We shouldn’t actually be surprised by this, obviously, but the latest development in the weird old world of modern dating is the #FirstDateSelfie. It’s a thing that really exists, and people are doing it.
Not a lot of people, of course, but enough for a slew of thinkpieces on whether or not it is adorable or terrible (including the one you’re currently reading – we’ll call it ‘selfie-referential’). And once everyone gets wind of the fact people are doing it, more will do it, and soon all our social feeds will be filled with hopeful, beaming would-be couples who haven’t yet discovered that the other one hates all their music taste or doesn’t know what a bagel is*.
Many of the #FirstDateSelfies on Instagram are actually Throwback Thursdays, which means people were taking them long before the hashtag even existed. But it also means that at least some of the couples have stayed together long enough to get nostalgic about their first date, which must prove that the idea isn’t a total death knell for romance.
This hasn’t stopped us asking a few questions, though. Many, many questions. Such as:
1) How do you suggest it? And when? Do you ask politely and pretend it’s for a social experiment you’re running, or throw caution to the wind and lurch in with your arm extended before they’ve even got their coat off?
2) What if they say no? WHAT IF? Could the relationship ever proceed afterwards? It’d be like going in for a kiss and having them lean away in horror, except almost worse because you’ll have a photo of you looking crestfallen next to half a retreating shoulder to help you remember it forever.
3) What if the photo is crap? Statistically your first go probably will be, especially if this is a person you’ve never shared a screen with before and haven’t yet accustomed yourself with their facial angles. Taking one selfie you might be able to play as cute and spontaneous; taking eight and spending 10 minutes deliberating over the brightness levels is a whole other bag full of ‘never call me again.’
4) If it doesn’t work out, what happens to the photo? Do you delete it? Move it to a folder called ‘Your loss, dickwad’? Leave it up there and feel a tiny bit forlorn every time you flick past it in a Sunday afternoon narcissism spree?
5) Would you end up lurching in prematurely when they get their phone out to check the time, then have to style it out by pretending you just lost your balance on your barstool?
6) What if you tag it #FirstDateSelfie but they didn’t realise it WAS a first date and thought they’d just bought your a coffee to say thanks for lending them your steam cleaner and the whole thing is horrifically awkward?
7) What if you were getting on fantastically but then take the selfie and discover the two of you have less photography chemistry than Monica and Chandler’s engagement shoot? Will you be mature enough to post it anyway?
8) Will this (admittedly quite sweet) trend spawn less endearing offshoots like #FirstShagSelfie? #FirstTripToTheSTIClinicSelfie? We’ve already seen the advent of #aftersexselfies and #onenightstandselfies and they weren’t exactly a treat.
9) What if they catch on to such an extent that in the future, we will immediately know someone isn’t interested because they DIDN’T ask to take a selfie with us? Although in fairness this could be a swifter, less painful method of rejection than hanging on the end of a silent phone for a week thinking, ‘perhaps they fell in a ditch’.
10) Although, what if they take one but then never post it? Will you wait and wait until it suddenly surfaces like a smoke signal one day, a decade later, when you’ve settled down with a spouse and two kids in the suburbs? ‘Had a great time with this lady!’ the caption will say, and you’ll wonder forever what might have been.
*Yes, this happened.