The downward angle

Every girl who wasn’t the hot one in high school knows if you’re trying to work it on instagram or facebook or whatever boring/ugly-people-meet online dating sites you’re paying 10% of your monthly income to subscribe to, you DO NOT want guys seeing the real you, at least not until they’re several drinks in or months into a comfortable relationship that would be mildly inconvenient to end. Because while we act tough, most guys will put up with months, years, or even a lifetime of mediocre relationships to avoid the moderate inconvenience of listening to you cry when we end it.

Fact: 50% of all relationships everywhere are still running on fumes thanks to this one constant, aboding fear.

Girls know it. If you’re a six and you put out photos of you looking like a six, you’re not getting anything. You’re not a ten, you’re not even an eight, so truth in advertising is not your go-to reel in method. Most overweight online programmers who play minecraft 24/7 will at least shoot for sevens when they go trolling online, because they might strike out 95% of the time with sevens, but then there’s that 5% who see “software engineer” and think “money.” There’s always that 5% that will put up with your backne, boring work stories, and your “indoor lifestyle” in exchange for a stable paycheck, and hey, then you’re in with a seven.

And by “overweight online programmers,” I mean TEAM ROBOT readers.

No, girls know they need to hustle and make moves if they want to rope down and slowly leach off of top-drawer income earners, which is the dream of every girl everywhere. See: every Disney princess movie. Contrary to popular belief, girls don’t suffer from low self-esteem, they suffer from realism, so the sixes and below of the world have accepted their reality and mastered the technique of the downward angle profile pic.

From five to nine with a slight change of angle and a little legwork on iPhoto’s iOS editing suite.

The key here is HIDING REALITY. Soft light, flattering angle, a tight crop to keep all other details out of the frame, lots of hair but not a lot of face (ugly chicks know what it means to work the hair angle), stretching that neck out to hide or minimize the triple chin, and dominating the whole picture with those big dumb wide-open Bambi eyes looking up at you. An open blouse with a touch of cleavage on display is pretty standard fare, too- enough to get the point across, but not so much as to allow someone a fully-formed opinion. Even if you crop a little too wide and people can see a little too much of what you’re working with, perspective is in your favor. You might be a 48-36-48, but from a wide-angle iPhone lens positioned three feet above your head you look like 24-24-24.

Do you remember when Brandon Semenuk’s last movie came out, “Rad Company,” and there was that eight minute long Fiji segment of Brandon and Fairclough riding tall grass and two jumps?

Boring as tax law, but really pretty. As far as bike movie locations go, Fiji in Rad Company was like the smoking hot straight-up ten with a personality like cardboard. Looks amazing and you could stare at it all day long, but then you start talking and realize there’s nothing there. I don’t know who shot this scene, but they obviously knew what they were working with and played to their strengths- lots of contextual shots of the ocean and boats and cute thatched roof huts, slow mo shots of the tall grass flapping in the breeze, replaying that Semenuk crash a hundred times, and maybe 20 seconds of actual riding. It was a calculated move, and they played their hand well. We’re in Fiji- the riding is going to suck, so let’s highlight the scenery.

If you’re a smoking hot ten, you put what you’ve got out there, but you absolutely, positively, do not want to talk to any guy ever. Brief snip-its of the stock “hi,” “how are you,” “what do you do,” etc if you absolutely have to, but never, ever talk about anything approaching real, substantive verbal exchange. This is why loud nightclubs are ideal for tens: lots of visual on display, but very little room for actual conversation.

And let’s be honest. If you’re a ten, guys don’t want to talk to you either.

But if you’re shooting the I-Street jumps in Salt Lake City , you’re like the four that played high school volleyball for the first half of freshman year and hasn’t broken a sweat since, except maybe to reach down and put your orthopedic corrective velcro shoes on in the morning. You have all the scenic appeal of war-torn Afghanistan.

The truth will not set you free. Flat light, wide angle, lots of non-existent scenery on display, and an accurate portrayal of your khaki shorts and Utah freehucker “style.”
Let’s try that same photo again with the MTB equivalent of the ugly chick downward angle, aka shooting wide and close-in, sunset golden nug light, and an upward angle to make your three feet of air on a dilapidated dust pile look like Chase Hawk blasting ten feet out of the T1 ramp. Bonus points if you can position the camera beneath the rider to make a halfway tabletop attempt look like a clicked invert.
Boom. Now we’re talking.

That’s what makes this new Go-Ride video so fascinating. This video is the MTB equivalent of the four who thinks she’s a ten. I don’t know what mirror she looked in or whether she just needs a new contact prescription, but honey, trust me, you are not a ten.

Trust me, no one wants to see your three year old Devinci or the “Go-Ride” stickers on your sweet 888. No one wants to see detail shots of a brand new 2016 Fox DHX2 wasted on your 44 pound gearbox Nicolai, no matter how “groundbreaking” you think your German erector set frame is. And I can say with confidence that no one, anywhere, wants to see 40 seconds of you straight-airing small-line dirt jumps on your downhill bike with a skid lid on, especially not in slow motion. Cool, all your jumps are overgrown with tall grass, weeds, garbage, and graffiti? No, that’s not “pretty” or “scenic,” that’s not even “b-roll,” that’s like a slow motion zoom-in focus pull on some girl’s forehead pimple. That forehead pimple should be obscured by soft light, bangs, and a pound and a half of makeup, not on display for the world to see.

And please, please put those wooden kicker ramps away. My eyes are burning right now.

26 thoughts on “The downward angle

  1. Wow. Pretty damn misogynistic. I mean, sure, that happens, but it's largely a result of the unfair behaviors and viewpoints that men perpetuate against women. So, realistically, you're being unfair to women and your analogy therefore holds no weight. Great job, white male mountain-biker!

  2. Freehuckers? Check.
    Germans? Check.
    Canadians? Check
    Women? Check.

    Who's next on the list? Can I suggest vegans?

  3. Pretty cool that you are obsessing over this the day after one of the greatest run in the history of DH.

  4. I take it this post is what you were referring to when you said something good was coming with Richie Schley?

  5. Did you actually watch the Fiji section? slow motion shots of grass and huts? Slow-mo of Semenuks crash? Those weren't in there…

  6. First: this is fucking funny. Sexist? Meh. That wouldn't be the first word that comes to mind 'fucking hilarious' is. (Or two words). It's absolutely on point.

    Secondly: It's getting ridiculous. The stank of mediocrity is so overwhelming lately that it's tough to see the door through the cloud of noxious gas. Granted, the video was a test 'shoot' (and I use that word lightly and liberally due to the high number of fucking ridiculous shit attributed to the word 'shoot') by someone with a new camera, but the stoked, faux-positive supportive spreading of mediocre shit is how snowboarding ended up being snowboarding.

    Everyone gets a medal! YAAAAAAAY!

  7. Amanda, I vote for you to join forces with the Robots.

    Seriously, long time fan. Keep up the good work. (Here's a medal) 😉

  8. After a weekend that involved 2 extremely underwhelming PoF dates, and a last-place finish in a regional enduro race (i took a mid-stage beer break with the guys with the chainsaw after getting a front flat on a short uphill section), this is exactly what i needed to read.

  9. STW got lost on the way to tumblr.

    Whoever made that video will undoubtedly have far more success in life than I ever will. Life is good when you don't give a shit about quality, content, or originality. The world now runs on stoke-age, not substance.

  10. Great piece! Goofy video but really not worth the commentary. Enjoyed the rest of the column a lot!

  11. Article about women was mildly funny but the commentary on that video was retarded. Why do you even care if some random guy makes a little video of his friends, who happen to suck?

  12. For a guy who seems to think that this sport takes itself way too seriously, you're very quick to hate on average dudes just having fun on a bike.

  13. It's almost as fucking dependable as the “FIRST!” comment that some pussy whines about how Charlie shouldn't bag on “average dudes just havin' a good time ridin' bikes,” as if Charlie swooped in on their private sesh and punched them all in the dick, or as if he's not allowed to call them out because he makes fun of professional wet blankets like Gee Atherton on his bike blog.

    You're free to suck at riding bikes– most of us do. Which is why most of us don't invest countless hours in the documentation of our suck. If you choose to film your suck with tons of slow mo and “nature shots” of graffiti and trash and bugs while doing joey shit like riding your 40lb DH bike on tiny dirt jumps with your XC helmet, well… You're not a civilian anymore. You're a target.

  14. For a guy who seems to think that this sport takes itself way too seriously, you're very quick to hate on average dudes just having fun on a bike.

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