The other week I was at an awards do. It was a glitzy affair at the Hilton on London’s Park Lane (only a bloody purple on the Monopoly board!).
I’m not a glitzy man, far from it, but I went along and drank champagne, did the mingling, the small talk, the fancy food, the table wine. I had a suit on. I felt like a successful grown up and things were good.
Then I went to the toilet.
The first part went smoothly as it always does, then I washed my hands – again this part always goes well I’ve done it thousands of times. I dried my hands on quite possibly the softest paper towels ever which was an absolute delight. I glanced in the mirror to check my appearance and was about to leave when a strange and unusual thought struck: ‘I could take a selfie?’.
This was an odd feeling – I’m not a selfie person. I find them awkward, usually a bit obscene in their vanity and the few times I’ve tried taking them (at a landmark or tourist spot usually) they have fallen somewhere between awkward and downright cringeworthy. For some reason at this particular moment it felt like a good idea. Me in a suit, feeling smart, something to be documented even if the world would never see it. Scanning to check I was alone in the bathroom and swayed by the glamour and razzmatazz of the evening, or simply the free booze, I whipped out my phone.
I pointed it at myself but this proved impossible to line up so I resorted to simply aiming the phone at the mirror (a text book ‘mirror selfie’). I tried several times to get just a nice smile but, perhaps conscious of how stupid this all was, my face would not play ball.
After far too long faffing about and fearing someone would come in I sanctioned one last try. I concentrated as hard as my slightly inebriated self could muster when, from nowhere, a man walked out and saw me pointing my phone… at myself… in a bathroom… for seemingly no reason other than insane levels of vanity. Unfortunately, the realisation I wasn’t alone jumped me so much that I omitted a kind of squeak, an almost indescribable, guttural squark, hit the shoot button and nearly threw my phone into the sink. There was no way he didn’t see what I was doing.
There had been no flush to announce his presence and I had checked the cubicles, how had this happened? He must have been tucked away in one of the corner urinals for an unusually long time. Nonetheless, this man had emerged, seen a weird guy trying to photograph himself in the bathroom then emit a squeak/squawk. He must have thought ‘that man’s a bit of a cock‘ before swiftly leaving (without washing his hands).
The whole thing left me feeling ridiculous. Why had I tried that? Why had I felt the need to take a picture in a bathroom of myself? One I had no intention of sharing? Perhaps it was something to do with the unusual environment, the fact I felt smart or maybe the need to document every little thing or show off successes that accompanies so much of our digital lives.
Whatever it was, it led only to shame and regret. Here is said selfie. You can’t even see the suit I’m wearing which renders the thing a bit pointless and I share it as punishment and a reminder not to do it again without some real thought (at least not in a bloody bathroom). About a mili-second after this snap, imagine my facial features contorting in shock and my hand jilting out in panic while the man glances over then walks out behind me, and that is what happened. It is a lesson, beware the selfie.
Love Rick x