Reconnecting with people in person is a minefield. We here at MMW News Service offer some helpful advice as you return to in-person gatherings with friends, family, co-workers, and that Craig’s List guy you bought the futon from who said he’s into role play. It’s fine; he probably meant Dungeons and Dragons.
1. It’s important to remember that you are no longer online, where caustic remarks are the norm. They are, still, frowned upon in person. Research by the New England Journal of Public Cursing shows that this year there has been a 28 percent increase in people saying, “Sit down, fucktard!” in real life. Don’t make it worse.
2. You will need to wear pants, consistently. You can no longer just slip them off during a conversation without notice. And gentlemen, please don’t pull a Toobin and just whip it out, even if she is really cute. Yes, he did get back on CNN but you have his knowledge of Supreme Court precedent? Quick, what was the holding in Mapp v Ohio? Yeah, didn’t think so.
3. The potluck rule still applies: Regardless of the party’s size only one person will make deviled eggs, fondue, or chili and everyone else will buy a bag of chips at a gas station on the way.
4. Remember to make eye contact when talking with someone. This will allow them to feel heard. Even after they’ve stopped talking, continue making unblinking eye contact. If they move, follow them. If they ask what you’re doing, say, “God’s will.”
5. Nobody cares about your golf game. This was true before the pandemic as well.
6. Saying, “I’ve still got my mask on” with an uncovered face is a good joke the first time, but people will quickly tire of it.
7. Post-pandemic dating can be exciting but also overwhelming. It’s best to take it slow, meet in a public place, and don’t pressure him or her into taking a photo of the two of you, even if it would really get your mother off your back.
8. The same rules apply for re-entry as making sourdough bread: Be patient, let it rise, gradually increase the temperature, and then throw it away and get some bread that doesn’t taste like a vole died inside a baguette.
9. When starting a conversation, try to avoid hot-button topics. Even though everyone is thinking about Covid, it’s best not to bring it up. There’s a good chance you’ll get into the whole lab-leak hypothesis (and you meant to read about it but forgot and now you’re too afraid to ask what that means) or run into someone who thinks it was a deep state conspiracy to cost Trump the election. The weather seems benign enough but it will inevitably lead to someone saying, “So it’s 108 in Seattle. It’s not climate change!” Talking about your children could work, but be careful not to slip up and admit you send them to private school or that you’ve taught them, or not taught them, about Critical Race Theory. Sports is right out; you’re begging someone to bring up cancel culture because Major League Baseball moved the All-Star Game out of Georgia because of its election laws (Again, you meant to read more about that but it was important to watch “Friends” all the way through for the 23rd time). We recommend you stick to the only topic that’s never caused any hurt feelings: religion.
10. On second thought, socializing can wait. They’re making crepes tonight on “The Great British Baking Show.”