Living Etc

How you might be putting the social into social distancing



december is the party season, but there’s nothing more antisocial than social distancing. This year there’ll be more red tape than tinsel, but that doesn’t mean a drab shindig. Think of yourself as a fairy godmother, your wand the most recent government­al guidelines, magicking social bubbles into social baubles. You can have a lot of fun two metres apart.

To begin with, manage guest expectatio­n. Dress codes are passé, so encourage sparkle but expect athleisure in this climate of comfort. Annoyingly, Venetian masks only cover the eyes, but an apocalypti­c theme can go a long way –there’s personal safety in a Blitz gas mask. Invited via a paperless emailed QR code, guests can Banksy their contact track and trace details on the windows in spray snow. Anyone refusing must Zoom into the party from outside. Treat each attendee to those little slippers you get at the spa (they can be incinerate­d in the morning).

Canapés feel like an immediate no-no, and cutlery screams supersprea­der, but consider asking your guests to provide their own Nutribulle­t cups to hold a purée of festive foods. It’s always a thrill to sneak a Dettolled sixpence into a Christmas pudding, but maybe just watch the flambé part on Youtube like a budget Nigella. Drinks could be vaporised and pumped into the air like a disco smoke machine but if that’s too much of a faff, frozen cubes of sanitiser instead of ice do wonders for controllin­g the virus. A Martini glass in a rubber-gloved hand is its own reward. Whenever someone leaves a drink on a surface, Bunsen burner the spot.

Parties need dancing because it’s the most freeing expression of the self, but it’s riddled with peer-to-peer transferen­ce so ban it like prohibitio­n booze. Cancel music completely to limit any bopping. Foot-tapping to the silence warrants immediate ejection. Charades, silently acted out from behind a wall of Plexiglas, is the only pandemic-friendly game, or Twister in mandatory hazmat suits. At this point, guests should be losing themselves in the foodless, drinkless, musicless uber-fun you’ve created, you absolute legend. Emboldened by virtual eggnog people will want to hug goodbye, but encourage the fail-safe eroticism of a dental dam snog under the mistletoe.despitethe­latentworr­yofcovid-19,romancecan­flourish.

As the clock strikes midnight, it’s time to call it quits. Cinderella may have had a private pumpkin carriage, but a silent Uber and a decent mask will do.

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