Selfie School

This word “selfie” has been collecting a lot of stamps in its passport for several years now, so I expect everyone knows what it means. (And for those of you who don’t, I am shocked and appalled that the first place you are hearing this word is–of all places–my dorky little blog, but I have your back: a selfie is a picture you take of yourself. Not an earth-shattering concept, seeing as people have been documenting their appearances for centuries. It’s just a lot easier now with front-facing cameras, and a lot more affordable now that people don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get someone to paint you. Anyway. This has been such an extremely long parentheses that you probably forgot we were doing the parentheses thing, huh?)

Most everyone has heard of selfies, including both my grandmas, neither of whom have a Facebook account, so at this rate it’s essentially a full-fledged English word. However, knowing what a selfie is and successfully executing a selfie are two very separate feats. You see, it’s an art form.

I’m going to stop here and include one of those “What’s the Point?” inserts that you see in textbooks that try to make boring subjects like math more fun and relatable. (Spoiler: Math will NEVER be fun or relatable.) So why should you selfie?

Selfies aren’t for everyone. If you enjoy being cynical and hating on people for using technology to celebrate themselves, then fine– continue being bitter and resentful of others’ happiness. But for those who have healthy worldviews, selfies are a fun way to feel good about yourself, because you’re super cool and unique and you deserve to feel good about that. And in a hundred years, people will look back at your pictures and be like, “What a betty! She’s so classic. I want to look like that.” And then they’ll get into their Beaut-omatic machine, some science will take place inside it, and they’ll step out looking exactly like you except wearing a white jumpsuit in the sterile white world of the future (because everything in the future is white). If nothing else, it’ll be fun to look back on your own pictures once you’re old and flabby. But hopefully you’ll still love yourself even then and take flabby selfies. Yay self-love!

So they’re kind of a big deal if you want them to be. Okay. Down to business.

It’s up to your discretion to pick and choose any of these pointers to use in practice. At the end of the day, it’s all about capturing what makes you feel most awesome and most “you.”

  • The first thing I like to do is prep myself: this means grooming. The level of grooming is flexible. You could be Level 1 (no prep– you just put on a t-shirt… or maybe you weren’t even that ambitious… up 2 u) or Level 10 (designer clothes, full-body makeup, all the hair products and crazy ‘do’s that I can’t even wrap my brain around) or a combination. Sometimes I’m feeling greasy French braids (I tell myself it’s “grunge”) and sometimes I’m feeling the freshly-washed wild mane (I call it… “Franken-hair!”).
  • After I’m proud of how I look (“Wow, congrats to me for putting pants on today!”), I find a window. Natural light makes for killer selfies. It’s god’s way of making nature and the outdoors tolerable for once. That’s how that sneaky bastard is able to lure people outside in this day and age. (For all the cynics still reading, that was what we call a “joke” and is not to be taken seriously.) Anyway, sometimes light is my enemy because it makes for some next-level creepy glares in my glasses that make me look like I’m trying to hide the fact I don’t have eyeballs and I’m about to possess anyone who looks at my picture, but if I can get the right angle and avoid the glare, then it totally pays off.
    • Something else you can do is “set the stage.” You know when you’re a kid and someone would come over so you’d get all excited and  bring out all your favorite toys and show it to them? Do that, but subtly. “Oh, my bookcase is in the background, whoops. What, my easel is in the corner? Oh, look at Kurt Cobain over my shoulder giving his stoic look from his poster. Shout-out to my cat sleeping on my bed… all twenty of them…” People used to do this all. the. time. in paintings. You’ve seen them, where they’re dripping in every piece of jewelry they own. Inspiring.
  • Next is the photoshoot itself. If you’re into the “Classic Selfie” pose, you have to lift your phone and angle it down at you, and tilt your head down. Then make a duck face or something. If you want to go for a “2016 Selfie”” look, have the camera hit you straight-on and put your hand underneath your chin like you’re showcasing your face. You can also opt for the “Mirror Selfie” which is usually a dingier option unless you have a luxurious well-lit bathroom. (As a personal rule, if I ever encounter a bathroom that has exceptional lighting, I must take a selfie. The Cleveland Museum of Art has exquisitely-lit facilities, if you are interested. Also, exquisite art.) Or you can do a “Freestyle Selfie,” and snap a picture of yourself laughing or looking off into the distance thoughtfully or staring straight into the camera with a hard look on your face or climbing up a ladder or running for your life from a hungry bear or really anything at all that you feel represents you. You can also opt for the “Timer Selfie” which is a selfie incognito. The viewer doesn’t see your arms, so they have no way of knowing if someone else decided to snap a pic of you, or if you’re in your apartment by yourself being the sole mastermind behind the whole production. Keep them guessing.

You can take a hundred selfies or just one, and you can take selfies every day or just once every special occasion, but the important part is that you look at it and think, “Wow, I kill it!” no matter how you choose to execute it. And you can decide to post it on every social media platform or keep it to yourself (or your lover :0), but no one should give you flack for appreciating your variation. That’s some sort of last-year hateful nonsense that forward-thinkers don’t tolerate.

And that’s all there is to it. Two steps.

Step 1: Take picture of self.
Step 2: Enjoy it.

Wow. The magic of learning. Crazy how some people are actually spiteful towards people who feel positive about their self-image. When you feel better about yourself, you feel better about life. That’s all.


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