Rachel Johnson

Vaccines are out, sex is in: the rules for post-lockdown conversation

Long before Covid, it was bad enough when people (often City big dogs at ‘Notting Hill kitchen suppers’) would ask ‘So, do you do anything, or are you just a mum?’ during my childbearing years.

Now, however, the pandemic has induced such chronic poverty in conversation that I recall those thrilling exchanges about house prices and schools as if I’d been at the Algonquin Round Table and not some dull catered dinner at a hedge-funder’s ‘mansion’. What a difference a long lockdown makes, eh.

Nobody has done anything or gone anywhere. All the craic has been about box sets… the time your Asos parcel went Awol… how you got a scam text from DHL… your attempt to cut your own hair after you’d had a takeaway negroni. Fair enough. I developed a mania for Spiral (at present I am in the thick of Call My Agent, French subtitles on) and became so irritating I would have divorced myself if I could. Yet 21 June, Independence Day, looms.

It’s high time someone reset the post-lockdown rules of casual conversation, and I hereby appoint myself for this important national service. In ascending order of aggravation, here are the banned topics:

‘I can remember when this was all Tier Four.’

1) The vaccine. As the majority have now received Covid-19 vaccinations, it is not interesting to discuss how many of which jab you’ve had, or whether you got a sore arm or felt a bit rubbish but only for a day or two.

2) Holidays. The hairdresser’s question ‘Going anywhere nice?’ (or the barber’s ‘Something for the weekend, sir?’) opens up a world of pain and uncertainty for us all, especially me. I don’t want to hear you ask me to ‘find out’ — and we all know what that means — whether Corfu or Crete will be on the green or amber list come July.

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