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Friday, April 26, 2013

How to do The Pose (i.e. How to Look Deceptively Skinny in Pictures)

Ah, being skinny. The elusive mark of superiority that tells the world either A) I was born this way, B) My workout routine makes Ivan Drago look like a pansy, or C) I ate the entire sleeve of Thin Mints but puked it all up afterwards, deal with it.

It is one thing to be skinny in everyday life. There is a significant decrease in chub rub when you wear short shorts to music festivals in 90-degree heat, for starters. You can also absent-mindedly massage your hip bones while you wait in line at Express to purchase your size 0 jeggings and crop tops. Your life is filled with showers of compliments like, “I want to borrow your dress but it’ll never look that good on me,” and, “Your collarbones are so prominent!” Sweet victory.

For normal people, however, looking skinny is a skill crafted through Facebook profile pics; it’s all about finding the light, knowing your angles, and rotating your leg juuuust like that to make your butt look smaller. Photo deception is a talent that every girl—no matter what her dress size—learns within her first two weeks of college and perfects over the course of those four years, so much so that she’ll beg her advisor to add it as a second major on her diploma. It’s just what we do. If you have ever gathered a group of girlfriends together to get a group shot before a night out, you have undoubtedly heard the following phrases:

“Ugh Brittany will you switch with me? This is my bad side!”

“Hold on I need to do a hair flip. Big hair little hips, duh.”

“Suck it in ladies!”

“Ew. When did I grow three chins?? Take one more.”

Got it down to a science
Guys do not understand the carefully-crafted ballet that is the female picture-taking experience. When they pose for pictures, all they really worry about is what to do with their hands—a problem solved by holding a beer, throwing the shocker, or simply shoving them in their pockets.

I recently attempted to explain the logistics of the female photo pose to a guy friend of mine. He was left just as mystified as before, but it made me realize that there are rules to The Pose and its variations, and as absurd as those rules might be to the layman, they’re pretty effing important if you want at least ten ‘likes’ on your default picture within three minutes of posting it. Let’s review:

Baby Spice to Posh: YOU CAN'T SIT WITH US.
1.       The Hand on Hip – Arm flab is a dead giveaway that the closest thing you do to exercise is spend six hours repinning Crossfit workouts that you’d totally do if you weren’t so busy. Easy fix? Pop that hand on your hip and watch bicep definition appear out of thin air. If you are the member of the posse that got shafted to the end of the line, it is your responsibility to represent the hotness of the group as a whole by poking your elbow out for the world to see. Who runs the world? Your upper arm, girl.
       Side note: pay attention to your fingers. Thumb goes towards the back, the rest relax around your hip/waist. Claw hands are weird. Don’t be weird.

2.       The Twist and Shout (aka just The Twist) – One of my friends recently let me in on a little “secret,” saying that the edges of a picture are always slightly less in-focus and thus more expanded than the rest, so people on the ends always look a bit wider. I was coming off a two-month-long eat-pancakes-in-bed-while-watching-Gilmore-Girls bender, so this was probably an act of sympathy, but should it still hold some truth I think it’s important that everyone masters the beauty of The Twist: with your hand firmly on your hip, plant your feet and rotate your upper body so your shoulders are facing the camera, but your hips are still at an angle. OH MY GOD where did those three pounds go?! Exactly.

3.       The Tilt – I actually hate The Tilt. Unless you’re losing a fight with gravity or have a debilitating case of scoliosis, no one naturally stands with that much of an arch in their back. It doesn’t do much in the ways of making you look tinier anyway, except if you’re trying to literally bring yourself closer to the ground and/or spontaneously practice the bridge you learned in your second grade gymnastics class. The Head Tilt, The Tilt’s slightly cooler semi-functioning cousin, can sometimes create a shadow along the outer jaw that creates the illusion of not-jowls, but generally you just look like you’re in pain. Posture is our friend, everyone.

4.       The Jut – This is actually one of those tricks that they taught in etiquette classes back in the ‘40s, I kid you not. Jutting your head out just a bit creates definition in your neck and keeps your double chin at bay much more successfully than the Head Tilt. It also makes you look interested in and grateful to the poor shmuck you wrangled into taking umpteen photos of you and your friends at the bar. The Jut can go horribly wrong if you get overzealous and start to mimic Sling Blade, so try to keep your jut at a reasonable level. As a general rule, jutting to the point that you can slightly feel it is fine; jutting so that you head butt your friend Rebecca in the nose is probably too far.

Well done
5.       The Knee Pop – The most controversial move on the list. A Knee Pop serves to tighten your leg muscles and give you a bit of extra flair should your Hand on Hip and Tilt be flawless or you’re an overachiever. I myself utilize the Knee Pop from time to time to show off my fabulous calf muscles (it’s not bragging if it’s true). Sometimes, though, the Knee Pop can actually accentuate weird thighs and make you look shorter, which is a pro if you’re an Amazon but generally a con for the rest of the population.  Also, take note that it is a knee POP, not a preparatory move to start the Can-Can. If your friend Anna thinks you’re about to knee her in the boob, you’re doing too much. You should be forewarned that if not executed with conviction the Knee Pop can come off as a bit timid, like, “When this picture’s over I’ll go back to standing in the corner by myself, twiddling my thumbs and eating my hair.” That’s typically something we like to avoid.

Are there any Pose tips I missed? Sharing is caring, ladies, and we’ll all benefit from knowing the ins and outs of looking good in pictures. Statistically, 75% of us will have some kind of online dating profile that we’ll need to bluff our way through in the next few years, so you might as well start the lies at your unbelievably phenomenal photo and end with the fact that you’re a “triathlete” (aka you like to drink margs by the pool, ride on the back of motorcycles, and half-assedly jog across the street when a car’s approaching).

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