worst things on the Internet.)
There’s also “gummies,” as in gummy bears filled with semen, a sub-meme that pops up on 4chan’s My Little Pony forum.
The spaghetti condom, then, represents all of the above. And also nothing at all.
Tumblr is a flat circle of memes and disturbing fetishes. The spaghetti condom, a twisted joke based on a twisted joke based on a twisted joke, makes sense in the grand cosmic ouroboros of Internet subculture, but only if you think about it so hard you have to close your computer and set it on fire. Which is exactly what I’m going to do now.
Update 4pm ET, Oct. 20: Ryan Broderick of BuzzFeed argues that the spaghetti condom is a riff on the “When U Mom Com Home and Make hte Spagheti [sic]” meme, and thus doesn’t have much of a connection to cummies and ddlg roleplay—“but the Internet is weird,” he says, “so who knows.”
Photo via nebulux/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
A former assigning editor for the Daily Dot, Cooper Fleishman's work focused on the web culture and niche internet communities. He joined Mic as a senior editor in 2015. His work has been published by HyperVocal and the Good Men Project, and he previously copyedited for Rolling Stone, Men's Journal, and Us Weekly.