What It's Like Being An #InstagramHusband
As I bent down on one knee in Taormina's town square, I could feel people glance over excitedly. I looked up at my girlfriend, glowing in the Sicilian sunset, and lifted my arm towards her. I couldn't have picked a more perfect spot. After a few anxious seconds of silence, she finally nodded, walked over and plucked at my hand.
“No. Urgh, no no no. How are you so bad at this? Try again, but do it better.”
And so I tried again, and again, eventually getting a good photo by scrunching onto the floor like a trampled crisp packet. She uploaded it to Instagram and we left to find pasta. I took over 200 shots of my girlfriend on that holiday, all at her request. She liked 3 of them.
That makes me an #instagramhusband, I think. A really, really bad one. Or at least that’s my job when we go on holiday. I’m not one of those poor shmucks who has to spend every weekend lugging a lighting rig around Zone 2 in search of shakshuka, or scouting out pastel brickwork on Google Maps, but it’s still only a matter of time before I crop up on the hashtag.
There, I’ll be joined by hundreds of thousands of other iPhone-wielding men and women doing bad David Bailey impressions, all in service to their partners’ ravenous Insta feeds. The term was first coined by a viral video in 2015, mocked up as a PSA for reluctant, photo-snapping boyfriends, and three years later it’s practically become a pre-requisite for countless modern relationships.
Of course, you’re not a true Instagram husband unless you risk life and limb, perching on slippery walls and craning off cliffs, in the hunt for a few extra likes. Unless you let meals go cold finding the right angle, and then mouldy as you fiddle with the lighting levels. Unless you can channel decades of squandered creative talent into art directing a Deliveroo order. It goes without saying that you must remain completely invisible at all times, like that stalking cloud turtle from Mario 64.
I lived that life for a week. Could I do it full-time? Yeah, I reckon so. Badly, but I've got a camera and Not A Lot On at any given time. It’s one of the few selfless, sincerely romantic things you can do on social media – love in the time of Sierra. What's more, I can enjoy the ego-boosting dopamine hit of a like without the existential fear of rejection that comes with posting and immediately deleting my own photos. And to my girlfriend's credit, there's nothing wrong with wanting a few nice pictures of yourself.
Honestly, the longer the holiday went on, the more I started to relish my new role. The more I started to point out nice backdrops, pep-talk her into poses and read up on amateur photography tips. And as her hard earned likes racked up, I asked if she didn't mind taking a few of me, too. It'd be nice to have some photos to show the grandkids that aren't mid-gyros on the Zante strip. Yeah, okay. She lifted her phone and took three, maybe four photos, before puffing her cheeks, dropping her arms and turning away.
"All right, is that enough? I got some good ones. Let's go get some food." Urgh, no. How are you so bad at this? Try again, but do it better.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.