This just in – Britain’s Oxford University Press, publisher of the Oxford dictionaries, has proclaimed the new term “selfie” to be the 2013 Word of the Year.
Selfie is a hip new word for “a picture I’ve taken of myself to show everyone how attractive / fun / experienced / world-traveled / lucky / awesome / self-obsessed I am”. The term was added to the online version of the Oxford dictionary in August and may soon be included in the original, hardbound Oxford English Dictionary next to the picture denoting the term, “self-absorption”. The word selfie will also replace the archaic phrase, “Excuse me, would you mind taking a picture of me?”
The word selfie has earned its way into vocabulary halls of fame due to its rampant overuse, both as a term and a practice. Sociologists explain that the advent of social media has instilled a wide-seated belief that a selfie is living proof you have value as a human being. It turns out, Descartes’ real quote is, “I post, therefore I am”. And the more selfies you post, the more spectacular you must be. But only if you look super cute in the picture, of course. Any person who posts a selfie of themselves looking bad is either overly confident or simply delusional.
For those not in the social media loop, a selfie is an artistic form of self-expression involving a two step process. To prepare for a selfie, it is best to stop whatever merrymaking you’re involved in as soon as it dawns on you that people not currently in your company have no idea what fabulous adventure you are undertaking. Even if it is something as mundane as standing in your own bathroom.
Once you’ve determined that you look your absolute best, stand next to the important landmark, a mirror, a famous person or a group of your best looking friends. Hold your camera or cell phone at arm’s length from your face and snap a photo. As a matter of fact, take several in case you end up looking as ridiculous in the picture as you do to the people around you observing your outward display of vanity.
The second step is the crucial part – make sure you select the best photo of yourself (who cares if your friends look bad, it’ll only make you look better) and then immediately post the photo to Instagram, Facebook or whatever is your social media weapon of choice. The best practice is to post all of them, simultaneously. As stated, this is the important step because a selfie is not truly a selfie unless everyone you know gets to see just how how attractive/fun/experienced/world-traveled/lucky/awesome/self-obsessed you are.
Note, however, that the act of taking a selfie involves slight variations in process depending upon your age and maturity level. Teen selfie-takers are encouraged to carefully select among a variety of awkward poses to convey such messages as, “I’m a gangsta” (holding up your forefinger and middle finger in a sideways “V”) , “I’m a duck” (pressing your lips together and jutting them out in beak-like fashion) or “I’m a gangsta duck” (combining steps one and two). Another one is the “I’m an instant lottery winner” pose, where you raise your eyebrows and open your mouth in a half smile, half, “OMG, Surprise! I had no idea I was taking a picture of myself! Good thing I was having such fun when it happened!!” expression.
Rarely will you see a selfie of a teen girl just looking natural. Oh, how youth is wasted on the young! What they don’t know is that there will come a day when they will go to take a natural picture of themselves, but what they’ll get is an older version of themselves looking like a post-Botox street duck gang member. And it won’t be because they tried to look that way, it’s just that their face would have stuck that way sometime between their late teens and young adulthood. As is true for bell-bottoms and big hair, this generation of duck-facers is assuring hours of amusement for their own future children, who will look back on photos from this decade and quack up. That is, unless our faces do evolve into looking that way. The good news is that today’s selfies will provide future anthropologists with the missing clue as to just when – and why – humans evolved into wingless, beakless waterfowl.
Mature folks will engage in a different selfie process, mostly because they won’t be able to figure out how to turn on their phones. Once they do, they will fumble with the phone and laugh nervously because they won’t understand how to turn the regular camera function into selfie mode. After they tackle this stage, expect it will take another 15 minutes for them to figure out how to both hold the phone and snap the picture. Several attempts will be made while the mature selfie taker figures this out – expect to see pictures of their feet, the sky, and various shots of the back ground. If more than one subject is in this selfie, expect an argument to break out over how to take the picture, especially if it is a married couple. As a matter of fact, “What the hell are you doing? Take the damn picture, already!” argument has been cited as the cause of many divorces. Note, however, that if two women are trying to take a selfie together, it is likely they will laugh so much over the selfie fumble that they will inevitably pee both of their pants. Until they finally trains the lens on their face, when watch out – that nervous laughter will instantly be replaced by blood-curling shrieks when they see what they look like in selfie mode. There is nothing like a selfie lens to drain a mature gal of every bit of delusion she may have possessed about her own attractiveness. (Note: male selfie takers will skip this last step, as they are humanly incapable of recognizing their own unattractiveness.)
Older selfie-takers will be wise not to adopt the selfie pose of younger women, because making a duck face assures you that eventually the skin around their mouths will become so wrinkled, puckered and loose that their lips will eventually travel south and dangle permanently just below their navels.
They may also want to opt for a high-angled photo shoot, because looking up into the camera will not only smooth out under-eye bags but forgive Sharpei-inspired necks as well. Additionally, it will cause the primary chin to run interference for any secondary chins by shielding them from view, and will strategically place stomach bulges well out of the range of focus. A woman’s age is directly proportional to how high she holds her camera for selfie poses. For those over 40, it is recommended that you hold your camera at roughly the same altitude as a low-flying plane for best results.
The best time to take a selfie is when traveling to exotic locales or during a night out with friends. If you don’t have a digital re-enactment of the evening’s festivities, you may plum forget it ever happened. But a selfie allows you to document your popularity and attractiveness and share it with 500 Facebook or Instagram friends, turning an ordinary night out into The.Best.Night.Of.Your.Life. Whether it was or not. Chances are, if you truly were having the Best.Night.Of.Your.Life., you wouldn’t think to stop and snap a selfie. But putting it out there in such a way is certain to make others weep with envy because you look as if you are perpetually living a life full of non-stop fun and excitement.
Let’s be honest here. Isn’t that what a selfie is all about? An unabashed opportunity to magnify our own importance? A selfie is nothing more than a marketing strategy to enhance one’s social worth and make others jealous. People don’t take selfies when they’re being chewed out by a boss, tripping down a flight of subway steps or delivering a professional presentation with spinach in their teeth.
So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to my first colonoscopy*. Hey, just be glad I’m not a compulsive selfie-taker because, if I was, I’d truly make an ass of myself over this momentous occasion.
*People under 30 are not likely to understand colonoscopy humor as it is a procedure generally recommended after the age of 50. Consider yourself lucky and chalk that up to another blessing to count this holiday season! And laugh along anyway, it’s good for you. Just make sure you get a good selfie to share with others!
Copyright 2017 Kimberly Brighton (Bla Bla Blog). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.