Selfie Spree

God help me I’m following advice from a Facebook meme. It wasn’t even one of those funny memes with cats and goats playing hopscotch or even an adorable meme with cuddling baby bunnies. No, the meme that burned into my very soul was one that said, “Take the picture.”

Well, that was just one-third of the meme. I think the whole thing said, “eat the cake, buy the shoes, take the picture.” And since I always eat the cake that part of the meme didn’t apply to me because cake is a constant in my life and has, to date, never let me down unless it has the horrible whipped topping icing. That should be a culinary crime, you know, the whole non-butter cream-icing thing. Note to the world – buttercream is the only cake frosting that matters.

As for buy the shoes I must be low on estrogen or have an inferior X chromosome because not only have I never understood the female shoe fetish (I can’t imagine owning more than a dozen pairs of shoes), but I also refuse to ever wear shoes that hurt my feet. A stiletto masochist I am not. This doesn’t mean I’m a flip-flop free ranger, because I firmly believe that sometimes full foot coverage is very good thing. (Please people get over your naked toes.)

What did call out to me was “take the picture.” Now, I know that “take the picture” probably means document the beauty in your life, but to me it meant take your picture, like actually be in a picture. Getting my photo taken is something I avoid with a vengeance. I hate it.

I know this makes zero sense because one of my past times is wearing my reading glasses while I gaze into a lighted 10X magnifying mirror and look for rogue chin hairs. Go ahead and laugh, but it’s not like your family is going to say, “Hey, when did you start growing a beard?

Here’s what happens, one day you’ll walk out of an important meeting, get into your car, look into your rearview mirror and see a chin hair that’s so long it deserves its own name and perhaps a monogrammed pillowcase.

This is my way of saying it’s not like I don’t look at myself, but for some reason I hate any documentation of my personhood. But, after I read that meme I did some deep thinking. So what, if I’m old-ish? I should take my picture more. I should celebrate me.

I decided the perfect way to kick off my picture taking enterprise was to go on a selfie spree while on vacation with my family. Now, up to this point I was very anti anyone taking selfies. I thought of the selfie as one of the surest signs that society was headed straight to the narcissistic dumpster. And the selfie stick, that ridiculous piece of hardware that makes it easier to take a picture with a crowd or let’s be honest here, get a more flattering angle of your face, was an instrument of Satan.

But I flung all that aside in a quest to celebrate my aging visage. I was going all in. I was going to selfie so hard it would even make a Kardashian blush.

I started my selfie journey at the airport. Nothing says glamour photo like the fluorescent lighting by Southwest gate 36 at KCI. Sure, I looked horrible, but I looked happy. Never mind that my teeth looked yellow and I’m not going to lie that almost took the bloom off the selfie rose because, damn it, I’ve been using very expensive whitening toothpaste.

I choose to ignore my flaws and my jowls. What’s up with jowls sneaking up on your face? It’s like overnight I was suddenly related to Jabba the Hut. Last time I checked the beast was not on our family tree. Maybe ancestory.com doesn’t track relatives from other galaxies.

Whatever, I gave myself a jowl pep talk and after taking 20 more selfies discovered an enthusiastic smile was like jowl camouflage. Call me happy face because this girl’s going to be smiling a whole lot more and it will have nothing to do with my mood.

It didn’t take long for my family to notice that I was becoming Mrs. Selfie. My husband and son could care less, (full disclosure my son did ask me if I could be a little less obvious) but my teenaged daughter was mortified.

Breaking news – mothers aren’t allowed to take selfies.

I tried to explain to her that she needed to think of it as not so much her mother taking a selfie, but that I was entering an era of deep self-exploration.

Her reply to that was, “I didn’t think it was possible, but that creeps me out even more.”

This time I got to roll my eyes at her. As the vacation continued I became a flagrant selfie taker with absolutely no shame. It was liberating. I took selfies in the car (I got a really good one with my head out the window. Not to brag, but the lightening was excellent.) selfies on the ski slopes, selfies on the couch, selfies in front of a fireplace, selfie on top of a snow mound, selfies on a ski lift.

Sometimes I could even cajole my family to take a group selfie, but only if no one else was around to witness it. According to my daughter the only thing getting her through my selfie surge was the fact that I wasn’t posting any of them to social media because that would be “so wrong.”

I knew I had reached the selfie summit when I proudly announced to my family, over dinner, that I was going to publish a selfie coffee table book of our vacation. (I told you I was going full Kardashian). Two out of three family members began choking, another sat there, mouth agape. I can confess that publish maybe a misnomer because all I plan to do is make one of those photo books online that you can then print. Who cares, if all they were processing was selfie and publish. Their bad.

At the end of my vacation selfie splurge I felt invigorated. I had crushed it! I had taken the picture and then some. And now as I now scroll through all the selfies on my cell phone I don’t see a woman aging. I see a woman having a blast annoying her family.

What’s not to love about that?

 

Crock-Pot Selfie

1347476657304_151538It’s the day I thought would never come. Something so miraculous has happened to me that a week later I’m still giddy. I, with chest thumping pride, can now report that I no longer have the lamest phone in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia.

Just how lame was my phone you ask?

Not only was it so old that no business entity or craft fair would deign to manufacture or crochet a phone cover, but the AT&T store employees at first passed my phone around with wonder like it was a unicorn. Quickly that thrill was gone and I noticed they had fear in their eyes. I knew what they were thinking. I had seen that look before. When anyone under 25 would gaze at my phone they’d freak out a little.

My best guess is that my outdated phone probed their greatest inner fear — that one day a Pacman-like virus would appear and gobble up advanced technology, taking us all back to the flip phone and texting through mashing a button multiple times. Remember when if you wanted a Y you had to really go for it and click the 9 on your phone three times? Well, I was this close to living that life.

Thanks to my children, who staged an intervention and literally marched me into an AT&T store, I’ve got the latest and greatest in cellular technology (which means by the time you read this my phone will already need six software updates). I thought I would be thrilled with having a phone that was cool. At first I was, thanks to being introduced to the world of 1,000 different emojis. I had been emoji-free my entire life and now that I can send a happy-face-with-sunglasses text, well, it changed me. It spoke to my very soul. Who needs the alphabet to communicate when you can talk via panda emoji?

The downside of the phone is having all the social media apps on it. Yuck. I’ve hit the social media wall. I avoid Facebook during a presidential election year. I’ve got a hunch that when people write about politics they think it makes them sound smart. Sadly, the opposite is usually true. I miss the days when people would just stick a sign in their yard and call it a day.

As for Twitter, something’s wrong with my feed. I don’t know what happened, but slow cooker recipes are all I ever see. It’s not like I haven’t “followed” cool stuff like the Royals, but I never see those tweets. For some reason my account has been algorithmed to show only recipes where your food languishes in a hot tub for a six hours.

I just checked it right now and the first nine things on are it, yep, you guessed it: Crock-Pot crap. I saw a recipe for Crock-Pot Coca-Cola lamb stew. Excuse me for a minute while I go brush my teeth because I threw up in my mouth a little bit. And there was also a Crock-Pot cake tweet. Who makes a cake in a Crock-Pot? Like it’s so much harder to dump the batter in a pan and stick it in the oven for 20 minutes. And don’t get me started on cooking oatmeal in a Crock-Pot. Yes, let’s take something you can make in under 60 seconds with boiling water and stretch out that process to eight hours.

Plus, and here’s something hard-core Crock-Potians never talk about, Crock-Pots can be a huge pain to clean. All that leisurely slow cooking creates a crust of baked-on food residue that remains forever stalwartly clinging to the ceramic base. I don’t care if you lube up your Crock-Pot with enough aerosol vegetable cooking spray that it makes the Exxon Valdez oil spill look like a minor leak — you’re still not going to be able to wipe that thing clean.

Heed this warning: Do not make mac and cheese in a Crock-Pot. I’m pretty sure I got carpal tunnel’s from all the scrubbing it took. I’m talking 30 minutes and six SOS pads to get my Crock-Pot sort of clean and that was after soaking it overnight.

With my new phone I could even have taken a selfie with multiple sad-face emojis or done a snapchat while I was scouring my slow cooker. But, here’s the deal: Now that I’ve got this fancy phone, if you ever see me in a #crockpotselfie, please assume I’m being held against my will and do all you can to stage a dramatic rescue. I suggest using the Trader Joe’s parking lot as a command post.

In fact, bring your Crock-Pots. If you have ever used them to cook oatmeal or mac and cheese, they’ll fit the criteria for WMD’s and that means you can really scare my captors into a speedy hostage release.


 

Dear Snarky – The Selfish Selfie

a-true-friend-only-posts-the-photos-you-both-look-good-in-cHwDear Snarky,

Please help me because I’m ready to disown a friend. I realize the problem I’m about to tell you may sound stupid, but its super annoying and I’m just so over dealing with it.

My friend takes pictures constantly and she’s always posting on all of her 4 social media sites. The problem is when you’re in a picture with her or any group photo she goes in and uses all kinds of apps to make herself look good from teeth whitening, wrinkle erasing, slimming her face, etc and leaves the rest of us looking like crap. AND I think sometimes she edits us so we look worse.

How do I get her to stop without making it a big deal? I’m afraid if I say anything she’ll put zits on all my pictures.

Signed, Photoshopped

Dear Photoshopped,

Have you ever thought about just saying no to having your picture taken? As in, “No, thanks, I don’t want to be in the group selfie.” There’s an easy fix to your problem. 

For more suggestions I consulted my social media, selfie expert – my 15-year-old daughter. She says the best way to deal with a friend who “blurs,” that’s her word for someone who is over zealous in their use of Instagram beauty apps, is to just call them out on it.

She said she had a friend who would always whiten her teeth in pictures and no one else’s so kids starting leaving comments like, “Love the bleach teeth. Which app did you use – Clorox?”

I know this maybe harder to do when you’re a grown woman BUT if someone is going to go all photoshop crazy in a group pic then I feel you have every right to bust them on it.  Your friend, unless she suffers from some sort of delusional mental illness, has to know that nobody is fooled by her enhanced photos.

*If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice with an Attitude please email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or private message me on my Snarky Facebook page.

Girl Problems

fdd1abf16e75f6f41ce7d828686e31b2All the recent gender news has me thinking why anyone would want to be a woman. The hard truth is it’s a brutal business being female and it always has been. I’m sure even Betsy Ross as she was stitching on stars and stripes was thinking “does this flag make me look fat?”

Just take a gander at the whole “body after baby” craze. It’s not enough to create a human being you must attempt to be gorgeous during the entire nine-month process.

You know what the biggest compliment you can get when you’re pregnant is? Weirdly, (at least to me) is that you don’t look pregnant. All hail the women at 32 weeks gestation who has a tummy bulge so insignificant that you would never guess she was with child but instead think that maybe she just ate a steak burrito at Chipotle. Yes, indeed my friends a mother-to-be’s goal is to have a stealth pregnancy.

Then after you bequeath the world with a new life the race is on eradicate any sign of a lingering maternity footprint because the second best compliment you can get is not a gushing “Oh my gosh what a cute baby” but an “Oh my God you don’t even look like you had a baby.” Sigh.

Now, I realize I sound bitter and I promise it’s not because I’m 168 months postpartum and still trying to lose my baby weight. (Okay, to be fair that might be a little bit of the bitter.) It’s just I’m so sick of the beauty marathon. Not that I’m competing in that race (let’s just say I’m on the injured reserve list because it sounds better than I quit), but I do have a daughter and it saddens me to see that this quest for female perfection is not abating in the least.

The most disingenuous is the whole “natural beauty” trend. Every time a magazine does a celebrities without make up pictorial proclaiming the “braveness” of these women for being photographed without cosmetics makes me want to scream.

One, the celebs maybe make up free, but that doesn’t mean make-ups “bestie” Photoshop didn’t make an appearance. And two, do beauty editors even know the meaning of the word brave? Brave is not the word to use for females who have just started having birthdays in the double digits being photographed without eyeliner.

This perfection phenomenon has hit warp drive with the “selfie generation.” Teenagers don’t just post pictures of themselves. They do digital surgery. Apps are used to whiten teeth, add false eyelashes, slim facial and body parts, erase zits, stretch smiles – you name it. After that you add filters and voila I almost didn’t recognize a picture my own daughter. My son recently joked that years from now anthropologists will have to use “un-digitizing” techniques to see what the humans of the 21st century really looked like.

Then there was that whole twining thing that hit social media. Just in case you missed it, and lucky you if you did, here’s the back-story. 26-year-old Rumer Willis, recent Dancing With the Stars winner, and daughter of 52-year-old actress Demi Moore posted a picture of her and with her mother on Instagram with the hashtag “twinning.”

In the photo they appear to be wearing almost identical outfits, glasses and hairstyles. This prompted a flurry of “twinning” pics of mothers and daughters on social media. Some were downright scary.

Moms just because you can fit in your daughter’s clothes doesn’t mean you necessarily should be wearing them. Am I the only person left who thinks dressing younger can make you look older? I’d like to gently suggest that wearing something called “teaspoon low rise shorts” from Abercrombie and Fitch is not for anyone who’s had their medically recommended mid-life colonoscopy.

I get it, we all fear aging, but using a physics formula (force = mass x acceleration) to squeeze your fanny into a piece of denim the size of a Brawny paper towel square is not the way to go. We need to kick it old school.

That’s right I said old, as in back in the day when the “I’ve seen 50 something in rearview mirror” females were revered for their life experience and wisdom (think the dowager countess in Downton Abbey) and not the engineering feat of harnessing their chest into a halter top.

By this I mean we should luxuriate in our awesomeness. Unencumbered from trying to constantly visually impress the world at large (not that I don’t advocate a superior moisturizer and SPF routine) and secure in the knowledge that we’ve still got it in all the ways that really count – savvy, smarts and swagger – we could take over the world. Who’s ready to join me?

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂

 

So It’s Come to This – The Butt Selfie

ec94fa2ed4efb220cf5761f7f50a765556e7932611342c5b1cba10e542bcb037The good and bad thing about writing  is that people are always suggesting story ideas. These suggestions are usually termed like this, “Hey, I’ve got something new for you to complain about . . .”

Okay, I get it. I complain – a lot. I’d like to think I’m complaining for the greater good of mankind, but my thought process on that hypothesis could be a tad misguided.

Recently, I’ve had a lot of mothers (and by that I mean more than three) have asked me to write/grouse about the skimpy Sports Illustrated magazine swimsuit edition cover. For those of you without the benefit of sight the magazine features a woman wearing a bikini bottom that would be snug on an American Girl doll and provides minimal coverage of only the most basic parts of the female anatomy.

Here’s my problem with the photo. I don’t have one. Yep, I have zero issues with it. The model is an adult and I’m fairly certain she didn’t have regrets posing semi nude or was in any way surprised that a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue would involve stripping down to almost your birthday suit.

In fact, I think the magazine cover is actually a duel ode to the art form known as Photoshopping and the waxing industry. Can you imagine a cover like that before having bald nether regions were in vogue? Just no on that visual. Right?

What I want to say to women who were offended by the cover is that if they really want to be horrified they need to check out the Instagram accounts of 14 year-old-girls on Spring break. There you can behold picture after picture of girls in their bikinis who have taken what I would classify as burgeoning soft-core pornography shots. Close ups of their breasts in their swimsuit tops and butt photos all abound on social media. One girl even attempted to get artisty and have a cheek shot on the beach with the sun setting behind her behind.

Tragically, that’s not the worst part. The comments and “likes” the photos elicit are. This is where friends, classmates and God forbid strangers take to leaving remarks about the sexy photo a child has posted of themselves. It’s creepy and crass.

It also makes me very sad and scared. What has happened to this generation of entry-level young women that they feel the need, the desire, to objectify themselves on a very public stage and then eagerly wait for comments?

I know it’s nothing new to strut your stuff. But back in the day we did it at the local pool and our Sears Lemon Frog swim wear was no Victoria’s Secret cheekster bikini.

Sure, we can take the easy way out and blame the Kardashians. If you’re parenting a girl over the age of 11 the reality TV, social media savvy family can be used as an excuse for almost any questionable behavior your daughter maybe exhibiting. For example, wanting to wear a rainbow thong in the 6th grade – so Kardashian. Wanting to post a picture of yourself in a thong in the 8th grade – so Kim Kardashian.

Iffy role models aside what’s really going on here? Are teenage girls so lacking in self-esteem that they feel the need to go full boob on Instagram just so someone can leave a comment that they are “hot”?

Now, please note I’m not picking on just girls. I know teenage boys way overshare and there’s a reason local middle schools have assemblies about why you “shouldn’t post nudes online.”

But, and this is what was keeping me at night, why aren’t the kids afraid of their parents bringing down a mega load of wrath if and when they discover these photos? To get this question answered I went straight to the source – 13 and 14-year-old girls.

Umm, there’s no easy way for me to break this to you, but a lot of the Spring break pictures, most especially the ones featuring fannies, were taken by mothers!

The sun setting rear end shot I mentioned early that highlighted a 14-year-old’s back end spilling out of what I would graciously describe as less of a swimsuit bottom and more of a piece of lycra supplying crack camo was photographed by a M-O-M!

This makes me want so many things to happen like a national holiday celebrating the full coverage panty. But mainly I want to urge parents to teach, preach, shout it from the rooftops, do a yard sign, and maybe some kind of decal for the car (I mean seriously, who cares that you ran 22.2 miles? Wouldn’t a sticker that says my daughter is in training to run the universe be even better?) that our daughters have so much more to offer humankind than a selfie of their butt.

cover_1.3-2*Attention Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂