At last, the day of independence is almost upon us. The moment where we all emerge out of our 100-day hibernation, blinking into the sunlight like the animals dismounting Noah's Ark. And the sight that greets us will be similar – yet oh so different – to the world we left behind.
You may have no time for such hyperbole, but with all the guidelines in place there are certain aspects of 'Super Saturday' that will be as confusing as Rishi Sunak looking for a pub in a home appliances shop. For while pubs, museums and hairdressers (to name a few) are set to open, these are under strict conditions that will make the experience of them very different. For instance, roller coasters are allowed, but screaming is banned. Pubs are open for business, but queues at the bar are not. The list, as you can read here, goes on.
Indeed in a nation already divided between 'corona-phobics' and courageous ‘new-normal-ers’, uncertainties can be expected. Some, like Nigella, may be keen to adhere to the 5:2 ‘social diet’ of limiting interaction with friends, while others are racing to become the first on the school mum Whatsapp group to invite everyone over for ‘socially-distanced pre-pub drinks.’
But what Super Saturday has shown is that there will be a little benefit for everyone – no matter what your preference. Here’s all the things that we’re secretly looking forward to when the day arrives...
1. Not having to to tip our hairdressers
Let’s be honest, it was always a little bit awkward. The procedure generally involved fumbling around for cash (which none of us ever carried anyway), while our hairdresser pretended to look elsewhere. And then there was the etiquette: what constituted too little ('stingy, or displeased with the service') or too much ('too generous, could have bought a coffee with that later')?
Well Hallelujah, that looks set to change. While hairdressers are allowed to officially reopen on the 4th July, that’s provided Covid-secure measures are in place – including the use of cashless payment systems. According to a recent survey commissioned by Asktraders.com, two in three consumers would avoid tipping if they couldn’t use cash. We're all in this together, right?
2. Not talking about our hair
Linked to the above. While discussing our matted hair served as valuable small talk material through lockdown, let's be honest: it all got a bit repetitive. We know everything about next-door Sally’s flyaway greys and are more familiar with Sarah’s pesky roots than we are with our own. The social opportunities offered on Super Saturday will provide us with an ample opportunity to generate new forms of small talk, and we’re absolutely fine with that.
3. No queue at the bar
By now, we’re no stranger to a spot of queuing. In fact, the pandemic has made us so accustomed to waiting in a spaced out single-file line that we will do virtually anything not to stand in one again – which might be an incentive in itself to visit a pub this Saturday. Under the new guidelines, leaning against the bar and awaiting your order is out, and table service is in.
This means the end of all that tricky pub etiquette we’ve spent years grappling with. To push or not to push? To risk losing your place by giving way to someone carrying a tray of teetering tequilas; or to let them struggle and slide into place once they've departed? Now, the only thing you have to worry about is appearing sober after your third mojito. Easy, really.
4. Using a real life ‘facility’
An inelegant subject, but needs must. If you’re anything like the rest of the UK population, you’ve spent the last few weeks either worrying about needing a wee when you're out, being desperate for a wee when you’re out, or taking the plunge and actually, ahem, weeing when out. Indeed in May, sales of ‘Shewee’s’ increased by 700 per cent. Pubs opening their doors doesn’t only mean booze, but facilities too. We will never take tipsy bathroom chats for granted ever again.
5. Staying 1 metre apart at a dinner party
Hoorah, the dinner party is back. Sort of. While hugging is still forbidden, under the new guidelines two households can now meet up indoors as long as the new 1m social-distancing rule is observed. To Britons, who haven’t quite inherited the laissez-faire approach to social greetings of our Parisian neighbours, this seems like a reasonable compromise. For while the 2m rule was a little too far apart when catching up with old friends in a windy park (“what’s that, you’re having an affair? Oh.. yes. I did make poached pear!”), 1m seems just about right. It’s close enough to hear what someone is saying without seriously misconstruing a sentence, but far enough not to encroach on hallowed personal space.
6. The end of pick and mix
Don’t get us wrong, there’s few finer things in life than reclining in front of a film with a salty snack. But under the new regulations, we can’t help but think things seem much more civilised. To enjoy popcorn and refreshments, you now must pre-order them before the film – which means no more indecisive faffing or bickering at the till. What's more, pick and mix sweets won't be offered as part of this due to hygiene reasons. While your toddler might throw a tantrum at the news, it means no more peeling week-old strawberry laces from the underside of your car, sofa, or your hair. It also spells the end of noisy chewers slobbering over a fizzy cola bottle. A clear win.