Dear E. Jean: One of my close friends takes amazing pictures—of herself. As long as she looks good, she doesn’t seem to care that everyone else looks like overexposed blobs with eyeballs. And that photo with me looking sweaty and short? It’s definitely ending up on Instagram. How do I deal with her? —Grinning but Not Bearing It
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Grinning, My Gladiolus: Now, now. She probably thinks you look good. One woman’s “sweaty and short” is another woman’s glowing Olsen twin. At any rate, your friend is fatigued from performing the Herculean labor of choosing the photo she looks best in. Let the poor chick have her moment while you take a look at:
AUNTIE EEEE’S INSTAGRAM WELLNESS PROGRAM
1. Since everybody else on Instagram is too busy worrying about how she looks in her friend’s photos to notice you in your friend’s, when a photo of you looking like Cujo eating his dinner appears on a friend’s grid, ignore it.
2. If it’s really horrendous, text the person and ask her to remove it. (Of course, you’ll come off as a shallow, uptight twit more fixated on your looks than she is.)
3. In 20 years, you’ll like any photo of yourself at this age. In 30 years, you’ll marvel at your beauty; in 40 years, at your ignorance. 4. If a friend posts a photo of you on Instagram Stories—which disappear in 24 hours—the image will be absolutely perfect. 5. Anyway, it’s not the photo; it’s your reaction to the photo that causes you pain or pleasure.
6. While you’re alive, Miss Grinning, be alive! There are features of your life far more bewitching than your photos on that blasted Instagram.
Your Auntie Eeee is the Henry David Thoreau of Instagram. I live in the woods and like to “front only the essential facts of life,” rather than looking at life shot through a filter. So I avoid Instagram most of the time. But when I do drop by and notice that an acquaintance has posted a photo that makes me look like something that crawled out from under a rock, I praise the hell out of it in the comments. “OMG! Flawless! So gorgeous! Never have I appeared more than twice as beautiful as you (emoji, emoji, emoji), and here I look six times more beautiful at least!”