I’m about to take you on a photographic journey, because photos are really the only way to take any journey these days. The following photo was taken of my best friend Theresa and me in 2003. (Don’t do the math. Suffice it to say I’m much older than you are, okay?)
Why am I humiliating myself by way of this photo? Do I want to point out the rhinestone bebe shirt I had to have? The teeny tiny Abercrombie and Fitch skirt with a ribbon as a belt? The fucking puka shell necklace? Do I just want you to see how skinny I was (thanks for noticing, by the way)?
No. I wanted to share with you a time before the skinny arm. Look how awkward we are. And it’s not because of my old nose and Theresa’s inability to tame her wild hair. It’s not because she’s wearing blue eye shadow, and I’m wearing red. We don’t know how to stand. I’m hunched over like Quasimodo, letting my arm dangle like a wet noodle, at the end of which is a giant man hand on an adolescent body. Theresa looks only slightly better, but mostly because she’s tanner and thinner — I still see that lifeless dangle.
This was taken back in a dark time. The only social medium was MySpace — ask your grandparents about it — so we weren’t in the habit of really “posing” for photos. We didn’t yet know how our faces looked before we saw them in a photo. We knew nothing.
A few years later, Facebook hit the scene, and slowly, everyone became obsessed — obsessed with their photos, obsessed with how they looked in them. We started observing photos like mine above, and realized something was missing. Something that said “I’m aware I’m taking a photo, and I want to look good in it.” And thus, the skinny arm was born.
At first, it was magical. Not everyone knew about it. It was almost accidental that you just so happened to look like you were born to have your picture taken in every photo. And you looked thin. Anyone can hide a little pooch with the right dress, or angle your chins so there’s only one of them. Having a skinny arm though, that meant you were skinny.
Eventually, though, the skinny arm caught on. It became a movement. Every photo that every basic bitch ever posted came complete with two bookends in this very same pose.
And then the movement got out of control. Children posed after adults, and white twenty-somethings were the laughing stock of the world. Boys parodied us. Our parents laughed as we took photos. And we didn’t care. We knew, at some point, it wasn’t really enhancing the picture, but still, we had to skinny arm. And it resulted in pictures like this.
And fucking this.
Even as a fat-as-shit zombie (senior year was not good to me), I did the skinny arm.
But as all things that once become overwhelmingly popular do, the skinny arm eventually lost its luster. It became too mainstream. It became too predictable. Like jean skirts before it, and chevron after it, we wore it out. I’m here to tell you, the skinny arm is officially dead. Thanks to over-use, and the fact that it honestly just looks ridiculous and unnatural, the skinny arm has come to an end. Have you ever seen an actual model in this silly pose? No, of course not. And you’re basically a model, right? I mean, you get triple digits on every photo. If you’re still doing it, you’re not only basic, but you’re also outdated.
So what’s left? Shoulder back to pop the clavies, elbows to the back so the arm fat is behind you. Maybe a super intentional, super straight arm, with your entire body sideways?
It’s hard to break. But you’ll find your way..