On a recent flight home from Queensland I encountered a social situation I had no idea how to navigate.
A woman sitting a couple of seats in front and to the left of me was taking a selfie. Not a discrete ‘I’ll just pretend I’m looking at my phone’ kind of selfie. This was an ‘arms up in the air, hair dramatically tossed to from side to side as she sought the perfect pose’ variety of selfie.
I don’t have a problem with the act of selfie-taking. If you’ve got the space on your phone and the inclination, go for it. I did, however, have a little problem about being in the actual photo.
You see, in most of the 20 or so — not exaggerating — photos she’d snapped (that’d no doubt be accompanied by the Instagram caption “I’m on a fucking plane!!” once we landed) was my head. And I didn’t really fancy my tired mug being in a stranger’s ‘feed.
I realised then and there this was intrinsically a “now” kerfuffle. When else in your life have you experienced this sort of social dilemma?
Move over, duck face – apparently sparrow face is about to steal your thunder. (Post continues after video.)
I battled internally with several potential responses to the selfie culprit that could curb the uncomfortable feeling growing inside me.
Do I make a strange face in the photo so in her next selection inspection she sees it, and angles the camera away from me if future selfies are required?
Do I get out of my seat and politely ask her if she could refrain from featuring me in the shot? Do I mention that it’s also a little bit embarrassing and everyone’s looking and DON’T YOU REALISE HOW AWKWARD THIS IS?
Sadly, the selfie etiquette issue is not confined to planes. Public selfie-takers block walkways and views as they tap away at their screens, oblivious to everything but the perfect lighting.
I’m not saying selfies are the devil — hell, I’ve definitely taken many in my time. But for the love of Instagram likes, it’s the awkward social situations and even dangers that selfies manifest that need to be addressed.
Selfie sticks became so
annoying prevalent last year that they were banned at Disneyland, some English soccer grounds and at Wimbledon for safety reasons. (Post continues after gallery.)
A Wimbledon spokesperson explained the decision at the time: “In common with many other major sports, entertainment and cultural events, we will not allow 'selfie sticks' to be brought into the Grounds during The Championships.”
Last year, a Japanese tourist died after falling down stairs during an attempt to take a selfie at the Taj Mahal. What a seriously tragic and unnecessary loss of life.
Sadly, it wasn’t an isolated incident. The number of selfie-related deaths last year came in at 12.
That’s 12 lives lost because people were taking a self-portrait. The death toll made selfies officially more deadly than sharks. It’s mind-boggling, to say the least.
Sure, I think there’s a world where selfies and humans can happily co-exist, but I think it’s time we all had a think about the most socially acceptable, death-minimising way to go about it.
Are you a fan of selfies?