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Some New Yorkers have stable, nurturing relationships. Others, either by choice or by cruel reality, don’t have relationships, and instead seek romantic validation from Tinder swipe-quotas, ongoing resentful-sex pacts with deranged former lovers, or cats. But happily settled, single, or somewhere in between, most bang-age New Yorkers have Instagram, and there are moments in this loveless metropolis when it becomes easier to fake a healthy relationship on it than actually pursue/maintain one in real life.
Maybe you’re in a fight with your significant other, but you don’t want your friends to know you’re on a break. Perhaps you’re in a fight with your significant loneliness, and have elected to bury it with scads of perfectly filtered square photos. No judgement either way, boys & girls. I’m just here to help. Here are Sex on Friday's pro-tips for fabricating the perfect NYC relationship on Instagram........................... when you’re not actually in one.
Make everything about you
To make it seem like you’re happily in love with another live human, it’s absolutely critical that you make yourself the primary subject of any person-based Instagram you ever post. This may seem counter-intuitive, because you’re already desperately alone. That’s the whole problem, really. But consider this: if you never, ever, post a photo of your significant other -- ever -- no one can possibly prove that he/she doesn’t exist. Whoa. That’s some Schrödinger's cat logic chicanery, right there.
This is also a thinly veiled metaphor for living in New York City generally. And social media. And dating. So, yeah: everything is about you. Got it?
Shoot a sh*tload of landmarks
When your goal is to imply the presence of another person right next to you (despite the grim reality that you may never personally enjoy that basic human pleasure again), it’s crucial to Instagram yourself doing activities that single New Yorkers would never bother suffering through.
Quintessential, cutesy "New York rom-com" things to do together (walking the Brooklyn Bridge, sunbathing in Sheep Meadow, riding bikes up the West Side Highway...) must be Instagrammed, and why not? If you have a trusted emotional & intellectual equal with whom to experience the many small pleasures of this fair city, wouldn’t you? Yes, you would, and despite the fact that you currently have no such person, you should.
Optimal spots for artsy landmark shots include Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Arc de Triomphe at Washington Square, a cobblestone street in Cobble Hill, the Bronx Botanical Garden, and farmers’ markets of all kinds. Hell, if you really want to sell this, kill some time at a Penn Station bar, then hit the Empire State Building observatory deck late-night for a romantic shot of the city laid out before you. Beautiful, just like your relationship... which to the casual double-tapper, is very real.
No matter where you’re trying to fake a relationship, Instagram captions are a threat to your subterfuge. NYC is no different. Intelligible communication is the enemy, so stick to hashtags and vigorously condensed greeting-card platitudes. Specificity is the father of discovery, or something; when in doubt, omit pronouns entirely. Pulling a hypothetical sexual partner out of random pixels is like pulling a rabbit out of a hat: a lot easier when you focus on working your goddamned magic instead of talking about it. Capiche?