things not to say, horror, panic, stress inducing, summer plans, threatening, passive aggressive

What not to say as we all venture out

‘What are your summer plans?’

We don’t get to ask that question these days. There are no summer plans. Cornwall is booked for the next decade. Abroad only exists when you spend five minutes scrolling back through your Instagram feed to the last holiday you took when the Beatles were still together. Your summer plans are a disposable barbecue and a lot of rosé if you’re lucky – probably in a howling gale. Get used to the cards you’ve been dealt.

‘You know you can get waxed now, right?’

We all got hairy during lockdown. Yes, some of us attempted to deforest, but it just left us with severe bruising and erratic patches, like a dog that has come back from the vet post-op with bits of its fur shaved. Don’t eyeball someone’s cascading eyebrows, flourishing moustache or the amazon jungles on our legs. It’s not sisterly.

‘Be honest – do I look like I have a vitamin D deficiency?’

We are emerging from our houses like ghosts; pale and wan from months stuck indoors staring at screens or just at the wall. Drifting along the pavements, our long wispy hair floating behind us as we frighten dogs and small children who cross our paths. Of course you look like you have a vitamin D deficiency. Because you do.

‘Out of the entire Dickens canon I’ve read over the past year, I do think Bleak House is my favourite.’

Fine. You were one of those who decided that lockdown was the greatest opportunity of your life to improve yourself. To learn Japanese and transcendental meditation. Good for you and all that, but some of us had breakdowns and had to cry for watching Bridgerton on repeat and eating Maltesers. That’s OK too. It’s a certain kind of personal growth.

‘Zoom cocktails? No fucking way!’

Yes, we’re all sick of Zoom. We’re sick of gazing at screens and feeling our eyes melting in our skulls. We’re sick of Zoom being dressed up as some jolly place where we can have excellent cyber-parties because isn’t the digital age amazing? But let’s remember that without it, we really would have become solitary hags living in silence with little to no human communication. Just do the damn Zoom cocktail date. At least you won’t have to leave the house. Some of us – ahem – are feeling a little agoraphobic. Maybe. Bye.

‘I’m worried that if I start going out again, my TV will miss me.’

Whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to start spending less time with your TV. It’s nothing personal, it’s just the way it is. Life awaits outside. Beyond your sofa. Put the remote down. Back away slowly. Nice and easy. You’re doing really, really well.

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