I have been thinking a lot recently about the effect of COVID19 (the Corona Virus) on society and, in particular on human relationships.
To state a truism, we humans are social animals, and, with a few exceptions we all crave company from time to time. Even in this increasingly technologically driven society, individuals still enjoy face-to-face interactions, whether that be a meal in a restaurant, a drink with friends in the pub, or intimate time spent with a lover.
Today’s World at 1 on BBC Radio 4, https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000h8gg, contains discussions regarding whether face masks should be adopted by everyone as a means of ending the lockdown currently in place in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The view expressed by the scientists/doctors was that masks should be reserved for health service professionals in the first instance then, once shops start to re-open for those professions where close contact can not be avoided, for example the hairdressing profession. In the longer-term it was argued that everyone might need to wear masks in public, at least until a vaccine is made available.
My thoughts on this are as follows:
1. I don’t at all relish the prospect of walking through the woods, parks etc and not being able to properly appreciate the scents of nature owing to the presence of a face mask. The wind on one’s face and the scent of new mown grass is one of life’s pleasures.
2. How exactly would face masks operate in settings such as restaurants and pubs/clubs? So far as I know, its impossible (or extremely difficult) to eat and drink whilst wearing a face mask. I haven’t tried doing this, so stand to be corrected. However, even if it is possible, I can imagine getting food, drink etc on the mask thereby impairing it’s effectiveness, not to mention making the wearer look rather messy!
3. Related to 2 above, Even if “social distancing” is maintained, I assume that friends, family members etc will be able to sit together, otherwise one of the greatest pleasures of eating out (convivial company) is thrown away. Also, in smaller establishments, its difficult to imagine how tables could be kept sufficiently apart to comply with the 2 metre “Social distancing” rule. Likewise (in the case of clubs where people dance) just, how exactly will “social distancing” be practiced and/or enforced? Will people dance with one another in masks, then use hand sanatiser once they have finished their dance? And what happens if (as frequently occurs) a couple decide to go home together? In the latter case “social distancing” goes out the window …
4. Leading on from 3 above, what happens to dating? Apart from the pleasure derived from relationships (whether long-term or otherwise), sex is necessary to perpetuate the species.
This article, https://www.dw.com/en/love-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-covid-19-changes-the-game-for-online-dating/a-52933001, indicates that the dating game is alive and well at the time of the Lockdown. However many people appear to be interacting online, but not meeting. One assumes that serious relationships will develop and individuals will meet when COVID19 is, so far as is possible beaten or contained.
5. I was not surprised to learn that escorts are continuing to ply their trade despite the lockdown, as exemplified in this article, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8188793/Manchester-City-star-Kyle-Walker-hosted-sex-party-two-escorts-coronavirus-lockdown.html. I shall refrain from any comment on this particular story.
On a personal level, I am looking forward to sharing a few pints (and a nice meal) in a restaurant once the Lockdown is over.