Anyone who has ever asked me this, please see the following:
1. I am not that pretty.
Listen, I am okay with this. I have a lot of other things going for me! But nobody wants to look at my face that much. Not even me. And I like my face as much as anybody’s going to, probably.
2. My life is not that pretty.
I live in New York. Things are dirty. My days are long. Ain’t nobody got time to artfully arrange shit to hide the less attractive aspects of a situation. My apartment is small and the paint is peeling. I saw a roach in the sink yesterday. It takes a lot of time to make things look Instagram-ready and not crime-scene-gritty, and it’s time I don’t have and won’t spend.
3. I don’t need you to think my life is pretty.
I saw a guy wearing a black shirt that said nothing but the word “STRUGGLE” in white. It actually made me stop walking, which is saying a lot for a New Yorker.
Struggle. Like, that’s real. The struggle is what I have to show for myself. It’s getting up every day and doing the thing you know you’re supposed to do to get 24 hours closer to what you want. The struggle is not pretty. And if you’re doing it right, it doesn’t leave a lot of time to artfully hold your Starbucks iced coffee in a way that showcases both your manicure AND your engagement ring, as well as the graffiti in the background on the sunny street in Williamsburg you’re on.
4. I don’t want to be the person taking 15 pictures of everything
Once, I went on a third date. Well, it was sort of a date. I was invited to “hang out” with a new guy and his friends. Which was fine! I was a little unsure of the guy, and I thought it might be nice to make friends, even if he and I didn’t hit it off romantically.
The point of this story is, we went to this beautiful little bar in Koreatown, at the top of a hotel. It was artsy and cool–like, armchairs, fireplaces, and paintings on the wall cool. Of course, a picture might have been nice. Just one. But for the next hour and half, everyone in this group (including my date) completely ignored each other to 1. change places and pose next to a different person, 2. take several versions of the picture, 3. look at the version of the picture, 3. post them online, 4. rinse and repeat.
Not only was I bored, I was embarrassed. I don’t know about you guys, but when I’m in a beautiful, sophisticated place, I usually want to feel rather grown-up and refined myself. That’s the pleasure of going to beautiful, sophisticated places. And being surrounded by That Group shamelessly taking 500 selfies was… yeah. And I didn’t get to have a single conversation with anyone. Not even my date–who was constantly getting up to pose, and then re-asking me, “So how was your weekend again? Oh yeah, that thing you mentioned… wait, I’ll be right back.”
The kicker: I saw the pictures on Facebook the next day, and before I realized what I was looking at, I felt a pang of jealousy. Gosh, I wish I had a “group” to go out with–they’re having so much fun! Look at everybody laughing! What a gorgeous bar.
And then I remembered that I had been there, and it was terrible.
Here is another night I took a lot of pictures (see blurry photo above).
Again, I was with a group of “picture takers.” It was one of the more miserable nights of my life, because the guy (not pictured) in the background was someone who had unceremoniously dumped a month or so before, and I was trying to be the “cool” girl who didn’t care, and could still hang out with all our mutual friends!
About 45 minutes later I got into a cab crying because he hadn’t so much as looked at me all night. My finest moment? Nope. But that’s the reality behind the picture.
5. How things look is not that important. No seriously.
I especially want to underscore this for pole dancers–or people who want to try pole!–but are concerned they aren’t the right weight, body type, etc etc etc.
I actually saw someone write something about me on another site, that they liked how I wasn’t too skinny, and yet, OMG, I was still poling! #brave
On the one hand, I get it: there’s not a whole lot of normal-looking people doing this. On the other hand, it makes me ask myself–why did I think I was allowed to pole, as is?
Who gave me permission?
Should I have lost a dress-size first?
Maybe nobody wants to see a 142-pound person dancing on a pole.
And then I remember: I DON’T GIVE A FUCK.
Maybe I’m too fat. Am I going to stop poling? Hell no! I love it. It makes me happy. It lights a fire under me.
But if I were to pole on Instagram, that would be entering a much more intense arena of snap judgement than I think I want to deal with.
So, that’s that.