Last Saturday my two friends and I grabbed dinner at a neighborhood restaurant. It's a small family place as in, every customer is someone you may have seen on the sidewalk while walking your dog or driving to the grocery store.
I noticed an older gentleman seated smack dab in the center of the restaurant - reading a newspaper. Mind you, it's 8:30 PM on a Saturday (though if we're judging, I should add that my friends and I ordered a mimosa pitcher). And by older, I don't mean octogenarian-maybe-he's-a-widower status. More like he could be a silver fox.
This prompted my friend to say that she always fears eating out alone because she's afraid people will judge her. "When I was younger, I used to say that's one of the reasons I have to get married, so I'll never have to go to dinner alone."
I have no problem eating out alone, though I seldom do it. But I really respect the independents who do do it. Me: "I want to take a photo."
"Of the guy?" my friends reply.
"Yeah, I want to Insta him. I want to be like him when I'm 50."
"It's going to be obvious you're taking a picture."
Which was true if I pointed the camera directly at my New York Times-browsing idol. My neighbors, who have two kids and a poodle and were currently enjoying tiramisu, might have noticed me twisting in my seat and angling my phone - but that's amateur creeping. I am a paparazzo. I take surreptitious photos of people all the time. Okay, like, every other month if we're being factual.
Me: "No, I'm gonna take a fake selfie."
This is my signature move. If I want to snap a photo of something that is mildly inappropriate given setting or context, I say I'm taking a selfie - but child, please. The camera is focused on you while I cheese away. However, the high back of our booth prevented a clear shot of my current prospect. So I handed my phone to my friend: "Take a photo of me."
I retract my smile. Too blurry. Try again.
Did you get the picture?
We got him, boys!