Development of a Selfie Face

I am in class. Since I have just given out a task to fulfill, I am naturally running around the room and begging people to put their phones away. In the middle of the room, one girl who resides at 9.5 or 10 on a physically attractiveness scale is looking into her phone. I guess that she is using it as a mirror, since that is one of the dozens of functions a phone can perform these days.

She, evidently spurred on by the intoxicating effects of her own unfathomable beauty, is unable to resist putting on a set of duck lips, cocking her head slightly to the side, and raising an eyebrow in practiced (and undeniable) sexiness. And then it occurs to me: she is preparing to take a selfie (future title on Instagram: Class is SO Boring!).

I catch her eye and make a face which instantly causes her to deflate her duck lips, relevel her eyebrows, and stare at the task in baffled horror.

She put on her Selfie Face. I’m on the tram when the significance of that occurs to me. I lean back and look into my increasingly declining memory. I have seen a lot of Selfie Faces. We all have. Go on Facebook, Tinder, or Instagram and you see a lot of people who have not only just put on their Selfie Face, but have been working on it for years.

Women seem to slightly cock their head and smirk, or take a full on shot of piercing eyes. Men seem intent on conveying the image of a rugged tough guy or a hipstery intellectual. Both sexes have a tendency to make the picture appear as casual or whimsical as possible. The photographic equivalent of ‘oops, didn’t hear you come in.’

I have also seen people put on Selfie Faces. At a park with a friend last weekend, I watched her snap a few selfies. Before each one she put on her Selfie Face, which consisted of a big smile, a 25 degree head-cock, a sharpening of the eyes. Another friend enacts a sideways head turn and a bright smile in the roughly 102,938 pictures she appears in each week on Facebook.

And this all makes sense! A selfie face allows you, as both the photographed and the photographer, to have much more control over what people see in a picture of you. Obviously you are going to take advantage of that by accentuating what you consider to be your best facial feature(s) and masking what you believe to be your worst feature(s), all while perpetuating whatever image you want to go along with it.

So, you can replace that dork with the long chin, the bad patch of skin, the too-close eyes you got from your mom with a sexily-bespectacled brainy hot girl replete with full duck lips and cute arched eyebrow, and while accentuating the naturally curly hair that plagues you in the morning, but looks hot when twirled the right way and conveying just how laid-back and low maintenance you are. We can be the brooding artist, the coquettish cutie, the brawny reader.

It’s a while new world of imagery.

I have always hated cameras and the photographic evidence suggests that the feeling is absolutely mutual. Each photographic carnation of my face silently scream get that fucking camera off of me! That is not to say that I don’t try to portray my ideal physical self in photographs, as limited as those possibilities are. I raise the eyebrow to convey relaxed and easygoing, I smile halfway to avoid giving my famous sun-in-the-eyes squint that has plagued me since my very first school picture.

But I have never been one for the selfies.

Until today, when, in the interests of experimentation, I devote my morning to developing my Selfie Face.

I decide to start with how I normally take selfies and just go from there depending on analysis.

Title: Good Lord, What Have I done

(Title eponymous of prevailing sentiment in my office)

Dear God. What Have I Done?

After a period of serious bereavement, I promise to never again take a selfie from below. I think back to the selfies I have seen and virtually none of them are from below.

And why? Because I count 3 chins on my awful face. My eyes have disappeared into my cheeks, and the less I mention the glare of an oncoming maniac the better off we will all be able to sleep.

I need to go from above.

I won’t say I that selfie from above is better, but it makes me want to kill myself and others around me less. My Cro-magnon brow is furrowed into ‘doing math in my head’ mode. Fortunately, my very gray beard draws attention away from that for the most part. I may look slightly rugged, but I also look as though I invented fire. 

The worst part about this is that what I find to be my worst facial feature is front and center: my awful nose. I will attempt to divert attention from my nose in the next experiment.

OK, I know this is drastic, but it’s my only hope. Perhaps people will not notice the notebook. It’s orange. People love orange. I wonder if the mood change will help guide people towards my animal magnetism and away from my terrible face up close.

What Nose?

I decide to give myself one last chance to go for something remotely interesting, since overt attraction ala James Franco is (sadly and genetically) out of the question.

I make a game time decision (plus my colleagues will be back soon) and go for Brooding Artist. Unfortunately, what you see (below right) is the result of that brainstorm.

I don’t look like a brooding artist as much as I look irritable and constipated, possibly pre-felonious. It occurs to me that I will have to have an aesthetic genius take the picture for the dust cover of my next book. Maybe with a magician’s help.

I have to admit that I have more respect now for those who have so capably developed a Selfie Face. This takes real talent, or just a nice face.

In a moment of clarity, I realize there is simply no hope. I am just not a Selfie Face guy. I’ll happily live out my days silently begging photographers to get the frickin’ camera off of me, so I can go back to doing whatever it is I was doing.

After a fleeting thought that I might ask the ducklipped girl from class for some How To… lessons, I drop my Selfie Dreams once and for all.

I’ll leave the Selfies and the Selfie Faces to the experts. I take one more to commemorate that decision.

Title: Cro-magnon Sadness

Cro-magnon Sadness


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