Last night I returned from a bit of a road trip to find an interesting envelope awaiting me. It bore a return address of “IP, Inc.” in North Hollywood, CA and was simply addressed to “J,” with no middle initial, no surname. I’d never seen such a thing.
The contents were equally surprising. Turns out the “IP” is Instinct Publishing, and the pitch was for “Instinct” magazine, a rag for those of the Pink persuasion. (“HELLO!” the letter begins. “You’ve been missing out on the world’s funniest, hottest and most hip gay men’s magazine out there!”)
Ever since I opened the envelope, I’ve been trying to figure out what tipped them off. I’ve racked my brain, and can’t come up with an action that would put me on an exclusively gay mailing list. I’ve never subscribed to a gay magazine (I tend to be unimpressed by them) so the few copies I’ve bought are for cash at the newstand (and I always decline the phone number routine.) I buy gay-themed DVDs the same place I buy almost all my DVDs: Amazon. So yes, Amazon surely knows I’m gay, but they also know my last name.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t particularly care that I’m in somebody’s database somewhere. I’d just like to find out whose… and what I did to get there.