Thursday, 10 September 2020

Our new body language

The other morning I was queuing outside the bank, masked up in anticipation of my turn to enter when a member of staff came out to check the queue and smiled at me. I smiled back and she moved on. This left me wondering how I had known that she had smiled at me and how did she know that I had smiled back. I decided that it must be in the eyes but then I watched people who were meeting and smiling in recognition. There was something about their body language - an almost imperceptible jog of the shoulders accompanying mask-concealed smiles.

What do you mean smile?
I am smiling!

This got me thinking about other aspects of our new body language. The obvious one is the absence of handshaking, hugging and kissing on both cheeks. I can't say that I miss that, especially the kissing-on-the-cheeks bit. I always get confused as to whether it's one cheek, two or indeed three - kisses not cheeks. My timing is so poor during such rituals that I invariably bang noses or catch glasses and end up feeling undignified and inept. 

Chivalry is suffering too. (Mixed feelings about male chivalry but I'll hold that discussion over for another blog post.) I was waiting outside our small local chemist today while a man was inside collecting his prescription. As he came out he held the door open for me but that would have meant me breaking the 2 metre rule so I waved him on and an awkward few moments ensued before he realised what I meant.

Post-shopping involves me walking around with my hands in the air rather like a surgeon who is scrubbed and ready to operate. This is followed by the gelling of hands (accompanied by that funny antiseptic taste in the mouth - or is that just me?) Gelling causes me much consternation. In order to put my bag down and get my gel out I have to unlock the car. I can then gel my hands but need to also gel the car keys as they were touched with ungelled hands. I then ponder the car door handle. Surely that should also be gelled - but I've decided that I have to draw a line somewhere. (I've just realised that it also involves my handbag which has not been gelled at all since all this craziness began. What a dilemma!)

What strange quirks of body language have you noticed recently? 


  1. Your post is right on the money. I do find that I feel the need to hurry to get a chore, like grocery shopping done, faster. I feel very enclosed and almost hunched within myself. I never realized how much I did talk to others out in public. Now I feel very anonymous and act withdrawn. Strange times.

  2. That whole hand gelling, and car and key and handle gelling can get quite out of hand, and has a laughable aspect to it. Sometimes I realize hey stop. I have sanitized my purse when I have been out shopping, the entire exterior and the handles. Happily it is an oilcloth purse so can be cleaned. Cath Kidston brand made it.


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