7. Quar Miscellany

8 October 2020

People are definitely going to develop quarantine-inspired fetishes, right? The taboo, the fear, the shame… there’s already very low effort quarantine pornos out there, but I think over time we’ll get into some pretty weird stuff, and maybe that will be interesting. Think of the terror you would feel being approached by someone with unwashed hands and no mask, but how much you crave touch, too. Yes, think about it. Anyway here’s to kink.

When someone’s not wearing a mask but they’re surrounded by people who are wearing masks, don’t they feel weird? Doesn’t that human instinct to fit in with a group kick in? I think about when I did the finals week naked run in college: when I got to where everyone was meeting, most people were already naked, and I felt incredibly weird being clothed because… everyone else was naked! I was the odd one out! But then again, I didn’t think of being clothed as some kind of brave political stance whereas the anti-maskers have really convinced themselves they’re revolutionaries. Yet again duped by ideology.

I miss the early days of lockdown when everyone had shitty masks. Now we’re getting into luxury masks and it’s yet another thing you have to think about to signal class, taste, etc. This is all the more annoying to me because most masks don’t fit well on my (perfect) face. Somehow my nose is too prominent and my face too small. No mask looks good on me. Argh!

But then I wonder, how do masks feel for other people? Is it really more comfortable if you have a flatter nose? What about if you have a beard? Wider face? I think of a friend who was born with only one ear, and how a lot of mask designs rely on you having two ears to keep the mask in place. How does he wear a mask? Also, when’s the last time anyone wore lipstick?

Do I remember how to apply lipstick?

I think a lot about the secrets we’re all keeping. I believe the number of people who have been 100% responsible and have taken every single precaution every single time is rather small. I know people who have been on flights, gone to restaurants, have had a friend over, have had parties, have gotten haircuts, tattoos, manicures, have lived a normal life but far out of sight of the prying eye of social media. My mom told me one of her neighbors has literally, no joke, not left the house since March. Like she has not taken a single step outside. And that’s certainly one way to live (?) but most of us don’t do quite that, and we fall somewhere else on the spectrum between self-imposed solitary confinement and living like a Republican politician. Where do you draw the line and why?

If everyone lived like my mom’s neighbor for two or three weeks, this whole thing would be over. What a thought! But that’s not going to happen, because for many it’s impossible. Maybe if people didn’t have to worry about rent, had enough food to last a month, felt safe in their homes, etc, maybe then a serious lockdown could happen. But none of that will happen because we live in a joke of a country, so here we are.

This is, by the way, why I don’t like the self-righteous tone some people take regarding “proper precautions”. Every once in a while you’ll see someone online saying aM i ThE OnLy OnE sTiLL qUarAnTiNiNg. First of all, shut the fuck up and find something more interesting to tweet about. Second of all, who is helped by this attitude? If you really want to judge and shame others, may I draw your attention to the Catholic Church and/or BDSM (and still in both there is forgiveness and aftercare; something to think about!) Relying on individuals to be perfect with no support whatsoever is stupid and cruel. Why don’t you get mad at politicians who refuse to cancel rent or extend unemployment benefits?

Of course, some people really don’t take any precautions and I don’t think we need to compassionately accept this. When I see someone walking close to others without a mask I instantly feel enraged. So I get it. Those people aren’t even trying.

But I do believe everyone else really is trying. Maybe I’m naive, I don’t know. But it’s so hard to go through this hellish year in isolation, without family, without friends, without parties, without your little routines that would make you feel beautiful or happy. I used to get my nails done every month and go out at least 5 nights a week and travel a few times a year and go to the Russian bathhouse and bookstores and nightclubs..! And now I go nowhere, with no one.

So yes, I’ve broken the rules a few times. I’m sure you all reading this have, too. But we keep it to ourselves, lest someone shame us for our monsterous ways. I don’t think this is good for anyone. I worry sometimes about how this, on top of everything else, affects our mental health. Secrets are a cold, heavy burden.

I think every day about the politicians I want to [redacted], and how.

I miss gossip so much. Did you know the etymology of gossip is “a person related to one in God”? As in, someone very close to you, the kind of person you gossip with. Gossip strengthens our bonds, any teen girl could tell you this. But so little happens in quarantine… whenever I do come across a scrap of gossip, once every few months, I present it to some friends related to me in God as if it’s the biggest plumpest juiciest peach and we gorge ourselves on it. What a feast!

My favorite piece of gossip is learning about how some people who have wronged me are feeling miserable right now. This is a freebie, because we’re all miserable right now, but even in this darkness, I can find light… in more darkness. What? Was quarantine supposed to make me a saint? Some men out there deserve their misery.

Sometimes I am petrified with the fear that I will never see certain people or places again. A certain chapter of my life, all our lives, is over, and what was included in that chapter? What’s in the next one? Will I ever be able to go back to Portugal? When will I see my friends in New York City? Will I ever be able to sit at a disgusting dive bar with my friends, all crammed around a table, cigarette smoke and metal blaring around us, happy beyond measure? Will I fall in love again? This fear paralyzes me for days or weeks at a time. Does it paralyze you?