5 Things I'm Not Looking Forward to Explaining to My Future Children Because of the Internet


Woman Taking Posed Selfie
(Image credit: Getty Images)

For the past several years, there has been an album on a friend's Facebook page that prominently stars my aureolas. I have stopped worrying about it, but it definitely (as of today, even) still exists. 

Let me explain. When I lived in Los Angeles, I used to attend a ladies-only roving dance party hosted by the city's most beautiful drag queens. My girlfriends and I would get all geared up in neon for the night, throw back (too many) tequila shots, and then dance our butts off in a hot sweaty room full of men dressed like Cher and Madonna (yes, it was amazing). You were not supposed to take photos at these semi-secret parties, but one night a girlfriend snuck a camera in. How she managed to snap literally hundreds of shots with the flash on and not get thrown out, I'll never understand. But I do know that during my standard hungover Facebook stalking the morning after, my nipples were headlining her album of that evening. Cue rage-based panic. 

These are the sorts of blips in my social presence that sometimes make me wonder if I should just delete all my accounts (then I remember that the internet is forever and so what's the point). These are also the moments when, for a split second, I groan while considering the kinds of questions I'll have to field from my future kids about my life before they existed. 

It's not that I would change anything. I mean it when I say #sorrynotsorry. But I'm not especially looking forward to having to explain to them…

1. My selfie habit. It's true: Every time I post a selfie, I feel a little basic. That has not kept me from sharing a selfie-per-week since the camera turnaround function came into existence. But since no one knows my best angles like I do, I'm not deleting them ever. 

2. Their grandmother's comments on my Facebook wall. Moms. They are so often well-intended, but they are not always great at differentiating between private and public messaging. Once when I broke up with a particularly toxic boyfriend, a friend shared a video of Cake's "I Will Survive" to my profile page. My mom took that opportunity to share a very heartfelt, personal, detail-packed blurb about both our relationship and the things I should be looking for in a partner. It was live for hours. This is par for the course, and now I just leave these posts because it is easier than explaining why she shouldn't have written them. 

3. Who that cute guy is that is not their dad. If I had to estimate, every person in America has played the Tinder game at this point (even married people apparently like to swipe on behalf of their buds). I'm hoping that in a couple years we'll have come up with something better, but in the meantime I've got an interesting reel of random guys I went out with for a month or a summer who left behind an astonishing amount of digital evidence. 

4. My gym playlists. Yes, I listen to a lot of Katy Perry at the gym and sometimes some Yellow Card. I don't want to discuss it now, or ever, except to say that I cannot figure out how my Britney jams list is set to private but still showing up on Facebook. 

5. The Birkenstock Years. Look, we all make questionable fashion choices: That one picture of your mom looking totally hip in her bell bottoms doesn't tell the same story as the one with her '80s bangs. "The Birkenstock Years" are my generic term for any moment in time when I wore something completely unflattering and thought it was cool—but it happens to every single generation, so maybe I'll just pay this one forward. 

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Elizabeth Kiefer

Elizabeth Kiefer is a features editor at Cosmopolitan, where she focuses on enterprise stories, narrative reporting, and cultural coverage for the magazine's print and digital platforms.