It's the male equivalent of duck lips. It's gone the worst kind of viral on Instagram. And now it's taking over red carpets and wedding photos. It's the #menswear wrist-grab, and it must be stopped.
Look, we get it. In the instant required for you to hit a pose for an Instagram outfit photo, there's no room for hesitation. The mantle of dressing like an unrepentant swag lord can be a heavy burden, right? No doubt. And an outfit so flames that it compromises the emotional welfare of onlookers—hey, that justifies a pic. Such is your journey.
But nothing dampens the sartorial majesty of your lightweight jacket, those shoes, them jeans, your fade, and that very, very rare watch quite like a prison mug and the tedious habit that seems to have been picked up by 100 percent of well-dressed human men on the Internet: the wrist-grab.
It's an epidemic. And a fairly recent one. Look back at what is likely the most important menswear document of our generation. You know the one. It's from 2009, and Kanye West and his coterie are bedecked in the finest plumage specific to that nanosecond at Paris Fashion Week. Gratefully, the moment was captured for posterity—to inspire legions of fans, and a South Park episode. And in it, only Taz Arnold grabs wrist. Shot today, that image would have showcased a fist bracelet on everyone from Don C to Fonzworth Bentley. Maybe even Yeezus himself. And we would all be poorer for it.
We realize, respectfully, that the move is a keen solution when it comes to the age-old question of what to do with your hands when a camera phone materializes. It beats the pants off dabbing, covering your mouth, prayer hands, or the kissing cousin of the wrist-grab and a Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson favorite—fiddling with a nonexistent cuff link.
Plus, steepling your hands at your sternum, Mr. Burns-style, only works for megalomaniacal villains, and Steve Jobs ruined the chin-touch for anyone less than God-level. So options are indeed limited. It's just that when you, your mans, and your mans's mans are all posing in the exact same manner, heads tilted slightly upward, stone-faced, wrists grabbed, it renders the scene as baffling, unnatural, and contrived as that basic-lady classic—the picture-perfect sorority squat.
Again, we understand it's a balancing act. Too much body-language enthusiasm suggests that you've outright commissioned the photo. Nothing is more untoward than a grown man tasking another with snapping a pic expressly so he can "flex the 'fit." It's tacky—self-aggrandizing—and speaks to an existential neediness typically reserved for failed actresses and phenomenally successful rappers.
But we're not buying the overcompensating shtick of trying to look completely put out by the Instagram process, either. Frankly, dude doth protest too much in his Raf Simons Sterling Ruby or his IWC—and there's nothing even remotely candid, winsome, or hard about appearing to shake the back of your own hand in the neighborhood of your crotch. If you and your fash-bros are all wearing flagrantly louche ensembles of exceedingly rare provenance, why ruin the moment with identical postures? It is, as they say in contemporary parlance, "washed." Even dudes with soul patches understand that there can be only one fedora in the group.
Reassuring as the wrist-grab may be, it does little to cancel out the wee awkwardness or the pure silliness of what it is to pose for a picture. So what, then, should you do?
We say, embrace the ridiculousness. Surrender to the mild narcissism, at least for a moment. Good photos for the 'Gram are an asset. Social-media thirst traps won't bait themselves. And a certain degree of pride in your comportment and manner of dress is an admirable quality. Never mind that provoking the correct mix of unconcealed admiration and unbridled envy among your peers is terrific for morale—and your "likes" count.
Let's remember that style is a game. And photos illusory. If the moment starts as awkward or posed, force it to be candid. Even if it might feel affected at the time, nothing is more gloriously handsome and self-possessed than genuine laughter. And the likelihood of getting some great photos increases if they're shot in bursts, so just talk to everyone in the picture with you or crack wise at the photographer. Don't pose—gesticulate! Create a sense of verve and looseness and geniality.
Here's a thought: The key to a great photo isn't to look brutish or tough. It's to look as if shitting down the throats of your fans and mortal enemies with the fire 'fit is not only easy but fun.
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