Ugh, the selfie sticks.
I used to roll my eyes at these embarrassing contraptions, mentally reserving them for newbie tourists and narcissists who were more interested in recording every second of their travels rather than living in the moment.
When cultural institutions like New York’s MoMa and London’s National Gallery banned them, I rejoiced like the classy and normal human that I am.
But last week things took a turn.
I was summoned to Italy for a wedding, and justified the astronomical price of the flight by turning it into a proper vacation, deciding to bike across Tuscany with my boyfriend for three days prior to the festivities.
Packing was hard. Heels mingled with cycling shoes, spandex with floor length dresses. As I jammed a dusty camera that I don’t even remember last using into my bag, I had a revelation: my arms aren’t long enough!
If I was going to be cycling across Tuscany for three days, I wanted some pictures to prove it. And graciously, I wanted my boyfriend to be in them too. Pride was promptly swallowed; a selfie stick ordered.
On arriving in Italy I was surprised to find that every street vendor was selling the things. One arm bore roses, the other a bouquet of selfie sticks.
Despite the obvious ubiquity, I was still embarrassed. The first few stops we took on our ride had us frantically hurling the selfie stick back into the saddlebag on the rare occasion that someone wandered by.
However, comparing regular ol’ selfies with the ones we took using the stick, I was pretty pleased with my purchase. The photos were way more flattering (once we mastered the right angle — always slightly from above!), and incorporated way more of the beautiful Chianti Hills and vineyards we came to Tuscany to see. Plus, I didn’t have to accost some poor soul to unwillingly take a picture of me, or fear that said soul would take off with my phone (or is that just my personal, irrational fear every time it leaves my person?).
I was a selfie stick convert — at least when no one else was around.
Once we got to the wedding I hissed at my boyfriend to keep his mouth shut about the selfie stick — our European friends just didn’t get it. To them, we were brainwashed by American stupidity.
But we had the last laugh. The only other US-dwelling couple at the wedding also had a selfie stick. And, even better, they brazenly took it to the wedding. At first, everyone rolled their eyes. But by the end of the night, no doubt somewhat fuelled by the open bar, friends were crowding around us every time the stick made an appearance.
Thanks to the selfie stick I have beautiful pictures of my boyfriend and I cycling through Tuscany by ourselves, as well as awesome pictures of a bunch of my best friends and myself on the dance floor — more smiling faces crammed into one shot than any ol’ arm could have ever managed.
So thank you selfie stick. You may have stolen my dignity, but you’ve paid me in epic memories of an epic trip.
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