If Your Girlfriend Asks You To Take A Picture Of Her, Please, Just Do It

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Ah, Instagram. The land of likes, belfies, and adorably staged kissing photos, most often accompanied by a caption like, “This Guy,” or a series of heart-eyed emojis. The downside, of course, is that behind those doe-eyed posts, we all know that there might be a partner aggressively exhaling, whining about their girlfriends’ request to take just one more photo. But enough of that, you guys. Here’s why you should stop complaining when your girlfriend asks you to take a picture — of her, with her, or (in the case of the belfie) behind her.

To explain this all more fully, I’ll need to borrow an example from the cinematic masterpiece that is Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. While the film sets a variety of unrealistic expectations around college graduation ceremonies, the space-time continuum, and the likelihood that young men will unexpectedly (and enthusiastically!) break out in song on a first date, it does include one of the cutest little couple photog sessions I ever did see. If you haven’t yet watched the movie, allow me to set the scene. (Oh, and also, what are you doing with your life? You have not lived until you’ve seen Meryl Streep perform with Cher! But I digress…)

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In one particularly poignant moment — floating in a rowboat on the Mediterranean Sea — young Sam (played by Jeremy Irvine) stops to snap a few photos of young Donna (played by Lily James), capturing her insanely blue eyes and zest for life in a few simple shots. It’s perfect, charming, and – from my perspective – a brilliant reminder of the importance of photographs. They’re an opportunity to freeze a moment in time that you’ll truly never get back. And there’s something kind of special in that, no?

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Now, let’s jump from Greek Isles back to the Instagram era. Undeniably, at least half of the photos we scroll through on Insta are the opposite of spontaneous rowboat moments frozen in time. In many posts, every last detail has been expertly crafted and curated — from the pose to the filter to the pun-filled caption beneath. So, I guess it’s understandable that some S.O.s become frustrated when asked to army crawl on filthy festival grounds to get that perfect Coachella shot of their girlfriend. I get it.

But, on the flipside — even in the least spontaneous settings — isn’t it important to remind your partner that she should feel totally proud of her appearance? And support her in celebrating herself, the moment, and the prospect of a couple hundred Instagram likes? (Yes! A resounding yes!)

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Take it from the girl who, like a spooky vampire, hates to have anyone take her picture — be they boyfriends, family members, or best friends with budding photography careers. While my self-confidence is, in the grand scheme of things, fairly healthy, it drops way down when I see photos of myself. Do my eyes really look that alarmingly intense all of the time? I sure hope not.

So! In the moments when I do feel camera-ready and ask to have my picture taken by a boy (or by anyone else, for that matter), it’d be lovely to have that request met with enthusiasm, adoration, and a few reminders that I look like a cute, human woman rather than a frightened bush baby… And I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

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Back in my high school days, all I really wanted were cute pictures of myself and my then-boyfriend at homecoming or prom. At those events, I would have appreciated a few compliments about my appearance — which, as any woman knows, can take hours pre-prom — before each event (which he did not… not even once). But, more than that, I wish that he hadn’t wiggled uncomfortably and whined as various moms snapped our pictures. I wish he had looked at me wistfully — as though we were floating on a rowboat — and jumped at the chance to take photos of and with me.

Maybe then I wouldn’t have such a complex about the bush baby thing.

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