You may dimly remember a few years back yelling at your teenagers to get a grip and do the following:

  1. Get off the sofa
  2. Get out of those grey tracksuit bottoms and hoodie (“You’re not wearing that to go to the park, I can tell you, you look like you’re off to rob the neighbours.”)
  3. Wash your hair; it’s not that hard, stand under the shower
  4. Try doing something with your free time other than watching episodes of the same programme back-to-back
  5. Eat at the table, for a change, and have a conversation, that’s what people do.

You see where we’re going with this? All of the above, it’s Us, in February 2021. We may not go outside in our white socks (most annoying teenager habit). We may not leave fag butts by the back door or slop tea on the stairs every day without fail but, in many respects, we have become the slovenly ones during this lockdown.

If anything we got tidier and cleaner during the first lockdown. We instinctively knew (especially when the cleaners were banned) that we had not just to maintain standards but up our game a bit. Everyone in the country sensed that without the compelling incentive of other people’s approval – or disapproval – we might succumb to slobbish ways and go downhill fast. So we stepped up. Threw things out. Ordered skipping ropes and hair dye. And we were doing fine until recently when suddenly we weren’t.

Blame January blues, blame lockdown fatigue, blame the absence of anyone who gives a monkeys checking up on us, either way we’re now in full slobdown freefall. Here are the telltale signs:

1. Slob economies

Reusing tea bags (or just not throwing them away). Wearing the same socks twice (if those socks have only been worn indoors, padding around). Wearing exercise kit all the time to cut back on washing (see the problem here? Exercise kit needs more washing.) But that’s OK because we’re not really exercising, unless you count a desultory walk if it’s not drizzling. The wearing of exercise wear is 100 per cent to do with laziness.

2. Tying back dirty hair

This goes with the exercise wear, and may be another reason why we’re wearing it all the time; to make it look like we have exercise hair, rather than dirty hair badly in need of a wash.

3. Not bothering

To put on a watch, earrings, rings, never mind make up. Any of the stuff we used to have to put on before leaving the house. But, you know…

4. Reusing the pan we used at lunch

Not actually so bad if it was used to heat up a lightish soup but we never did this before (itals). And if the man from Glowarm happens to turn up to service the boiler, and catches you at it, you may feel the prickling of shame.

5. Not making the bed

Also leaving a pile of washing on the stairs all day and a sink full of dishes from last night. What else would the man from Glowarm have noticed? Ah yes: hedge out front in need of a good clipping. Dirty car with an interior that would put Boris’s travelling dustbin to shame. Occupants of the house wearing exercise gear, with breakfast crumbs on it.

6. TV creep

Very dangerous territory here. We’re almost at the point where if one of us goes out in the day the other one will feel the TV afterwards to see if it’s warm. So far the rule is never before 6pm unless there’s a presidential inauguration to watch or a Corona update. Let’s see how long that lasts.

7. Getting in the car

…and driving to the (nearby) shop to get a coffee and buns and then eating them in the car. This is a great weekend treat now because that’s the slobs we have become.

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