I was playing a flirty drinking game with someone I’d met on Hinge – remotely, of course. I lost, so had to send a picture of me downing the Peroni dregs. After three weeks alone in my apartment – basically turning into a hairy bridge troll – the shot was far from flattering. So I blew the dust off my makeup bag, straightened my hair and tried again.
Once I’d finished, looking back at me was basically a clown. Oddly bright lips, Groucho Marx eyebrows and an orange face on a white neck. Had I already forgotten how to do my makeup, or did it always look like that?
It’s been just shy of a month under lockdown in New York, and there’s already a clear shift in the zeitgeist. For those lucky enough to have a safe home and income during these wild times, many of us have avoided the biggest horrors of coronavirus. We’re anxious – about our families, health, livelihoods – but there are opportunities to grasp with our newfound time.
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Self-care is the new mantra, bras are out the window, razors are rusting and we’re becoming truly excellent chefs. I’ve spoken to my neighbours more than ever before, apart from six-year-old me bending down the wire fence so I could play wall-ball with my childhood crush (kicking a ball very hard at Christian while he stood against a wall was my prime method of flirting. Twenty years on and very, very little has changed).
Some argue ‘blitz spirit’ is just a jingoistic way to cover up the horrors of what’s going on, a helpful way for governments to ignore the hardest hit in society. There may be some truth in that, but there’s more to it as well. Togetherness and community spirit aren’t just reserved for the days of black and white; when the hardest of times hit and humanity is tested, it usually comes out looking rather good. I think I finally get those ‘keep calm and carry on’ mugs.
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My parents live in a very small village in England. No shop, no pub, nothing. An elderly woman who was widowed a couple of years ago lives alone there. She loves baking, but, as she put it, “there’s no one left for me to bake for.” Since the outbreak hit, that’s changed. As she falls into the high-risk category, people in the village have been going shopping for her. In return, she posts a message in the village WhatsApp group letting them know what’s on the menu. “Baking today. Chocolate cake or coffee walnut are the options. I look forward to taking orders before 10am.” She’s turned into a one-woman bakery, and the most popular person around.
Granted, most people’s situations aren’t like a subplot from The Archers. But there are small things we can do, even for those in far from idyllic situations. When this is all over, I’ll be the first to toast my friends at the bar, go to the cinema, go dancing in the city, but it’s not just governments that can learn from the tragedy of what’s happening, and hopefully evolve. We as individuals can maybe take a little bit of the good we’ve seen into our futures as well.
Let’s keep learning new recipes. Let’s keep wearing what’s comfortable. Let’s keep saying good morning and asking how one another is doing. Let’s look out for the elderly in our community. Let’s keep thanking our binmen, shop workers, healthcare workers, delivery drivers and all the vital jobs we usually gloss over. Let’s not let the constant hum of busyness and rushing back into our lives distracting us from the rest of humanity.
And please let’s all just agree after this that pubic hair is sexy.
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