Quarantine creativity: 2 a.m. haircuts and pantry pasta

By NINA NG

I’m no stranger to the 2 a.m. impulse haircut. I’ve given myself bangs, I’ve chopped 12 inches off my hair. The only thing left would be a shave — which was exactly what a few friends of mine considered, only it was at noon on a regular Thursday in quarantine. 

It’s super common for people to feel helpless and twitchy during this time. We can’t help it — as social beings, we find that the transitions from large spaces to isolated ones introduce logistical and personal strain. And when not surrounded by friends or family, spending more time with ourselves can be especially difficult.

So, it’s a good time to find ways to make solitude easier. With a newfound sense of unfamiliarity, coupled with more time to ourselves than ever before, it’s the perfect time to experiment with new ways to self-express and get creative.

As aforementioned, hair has been a fun way to experiment. A couple of my friends have tried dyeing their hair new colors, courtesy of the “nobody will see me if I don’t like it” mentality. YouTubers are posting videos of how to cut hair at home, and some are partaking in buzzcuts. It’s objectively a decent bargain — your hair will love it and you’ll have more than enough time to grow it back. Perhaps it’ll be your new favorite hairstyle, too — something you might have felt too inhibited to try out before. Feeling the urge to let go is definitely a silver lining to the unfolding crisis.

It’s not only with personal appearances that people begin to take risks. Let’s look at how social media has blown up during these past few months. Every day, there’s a flood of new challenges to partake in on TikTok. I personally have two left feet, but it’s pretty inspiring to see dancers, for example, try out unique choreography remotely. Daily memes and commentary are uploaded on YouTube to keep you content, and cooking challenges have never been more creative. Thanks to Bon Appetit, I now have more recipes for pantry pasta in my (albeit otherwise meager) culinary arsenal than ever. Nobody knew just how versatile eggs could be until now.

Of course, to compensate for not being able to see people in real life, we should acknowledge the rising popularity of dating apps, such as Tinder or Bumble. As new routes for socializing, these are interesting ways to dip your toes into the dating pool. It might have been the prime time to shoot your shot in real life during pre-quarantine, but if that wasn’t an objective, you’re in luck! That’s right — to adapt to not meeting people elsewhere and help flatten the curve, perhaps you could even find the person of your dreams by traveling 5,000 miles away, courtesy of Tinder’s complimentary passport feature. Internationalism has never been stronger.

Reflecting on my current vegetative state, I’ve managed to check off a couple of these things. The upgraded ramen, the DIY bangs, the spontaneous Tinder-sponsored trips across the globe. Have these tame independent explorations morphed me into a better person? Arguably … no. But it’s always a nice surprise to poke around, do things you normally wouldn’t have the time or drive to, and try things out if you can.

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