Beso Cues

When the Quarantinees are finally unleashed into the world most of us would probably look plumpier, but the hope is that we would somehow look younger due to the minimized sun exposure. I used to cake my face with sunblock at least 3x a day, and whenever a nurse would glance at me my fear is that she must be thinking “Aaaay, Foundation Day!”. I don’t know what the dermatologists’ formal recommendation is when staying inside a confined space for long periods of time, but it is probably a research question–can the combined might of computer/cellphone/TV screens cause collagen damage?

So many questions…. for the mental health specialists, has there been a spike in psychosomatic disorder? For the oncologists, is there a rise in women who are able to detect something in their breasts because they have more time to touch and feel themselves? For the fellows-in-training, would the foreseeable lack of travel grants from research dissuade you from making so many research posters? For the Tinder/Grindr users, would people still relentlessly fuck?

I guess no proximity until 2025!

In the Social Sciences, possible areas of interest would look into how people now interact or even just greet each other face-to-face on a daily basis. Nobody would probably shake each other’s hands or make beso in the next decade, specially among health care workers. Which is just as well because I never really got to figure out the complex interplay of social cues and emotional closeness that one is required to assess and compute in a millisecond before you can actually lean forward and reciprocate a beso.

This reminds me of my dear friend Samantha’s wedding a few years ago. Many attendees were my batchmates–some of them are still my friends with whom I have regular interaction, while some were either never really my friends, or were my friends at some point but we just sort of stopped missing each other. Under Never Really My Friend But Was a Groupmate at One Time was Cher, and when I first saw her with her husband in church we tokenistically waved and smiled at each other.

After the mass all the batchmates went near the altar for the group photo opportunity. Just in front of me was Cher. While we were still fixing ourselves she turned around and our eyes met, and she sort of leaned forward… so I leaned forward too and made her beso! Only after our cheeks touched did I realize that her HUSBAND was behind me and that she was leaning forward to call him! Photo op then commenced–I must have looked quite sheepish in those pics.

After the reception I drove Mrs. T to their house in QC, and on the way I was ranting the awkwardness and embarrassment away. For all we know, Cher didn’t really mind, but I still ranted “It’s all her fault! Her social cues were confusing! DAMN EEET!”–I ranted in-between gulps of that delicious calorrific milkshake in Maginhawa Street. This was just one of the many instances when I read the beso cues wrong, so I resolved never ever to do it with anyone unless she is practically clutching my face with both her hands and is already pulling my head towards her. But now with the virus everywhere, we can now happily classify this under: Societal Non-issues.

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