As 2020 began, we set off in demon time ready to fulfill our Great Gatsby fantasies—but instead, COVID-19 and quarantine came into the picture like two conniving twins, walking hand in hand. Quarantine is that bitch we never saw coming, and it’s consumed our lives like no other. Being stuck at home, with nowhere to go, has exposed the most authentic forms of all of us. But let’s be real, “looking inward” for four months just isn’t it—so instead, let’s bake banana bread, shop online, and start an OnlyFans. Or not. Anyway.
Welcome to “Quarantine Personalities”—a soon-to-be historical documentation of how you, me, and everyone else spent their days in the unprecedented year of 2020.
The number of quarantine baking accounts which I feel obligated to follow is truthfully unprecedented. The bio of one Instagram baker, @john.quarantine.cook, ends in “who knows, maybe I’ll write my own memoir/cookbook after this is all over”—as if the authors of memoirs and cookbooks are interchangeable; like, let me introduce Becoming by Martha Stewart and Cooking Perfection by Michael Obama. Millennials will make one chocolate strawberry and suddenly it’s Treat by Toya, Pudding by Paige, Brownies by Britteny, Cake by Casandra—the list goes on.
I’m constantly reminded about why my boyfriend should put me on an allowance. Every single month, he comes to me and bewilderedly asks the $20 question (to my mani, pedi, wax, blowout, lash extensions, etc. self): “Should I get a haircut?” All the while, he knows full well that his classic cut always looks the same one week before and one week after, I push my brows together and pretend to contemplate this question. Like clockwork he’ll tilt his head while looking in the mirror, rubbing the top of his head, feeling the scruff beneath his chin—and then I’ll confidently say “yes.” But this month the clockwork stopped: one day he came home and nonchalantly told me his friend had cut his hair. Oh? A friend I know who, let’s be real, shouldn’t be trusted near anyone’s hair, was—yup—a sudden barber.
“We came, we saw, we conquered,” said those who were staying safe while doing the most. In my family of nine, it was my older brother who was designated to make Costco runs. When he came back with cases upon cases of bottled water, we asked why. He replied, “I don’t know why I bought the water, I just did. I guess when the doors opened everyone ran to the water, so I ran with everyone in the direction of the water. And I bought a ton of water.” Mob mentality. Enter: the official hoarders. Grab the toilet paper, hand sanitizer, alcohol, bottled water—literally anything you could possibly need to stay safe.
With Outer Banks, All American, Tiger King, and so much more, finishing a whole series in 48 hours isn’t a sport anymore; it’s light work when in the Q. Even Kylie got in on the Carol Baskin-style “Savage Remix” trend on TikTok. Don’t hold back while at home, and let out your inner crazy by precariously living through the world’s favorite quarantine TV personalities. There’s no shame in staying in your PJs all day here, and please do tweet about all your feelings.
The Online Shoppers
This person is killing their time doing the one thing we all love: shopping ‘til they drop. We all know one girl whose quarantine has culminated in packages galore; her private story probably consists of hauls of all the new clothes she’s gotten in the mail. Unfortunately for the online shopper, as the boxes pile up and new clothes come in, there’s still nowhere to go. Just the thrill of getting a package in the mail can be enough to satisfy the online shopper.
Summer 2020 seems to have been canceled—so are the trips to the fridge in between Zoom meetings really that bad? The number of Instagram Stories of home-cooked meals seems to have increased by 400% since quar started; recreating your favorite restaurant meals is honestly “in” right now for the Foodie. This person will stay up till 2 AM cooking unnecessary food because hey, why not? It’s not like there’s anything else to do.
The Workout Junkie
“If you don’t adapt, you won’t survive.” A moment of silence for the Workout Junkies and their need to blast their sorrows all over my Instagram feed when gyms closed. This was only followed by posts about adversity and push-up-challenges to let us know quarantine wasn’t stopping them. Instead, for the Workout Junkie, this is the perfect time to focus on fitness, talk about fitness, and virtually shame the couch potatoes into also focusing on fitness too.
The Sudden Politicians
As a political science major, this one has to be my favorite quarantine personality. People are rising up just to shed their epiphanies, policies, and renditions of “well, what I think the government needs to do is _______.” It’s probably your mom and dad who do this the most. These are the “heroes” of quarantine: they suddenly have all the answers, all the reasoning, and all the gumption to be political leaders and deliver us from this abyss.
The Steady Goers
These people are just sticking to the status quo; staying home, sticking to a schedule, and keeping routine habits in place. Truly, they’re the strongest souls of this whole pandemic; they have yet to have an iconic quarantine breakdown, and probably aren’t going to have one at all. Unwavering, they’re assuring the rest of us that it’ll all be fine—while we wonder how they’ve kept it calm, cool, and collected this whole time. It’s truly a sight to see.
These are the people post “Remember to stay at home, wash your hands, and don’t touch your face” and watch the double-taps roll in. They’re making memes, nominating people in challenges, sending memes, and forcing their friends to follow private accounts because they’re just so funny. While 1 in 4 American workers have filed for unemployment, it’s becoming evident that content creators have stayed relatively stable—or so they let us believe. Maybe we’re subconsciously protecting ourselves by taking up jobs that seem to be constantly available.
The Online Dater
“If COVID doesn’t take you out, can I?” Swipe right. Maybe all the hard work of campus Tinder and Bumble ambassadors is finally coming to light. All those #bumble Instagram posts have been getting to people as the downloading of online dating apps kicks off Fielding Season. But this year, there’s a twist—coronavirus! We all know one person who, despite being in a global pandemic, is navigating the dating scene as if it’s their full-time job. Online dating is as simple as 1, 2, 3: download your app of choice, create your profile, and add six inches to your height—well, if you need to.
The Headline Readers
If you haven’t heard that Jeff Bezos is almost a trillionaire, you’re definitely not a Headline Reader. If you’re always aware of the news, but can’t really answer any follow-up questions, you’re definitely a Headline Reader. We applaud your ability to stay updated on the current news—there’s so much of it these days—and drawing the line at reading CNN’s breaking news headlines.
The Interior Decorators
From the home repairman to those creating an at-home office, we’ve all watched friends’ houses transform throughout this quarantine. The Interior Decorator is ever-present and never out of ideas, as DIYing has taken over quarantine. We’ve all been stuck at home, so why not spruce up the place?
Tie-dye isn’t just a hippie ‘60s vibe anymore. If you don’t find it on Talentless, don’t worry because you can most likely go to your 10-year-old neighbor or even your 25-year-old cousin for some. And if all else fails, homemade Instagram companies are now the new wave of entrepreneurs; an old, bleached sweatshirt can now be sold for $50. I love how creative everyone is becoming—ironing a picture onto a t-shirt has never been so trendy.
This pandemic created the perfect storm for TikTok to take up all our time. Even Kourtney Kardashian couldn’t resist hanging out with TikTok queen Addison Rae. The catchy music has even climbed the charts. Don’t believe the hype? Follow @infuencersinthewhile on Instagram and see for yourself.
This is easily the most iconic quarantine personality. It’s as if overnight, everyone started going on walks. Those who don’t even exercise, those who don’t even like nature—it’s as if “We’re all in this together / And it shows / When we stand / Hand in hand” is playing as the soundtrack to our lives right now.
Quarantine personalities. Love ’em or hate ’em, we all know ’em. No matter which quarantine personality you are, know that all of us—minus celebrities quarantined in their mansions—are in the same boat.
By Anna M Erickson
Illustration by Teresa Woodcock