Quarantine Society is not merely a fellowship of panicky millennials, nor does it exclude those of college-age on spring break, or boomers who heard the virus can be cured with a $200 tincture of colloidal silver. Rather it is an association of people of all ages, of which good form in social distancing, knowledge of proper sanitizing technique, and instinctive consideration for avoiding the spread of COVID-19 are the credentials by which society the world over recognizes its chosen members, which again, to be clear, is everyone.

Polite Conversation

Ideal conversation must be an exchange of pleasant thoughts, and ought not, as many seem wont to do, just inevitably keep circling back to how long it will be before things get as bad here as they are in Italy.

On the Subject of Business

When conducting business in Quarantine Society, such as joining a Zoom conference, all participants should dress as they would for any in-person business meeting. However, pants need not be worn, and this mutual lack of pants should never be spoken of nor alluded to.

When to Shake Hands and With Whom

Never and with nobody.

The Well-Appointed House

The house should be kept as clean as though you were about to have company over even though you won’t be. This is crucial for keeping indoor air quality below EPA safety thresholds when your spouse, three children, two dogs, and two cats are now suddenly all in the house at all times. It scarcely bears mentioning that this is a purely aspirational aim.

The Considerate Pet Owner

In Quarantine Society, it is not only polite, but essential that pet owners post pictures of their animal companions to social media on an ongoing basis.

On Sharing One’s Pastimes

Pictures of completed puzzles need not be shared on social media.

The Fit Gentleman and Lady

Exercise remains an important element of Quarantine Society. However, social media challenges such as the “See 10, Do 10” push-up challenge are not considered polite, as most people do not enjoy doing push-ups nor do they enjoy seeing their Instagram stories filled with people doing push-ups, thus making them feel even guiltier about not wanting to do said push-ups.

When Singing In Public

Communally singing from balconies and open windows is one of the distinct pleasures of Quarantine Society. However, when singing in a public setting, a polite choir chooses songs by universally well-liked artists such as Billy Joel or Whitney Houston. Avoid singing songs of any genre with the word “rock” in it, songs by artists with a “$” anywhere in their name, or, for that matter, any songs written after 2004.

On Sharing What One Is Eating

Pictures of haphazardly prepared meals such as a salad made of canned tuna, lima beans, and frozen spinach found at the far back of the freezer need not be shared on social media.

When Having a Meal Delivered

If you are having food delivered, the preferred methods for interacting with delivery people are:

  • Waving to the delivery person while standing on the other side of the glass storm door as if you were an animal at the zoo and your apartment was the enclosure from which there is no escape.
  • Leaving an envelope filled with cash on the doorstep and instructing the delivery person to leave the food on the porch as if you were conducting a drug deal in a Guy Ritchie movie.

The Virtual Party

When participating in virtual festivities such as Zoom parties, pants need not be worn, and the lack of pants should be neither spoken of nor alluded to.

When On the Hunt For Groceries

When shopping for groceries, the gentleman or lady patronizes only during off-peak hours, such as 9 AM when the rush of shoppers who all thought 7:30 AM would be the optimal off-peak time have finished shopping. Bulk purchases of toilet paper should be made only in the most exceptional of circumstances such as having a family of 12 or more, or a clinically diagnosed case of IBS. Those supporting large families who truly do need 48 rolls of toilet paper should have a wallet-sized family photo ready to present at all times as proof.

On Sharing That Which Is Pretentious and Which Nobody Needs to See

Pictures of Infinite Jest with the caption “Ordered this on Amazon last week, and I’ve already finished reading it! Guess it’s time to re-read War and Peace?” need not be shared on social media.


The most important element of Quarantine Society is to remember that manners are nothing more than a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, whether or not you currently have pants on.