By Mary Lynn Bruny

Thanks to vaccines, soon we’ll once again be socializing in person without masks with fellow homo sapiens. Thus it’s time to take stock of what bodily mayhem has occurred during the last year of our pandemic isolation. Many of us have become like Tom Hanks in “Cast Away”: furry and feral. Sure, our animals think we look great. But there are definitely things we should do before we interact with real humans:

Start regularly flossing your teeth. No, you have not been doing it daily, maybe not even weekly. Really? You think not? Look at the dust that has collected on your floss container, assuming you can even find it.

Assess your hair style (if you can call it that with a straight face) and color. The “natural look” is easy and inexpensive, but do you want people to question your mental stability each time they encounter you? That being said, you can probably get away with a lot of erratic behavior if people think you’ve gone off the deep end. And folks will definitely finally stop requesting so many favors. For instance your family members will stop asking you to babysit every weekend. Finally you could have time to tour wine country!

Women: Look closely above your lip. Some of you may have a little furry mustache. If so, consider whether you want to rock this androgynous look or not. Mustaches are in but not all styles work on all people (except, of course, Harry Styles).

Men: Examine the hair sprouting from in and around your ears. If humming birds are trying to nest in it, get out the hedge clippers and chop back that thatch. If your nose whistles when you exhale, you probably need to clear that thicket as well. And what about your eyebrows? Do they look like crazy caterpillars that have been exposed to radiation? Rein those puppies in, sir.

Women: Put on a bra. (It’s that thing in the second drawer down on the left side of your dresser.) Wedge into that contraption and make an assessment. Either you will buy back into society’s historic and restrictive norm of female beauty or you will continue to go free range. If the look of your frontal area is not to your liking but you don’t want to go back to those constrictive rib squeezers, find your old stretched-out sports bra. You know, the one that used to be bright white but now is dull grey. Also: Know there are lots of quarantine-inspired new styles out there that cater to our newfound sense of comfort.

Take off your sweatpants and try on your actual clothes. (You may need to fortify yourself before this endeavor with whatever substance does the job.) Get a large storage box and mark it with the label: “Oh, hell no.” Put any items in the box that don’t fit or are uncomfortable. (Strangling ties? Painful high heals? Why did we ever wear these?) Put this box in the back of the attic or a very dark corner of your basement. Afterwards, say ten positive self-affirmations and burn a sage stick.

After the above exercise you may need to purchase a few new items of clothing. Rest assured clothing manufacturers are at the ready with stylish loose-fitting tops and elastic and drawstring-waist bottoms, perfect for post-pandemic casual socializing with fellow humanoids. Now we just have to remember how to converse in person.

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn writes about local real estate and home-related topics. Contact her at [email protected]. To read previous The Lighter Side articles, go to