It all starts so innocently – so terrifyingly easily. It was Alicia’s summer bbq last night, and she’s tagged you in her Insta. You *need* to see it, now – if only to work out whether or not you need to plead with her to make it black and white, or take it down.
Of course, deep down, you know you’re merely a click away from oblivion: that you’ve a one-way ticket to an Instahole so deep you will emerge from it as old and pale as if you’d been dragged through the Reyes filter frontwards.
But right here, right now, with ‘@alicialater2003 tagged you in a post’ burning into your retina and last night’s Instatriumphs and disasters a tantalising thumb twitch away? There’s no stopping you. In the 15 stages of a #Instagramhole, you are already well into stage one.
Stage 1: See above. Temptation, which is generally in the form of a tag or ‘new story’ notification, but could well be a photo you desperately want to post. None of it is urgent… but it really, inexplicably, IS.
Stage 2: Resistance: I shouldn’t. I’ve essays/Stranger Things/netball/dinner/a bedroom to tidy/a family to converse with/a life/257 better things to do than stare mindlessly at my friend’s manicured lives for 40 minutes.
Stage 3: Resistance… proves futile. As if in slow motion, as if your hand and your willpower are entirely separate entities, your thumb reaches for the pink and orange portal to a bottomless world and taps. Once.
Stage 4: The app opens, filling your screen with colour and intrigue in the manner of Diagon Alley after a wand tap. It’s magic. This is your bae*, complete with technicolour and movement.
*best app ever.
Stage 5: First up on your feed is Rhia’s rabbit, wearing a wooly hat. Ridic. It’s a like from you.
Stage 6: Scrolling. Scrolling. Ugh, I swear to god Abi is always at brunch!
Stage 7: HOW DO THEY KNOW I WANTED A MIDI TOP IN PINK BLUSH? HOW DID THEY FIND THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD THAT SELLS IT? ADVERTS ARE SO SUSPECT! Quite like it though. Will just click through…
Stage 8: Stop! Retreat! Retreat! Back to the feed.
Stage 9: Mmm, hello Jacob. Hello Jacob’s gym stats. Hello Jacob’s gym. Hello Jacob’s gym mates. Hello Jacob’s gym mates girlfriends. Hello Jacob’s gym mates girlfriends friends. Hello Jacob’s gym mates girlfriends friends handbags. Hello Jacob’s gym mates girlfriends friends handbag brand. Hello J – STOP STOP STOP. NEXT.
Stage 10: Jasmine! Ah she looks hot. I mean she’s pouting again, but let’s chuck her a like.
Stage 11: Jaz pout two. Ellen pout. Ellen pout two. Jasmine and Ellen having a pout off. Ffs do those two do ANYTHING else?
Stage 12: Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling…no. They don’t.
Stage 13: Legit pouting action though. Particularly like the #jasmellen #Costa #frappacino, #whippedcreamonournoses pose that was taken in…oh wait. March 2014.
Stage 14: So just a quick round of Instagram stories before I go. Look at them with their lovely fluorescent borders circling around. How could anyone resist? Here we go. Oooohhh look at that cake. Aaaahhhhhh lovely dog. Lol, Matt’s caption. Advert. Dog.
Stage 15: RIGHT, I am exiting this app right… wait… is that Jacob… with CHLOE?!
Stage 16: WHO IS CHLOE
Stage 17: ‘This account is private. Follow this account to see their photos and videos.’
Stage 18: WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO HIDE CHLOE? EH?
Stage 19: Having stalked Jacob extensively, from 2013 to the present day, I can conclude THIS is the only pic of them together that exists in the Instaworld that Jacob has actually condoned. So it’s a one off.
Stage 20: OR IS IT
Stage 21: Forty minutes later. All possible configurations of #jacobandchloe entirely exhausted. It really is the only one.
Stage 22: *Exiting app.* Now. Where was I? Who was I? What was I doing? Can I filter my life and adjust the contrast and colour a bit?
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Image: Alice in Wonderland