When quarantine ends, the first thing I wanna do is give all my friends a big, wet, platonic smooch. Even if we’re currently at a stage in the pandemic where maybe it’s okay to see your pals in an outdoor, socially-distanced setting, the sense of restriction is palpable. It’s not just their presence we miss, it’s the intimacy, and when all this is over and touch becomes safe again, buddy, we’re gonna make up for some lost time.
A batch of memes playing off the “me and the boys” format expresses this sentiment perfectly. Some show innocent fun and exuberance, while others get a bit cozier, discussing how someone wants to cuddle with their fellow male friends or give them the type of cheek kiss previously only seen by their grandmothers. They’ve been out there for months — some people got stir-crazy for their friends only a week or two into all this — but it seems they’ve hit their peak in recent weeks, as the prospect of a vaccine and freedom feels closer, yet still entirely elusive.
As we enter our seventh (eighth?) month of at least partial isolation, our fantasies of human interaction have become both more absurd and more simple. On the one hand, while it might not be likely that a group of guy friends will indeed come together in a choreographed group dance or snuggle while playing video games once it becomes safe, the wish to do so plays into our most basic desires. For men, in particular, this need for intimacy post-pandemic offers the opportunity to get rid of dated notions surrounding platonic male touch. Following a period when touch is acceptable for no one, we can experience a time when consensual touch is acceptable for all.
At their core, these memes just express how much we miss each other. When quarantine ends, our first instinct probably won’t be to take on any grandiose pursuits — we’ll merely want to do all the simple things we enjoyed before, in the company of our closest friends. Perhaps this pandemic experience has highlighted that, yes, I really do want to book that trip to Thailand before it’s too late, but more than anything I want to prioritize the uncomplicated moments of joy I may have taken for granted before. My bucket list can wait — me and my pals have some loving squeezes to give each other in a crowded bar, first.