2013 was the year of the “selfie.” It’s official now. Time magazine always picks the person of the year. And the publishers of the Oxford Dictionary, well, they get to pick the word of the year. It’s kinda their thing. This year, after much debate and a careful accounting of usage, they picked, as the most important new word to enter the lexicon… “selfie.”
Just barely nudging out other wildly popular candidates such as “twerking,” “bitcoin,” and “binge-watching,” was the word “selfie.” Apparently, our usage of the word skyrocketed over the past twelve months by a phenomenal 17,000%.
Now, if like me, you’re not really a math person… statisticians call a +17,000% increase in usage a shit ton. (Okay, they don’t, but those boring bastards really should because that’s what it is). When it comes to the sudden explosion of popularity of the word, “selfie,” I’m reminded of something once uttered by Ron Burgundy, “I’m not even mad. I’m impressed.”
In the last twelve months, the word selfie invaded pop culture like a communicable disease. And now we’re all infected. But unlike Chlamydia, selfies are a damn good thing. They’re fun, they’re silly, and they remind us of the passing of time and our need to capture as much of our life as we can so we might savor our memories. Don’t act judgmental and high-minded. All those Civil War photos of serious, sad-faced soldiers, those are basically just selfies. There’s nothing new under the sun. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with our desire to capture in frozen light our fleeting moments on Earth.
Recently on ThoughtCatalog, Jessica Blankenship wrote a tremendous article, “In Defense of the Selfie,” examining the social and personal value of this curious phenomenon. If you haven’t read it, I strongly recommend you do. She considers the selfie from multiple angles and breaks down their appeal, their meaning and cultural value with insight and self-effacing humor. It’s a damn fine piece.
Following the announcement of selfie as the word of the year, as part of their coverage, the Huffington Post mentioned a few popular variations on “selfie” already in use. There’s the drelfie, or drunken selfie. There’s the welfie, or work-out selfie. And apparently, there’s even a book-shelfie, which is just a picture of you in front of a bookshelf. Well, ridiculous as those were, they got me thinking. There should be a whole host of variations on selfie.
Since the selfie is now a somewhat meaningful and common portrait, and now that most of us keep a camera in our pocket at all times, and since there are so many moments of our lives that we capture, there really ought to be lots of other variations on the selfie; ones that also need a stupid-cute nickname like drelfie or bookshelfie. And so, here are the 8 Variations on the “Selfie”.
These are the pics you take in places you really shouldn’t be… like on top of a police car, or worse yet, moon-walking butt-naked on top of a police car. Or if you’re really bold, you might climb over a fence at the zoo and take a picture of you hanging with the gorillas. They’re vegetarians. Which means you might get lucky and not get beaten to death. Either way, you get the idea. Stealthies are those immediately recognizable WTF moments caught on camera. And like a trophy, your stealthie says… “Yeah, I’m kinda a badass.”
Slightly different than the stealthie, are those pics of you doing dumb shit that could get you locked-up. And apparently, there are already plenty of folks posting these digital memories to Facebook. Recently, in the news we’ve seen incriminating selfies of Mexican gangsters and teenage thugs caught mid-crime. Cell-fies are what prosecutors call admissible evidence in your trial. Basically, cell-fies make for great conversation starters when someone’s dumb ass gets thrown behind bars.
“How did you get caught?”
“Aw, man. I posted these pics to Facebook of me with a silver straw in my nose, in front of a small mountain of cocaine, sitting next to Guy Fieri.”
“Yep, the same thing happened to me.”
This one was invented by my friend, Derek. Even if you’ve never taken one, I assume you know what a dick pic is. They’re basically “genital selfies.” Well, an elfie is a dick pic of a dude’s pride-and-joy wearing a pointy red hat. You know, so it looks like one of those garden gnomes, or like one of Santa’s elves. It’s a nice touch, something to keep in mind for your holiday dick pics. It’s cute.
Lots of the selfies we love to snap are of us while we’re on vacation. It’s always nice to show folks on social media that you go cool places. Well, based on the Latin word “delphinus,” these are pics of you with a dolphin. I know, right? “Aww… so cute. So many feels.” And, let’s say, you’re not in Cancun, but instead you just snuck into SeaWorld and hopped into the tank with the dolphins to take the pic, well, then it could also be a stealthie. If you’re really unlucky and get caught swimming with Flipper, it could easily become a cell-fie.
Now, this one goes either way. The idea is that when a viewer looks at this pic of you, they’re immediately overwhelmed by a sense of smell based on your surroundings. It could be you in a sunlit meadow, a beautiful rose garden, or perhaps, you’re posed in some intoxicatingly fragrant bakery, or it could just be you in a filthy-ass public bathroom. But that’s the magic of a smellfie. “Mmmm. You can almost taste the air.”
We’ve all seen those douche-bag shots guys post on Tumblr and Instagram. You know the ones. They’re holding a fistful of cash, fanning it out like a real baller. Yeah. Well, wealth-fies are those pics of you showing off all the nice shit you have, or just bought, or maybe it’s just you lounging somewhere fancy-schmancy like a country club on a private island in Dubai. Another version of a wealth-fie are all those lame-ass shots of guys standing in front of six-figure cars that clearly aren’t theirs. The dude’s really hoping you think he looks super-cool standing next to all that shine. But in the words of Cher from Clueless, “As if!”
These are some of the funniest pics I see on Instagram. These are the selfies of someone in a place they’d never ever ever want to be again. You know what I mean, places like… a Jonas Brothers concert or in a motel bed smoking crack with the mayor of Toronto. I mean, c’mon… you know you have a hell-fie or two on your phone. We all do.
8. Dr. Melfis:
Lastly, these are some of the most nuanced selfies ever snapped. Based on the psychiatrist from The Sopranos, these are pictures of you with a mentally unstable person, someone like a New Jersey crime boss, who may or may not kill you to ensure your silence. Okay, this may be something of a personal one for me based on all my crazy-ass friends. But I’ve taken a number of Dr. Melfis… I just never knew what to call them. Now, I do.
And those are a few of the possible variations on the selfie. I’m sure you can add some to the list. And please do. Selfies aren’t going away anytime soon; at least not until we get 3D selfie-holograms. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. For now, let’s enjoy our rampant narcissism in the best possible way… with a laugh.