Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 25, 2020


Ian Haysom, a veteran journalist and writer, is a news consultant for CHEK. His coronavirus diary will appear here regularly.

The funniest, and most disturbing online video going the rounds right now shows a before and after quarantine guy dancing.

Before quarantine, he’s a shirtless, buff hunk with a six-pack and rippling muscles.

After quarantine, he’s a flabby, pot-bellied wreck with man boobs and a 50-inch waist. See it above.

My first concern is that if this goes along too long, and we don’t have to appear in public, we’ll all be a bunch of fat slobs. The men, that is. The women seem to be able to keep up appearances, and their weight down, in a crisis. We men simply fall apart. It will be the end of the world as we know it. I mean, when was the last time you wore a tie?

My second concern is that I already resemble the after-guy more than the before-guy (in truth, I never resembled the before-guy, but in my defence, we didn’t worry about muscles so much when I was young, and, frankly, having sand kicked in your face wasn’t so bad).

The male of the species doesn’t dress up unless he has to. His natural clothing choice is an old T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms, that allows the waist to breathe. Look at all those old geezers in their tracksuits on mall walks. They’re not wearing fitness apparel. They’re simply hiding a lifetime of meatloaf.

There was a time, incidentally, when men, as well as women, wore corsets. Look at those old clips of the 50s crooners like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. The corsets pushed their nipples up to their shirt collars. They looked like pregnant pigeons.  I predict a comeback. We need to start making more corsets urgently after we’re finished with the masks.

The problem with working from home is that the fridge is, well, just there. Look, I can almost touch it. And if I just stretch towards that cupboard I can reach those chips without even leaving my seat.

I see a return of the TV dinner too. Stick it in the microwave and it’s done. Sure, it tastes like soggy cardboard and has the nutritional value of a brick, but we have to adjust in a crisis.  Plus, we don’t want to take too much time away from binge-watching Game of Thrones for the tenth time.

My hair is starting to grow down the back of my neck (and out of my ears, but let’s not dwell on that). I was due a haircut a couple of weeks ago and postponed it, and now I look like a deranged caveman. Which isn’t that bad a look, in all honesty. I’ve been worse.

I’m not sure how the millennials are going to survive without a trip to the hairdressers every two days. Short hair, somewhere on your head, often in random and surprising places, is now very fashionable. Fathers of boomers used to yell at their kids to get their haircut. Fathers, and grandfathers, today are going to enjoy seeing what their sons would have looked like in the summer of love.

We could, of course, ask our loved ones to cut our hair for us, but I’d strongly advise against it. After a couple of weeks in the same house, in close and continued confinement, putting a pair of scissors in the hands of your loved one might be very dangerous.

Thank goodness for my beard however. Not too much grooming needed there. And it hides a multitude of chins.

While our bodies may fall apart, our homes are suddenly looking a lot more spiffy. I walked around the neighbourhood the other night and just about everyone was cutting their grass because they had nothing else to do.

I work on the principle that you only need to vacuum and polish and tidy the house if you have people coming over, so I like to be anti-social when I can. With nobody coming over these days we could live in a house full of dust bunnies and nobody would be any the wiser.

Not everyone agrees. Home confinement means projects, so we have cleaned out the garage, the sports room, my man cave, my office, and now there’s some suggestion we start painting the upstairs bedroom. Will this hell never end?

So we males should all try and shape up and not turn into a flabby, man-boobed disaster. Eat more veggies. Though, as someone once said, quite correctly, life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if cooked vegetables smelled more like bacon.

But as the comedian Jackie Gleason (who never wore a corset) said, the second day of a diet is always easier than the first. By the second day, you’ve given up the diet.

Stay healthy. Eat less. And be a good citizen. And order in.

Read the previous diaries here:

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 18, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 19, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 20, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 22, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 23, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 24, 2020

Ian HaysomIan Haysom

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