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Put a Filter on It

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SELFIES
Jonathan Storey via Getty Images

"Be the best you can be."

We've all heard at some point, but can you be the "best you" you can be? Sure.

Just put a filter on it.

We have become the advertising agencies of us. We control the narrative. We frame the argument by letting you see only the parts of our lives we want you to see, when we want you to see them. The filter on our photos is the thing that allows us to present the best version of ourselves in the quickest amount of time. It's simple. Effective. This is who we are, only slightly better. It's the movie lighting version of us. We think this will help us connect. Or, alternatively, mess with, whomever we've recently broken up with -- a forced, calculated emotional agony we might like them to feel as a direct result of all the fun we're currently having. At least on Instagram. At the JT concert. And look how much better off we are, and: "ISN'T THAT RIGHT, EX-WHATEVER? I KNOW YOU"RE LOOKING AT THIS!"

Wait, you are looking at this right? We've put the right filter on so that you can't tell we were crying in the bathroom for the better part of the show. It's the one that hides the fact our eyes are caught up in the blatant betrayal of our alcohol consumption. I think it's "X-pro" or something. It's the right filter for hiding the fact that we may have made out with an usher we thought was a backup dancer, and took an Uber over to your house and fell asleep on the porch. We're sorry about that. But we did take a picture of the sunrise with little old us in the corner so people think we were on the way to work early. What's the filter for "We lost our job last week? Will keep looking." Maybe it's "Lo-fi"? And we'll be damn sure to have it show up on Instagram or Facebook or Match.com, or any other iteration of the online networking world.

In that sense, modern dating is the inevitable march towards discovering the inauthenticity of the person who has presented themselves to you. And, in the instance that the "real" version of yourself just really doesn't mesh with the "real" version of them -- then you move on. And that's what all this social networking is helping careen us toward -- a place where we advertise ourselves in the desperate hope to create a need. And, like most things, we want to do it FAST. We want to create an instant connection with someone else, even if it's based on a thin veneer. Maybe this is dishonest. But after all, isn't that what dating's always been?

We all strive to be the best possible versions of ourselves. But how do we know what the best "us" is without context in which to relate the "best" to? We don't. Until we date. And that's when we become craftsman. Tailors. Fine-tuners of the first order. We dig in to our social networks. We do the due diligence. It starts with a google search. Do they come up? If not. Red flag. Get out. Pull the plug. Then we look at interests. Look in the cracks for deal-breakers, distressors, or things we might just find annoying. Assess their friends. Assess their background. Go through all the pictures. Go through the posts. We turn people into little celebrities. People we know before we know. And why? All in the name of hyper efficiency. After all, this is the millennial ethos.

Don't like it? Put a filter on it.