Originally published December 2020
I have many goals for 2021, and as we get to the end of 'The year of shit-housery' (new phrase, hope you like), I am reminded of the rolling New Years' resolution I made in 2016 to be able to do the splits. I did ten days' worth of stretching and gave up, until 2017 came along and I thought "well I'll ACTUALLY do it this year". We are now approaching 2021 and my hoo-hah has not hit the floor yet. I'm sure it will by 2022, with the help of Yoga With Adriene and her ridiculously chilled dog Benji.
Not that we need any pressure to 'accomplish' things next year by the way; surviving 2020 is just about enough. I've got into the routine of saying "...and we did it during a GLOBAL PANDEMIC" just to seem like securing a couple of Hinge dates in-between lockdowns is a mighty achievement.
But this piece isn't going to focus on the woeful year we've all had. You don't need another 'hot take' telling you "there's a real blessing in stripping back life to it's core and enjoying the simple pleasures"; nor do you need well-meaning but tired prose celebrating "the creativity of Zoom calls". That app can quite honestly fuck itself next year, I am sick AND TIRED of it (no offence to Zoom, it's actually a very handy business tool - but being forced to use it grinds my gears).
I thought it might be nice (real stretch of the word here) to look forward to a post-vaccinated world in 2021 - let's say from May onwards, and just try to spark some joy in what is to come, rather than what we have all missed out on:
1. Getting far too drunk
Now first thing's first - drink responsibly. Now that's out the way, I am wholly looking forward to strutting (others will say stumbling) into a bathroom of a packed house party, plonking myself on the loo and smiling to myself, trying not to fall off as I reach around to find one (1) measly sheet of loo roll left on the holder. Once I've washed my hands for a full 20 seconds (COVID is gone but not forgotten), I try and fix my smudged eyeliner (making it even worse), apply another coat of lipgloss, and zhuzh (yup that's the spelling, I've checked) my hair. On hearing an absolute banger come on, I fly out the bathroom at a dangerous speed and scream the only lyrics I know as I head back into the thrust of it all - throwing my ass back and taking awful Instagram stories that I will inevitably regret posting the next day.
2. Being jostled
I have always hated being jostled - it's an absolute bug bear of mine. And if I'm being completely honest with myself, I think the novelty will wear off preeeeetty quickly with this one. I want to be at a day festival somewhere, pitying those who are buying obscenely priced drinks from the bar as I buy my tonic and lime, run into the crowd, whip out a warm hip flask from my gusset and pour cheap gin into a plastic cup - Martin Lewis eat ya heart out, THIS is how you save money. As I'm pouring, some prick will inevitably ram past me and for a split second I'll be annoyed, but then I'll be so grateful for the touch of a stranger that I'll probably run after them and ask for their number.
3. The OUTFITS
Not everything is about alcohol, some things are about turning up to quite literally any function dressed to the absolute nines and receiving slightly judge-y glances from the other attendees. I love having any excuse to show up and show out (a full faux leather outfit with zebra print heels whilst friends were wearing jeans and knitwear was my most recent rodeo), but 2021 - you'd better watch out, because I will be bussing out every possible outfit I can muster. And I implore you to do the same - think of all the fabulous outfits gathering dust and just waiting to be worn. Oversized faux fur jacket and heels for a trip to Tesco? Yup. Tulle dress for the dentist? You betcha. 2021 is the year of being seen my friend.
4. Eating out
The most important part of eating out in a restaurant, and this is non-negotiable, is the wicker basket filled with every single type of bread imaginable (minus that thin cracker bread, no-one wants that), with a whipped salted butter on the side - utter perfection. It has been said that 2020 has taught us to be grateful for the little things in life, and I've realised just how important bread baskets are to me. The unsung hero of the restaurant experience.
Okay, now I've spoken about bread, I guess I should mention the rest of it - tottering into a restaurant (without a mask). Coat dragging on the floor and getting dusty because it's too long for your chair. Deliberating over starters - "well, I was going to get the bruschetta, but no, no - it's fine - if you're not getting anything, I'll leave it". Asking for a jug of water three times before it's brought to the table with pointless thimble-sized glasses, which inevitably quenches your thirst as much as much as the cinnamon challenge. Someone (me) ordering a dish but managing to change every single ingredient to the annoyance of the waiter. Taking pics in the loo (only if they are posh) and finally, the hell of working out the bill, with no-one taking into account the additional service charge until half the group has paid. I miss it ALL.
5. C list friends
Not the friends you speak to on the regular, or meet up with for a government-approved walk, these are the 'friends' (more like acquaintances) that come out of the woodwork on a night out in your hometown - usually someone you knew from college, or a friend of a friend. You bump into each other at the bar, have an excitable-yet-predictable chat that lasts approximately 45 seconds before turning away and facing the bar, awkwardly making eye contact in the mirror as you desperately try to get served (you'll be waiting 20 mins for that Pornstar Martini). Or you'll spot them as you walk into a pub, mouth "hey, you alright?" and that'll be that. Just the knowledge that people do exist pleases me. I want it back.
6. Never using these words and phrases again:
Lockdown - for obvious reasons
Tier - the only tiers I wanna hear about is a fat off cake, okay?
Boris Johnson/Matt Hancock - they can bore right off
The new normal - just nope
Hands, face, space
Mask - I understand masks are used for a lot of things, but we need a new word for them because I've had enough
Naturally, I presume none of the above will happen for a long time, but I'm gonna live my fantasy and pretend that as the clock strikes midnight on New Years' Eve, COVID will miraculously disappear, 'Dancing in the Street' by Martha Reeves (or I will accept the David Bowie and Mick Jagger cover) will start playing across the country, and just like the final scene in a cheesy rom-com movie, everyone will flood the streets; spraying champagne and French kissing anyone in sight. Coronavirus? Never heard of it mate.