By Lauren Edwards
I met a colleague and his 6-month-old baby boy in the park today. As we chatted (at a 2m distance), I had to stop myself from reaching out to hold the hand of his smiling infant, as I became suddenly aware that this may not be safe or acceptable anymore. We have all been so deprived of human contact (apart from within our inner circles) that there is a risk that we will struggle to return to ‘normal’ once restrictions are eased.
Will we continue with the elbow bumping/foot tapping Covid greeting or will we feel safe enough to return to a handshake? Will we hug and kiss each other in the same way we used to do or stick with the weird socially distanced wave or an awkwardly mimed hug? I, for one, cannot wait to squeeze my family and friends when we are allowed to once more, but I do think that certain everyday social interactions may disappear.
In a recent study, conducted by Vision Direct, 2,000 adults were asked how they will do things differently post-lockdown. The results were calculated into a list of the top 50 things that we will no longer want to do. Top of the polls, at No. 1, is to use someone else’s lip balm. Fairly obvious I suppose and I guess will mean the end to the pop-up hair styling and make-up counters that you can sometimes find in the toilets of clubs and bars.
Snogging a stranger is in at No. 4. In the words of Madonna in her 80s classic Crazy For You ‘strangers making the most of the dark – two by two their bodies become one’. Not during a pandemic they don’t Madge! Will this mean that the Generation Z kids, through fear, become as refined as characters from a Jane Austen novel where the most scandalous act of affection will be a nod of the head and a curtsey? When the clubs do reopen and the festivals are back in full swing, will singletons feel safe to get up close and personal with someone new at the end of the night or save their first snog for after a lateral flow test together?
As you read through the list, it is a bit like watching Family Fortunes when you think ‘what kind of lunatics did they ask?!’ For example, at No. 23 and No. 37, people no longer wish to use their fingertips to operate a pelican crossing or cashpoint. How exactly will we get round this? Perhaps, the government will issue each household with a hand of a mannequin? The said hand could be attached to your handbag or belt hoop for any situation that requires the use of a hand to limit cross contamination? Maybe we could use carabiners to attach ourselves to handles and poles on public transport and perhaps a combination of both for handrails on staircases or escalators?
There are other suggestions that I can happily say I choose not to do already such as No. 11 – Get someone to check if your breath smells (who does this?!) and No. 39 – Check your hair in someone’s sunglasses reflection (who are you friends with – The Terminator?!).
However, there have been some pandemic led adjustments that I personally think have been purely innovative such as kids being able to wear their PE kit to school on PE days or having table service in pubs. I also hope that we will continue to be mindful of other people when passing each other on the street, it feels like we’ve all learnt better manners in that respect. Plus, let us walk more, drive less and keep the pace of our life much slower.
You can see the full 50 at Life after lockdown | Vision Direct UK