In the early days of the COVID pandemic in February 2020, I relearned to how and when to wash my hands. Not that I never washed my hands before, but certainly not as thoroughly and as often as I should. And not while singing the “Alphabet song” in my head, which I did while washing them until I was well-practiced in intuitively sensing the 20-second recommended interval. There was no shortage of hand sanitizing advice available at the time, even as soap and hand sanitizer became impossible to find in stores and online due to hoarding. (I learned to make my own!). Something as mundane as handwashing and using hand-sanitizer became wrapped up in a whole number of hygiene rituals that I followed, not knowing what else I should be doing at the time. Social Media, as always, was having fun with it, with PSAs and Tiktok dances. But it didn’t take long for the savvy American punditry to weigh in and label it all “Hygiene Theater”, starting a debate on hygiene that continued on for the next 18 months and isn’t over yet. It did not take long for handwashing to weave its way into Boys’ Love, through the web series, Ingredients: a romantic sitcom about two roommates who fall in love while washing their hands.
If you had asked me six weeks ago about why I would choose to write a series of posts on COVID and Pop Culture in Boys Love series, I would have responded that I thought I would be writing more of a retrospective. While it looked like there was going to be one final Delta wave where I lived, there didn’t seem to be another variant in the pipeline that we hadn’t seen before. Two years into this pandemic should have taught me that there’s always something that I haven’t seen. I allowed hope to get a little ahead of events. Again. Bah humbug. But despite Omicron throwing us all into a state of confusion again where I live, I still think enough time has passed since the onset of the COVID to wonder about what the public memory of the COVID era will be. How will we look back upon this time? Will it be somberly remembered through memorials, sentimentally remembered through cultural nostalgia, or just forgotten without much cultural impact only to be rediscovered 100 years later like the 1918 Spanish Flu?
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve mainly kept the site up for the past 5 years for the straggling followers of Love Sick to read along. Keeping it up as a testament to that time in my life when I was obsessed with one series…and could be obsessed with it because it was the only BL series out there. I’ve wanted to complete the series’ reviews at some point. Really, I have! But as interfans know, the struggle to access subtitles became pronounced after episode 25. I don’t even know if I could find the full set to react to. I still can’t believe that after 5 years, MCOT hasn’t deigned to complete the work that it wasn’t allowing the fansubbers to continue. Especially given how large BL has become outside of Thailand.