How Instagram fame completely ruined my love life
It’s not all thousands of likes and #sponcon
by Nian Hu
Back when I had fewer than 300 followers on Instagram and exclusively posted photos of sunsets and succulents with the Valencia filter, I dreamed of Insta fame. Getting the almighty “k” in my follower count would mean working with brands on collaborations (#ad #sponsored) and maybe even some male attention after six whole years at an all-girls school.
After a solid three years of not knowing what the fuck I was doing and posting some truly horrible, oversaturated photos of myself awkwardly holding chickens at the school petting zoo, I gradually — through a series of secrets I'll share with you later — amassed more than 19,000 followers.
I get hundreds of comments, a bunch of brands blowing up my inbox to send me free stuff, and a seemingly unstoppable wave of thirsty men invading my DMs every single goddamn day. And it sucks.
Not all of it sucks, obviously. The part where I get free stuff is awesome. But becoming Insta-famous definitely took a toll on my dating life. I get male attention, all right — I get the attention of men who flirt with me for weeks only to hit me with this brutal request:
Look, I can deal with swimsuit companies pretending to like me for my “free-spirited nature” or whatever when we both know that they just want me for advertising space. But it’s another thing completely when the cute guy who’s calling me “beautiful” and “bb” suddenly offers to pay me in exchange for a Insta story shoutout. Especially when he ghosts right after he gets what he wants.
One time, a guy I was casually hooking up with invited me to hang out, practically forced his friend to take a bunch of photos of us together, and not-so-subtly hinted that I should post one of the shots on my Instagram — and don’t forget to tag him, of course!
The worst part about this whole story is that I am so obviously perpetuating the problem. I have plenty of opportunities to meet non-creepy, non-conniving men on apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and the League, but what do I do instead? This self-promo bullshit:
I’ve ended up getting in somewhat-serious relationships with a few dudes through this, but they crashed and burned horribly because — surprise, surprise! — they were all wannabe social media stars.
Realistically, it goes one of two ways: they either fail at curating the clout they crave and grow desperate, trying to pay me for a shoutout or finesse their way into one of my photos and then ghosting me when I can't give them social media stardom. Or, if they do became a successful social media star, they think of themselves as hot shit, slowly stop leaving heart-eye and water-droplet emojis on my photos…and then ghost me to move on to another social-climbing ladder.
I don’t know if you noticed, but in both scenarios, they end up ghosting and moving on to a girl who’s pretty much me but with 10,000 more followers.I thought that becoming Insta-famous would land me a super-hot boyfriend who looked like Neels Visser or Manu Rios, but I’m stuck wasting my time with the same garden variety fuckboys everyone else deals with, too.
At least I get free swimsuits, I guess.