How Summer Looks On Instagram Versus The Humid, Sweaty, Gross, Swamp Ass Reality
Everything you see on Instagram is a lie. And it's better that way. I mean, would you rather look at a picture of perfectly painted toes on white sand with a crystal clean blue ocean in the background, or a picture of someone's ass sweat dripping through their underpants and down the back of their sunburned, chafed thighs? The truth is, your summer Instagrams are a far cry from reality, and I'm happy with the fantasy, because reality is, more or less, just a whole lot of B.O. Every season has its downsides and its romantic sides, but summer is a season that always looks more than idyllic when you're browsing social media. People are often happy to show outward annoyance about snow, but no one is acting annoyed about summer. Even if summer is being annoying.
By now we know all too well the pit falls of summer: Swamp ass. Pit stains. The stench of other people. Sand in uncomfortable orifices. But to look at Instagram during summer is to believe it's a season of beautiful sunsets and rooftop bars, glowing tans, perfect beach-y curled hair and billowy sundresses. I'll take that version over the reality any day, but while we're all stuck inside at our stupid "jobs" we need to pay "bills," it's important to take stock and dissect exactly what it is we're seeing on Instagram, lest we go crazy with FOMO jealousy. Here's how summer looks on Instagram versus the swamp ass, humid, sweaty reality:
1. Instagram: Sexy legs relaxing at the beach
Reality: You've seen thousands of these "legs + beach + meaningful literary quote" shots over the course of this and summer's past, I'm sure. But trust that the woman in the photo is applying and re-applying sunscreen all day, to the point where she's thick and sticky with it. Meanwhile, she's got sand in her butt crack, her hair is matted dreadlocks from dips in the ocean where she undoubtedly got salt water all up in her sinuses, her towel got damp from drying off and is now heavy with sand, and she can't get into a comfortable position in which to hold her book to be able to read for more than two uninterrupted minutes at a time. And that's all if it's not a windy day.
2. Instagram: Everyone has a flat tummy
Reality: There are approximately 32,657 photos that are slightly different to the one you see on Instagram, each of which the tummy in question was deemed "too fat" to ever see the light of day. In fact, the photo that's been posted was antagonized over, filtered, and analyzed for days before ever being uploaded. Meanwhile, the user still feels conflicted about how their arms look, but is willing to sacrifice the illusion of thin arms for the illusion of abdominal muscles. In reality, most of us are perpetually a little bit bloated and round, and that's fine, but this is Instagram, and not reality. (Side note: I'm aware that there are innumerable people who thoroughly love their bodies in all their non-flat-tummy-ness, and you guys are gods among men, as far as I'm concerned. I'm talking about the rest of us insecure little plebes who haven't yet attained your admirable degree of self-love.)
3. Instagram: Everyone is doing something cool and fun looking in someone's back yard
Reality: No one went in the pool. It got dirt in it. Then a hole. Inner city backyard fun is never as perfect as it looks.
4. Instagram: Everyone has the perfect retro-inspired summer outfit
Reality: Sure, people spend money, time and effort trying to look amazing for summer, but the second they step onto the street it's catcaller's Disneyland. So the person you see loving themselves sick on Instagram probably spends a lot of their day feeling molested and small. And if they happen to live somewhere full of lovely, kind, non-predatory people, mark my words, that outfit is going to get sweat through, that coiffed hair is going to become damp and possibly frizzy, and dirt from city streets is going to stick to them like white on rice. As pretty as that outfit looks in that cute selfie, it's got a shelf life of about twenty minutes out in the heat.
5. Instagram: Everyone is having amazing tropical cocktails
Reality: Everyone is having one cocktail because those things cost fifteen bucks a pop and none of your friends can afford to buy multiples. Meanwhile, everyone is getting drunk super easily because of summer dehydration, so no one is as chic and glamorous as their pictures would have you believe.
6. Instagram: Everyone is constantly jet-setting off to exotic locations
Reality: Sure, your news feed is filled with people on vacation, in exotic, tropical locations. But that's their one vacation for the year, and for many it's going to leave them in a super frugal rut when they get back, and for others it might even result in food poisoning. One thing's for sure: they're all covered in itchy bug bites.
7. Instagram: Everyone is always at the beach
Reality: Yeah, so, you know some people who manage to go to the beach every weekend. They're also the people who are sunburned and or constantly peeling all week long. And when you're old and your skin is still soft they're all going to look like leather purses, which will put your Instagram envy into perspective.
8. Instagram: Everyone is on a boat
Reality: Boats are the worst. All your friends on boats secretly hate their lives. They're hopped up on motion-sickness pills and only pretending to drink alcohol because they don't want to puke. Behind the smiles is pain. Very real pain.
9. Instagram: Everyone is just eating a decadent array of amazing looking seafood all the time
Reality: They probably are, but sleep well in the knowledge that they're doing so while sitting in a pool of their own ass sweat, and if they're in Baltimore are going to be picking the Old Bay out from under their fingernails for the next week.
Image: Tamara Alvarez/Flickr