The Three Quarter Turn
This is the standard pose of the Lebanese fashionista. She has spent hours fine-tuning the exact angle that puts forward her every flattering feature. She puts up one of these pictures on a weekly basis, bringing her total tally of profile pictures to at least 137. There is an increase of activity during the summer months, when her tan means that less Photoshop expertise is required.
This type of person is a close relative of the TQTer. Saturation levels, contrast and brightness are all essential elements in getting the skin tone right. The person is most probably not a graphic designer (as they fall into one of the categories below) but has enlisted the help of a cousin who works at a web design agency to crop any undesirables out of the image and scratch away that pesky pimple on her right cheek.
The Bride/The Groom
We all know how everyone in Lebanon is obsessed with marriage. Obsessed with getting married, going to weddings or hating your best friend who got married before you. So wedding-related profile pictures deserve a whole field of academic study. They come in an array of variations. There’s the photo of the groomless bride, engulfed by half the annual production of flowers from Holland in her parents living room. There’s the solitary groom, who’s motivations for using a picture of himself without his bride, and looking quite dashing, can seem disquieting. There’s the picture of the happy couple. If they’re facing the camera and set against the backdrop of exploding fireworks, not so romantic. If they’re locked in an intense gaze into each others eyes, happy future ahead.
In a concerted effort to show you that they’ve grown up faster than you, your friends from the Bride/Groom category, will move on to the Baby category within a year. They will post a picture of their little cherub, which will make you momentarily wonder if they have gone Benjamin Button on you. Some babies are as cute as teddy bears sliding down a rainbow, and some look like the love-child of Wayne Rooney and the Cookie Monster, but you’ll invariably comment: awww. Hayete. So cute.
The Childhood Photo
Unhappy with the current state of their visog, some people will stick a photo of themselves as a child. If the person doing this is a guy, he’s looking for female comments such as “aww, you’re adorable” and secretly hoping they forget he’s now 200 kilos with a hefty beard.
The Topical Guy
This guy likes to keep up with current affairs. It’s World Aids Day? Here, have a red ribbon. There’s a protest in Iran? Look! My picture turned green. It’s Christmas? Here’s a funny picture of Santa scratching his ass at Toys R Us.
The Professional Model
This guy/girl would have you believe their walking every catwalk from Milan to New York, with a casual stop in Sao Paolo. They have a professional headshot, so they must be in the same category as Gisele right? The truth is that they’ve probably been in an ad squirting Libbys ketchup over some fries and said: “yi shou tayyib”.
The Monochrome Intellectual
Before anyone says anything, I’ve been guilty of this one throughout my online life. From the days of Friendster/Hi5 (that’s pre-Facebook for all you kids out there), I’ve enjoyed looking pensively into the distance. This makes people think Im pondering life’s weightier dilemmas, whereas I’m probably thinking about where I can get a decent shawarma sandwich in the area. The black and white is essential in this category, since it makes the most mundane act seem like a scene from a Goddard film.
Armed with an iPhone and the hipstamatic application, this individual wants you to know he’s cooler than you. “Look, here I am riding a 1960s bicycle across Martyr’s Square, wearing a woolly hat, skinny jeans and a lumberjack shirt”, he seems to scream at you. He reclines on decrepit walls in Hamra, looking with nonchalance at a Kaak seller. And all in a glorious Lomo-effect. He must be in a band or something. I’m swooning.
This is the type I hate the most, probably because of my complete lack of muscle-tone and rapidly expanding Lebanese Alpha Male Belly. Classics in this category include the “Open Armed Dive From A Perilous Rock Into Turquoise Water” and “Reaching the Summit of A Lebanese Mountain Using A Bicycle Made Out of Recycled Bullet Casings”. The dark underbelly of this category is the Muscle Freak who enjoys exhibiting his bulging biceps with a 6 kilo can of protein shakes in the background.
The Political Activist
Substitutes his or her face with that of a political leader or badly designed political party logo. Sucks the fun out of Facebook. And your day.
Also known as Any Parents on Facebook. After the cringe moment you realize your mum has succumbed to Aunty Affifeh’s propaganda (“Yi Cherrrrie! Je me sens tellement jeuuuune depuis que je suis surrrr Faceboook”), you can’t help but crack up at profile picture she’s accidentally posted horizontally. Nevermind the photo is from 1997 and is about 6 pixels by 4.
Ah, the photoless profile. Like a Gaulouise-smoking existentialist, this profile tells you “I’m on Facebook because I’m intellectually curious, but I hate it and I hate you”. With a grand total of 24 friends, this Facebook user publically resents anything invented after 1953. But, when no one’s looking, they’ll stalk your profile and try to figure out what you did Saturday night.
I’m sure there’s a few I’ve forgotten, so feel free to share.