How to Brag (Without Actually Bragging) on Instagram

Use your social media manager, a.k.a best friend’s feed to post all your beauty shots


To skinny-arm is a verb. It means: to pose in such a way that your shoulder and collarbone dislocate to boast the appearance of a lither limb, elbow spanned out like the world’s least free eagle while you either slouch into an unnatural hunch or stand aggressively straight, chest reaching towards the sky like your nipples have forgotten which way is up.

It’s a defense mechanism against gravity and our own bodies — no more of a farce than gut-flattening shape-wear and certainly no more comfortable, but also not a crime; I know too well the shock of being met with a photograph that asks the question, “When did my tricep swallow an armadillo?”

But I would never post a photo of me doing skinny-arm to my Instagram.

That’s saved for my BFSMM’s account.

A pause here to unpack this acronym. It stands for Best Friend Social Media Manager — the person with whom you’ve entrusted your vanity. Monitor of good hair days. Keeper of skinny arms.

Your own Instagram is likely a collection of trips and sunsets, candid laughter, pets and family. Since its inception you’ve learned to document the fine line between real and fabricated. You craft captions to balance out your photographs (something funny with an earnest shot) like a sommelier pairs food with wine. You’re being youjust not, “Me, me, me.” And all of this is fine.

However, because you avoid the obvious photos — the ones that call to mind such adjectives as “hot,” it’s possible your ex has no idea exactly how well you’re doing. Here’s where your BFSMM steps in, because your ex follows her, too. So does the new object of your secret affection. You made sure of it during group hang outs when everyone began sharing their favorite Insta-memes, or you got lucky and they became friends through social osmosis.

It is your BFSMM’s job to post all photos where you look like a full babe. (Likewise, it is her job to instantly delete any where you do not). Eliminated is the stigma of appearing cheesy or self-indulgent. Rather, you just appear — and look good.

Your BFSMM’s Instagram is a refrigerator for your most superficial accomplishments. Where your handle self-deprecates in a humorous light, hers brags like a proud mother. It’s like having a second account: one for business, the other for pleasure, but with the latter you get to shrug your shoulders and feign ignorance. “I didn’t know she posted that!”

A good BFSMM is strategic and discreet. She’s as invested in your well-portrayal as you are in your own. She will alert you when all the necessary people have liked the photo and will stay quiet (she’s polite) in the event they don’t. She has an arsenal of emergency TBTs stocked and ready should you feel the need to remind someone that you’re a catch.

Her catch? That you return the favor. She’s got a few skinny arms up her sleeve, too.

Illustration by Alessandra Olanow. Ch-ch-check out her Insta.



Get more Humor ?
  • YAS for skinny arm friends. My mother also likes to remind me that EVERYONE CAN SEE OTHER PEOPLES PHOTOS OF YOU DARLING. Which spells disaster and constant social media/who are my really friends anxiety.

  • Lua Jane

    As someone wit perpetual armadillo in both my biceps, I need to designate a BFSMM title to one of my friends.

  • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

    My BFSMM does the opposite. Her specialty is the “I’m posting this special birthday wish or heartfelt message to you” illustrated by carefully curated pics of the two of us – me at a very awkward angle or bad lighting. looking like a troll, and her perfectly posed and photoshopped to perfection.

    • Amelia Diamond

      ha i have that friend too, whole other post

    • Time for a friend audit

  • Ok, looks like I need to send some friends through the interview process. But since this is a place of honesty, if I have a skinny arm in a photo, I will post that photo on all of my social media platforms. I don’t trust my friends and their dumb private accounts to get it to the correct audience.

    • Amelia Diamond


    • Absolutely. It will also be reposted periodically.

  • My sister is my BFSMM – except that she periodically calls me to yell at me for posting bad pictures of myself. These are usually the ones I think I look awesome in. Its very sad.


  • Celina Buss

    I loved this!

  • tj

    Loved this. 29/f/Denver immediately seeking BFSMM.

  • Wrong use of “begs the question”. That’s not what it meaaaaans!

    • Amelia Diamond

      I just looked this up, got a quick education in its Latin roots, “petitio principii,”and you are so right, Crandleberries! Here’s an armadillo for you!

  • Thank you for giving this a name thus making it way easier to ask for

    • Amelia Diamond

      have you selected one yet?

  • mag

    you are the best. your writing makes me chuckle to myself. brava!

  • Tavitha Remo