The other day after a pint of beer (which tends to turn my filter off and give me diarrhea of the mouth1) I launched in to a diatribe about the selling of fantasy lifestyles on Instagram.
There is one account that I follow – it’s run by a sub-30 year old couple who live out of their car. They’ve done it for a few years. And the girl who is in most of the photos always looks amazing. No puffy eyes from a shitty night sleep. Nary a stray hair anywhere, perfectly tanned legs and a flawless bikini line in itty-bitty bottoms. Clothes are never wrinkled or dusty.
When I look at this girl who sleeps in a fucking car and how camera ready she looks all the time, I can’t help but think… is this for real? Ladies, just think about keeping yourself hairless while living in a car. That seems like it would be one of the first trappings of convenient life that would easily get lost. No? I want to see some fuzzy armpits!
And the photo captions are always so twee and philosophical. There is never any, “Bob is allergic to the wildflowers growing where we parked for the night. He was congested and snoring like a buzzsaw all night long. Considered smothering him to death with one of my wrinkle-free white cotton blouses. Back is killing me. Car smells like Bob’s boots.”
Somehow we buy in to these lifestyle bloggers and Instagrammers. We buy in to their perfect story, their perfect lives, we throw a couple bucks into their Kickstarter. We think we do it because we want to high-five someone who is living the life we wish we could. But, even they aren’t living the life you think they are.
On the surface, we think that photos tell the truth. But thinking about my own futzing around and trying to frame “ugly” things out of view – I realize now that the pictures that I take only tell a partial truth. They sell a narrative that may be sorta real but isn’t necessarily reality.