Zoom is a Four-Letter Word

In one morning, no less than three emails hit my inbox asking me to consider my Zoom wardrobe. Covid-19 has made it tough for the fashion industry to shift SS2020 collections but, all the same, I don’t need to spend money on smart new outfits for working from home.

Photo by Pat from Freeimages.com

Not being from the selfie generation, however, I need some help in getting camera-ready. Jewellers insist earrings make the best video conference statement, and incidentally there’s a sale now on and delivery is free (what are the odds?).

Beauty brands, on the other hand, claim that makeup is THE priority now. It’s not quite how I think of the pandemic, but I’ll gladly agree that a bright red nose isn’t a good look on a work video. Even if it’s an incipient boil, most people will assume it’s the cooking sherry.

It’s harder to conceal the WFH weight gain. And what about hair growth? Be they dark or white, roots can often by hidden by rearranging the height of the screen. If that’s not enough, a hat can work, like a colleague of mine who wears a beret to magnificent effect. Beanie hats, on the other hand, can engender mistrust. Can’t imagine why.

Obviously only the upper half needs to be groomed for a Zoom rendez-vous. Spare a thought, though, for those wearing only their worst knickers, or none, when they unexpectedly jump up during a call to deal with a wailing child.  

With image definition almost as good as a CT scan, everything is under scrutiny, piles of ironing and all. Bookshelves as backdrops have emerged as the biggest status symbol for the Zoom era. 

Photo by <a href="/photographer/pygment2-34407">dave gilligan</a> from <a href="https://freeimages.com/">FreeImages</a>

But which books should be on show? There has been a huge media fuss about certain titles which, said some, had no place in any right-thinking person’s home.

Well, now you can create a backdrop of virtual bookshelves with your own books on it. A little too contrived, perhaps, so few people go to such lengths. And why bother, when there are so many other background options, many of them courtesy of Zoom.us? The choice, I’m told, is very revealing. That picture of a palm-fringed beach says you’re not trying too hard.

Such photos have the added bonus of making a large cocktail in your hand seem entirely normal.  

Though I’m not sure what it says about me (Hampstead type, maybe?), this shot of Hampstead Heath is my preferred background for Zoom calls.

I even used it when trying out the new trend of WFB, though the effect was spoiled when an IKEA pillowcase slipped into view.

Once you have everything in place, there’s still no saying who will join your video meeting as an extra, as when your other half decides you need an impromptu kiss on the top of the head.

I pressed mute so I could tell him to bugger off. Unfortunately, I unmuted myself before he replied, ‘Did you finish all the gin?’

Video conferencing is tiring even if without such interruptions. Some days, I spend more time on remote meetings than real work, and Zoom fatigue is genuine. There’s all that sitting up straight and keeping one’s face in view, whereas, in a normal conversation, the vertebral muscles keep moving and don’t stiffen up. 

Still, all meetings end eventually. Memo to self for next time: click on the dinky END button before saying, ‘Thank God that’s over.’ 

***

Also from my inbox, I can tell you that Masturbation Month is coming. I’ve even been offered an expert who can guide me through it, but, all the same, I may not be blogging about it.

3 thoughts on “Zoom is a Four-Letter Word

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