Alternate titles: “How To Disguise Your Flagrant Narcissism as Genuine Confidence” or “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.”
First, I’d like to just say right off the bat that if you’re funny, you could essentially get away with whatever you want. Actually wait, that’s not entirely true; if you’re hot, you can actually get away with whatever you want. And I’m not even limiting that to getting away with narcissism. If you’re hot, you can do anything. Like Gwyneth Paltrow and GOOP. Do you think Gwyneth is qualified to recommend organic lube? Of course not.
So, if you’re above an 8 (the scale varies re your location), please disregard this blog post. You’re already set for life. Actually, you could give me some advice. If you have a high level of skill in getting people to like you (being blindingly funny, or a natural blonde), then this post can serve as more of light entertainment. But if, like me and rest of the plebeian majority, your flagrant narcissism is unequal to the level of your attractiveness and/or wit (just kidding, no one can be both hot and funny), this article is your savior.
THE NARCISSYSTEM—soon to be trademarked, but it’s not done yet so don’t steal it, you guys. I’m serious.
First I should point out that I’m butchering “narcissism” in the same way that Khloe Kardashian has a video series on her app called “Khlo-C-D.” I know that I’m not referring to clinical narcissisim. Don’t send me your letters. I’m referring to the casual narcissism, the millennial narcissism.
Our generation has been bred for casual narcissism in the same way that pugs and other brachycephalics were bred to look like E.T. It’s almost not our fault, it’s the fault of others…Which is something that a casual narcissist would say to avoid taking the blame for their actions. Moving on. I don’t think that someone could be around so many front-facing cameras and not be a little bit of a narcissist. There are Instagram models, people—open your eyes. It’s completely out of our hands now.
However, it’s a complete double-edged sword. We’re all narcissists, but you can’t be too openly narcissistic, because people don’t like seeing the physical manifestations of their souls. It’s too creepy (similar to the “Uncanny Valley”). It’s a mixture of the joy of having someone to hate—thus redirecting some of that self-hate that every millennial has—and the pure rage of someone having the balls to say what we’re all thinking. But on the other hand, you can’t be too modest. People hate modesty more than they hate ostentation because modesty means you don’t know/accept how good you have it, and people cannot handle that. It’s the Anne Hathaway Syndrome: don’t be too modest or people will want to skin you alive.
Like everything else in the world—it makes no fucking sense. The very act of maintaining social media presence implies some inherent narcissism: you think that what you’re putting out is funny or pretty or palatable enough to be worthy of consumption en masse. Even the Internet troll exhibits some base form of narcissism (mutated, though; in the same way that an actual turtle is tangentially like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles); they believe their vitriol is good enough to be coattailed onto creative content. And if you don’t have any social media presence, it’s assumed that either A) you’re Amish or B) you think you’re too good/authentic/uninhibited for social media.
So if you’re stuck between too open and too modest, finding the right balance requires a mixture of humor, timeliness, bold disregard for social norms, and a pinch of spunk.
If you’re deeply self-involved, but also critically insecure, here’s a great way to both get compliments and sympathy. I, as a gay 6 and a Boston 7, will say things like, “It’s hard because I’m so hot,” or “I wonder if I could get away with some of the things I say if I were ugly.”
Then wait, staring silently at your friends/personal assistants and wait for them to laugh or say nothing. If they laugh, it’s because they know that you’re ugly and you’re talking like an 8+, and if they’re silent, either they agree or they’re letting you have this. In either case for the second option, you win. The practice revolves on being hilarious, which is an excellent mask for the fact that you think that you’re actually that hot. Like I think I’m actually hot enough to get away with the things I say. Modern science, as well as my checkered dating history, provides a pretty strong counterpoint to that, however.
Here is where two roads diverge in the woods. Which path you takes depends on whether you’re hot or funny. We have established previously that you can only be either hot or funny, so I don’t have to worry about making up some third, weird combo path. Two paths. Accept it.
If you’re hot, take the Instagram. With a great enough following (or simply a like-happy following) you can bask in the social acceptance of your flagrant displays of narcissism. Outside of early Facebook-late MySpace, taking selfies has never been so publicly accepted. However, if you chose to Instagram, mingle your selfies with landscape shots, shots of dogs bounding freely, and/or simple, white aesthetic shots of food or furniture. Invest in a proper editing app, such as Afterlight or VSCO. Have a wide breadth of edited shots to upload at a moment’s notice (as long as that moment’s notice lies within the bracket of heavy traffic times). I edit my photos in the bathroom so when I’m out and about, I don’t have to edit at a moment’s notice.
If you’re funny (or ugly), go via Twitter. I, shockingly for a L.A. 5 and Milwaukee 8, use Twitter. Twitter allows me to be the most viciously funny, sloppy version of myself. It’s the social media equivalent of being so deep into a long-term relationship you exclusively wear sweatpants. Twitter has seen me at my worst and accepts me for it. In fact, it encourages my worst. I have never been dumber, funnier, ruder or sharper than I am in my best moments on Twitter. At my funeral, I’m going to have a flat-screen above my casket that plays a slideshow of my greatest Tweets.
Lastly, pretend that you’re in on the joke. If people knew that you were actually being serious, they would abandon you on an iceberg. But if they think you’re being funny, skewering our narcissistic society with your acute view and biting wit, then they’ll be into it. Here are some ways to coat your self-centeredness in “humor.” A). Amp up your narcissism ever so slightly, in the vein of shows like Candidly Nicole and Inside Amy Schumer (specifically the skit where she uses Tig Notaro’s breast cancer diagnosis to get people to be nice to her). B). Write a humorous article, maybe entitled “How To Be A Narcissist and Get Away With It” on your excellent, but not widely appreciated (because your humor goes over everyone’s heads), blog called the Blunderkindof and make it seem as if you’re emulating the vapid pleasure-society that we all inhabit. No one will catch on that you yourself are a wildly spiraling tornado of narcissism. It’s foolproof.
If everything else fails—fake your death and subsequent “resurrection.” This one guy did it 2000 years ago and he got a book deal out of it. So extra.
I hope you liked this snunny (snarky + funny + nihilism) post! I had an absolute blast writing it, and usually the only thing I enjoy is inflicting pain upon the masses! What a departure! But seriously, I actually loved writing this insane, silly, rude post and I hope that you had as much fun reading it as I had writing it. Or if that’s too tall an order, I hope that you had a modicum of the pleasure I had while writing it. I’d like to thank Nina for bouncing ideas off (even though she thinks I’m not pulling off being a functioning narcissist).