Since the onset of Covid-19, we have been experiencing a Zoom boom! The company, which has existed since 2011, has suddenly become everyone’s favorite vehicle for virtual social contact. It’s the go-to app for flat screen, two-dimensional relationships. And, you don’t have to wear a mask.
Everyone’s doing it. Businesses, book groups, Cousins’ Clubs, Uncle Leo, even Great Grandma Bessie. Zoom has become the people’s chat room.
No more hugging, kissing, fist bumps, or secret handshakes. Now we sit in front of our favorite internet device, click on a mile-long stream of letters and numbers, and invite all these various people into our homes. Well, not the people exactly, but their virtual representations sitting in little boxes reminiscent of Hollywood Squares.
I, for one, am grateful for Zoom. I can talk to someone face-to-virtual-face without being concerned that I haven’t yet brushed my teeth. Or applied deodorant. And I find some of the Zoom options very enticing. Like the ability to silence someone who talks too much. Unfortunately, live people don’t come equipped with “Mute” buttons.
Which brings me to the core of this little essay. Appropriateness. What is appropriate in this new social order? Is there a whole new set of behavioral rules? Do’s and don’ts for Zoom encounters? For example, in pre-Covid life, it would seem impolite and downright weird to greet someone from a distance of six feet. Unless one of you happened to be in prison. Now, being apart the length of a tall person is the new normal.
So are there rules for a Zoom meeting? I thought you would never ask! Below please find some preliminary suggestions for avoiding Zoom fail.
But for now, abide by these simple rules, and you will avoid a Zoom disaster. Most important, as you prepare for your meeting, don’t forget to floss!
My husband, bless his soul, has figured out a unique and effective way to guarantee social distancing. He has grown a mustache. While I believe that I’m as affectionate as the next guy, it’s hard to arouse enthusiasm about puckering up when I feel I’m about to kiss my hair brush.
I think it’s only fair to mention how it started. My husband had some minor surgery above his upper lip and wasn’t able to shave for about a week. But then the week turned into two. I knew I was in trouble when I spied him gazing into the bathroom mirror and cooing softly as he stroked his newly acquired stubble.
I admit it. I’m having a hard time getting used to the new him. Although he’s been cultivating it for several weeks now, I often startle when he walks into a room. Fortunately, I recover just in time to refrain from dialing 9-1-1 to report a break-in. Who are you and what have you done with my husband? At other times, I’m convinced that I’ve inadvertently channeled Groucho Marx.
Men who sport facial hair, please don’t take offense. For some, mustaches work very well. Like, if you happen to be a Mexican revolutionary, or a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher who operates a meth lab in an old RV.
I guess it’s all about what you’re used to, and I’m definitely not acclimating well. I’ve been with this man for over 40 years, and he’s never had more than a two-day growth.
However, there was a brief moment in time many years ago, when he did grow a beard. He shaved it off rather quickly though, after he was approached by several men in long black coats who addressed him as “Rabbi.” Not that he has anything against rabbis, or men in long black coats, for that matter. I think it was more of a concern that they would ask him for some profound interpretation of the Talmud, or if he was available to perform a bris. Neither of those requests was he equipped to handle.
I hope, like the beard, the mustache passion will quickly fade. But I’m not so sure. Lately, he’s taken to tenderly grooming it, then proudly pointing out the results of his tonsorial dexterity. I confess I am not enthusiastic in my admiration.
Because of the mustache, I have begun worrying about things I’ve never before considered. Potential mustache hazards. Like, what happens when men with mustaches eat soup? Or worse, what if a man with a mustache gets a really bad cold. And sneezes. How do you blow your nose with a mustache? Does “it” land on the hair above the upper lip? And what if there’s a nose bleed? These gross thoughts have begun to keep me awake at night, while he and his mustache are peacefully asleep.
So what does sporting a mustache say about a man? Is it masculinity and power? Is it his hipness, or perhaps even a fashion statement? Can I blame it on the coronavirus?
I realize that men are more limited than women when it comes to opportunities to alter their appearance. They are rarely spotted at a cosmetics counter in Bloomingdale’s getting a complete makeover. And growing a mustache is a lot less expense than spending hundreds of dollars on products and promises.
I have to reread our pre-nup. I’m pretty sure there was a clause that stated I relinquish my right to the TV remote control. And he relinquishes his right to grow facial hair. But I could be wrong.
If this fixture upon his face becomes permanent, or even semi-permanent, I suppose I’ll have to change my attitude and my outlook. My associations with mustaches will have to become more positive. Less about Stalin, Hitler, and porn stars, and more about Teddy Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, my very nice next-door neighbor, or The Village People. In fact, there may just be something in this for me. If he’s going to walk around resembling Sonny Bono, perhaps I should start dressing like Cher!
And so we begin a new chapter in our forty-year marriage. And I hope it’s a short one. One that closes before he starts to resemble Yosemite Sam, or I develop a rash from kissing a Brillo pad!
About the Author
Susan is the author of two award-winning collections of humorous personal essays: “How Old Am I in Dog Years?” and “How to Complain When There’s Nothing to Complain About.” Check out her Author Page HERE.