“Gatsbying” Is The Latest Way To Impress A Crush On Instagram

Photo: Warner Bros.

“Gatsbying” is all the rage on the social media platform Instagram lately. This pop culture phenomenon is the latest trend among millennials on the photo-sharing platform.

The term Gatsbying is derived from a rags-to-riches literary character who debuted more than 90 years ago. Jay Gatsby was the poor-boy-turned-war-hero-turned-millionaire-bootlegger at the center of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the definitive novel of the Jazz Age. First published in 1925, the book is considered one of the greatest novels ever written. For those of you who can no longer concentrate long enough to read a book because of Internet-induced ADD, the novel has been adapted into a feature film multiple times. The most memorable attempts were in 1974 with Robert Redford as Gatsby and Mia Farrow as his love interest, Daisy. In 2013, a lavish adaptation from Baz Luhrmann starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Muilligan in those roles.

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The Great Gatsby is told from the perspective of Nick Carraway, a Wall Street trader and neighbor to Gatsby. Gatsby is an aloof individual with a massive estate in the fictional town of nouveau riche West Egg on Long Island. Gatsby is notorious in gossip circles for his outlandish parties. Over the course of the novel, the purpose for said parties is revealed: it’s all to attract the attention of Carraway’s cousin, Daisy Buchanan, who lives directly across the bay in the old money area of West Egg.

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Gatsby and Daisy go way back; they met before he left for World War I, but Gatsby was too poor to marry her and set out to make something of himself. Gatsby distinguished himself in war, receiving awards from every allied nation, even tiny Montenegro! However, after a stint at Oxford he learned that being a war hero does not pay very much and was taken under the wing of Meyer Wolfsheim, the man who fixed the 1919 World Series. Gatsby becomes a bootlegger, a profession that pays very, very well.

At this point, you’d think the now-rich Gatsby would marry Daisy and the two would live happily ever after. No such luck. (Happy endings make for poor stories.) While Gatsby was off making the world safe for democracy, Daisy got married to a wealthy polo player who became a philander almost immediately after their wedding. When Gatsby and Daisy finally reunite at one of his parties, a tragic set of plot twists are set into motion.

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So what does all this have to do with Gatsbying on Instagram? Well, it’s rather simple, old sport (as Gatsby would say). There are many people out there who, like Gatsby, pine for their unattainable crush. However, instead of buying a house across the water and staring across at the green light at the end of the dock, they stalk look at posts and pictures of their crush on Instagram.

Once they know what their crush is into, they begin posting pictures of themselves on Instagram doing those same things. If their crush likes puppies, they post from a pet store. If their crush likes cars, they go to a car show. A girl named Jessica Day at the University of Alabama discovered that her crush was obsessed with The Golden Girls and began posting pictures of herself watching the show, wearing themed t-shirts, and providing commentary. (That’s dedication!)

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Often missed in the practice of Gatsbying, however, is the whole point of The Great Gatsby: that can’t repeat the past! (But this day in age, you can re-post pictures on #throwbackthursday or #flashbackfriday.)

Spoiler alert: at the end of the story, Gatsby does not actually “get” Daisy. Instead, he ends up dead in his swimming pool. Daisy goes on with her life as if nothing had happened (after inadvertently killing her husband’s mistress, no less)!

So give Gatsbying a try on Instagram if you must, old sport. But maybe don’t let your crush drive your yellow Rolls-Royce after a day of heavy drinking and drama.