Some thoughts on going out and socialising in a post-covid world, from Marien Brandon
Very luckily, I am writing from London, where the situation seems to circle back to a pre-Covid ambiance. I question whether our old socialising habits are going to come back or not. Mention also has to be made that the UK is not yet totally Covid-free, and the current situation still implores health rules, but the vaccination campaign is fast and the virus cases, quite low. In this environment, our usual social spots like the bars and restaurants have already reopened, and the last locations still closed, the cinemas and museums, are soon to be back.
In this freeing context, I noticed that a fear of large group of people is still present, as we were taught for more than one year to limit our contact with others. Small circles centred around close friends seems to be the foundation of our newfound social life. Although it is enjoyable to reconnect with the outdoor and spend some wellness time with friends, a little something is still missing. It would now appear impossible to start having a conversation with a stranger at the bars or befriend a nice new waiter in a restaurant. The limits of awareness drawn by several months of social distancing do not seem to come to an end just yet (but perhaps for the best: oversociallazing people were already a pain of our existence pre-covid. No more men insisting to hear me talk in a French accent!)- just a new, and maybe better, way to socialise, more respectfully of other’s spaces.
If the feeling of finally being able to go out is amazing, it is often mixed with an unusual self-consciousness. Indeed, trying to socialise again after such a long time without practice happens for a lot of people. It’s a factor of anxiety. Presenting a nice version of ourselves to the others is already a difficult exercise for some, but everything got much harder after these abnormal times with such different approaches toward relationships. Relocating in London during lockdown, I met my new classmates online, I worked from home, and I found potential dates on apps as well. I recently noticed just how much my online life has grown and become important for me. I believe that I am not quite ready to let go the safety of the behind-the-screen relations, and in a post-Covid utopia, I may come rely on it as a way to create first contacts from now on.
Only a few steps are keeping us away from the total social freedom we used to know, and it’s notably the reopening of nightclubs (one month away in the UK). This topic definitely creates some arguments within my surrounding. Although we are all looking forward to sweating under the spotlights, we stay conscious of the pressure which will certainly result by being surrounded by so many strangers. I feel like we learnt over the course of the past year to content ourselves with the small elements that brought joy. Clubbing may not be like we used to know it, but it will certainly be better than the Zoom birthday parties we all agreed on participating in for far too long. I’m pretty sure people will commonly dress over the top, and be overly nice for these in-person occasions, which has me looking forward to it.
I now only need to settle on an outfit screaming „Look at me but only from afar!“ before throwing myself back into the darkness of clubs and strangers.
Text Marien Brandon
Images courtesy of Alexander Popov on Unsplash