A new study has shown that Pinterest is now more popular than Twitter in the US. But while our favourite social scrapbooking platform makes the world look just a little bit prettier, it’s also destroying everything we’ve ever loved…
Sure, you’re in love. But why aren’t you in love in a meadow? Or coyly wearing his jumper as you both eat French toast in bed? The thing about collecting pictures of happy couples on Pinterest is that it serves no practical purpose. You cannot buy the couples. Or even search for cheaper versions of the couples on ShopStyle. Unless you’re using them as reference material for your own life – in which case, good luck with trying to organise a spontaneous moment of canoodling at sunrise in an orchard. With a photographer.
There isn’t enough space here to even dip a toe in the vast sea of crazy that is the modern wedding industry, but we can be sure of one thing: Pinterest ain’t helping. In fact, we can probably attribute the UK’s falling marriage rate in part to the overwhelming amount of choice it offers – we’re too scared of getting to the altar, gazing into their eyes and thinking, “damn, we should have engraved every guest’s name on individual painted pebbles suspended on ribbons from the ceiling of a yurt and NOW WE WILL NEVER HAVE THE CHANCE AGAIN.”
Like airbrushing, it won’t be too long before we’ll need regulations to manage people’s expectations. Pinterest has the responsibility to clearly specify which images are actual real life weddings, and which involved models, stylists and the big-budget resources of a glossy magazine’s art department.
Oh, and which couples are already divorced.
Time was, a kitchen was a good kitchen if it had a big fridge, a working oven and anything but stippled terracotta walls with a border of stencilled grapes. And no mice. But now, a kitchen is only a Pinterestable kitchen if it has hanging lights salvaged from a 1920s cinema and more exposed brick than a Dalston pizza startup. Is your work surface reclaimed? “Yes, I reclaimed it from the mice” doesn’t count – it needs to be old railway sleepers or something. Now paint an incongruous item in blackboard paint, attach jam jars to the wall to keep utensils in, and cover the legs of your stools in gold leaf. Or just shut the door and go to a restaurant.
Beaches are basically a form of religion for Pinterest. They’re easy fodder, of course, because no one with half a soul can see a picture of a deserted tropical shore and not let out a small gasp of longing, but even Judith Chalmers never built our hopes this high. The volume of wistful tributes to salty kisses, tousled hair and sandy toes is unfair without at least few mentions of sunstroke and awkward changing beneath a towel to balance them out.
Instead let’s take a moment to think about all the beaches that so rarely make it onto Pinterest, and yet still have their own special kind of beauty. Ramsgate. Skegness. Clacton. The ones with shingle, not sand, where everyone is lobster pink and has a cagoule tucked away in their bag, just in case. Next time someone pins a photo captioned “Take me to the beach…”, drop them at Worthing pier with a bag of coppers for the 2p machines and see how relaxed they feel.
If you are someone who still believes long hair can be simply ‘up’ or ‘down’, that there is only one way to do a plait and that you can always definitely tell the difference between a person’s head and an intricately woven basket, I urge you to stay away from Pinterest. Preserve that innocence. Never learn the truth. Because the migraine-inducing effort of scrolling through the site’s many, many varieties of twisted, plaited and bouffed-about hairdos is second only to the migraine-inducing effort of actually recreating one. There’s a reason you can never see those women’s faces. It’s because they are grimacing, weeping or already dead.
There are muscles I didn’t know existed before Pinterest. Making Geri Halliwell’s abs circa 2001 look like a comforting lavender flight pillow, the fitspo trend has found a natural (if sometimes alarming) home on the site. Experts have yet to confirm how many calories are burned each time we pin a photo of glistening muscles with some motivational tough talk written on top, but we do know it takes four weeks for you to notice a difference, eight for your friends to notice a difference and 12 for the rest of the world – so keep on clicking!
Now I’m not saying wisdom somehow becomes less wise when printed in child’s script over a soft-focus forest, I’m really not. But pin too many inspirational bon-mots and it becomes hard to remember if you’re meant to be holding on, letting go, reaching for the stars, looking inside yourself or just asking what Beyoncé would do. Plus there is also the risk you will start talking like a Pinterest board. Tell the angry woman in the Post Office queue that, “every flower must grow through dirt,” and see how cheerfully she thanks you.
You knew this was coming, didn’t you? Cake may have been on the road to ruin before Pinterest, but the site has metaphorically thumb-tacked it to death. It’s gone to a higher place. Never again will we be content with a slice of slightly dry coffee and walnut at a summer fete. The squidgy glory of a shop-bought Battenberg will be lost on us forever. If it’s not taller than a six year old and iced to look like a pastel sugarpaste recreation of the chariot race from Ben Hur, it barely registers as cake at all.
Then there’s the other way Pinterest ruins cakes, which is to write ‘clean eating’ beneath them. Either way, not fair.