Bars in Quarantine: Socially Distant or Socially Distasteful?

On my way to my second bar I’ve gone to since quarantine began, I asked my three girl friends the question: what do we call this part of quarantine?

Is it the in-between?

Are we in limbo?

Are we floating somewhere between incarceration and freedom?

Are we social distancing or social quarantining?

We settled on this as being the “social distancing era” aka feeling awkward in this in-between, where the casual things are formal now.

The other night, I went to my first rowdy bar post-quarantine. We had just come from another bar where we ate food and sat separately at a table.

But not at this place, non-masked and masked people ran around without a care or a table!

When we were standing in line, my friend yelled loudly to the six-foot Justin Bieber look-a-like behind us, “You better stay 6 feet away.”

I jumped forward like a meteor just flew in back of us. The guy jumped back, looked confused, and said in his Chad voice, “Woah.”

My friend smiled and yelled, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

They remained 6 feet away.

Then, we had to sign a form that notified us that if someone at the bar had corona we would get an email. I grinned awkwardly and pushed my friends in front of me so I didn’t have to be that person to receive the grim news.

I would like to know, but I would also be freaked out to receive that email. I would like two degrees of separation before my mother commits me to isolation.

We walked into the bar on Abbot Kinney called Rooster Fish, the interior was completely redone. It looked like a cool cave, but with trendy furniture and blonde men that looked like models.

I looked down at my casual jeans and top and looked up at the tall girls in dresses. Good thing this was a pit-stop to home. My heart pounded out of my chest and I kept my mask on as we fought our way through the bathroom line.

My hands were clammy, my mouth felt dry, words didn’t come out when a hot guy tapped my shoulder to ask if this was the bathroom line. I blabbered “yesitis” and it was my turn to the use the restroom. Saved by the toilet, that is the working title of my sitcom.

Outside, it was a jungle of people. There were a couple of people in masks. I kept thinking, do I still look cute with this cheetah print cloth on my face?

But people were in groups without masks, chatting, touching each other, making out, drinking, partying, like masses of people weren’t dying from COVID-19.

I realized this is social distancing. It’s a fun dance between being with people or potentially getting sick. Long gone are the days (for me at least) where a casual make-out is considered nonchalant.

I would have to see name, license, date of birth, check their temperature, ask them for a list of references, social security number, etc.

It’s even more crucial when you’re living with your family and your father has an auto-immune disorder. So there’s that.

We are social distancing, but we are still social. But there isn’t that sudden urge to go out and meet people because it’s weird. It’s plain strange. Staying in the house means things stay the same. You don’t need a formal reservation to go out to dinner. There isn’t plastic guarding you from the cashier at the store. There aren’t devices that tell your temperature before you walk into the restaurant (that happened to us at the table-abiding bar). But this is the new normal, in this social distancing time and things feel foreign and formal and irregular and downright strange.

But that’s just the fun of it, society evolves as we evolve and sometimes we just evolve to stay inside.

What do you think? Are bars socially distasteful? Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

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