The Joy of Perfecting the Sexy Selfie

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The Joy of Perfecting the Sexy Selfie

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Some people are raising little sourdough bread children. I am learning photography. Learning is learning.

In a memorable episode of “30 Rock,” Tracy Jordan says: “I’m just going through the classic stages of grief: fear, denial, horniness, wisdom, sleepiness and now depression.” My therapist really had done his very best to explain to me that the collective loss of normalcy we were all experiencing was rooted in grief, but nothing — absolutely nothing — prepared me for the horniness.

Overnight, we New Yorkers had retreated into our homes and our lives changed forever. Week 1 hit me the hardest. Lots of tears. I obsessively looked up the dictionary definition of “quarantine,” as if there was an answer to be found there.

Week 2 was no better, but by Week 3 I was sleeping through the night again. A friend told me over FaceTime, “There is no going back to normal. We live like this now.” Instead of terrifying me, those words had the opposite effect.

The pandemic vibes were bad, but I was starting to understand what the dictionary had not elucidated for me: We live like this now. I was submitting to the tedium and the vastness of the moment. Coincidentally that is also when all of the horniness started.

By Week 4, it seemed like I had heard from almost all of my old lovers and failed hookups. The world’s falling apart? Check on your exes! Check on your long-lost friends with benefits! Check on anyone you had failed to make out with in the Before times. It all felt very civilized and grown-up. That is, until it started feeling thirsty.

Normally thirst is a big turnoff for me, but I don’t know if you’ve heard that we are in a pandemic. We live like this now. And so just like that, the text messages went from “hey babe thinking of u hope u r doing ok” to “what r u wearing?” Yes, some men are still typing like this. In. A. Pandemic. Sadly, heterosexual relationships are still in shambles and that consistency is weirdly comforting to me right now.

I can’t tell you which text it was that compelled me to Google the words “how to take a butt selfie,” but I do not regret it. The internet is magnanimous with this kind of advice. I have since learned that butt selfies are called “belfies” in the United States and “bum selfies” in Britain. God bless.

I have learned that butt selfies require charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent (deep bow to “Drag Race”). I have learned that there’s not a standard belfie pose but that if you lie down on your stomach and arch your back enough to make your butt pop out, those pictures look really good.

I have learned that you can twist your body enough that your shoulders and hips are aligned, and those pictures also look really good. This is all very hard work, but practice makes perfect. Some people are raising little sourdough bread children. I am learning photography. Learning is learning. New skills are new skills.

In the Before times, I would be embarrassed to discuss this, but nothing — truly nothing — has brought me more laughs and joy. We live like this now.


Aminatou Sow is a host of the podcast “Call Your Girlfriend” and an author of “Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close,” which will be published on July 14.

Doodles by Shane O’Neill and Adriana Ramić. Shane is a senior video editor at The Times. Adriana is an artist and graphics editor at The Times.

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