Suzanne Harrington: Bin full of rubbish, a phone full of unmet men — no sweat (pants)

Suzanne Harrington: Bin full of rubbish, a phone full of unmet men — no sweat (pants)

I’d like to remind Karl Lagerfeld, who famously said how “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants” that it is he, and not us, who lost control of his life. Karl is dead, terminally relocated to the celestial atelier, while we all remain alive and locked down in sweatpants. Sweatpants are great. They are the least of our worries.

No, what we have lost control over is the concept of time — I recently lost an entire day, so that I missed the deadline for this column. I also missed the binmen, who are the only men I am seeing at the moment, apart from the postman, because the only other men in my life all live in my phone, tiny thumbnails downloaded on a dating app.

So now I have a bin full of rubbish and a phone full of unmet men. When real life dating becomes a thing again, will we have to get dressed? Or will dating in sweatpants be the new normal? I hope so. By the time this is over, that’s all we will be able to fit into.

As the weeks blur into each other, time losing all texture so that Sunday morning and Friday night and Saturday afternoon are all one endless Wednesday, life has reduced itself to a series of apps. Shaky Zoom meet ups where faces comedically freeze and everyone talks over each other — we are some way from how the sci-fi movies imagined things. How soon before we can successfully hologram into each other’s sitting rooms?

Meanwhile, probably best to avoid Twitter, where the unhinged and the furious congregate. Perhaps you have caved, and downloaded TikTok instead, for 15 second bursts of dachshunds in dresses, or people sitting in exploding laundry tubs of Coke and Mentos being watched by five million other people with nothing to do and all day to do it. Is this how we will remember the great Corona pandemic of 2020 — sitting indoors on your phone watching people squirting ketchup over each other while miming to Phil Collins?

No. We may all be in sweatpants, but we still have standards. Thank god then for language apps where we can machine learn a new language for free, in exchange for sitting through a few ads for clingfilm and plumbers. I’m polishing my schoolgirl French, in case we ever get to go on holiday again, sitting on the sofa whispering ‘I am not an apple’ into my phone, being motivated by chirps and bleeps and a cartoon owl.

I’m 52. This is not how I expected my life to be. And what can I now say in French that I could not a week ago? Your uncle mows your tuna - ton tonton tonds ton thon. I laugh at this not just for hours, but days. I wonder if I should just go out and lick a 5G mast, and get it over with.

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