You’re at a group dinner with 9 girls—some friends, some acquaintances, all self-assured and each equally beautiful in her own right. They’re discussing Beyoncé’s new album, and the transformation of the pop culture twerk. How Rihanna’s “Pour It Up” video was a response to Miley’s twerking, and how Beyoncé’s new album is a reminder to Rihanna that she’s the reigning Queen. Everyone’s engaged and you—well, you’re smiling, to no one in particular, but rather off into the distance.
The conversation turns to Brooke. Everyone wants to know what that dude’s name was, the one she dated before Tom and after Marc (Brooke has dated a lot of guys). “Mike Ratolle?” she asks. Your friends applaud; they had all pooled their money and were betting on his name. In fact everyone’s applauding—everyone, that is, except for you, rapt as you are in your own bliss. The smile on your face isn’t easy to peg; it’s this really happy, genuinely pleased, wide and closed-mouth smile. At certain angles it looks a little creepy; at others, eerie. But “fuck it,” you think—you have 700+ Twitter followers. You’re the luckiest girl in the world. “Nobody here knows this,” you think to yourself, scanning the room of girls, “But I’m the most popular girl in the room…”
Re-playing the day’s activities and conversations in your head brings you almost as much joy as the actual conversations and activities themselves. You shake your head and let loose a soft giggle just remembering that only 9 hours earlier, at 1:35pm, @farnassty favorited your tweet “if you think I’m over the whole time warner cable guy shitting in my toilet then you’re wrong.” At 3:57, you recall fondly, a @carnagoliojolio retweeted your tweet “started from the bottom and yet im still there.” And “LOL,” you think to yourself, as @memekinpie’s 5:23 reply to your tweet “ploockin’ me mustache” comes to mind. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all of your 700+ followers and devoted, but mostly it’s not.
Being popular is walking to work, secure in the knowledge that your 9 coworkers will soon surround you. As you’re making your way to work, you pass by lots of people—people you may know and people you may not know. Regardless, it doesn’t matter; you’re popular, remember? You pass by throngs of people—people you don’t even see because you’re on your phone, texting “good morning” to friends, reading twitter to see what your friends ate for breakfast this morning and checking Instagram to see the last cool thing that they saw. “Being popular is this,” you say decidedly, as you walk into work with a firm stride, settle into your desk, switch on your computer, and take in the long, expansive table that you share with your 9-coworkers—all likeminded, fun, and terribly smart kids. You’re all wearing your headphones, typing instead of speaking, and beaming with that same eerie, rapt smile.
“I’ve made it,” you say to yourself, nodding your head in agreement with yourself, as you plop down on your couch at 10pm, open up your computer, and settle into Reddit. You can hear the revelry going on around you—at neighborhood bars and restaurants—and you feel not even the slightest hint of FOMO. By this point your naked, all but a tutu and a training bra. Your exposed, stripped, uncovered (if you will) for the world to see. This is you—THE REAL YOU—you think, as you swap your strange sexual fantasies and divulge long-harbored memories on a Reddit thread. THIS is what it feels like to be popular…………