Even though "selfie" was the Oxford English Dictionary's word of the year in 2013, the selfie itself(ie) is still often stigmatized as an exclusively feminine art form. But there's a craft and purpose to the male selfie, as well — one worth exploring and, for some men, perfecting.
With New Belgium Brewing inviting beer lovers to compete in their Snapshot Wheat photo challenges, now's as good a time as any to tap into your inner selfie-lover. I had a quick chat with Lily Benson, possibly the Internet's foremost male selfie advocate and pioneer of the #DUDETIME hashtag on Twitter, which encourages men to celebrate their own image. "I hope in the future to see more dudes doing the type of selfie showing their butt from like, three different angles," Benson told me of her hopes for a more inclusive selfie culture. Here are her tips for instantly upgrading your Instagram appeal.
"Mean-mugging is sometimes okay. But a smile is usually better," Benson said.
So don't worry about looking tough. You're taking a picture of yourself with a tiny computer more powerful than any technology that existed 30 years ago. It's okay to look like you're having fun or even (gasp!) feeling excited about something. Why would you take a picture of yourself looking furious? Are you trying to scare crows away from your Facebook page? Relax.
According to Benson, "Animals are always great — and babies, which are a subtype of animal. The rarer or cuter the animal (or baby) the better."
If you can't get your hands on a snake or a human child, the right clothing or accessory can give your selfie a boost. Of course, occasionally less is more when it comes to attire.
"If you're trying to be a Twitter or Instagram honey, take your shirt off," Benson advised.
The world is a canvas on which to splash yourself, so capture yourself in it. Take a selfie at the mouth of a volcano. Or next to the Mona Lisa. Hell, plan an exotic vacation just to take a selfie there. You've never seen the ring-tailed lemurs of Madagascar? Well, now's your chance. Don't forget to charge your phone before you head into the forest.
Celebrate your body. A selfie is a pure expression of your physicality, whether you look like a chiseled statue or a blob of Nickelodeon Gak left over from the early 90s. If you've got a gut, showcase that gut. If you're balding, let your forehead shine. Third nipple? Uhh. Yeah. Everyone wants to see a third nipple. Love yourself and let others love you. If you don't know where to start, why not try that mirrored butt angle Benson was talking about earlier? That's the ticket.
And there you have it. Tips from the world's foremost selfie connoisseur. Gentlemen, go forth into the world and capture your image with great enthusiasm, as if it were some sort of rare bird. And don't forget to smile.
Now that you've been empowered to be the best selfie-taker you can be, enter a Snapshot Wheat photo challenge for the chance to be lauded by New Belgium Brewing and basically all of America. Learn more here.
Josh Gondelman is a writer and comedian who incubated in Boston before moving to New York City. his writing has appeared in New York Magazine, Esquire, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency as well as the upcoming season of Fuse TV's Billy On The Street.