I took my first selfie in 1981. It was a time barren of instant photo sharing, but I pressed on with my crappy Instamatic anyway just to see what would happen. I learned immediately that the flashcube would leave me seeing spots for twenty minutes. It took another two weeks to finish the roll and another week to wait for the film to be developed to learn that the flash would also wash out my face. And of course my simple camera couldn’t focus that close. Such was the state of the selfie art.
Thanks to my short memory, I tried again a couple years later and got the same result. Now I want to go back in time and try to talk my young self out of those glasses and that hairstyle — and thank my mom for painting my room. Those mustard-yellow walls were oppressive.
I even tried to be artistic with my selfies. I failed.
I finally learned to hold the camera as far from my face as I could. I still temporarily blinded myself, but at least my face wasn’t as washed out. And I had grown out of my awkward years at last!
That was the end of my selfie explorations…until I got a smartphone 26 years later. Then the game was on, because everybody on Facebook needs to see the look-my-hair-is-sort-of-long-and-by-the-way-I’m-running-on-three-hours-of-sleep selfie!
And my online friends were trembling in anticipation to see the OMFG-what-a-terrible-day selfie.
And of course there’s the does-this-shirt-go-with-these-pants? selfie. (The consensus? Yes, but c’mon, dude, be more adventurous with your wardrobe.)
And then there’s the classic hey-everyone-don’t-I-rock-this-suit? selfie. When I posted this to Facebook, the joint just blew up. “OMG!” everybody said. OMG, indeed.
But most of my selfies are private, showing my life’s inner workings. Today, for the first time, I’m going to share some of these intimate moments with the whole Internet. Here’s the hey-girlfriend-I-picked-up-the-rental-minivan-for-our-trip selfie.
Then there’s the sorry-this-is-out-of-focus-but-here-I-am-wearing-the-shirt-you-got-me-for-my-birthday selfie.
And how can I forget the hey-Mom-I’m-home-sick-but-my-Doctor-Who-shirt-makes-me-feel-better selfie?
But my favorite selfie happened totally by mistake. It’s actually a video selfie! My iPhone’s camera was set to front-camera video mode when I wanted it on back-camera photo mode. I was not amused.
I took a still of this, converted it to black and white, and made it my Facebook profile photo. “You look badass!” was the first comment. Score!! Because isn’t ego inflation what the modern selfie is all about? And to think I was among the first.