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In the same week, the Oxford University Press awarded its 2013 Word of the Year honor to “selfie,” Justin Bieber launched a selfie only social network and I discovered the photoblog “Selfies at Funerals.”

It has been the week of the selfie, in the year of the selfie, in the Gilded Age of Narcissism.

In its simplest terms, it is a portrait taken of oneself, by oneself, usually with aid of a mirrored surface, or in front of a landmark the subject/photographer feels worthy of Internet bragging.

As ubiquitous as the selfie has become, the Internet has made it abundantly clear that modern Homo sapiens are having a hard time adjusting to, and understanding, the proper etiquette of self portraiture.

With that in mind, here are the Reluctant Townie’s Do’s and Don’ts of Selfie Photography:

DO CONSIDER THE LIGHTING. Some smartphones have a dual facing camera that allows users to compose their selfie before snapping it well, hooray for you, Rockefeller. The rest of us have to point our phones in the general direction of our faces and hope for the best.

Why not increase your chances of randomly snapping a misleadingly good picture of yourself by first considering the lighting of your shot?

Are you in a dark place? Broom closet? Trapped at the bottom of a well? You need some light.

Of course, your smartphone probably has a built in flash but that was designed to scare off deer and other woodland creatures in a survival situation, not light you flatteringly at arm’s length.

Instead, consider shooting in natural light: in the daytime, in a well lit parking lot, next to a lamp (not in front of a lamp, but NEXT to it, so that the light may fall upon you and not blot you out like some hulking mouth breather).

Using sites like Amazon, you could also construct a portable lighting setup for a minimal cost. That way your selfies will look as flawless as you are.

DON’T WEAR A SHIRT IF POSSIBLE. Nothing says, “Yeah world, I’m a super casual dude who doesn’t care what you think about me” like posting a blurry topless selfie on the Internet at 1:30 in the morning.

Yeah, I couldn’t sleep. Yeah, I see your six pack has made progress. No, I will not accept your invitation to play Farmville. Thank you and good night, sir.

DO TAKE SELFIES WHILE WATER SKIING, SKY DIVING OR PLAYING IN TRAFFIC. Be prepared to put your life on the line for the perfect shot. Risk equals reward equals Instagram likes.

DON’T HESITATE TO TAKE SELFIES AT A FUNERAL. The people of Instagram and Snapchat don’t just want to see your outfit before you hit the club, they want to see what kind of crazy face you will make when you encounter your Great Uncle Lou’s body at the wake.

Will you be cheesing? Will you be ironic? Will you be sexy?

Remember: Your selfies don’t belong to you; they belong to the world. Consider your audience.

DO PRETEND THAT YOUR SELFIE IS AN UNPOSED CANDID TAKEN BY SOMEONE OTHER THAN YOURSELF. I’ll believe whatever you want me to believe. You were at brunch and someone just happened to snap a shot of you holding up your mimosa and looking off to the side of the frame slyly? Adorbs. You tried on a funny hat at the thrift shop and someone was there to catch it? LOL, I accept that.

Whatever you say, bro. You’re popular.

DON’T WORRY ABOUT PICKING UP. Part of the magic of social media is being able to determine which brand of toilet paper and feminine products your friends prefer by scouring the background of their unintentionally revealing selfies.

So what if your house is trashed like Charlie Sheen on a Tuesday and your preschooler is in the background, dirty diaper hanging low, with a box of Ritz Bitz stuck on her head? Don’t let that stop you from taking a picture of yourself in the new leopard pajama bottoms you just copped from Walmart and tucked into your UGG boots. Get ’em, girl.

DO MAKE THE DUCK FACE WHENEVER YOU CAN. If God didn’t believe we looked our best with pouty duck lips, he wouldn’t have given our mouths the inclination to do it when we’re drunk.

Saying “Cheese” is so last century. Next time you snap a sweet close up of your mug, you’d better be thinking “Quack, Quack.”

DON’T ASSUME THAT ANYONE WILL GET TIRED OF STARING AT YOUR FACE. Day in, day out. Week after week, year after year. Your face is endlessly fascinating. We want to see your face in all the situations of your life.

Are you trying on some shoes at Foot Locker? Well, what’s your face look like? Does it look like the shoes are too tight? I can’t tell unless you selfie.

DO SWITCH IT UP WITH AN OCCASIONAL FOOT SELFIE. The foot selfie is an inverted selfie, wherein the subject takes a picture of their bare feet, usually to denote a vacation, with the primary focus being the white sand beach at sunset in the background.

How will I know how awesome your life is until I Instagram a mile in your shoes?

DON’T TAKE NUDE SELFIES . if you are under 18 years of age, currently holding a public office, thinking about one day holding a public office, thinking about thinking about holding a public office or if you are otherwise unfit for exhibitionism.
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