There's something that's been driving me a little nuts recently: The perfectly crumpled dish towel.
I see them EVERYWHERE on social media. Granted I follow a lot of design-y folks but now that I've noticed I can't stop.
Of course it's not that dish towels in general drive me nuts. No. It's that they've come to symbolize to me what is both beguiling and completely irritating about lifestyle media: presenting oneself as perfectly imperfect.
I'm gonna go ahead and toss in perfectly unmade beds as well.
I am in no way the first person to voice concerns about what (misre)presenting oneself via blogs and such does to the self esteem of readers and our constantly stoked Fires of Jealousy etc. But I've been thinking a lot about how most popular blogs have moved verrrrrrry far away from being a platform to show folks a peek into someone's real life to instead, a place where there's a lot of filtered, glossy photos of a much more appealing version of that "real life".
Blogs and Instagram and all that were once touted as an editor-free platform for people to speak their truths. And now so many of us are self-censoring and recreating the kind of fairy tale worlds that used to be the stuff of magazines, runway shows, and movies and other things we all enjoyed but derided for not being "real".
I do it too. I'm on Instagram polluting the world with beautiful photos of a portion of my life. My most egregious example was probably this post three weeks ago:
The caption is "Saturday afternoon chores. #catskills". YES, we were sorting and chopping wood for our wood stove. And YES, that can be a real chore in that we have to do it even when we don't want to. But I just as easily could have posted a not-so-dappled-sunlight photo of the other chores I did that day, like say, cleaning the dog hair out of the drain after Waldo's bath. Except that would be disgusting and nobody wants to see that.
Or do they?
I've joked with friends about starting another Instagram account that's all the most mundane, entirely un-scenic, and annoying parts of my days. It might look a little something like this:
Yet somehow even that makes me chuckle. And if I created an account like that I'm sure I'd wind up trying to find the most appealingly mundane/terrible things and find myself back in the same kind of situation.
To wrap this up-- so I can get back to my 100% idyllic life-- I'd like to say that for the record I really do enjoy the beautifully curated photos and such of all of the design folks I follow. They're delicious and inspirational and are a lovely balance to all the heartbreak I read about every morning in the Times. But I am equally, if not MORE excited by those people who are in the spotlight and are using their platforms to occasionally discuss what they're worrying about while laying awake in those perfectly unmade beds. Design*Sponge and DesignLoveFest in particular have been inspirational in that way and I'm really looking forward to hearing what else they have to say--
And what they had for brunch at that cute new spot with amazing tiles and perfectly crumpled dish towels for napkins.
(What is I Love Lamp? This is I Love Lamp.)