Girlfriend Management: Photo Edition!

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Selfies, happy snaps and cock shots: Esquire's Rachel Fellows navigates the murky waters of dating in the smartphone photography era.

I'll admit that the rules of girlfriend-related photography can be a bit of a mystery, with girls at once wanting hundreds of memorable pictures and yet not letting you near them with a camera unless highly specific requirements have been met.

And now that there are a million different outlets to show them off on, the tricky issue of photographs just got even more dangerous.

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Why do girlfriends insist on taking so many pictures of me? It's a bit unnecessary.
Look, we want to remember fun times. So, naturally, we expect you to be happy having pictures taken, no matter how stupid you really think the whole thing is.

We (will try to) promise not to take twenty photos of you struggling with chopsticks just because it's cute, if you agree not to roll your eyes every time the camera comes your way.

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So why are girls so finicky about me taking snaps of them?
Though we want to remember various occasions, we don't want to remember looking horrendous during them. That will make us sad (code: volatile).

We therefore reserve the right to refuse having our picture taken if we, for whatever reason, are going to be made miserable by the photographic evidence.

If we're not in the mood for a photo, it is not worth your life trying to take one.

Oh come on – how about I sneak a shot when you're not looking?
At no point should you take a photograph of us without our knowledge – that's never going to be pretty: we'll either end up with 3 chins or bitchy resting face. Neither is good.

But what ever happened to candidness?
If a girl is having a nonchalant picture taken, we need to know about it so that we can look appropriately laid back and do some damage control.

What's the deal with Facebook, then?
When it comes to you putting photos up there, I assume that you will only publish reasonable ones (i.e. not me sleeping or falling over), whether or not I am tagged in them. With everyone else, photos remaining in the Facebook ether are an unavoidable evil and one just has to resolve oneself to de-tag bad ones, pretending they don't exist. To clarify, the rules are different for you.

Girls, photos and Facebook can be a little…intense, though.
Sure, it is a girlfriend's duty not to record every milestone (or centimeter-stone) for all to see. If we go on holiday, it is lovely to see pictures of the sea and the sand, and the moment when I decided to jump about making shapes whilst paddling – but no one wants to see the 20 different poses that resulted. They stop being spontaneous and start to grate; we're (pretty much) aware of this.

Moral of the story: a couple's photo album is entirely separate to Facebook, lest anyone (including us) forget.

What about Twitter? Can I Twitpic her?
Basically, this is not for couples. But if you want to have some jovial, mutually deprecating banter every now and again, that could pass. But, since the whole world can see posts, be wary of what you upload. Melanie Sykes and what's-his-name toyboy fall on the other side of that fence, in some terrifying world where the line between flirting and foreplay has blurred into nonexistence. Some things are private, and Twitter is really more about those natty one-liners that apply globally rather than intimate conversations or pictures.

Besides, if that's how you're getting your kicks, there's surely something slightly wrong.

But is there?
Right – that brings me to Snapchat, the modern form of sexting. Pictures last no longer than 10 seconds, making it all seem a bit risqué rather than lewd but, point blank, this is just not sexy.

Are you sure about that?
A down-the-trouser pic is not, as you might think, hilarious – it's a shock no girl wants upon opening a message. And trying to get her to send a naked shot back is a trick no-one but a 15-year old would fall for: we all know how screen-grabbing works.

#Damn. Tell me about Instagram, then. 
Capturing every memorable image from a day means that some are going to seem stale. As does the selfie and, worse, the couple-selfie. If a girl is confident enough, or just sufficiently pleased with how she looks that day to want to record it, that's not a crime (although posting one every single day should be).

Couples aren't allowed to be self-indulgent in such a public domain – that's why you have the other half of the couple: to be indulgent with – so bar the odd corker of a snap, couples should not be appearing on Instagram together.

And if we have to appear, please can we have a rose-tinted filter and some blurring?