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It was the year 2023 and the Labour government had released its target that 86% of all school-leavers should be beauty bloggers.

It was Armageddon. The UK had gone completely tits-up. B&Q had run out of white paint, scientists had been forced to cultivate giant mutant avocados to keep up with demand and teens across the country were in counselling.

“I’m just not chirpy and kitsch enough,” they sobbed breathlessly. “I can’t take close-ups of my Benefit cheek palette because I have a moustache, I don’t know my foundation from my arsehole and I have to live in a hazmat suit to keep my room spotless enough to take artistically arranged snaps of my #MAChaul. I can’t go on like this. I just can’t.”

But it was the law. And so engineers, teachers and doctors had been phased out in favour of people who could take 236 selfies per day and use gross words like ‘adorbs’ and ‘totes’.

The population now stood at 1.7 million. Six million people had died of food poisoning after taking 28 minutes to upload pictures of their quinoa salad. It was a pandemic, it was cruel and it was the law.

“It is the law,” said Jeremy Corbyn during PMQs. “The UK will become a world leader in beauty blogging.” He clambered onto his bench, gyrating his hips slightly. “We will not surrender to Tory ideals of literacy and numeracy. Nor will we accept that people should do something better with their lives than make gormless pouty fish faces and then edit the shit out of their pictures. Hashtag effyourbeautystandards.”

As the population dwindled and the English language waned to just nine words – eyebrows, bae, fleek, on, MAC, strobe, NYX, Benefit and haul – the UK ground to a halt.

Eventually there was just one beauty blogger left. Her Instagram handle was @unicornrainbowglitterprincessveganmarilynmonroewasasize16primarkhaul and she was 19 Illamasqua Skin Bases old.

As she lay weak in the beauty section of House of Fraser, her pot of Anastasia Dipbrow Promade fell from her hands and rolled into the distance. With her last dying breaths, she typed a caption for her Instagram selfie.

Eyebrows. On. Fleek.  

*

Two centuries later, her crusty old remains were discovered and displayed in the Natural History Museum. They can still be viewed today for £8, or £6 if you order through Groupon.

THE END

*Please note some of this is not historically accurate.

 

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Jessica was sat next to the window on her Cross Country train to Wolverhampton.

She was on the way to meet Josh, her kind-of-but-not-really-because-he-wouldn’t-acknowledge-her-Facebook-relationship-request boyfriend, who she’d met on Tinder a couple of months earlier. It was a cold, thankless journey and with only 7% phone battery left, she was relieved when the train finally shuddered to a halt.

As she jostled her way off the train and through the crowds, a curious sight unfolded before her.

A little boy, perhaps three or four years old, was being pulled along the platform by his father. With one hand clutching his father’s and the other trailing along a grubby toy rabbit, the boy was chattering excitedly. Just as they reached the stairs, his tiny fingers lost grip of the rabbit and it fell to the ground.

Her heart thudding, Jessica had a sudden realisation. This was it. This was her chance to shine. This was the moment her whole life had been leading to.

Everything around her seemed to slow down. She was in a tunnel of clarity, surrounded by a sea of grey, shapeless faces, and she, and only she, could emerge victorious.

Striding towards the rabbit, she called out to the boy. “Excuse me, you dropped this,” she said, as she scooped the toy into her hands and extended it towards him.

“Tha…” he lisped, but Jessica heard him not, as she had whipped out her phone and was logging into Facebook.

Just chased after a little boy who’d dropped his toy rabbit on the train platform. The look of joy on his face when I gave it him back gives me hope #ItsTheLittleThingsInLife she typed.

Her mind whizzed with sums. By her calculations, this good deed would garner at least 57 likes, maybe even a couple of shares. After that, who knew. Her mate Tasha had told a girl she had toilet paper stuck to her shoe in the toilets in BaBas, and she’d gone viral. She’d appeared on ITV’s This Morning with Phil and Holly, released a fragrance and had been awarded an honorary degree from the University of Strathclyde.

But, as with everything in life, there was a catch. It had been decreed that if a good deed was not posted on social media within one minute, time would erase the deed – as if it had never happened.

A bell chimed three times, symbolising that Jessica had 10 seconds left to post her good deed on Facebook before it was reversed.

‘God,’ she trembled, her brow beading with sweat. ‘Smiley face emoji or no smiley face emoji?’

5…4…3…2…

Jessica’s phone died.

“No!” She screamed, falling to her knees.

In the distance, a child’s cries echoed in the night.

THE END

11 thoughts I have while stalking other girls on Instagram

I am a grown-ass woman. I have a job, car, degree and next year I will be enrolled in my company’s pension scheme *shudder*. But I still spend far more of my time than I should allowing myself to be made to feel rubbish by social media.

For someone who spends around 80% of their non-work life in their pyjamas watching Netflix or reading crime thrillers, it can be exhausting to be constantly bombarded with images of perfectly-contoured size-6 girls sipping on cocktails, munching delicately on avocado on toast or working out at the gym in less clothing than I’d have a bath in.

I don’t think I’m alone, so I have compiled a list of what I REALLY think when I’m stalking other girls on Instagram:

  1. Why am I so much grosser than literally 100% of the girls on here? Where are their spots, their rogue belly hair, their cankles, the tuft at the back of their head that sticks up like a troll and will not succumb to gel nor spray of any description? Why are they so smooth? Do I have a condition? Should I book an appointment with my GP? Am I dying? Should I write a will?
  2. How do people have enough friends so that one can snap a quirky Instagram pic and there are still at least two people left in the picture?
  3. How do these bitches pay their rent AND buy all of these cute outfits and luxury makeup products?
  4. Are they actually leasing out the most flattering rays of the Sun? Because I definitely don’t have that glow in any of the 49 pictures I have taken whilst staring directly, eye-wateringly, into the light through my window in an attempt to get a half-decent Facebook profile pic.
  5. I wish my favourite food was more attractive than sausages, mashed potato and beans so I could take cute #InstaFood snaps too.
  6. Why do they get all this free stuff? Should I just pack it all in and become a beauty blogger? How hard can it be to write seven paragraphs about a tube of lipstick? Ah, actually, okay. Fair play.
  7. Why can they pose like that looking all sexy and fine when I would just look abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous?
  8. Why are all their rooms and furniture white? Do they all live in the same asylum? Where are their empty crisp packets, their bedding that should have been washed 10 days ago, their empty contact lens packets, their SOUL.
  9. I wonder how freaked out they would be to know that someone they have never met and have no idea exists has spent so long scrolling back through all of their pictures. Please don’t ever disclose page stats, Instagram. Pls.
  10. Good Lord, do this girl’s parents know what kind of smut she is posting on the interweb? I have a good mind to…wait this girl is 15? Have I just looked at a 15-year-old girl’s boobs? Oh, God, now I’ve panicked and ‘Hearted’ it by accident. I’ve Hearted a 15-year-old girl’s boobs. I’m being tracked by the FBI as we speak. I won’t hack it in prison.
  11. Why do their cats pose nicely and mine won’t even look at the camera. God damn it, Milly, all I have ever done is love you and feed you tuna.