I’m not an inherently awkward person. I function quite well in social situations, have a firm handshake and am the proud owner of two steady eyeballs that have no problem looking at a fellow human while he or she speaks to me. I’m even skilled in the fine art of averting my eyes before holding someone’s gaze a beat too long. And dates! I’m really fantastic on dates.
But in ten seconds or less, an unsolicited Snapchat made me question my entire being. I’m being slightly hyperbolic here but stay with me...
Earlier this summer I met Shane* at a random pregame — it was a totally platonic meeting but we did both partake in a collective dance party wherein at some point, his number landed in my phone.
Life resumed as life tends to do and then two weeks later — bloop! One new Snapchat. From…Shane? Who is Shane? Oh right. Weird.
So I pressed my finger down to load the Snap, grumbled about how long it takes my phone to do anything and then finally watched in unimpressed boredom as a whole lot of “who cares” flashed across the screen.
Now at the time I considered myself something of a Snapchat Samurai. We’re talking highly advanced selfies complete with hilarious text and accompanying artwork, like a photo of myself with finger-drawn red sunglasses on my face and scribbled sand. Maybe even a seashell.
“Life’s a beach, motherfucker,” the caption might read.
And it’s even funnier because like, I was obviously in a cab and not at the beach during said selfie. Get it? Hahaha. Ok. Carrying on.
So needless to say, Shane’s lame Snap less-than-thrilled me. “You need to step up your Snapchat game,” I texted him.
“Who is this?” he wrote back.
“Amelia, you creep,” I replied. “You just Snapchatted me.”
“Oh yea. LOL.”
What the fuck? I thought. Does this guy just go fully rogue and send Snapchats to random numbers? Who does that?
And then it hit me. My shoulders raised up towards my earlobes as my arms clamped against my sides, my go-to fetal position usually reserved for threats of being tickled.
Maybe…maybe everyone does that.
I just ASSUMED that if someone sent me a Snapchat, they specifically selected me as a special individual to receive their personalized ten-or-less seconds of self expression. Was this not the case?
Every Snapchat I’d ever received-and-then-responded-to flashed across my brain. I should have mentioned earlier that I have (or had) what I thought was impeccable Snapchat etiquette. I always responded back. I was better at Snapping than I was at texting. If someone wrote to me asking about that evening’s plans, I’d probably answer the following day. But a friend’s Snap of her face with Hulk Hogan’s mustache drawn on instantly warranted 4 seconds of me with The Rock’s eyebrow sketched over my own.
Which means that if people were just arbitrarily clicking names on their buddy list with abandon, and I RESPONDED (which remember, I always did)… then that made me the social media equivalent of the super awkward girl who waves back at someone who is ACTUALLY WAVING AT THE PERSON BEHIND HER.
Let that sink in.
It’s terrifying right? I bet this has been you too and you didn’t even realize.
*His name isn’t really Shane but this guy was such a Shane.
Genius animation by Charlotte Fassler