Lifestyle features

‘Big Tesco’ selfies may be funny, but our human need to be ‘seen’ in lockdown is far from trivial

‘A desire to be seen by others isn’t frivolous or vain, it’s intrinsically human,’ writes Natasha Preskey

Thursday 28 January 2021 13:09 GMT

Once upon a time, I had other ways to acquire the little hit of dopamine I now get when I approach the glowing red Tesco sign on my evening walk. Someone I had a crush on turning up at a party, a waiter approaching my table with a tray of burgers and the moment I located my friends’ faces on the other side of the pub have now all been replaced with crossing the threshold at a giant supermarket. (That, and Married At First Sight Australia).  

Since England went back into national lockdown on 5 January, going supermarket shopping is one of a very short list of legal reasons to leave the house and be near to other humans. “Think I need a trip to big Tesco to perk my mood up,” wrote one Twitter user last week. “Might get dressed real fancy to go to the big Tesco,” said another. “When I die take me to the big Tesco in the sky,” requested one particularly committed shopper.    

Among the perhaps unsurprising number of social media posts about going “out-out” to a big supermarket, there are the many selfies people have taken of themselves wearing a full face of make-up, a fun outfit or striking a sultry pose when heading off to do the big shop. The trend is largely a self-deprecating joke hinging on the idea that our lives are now so mundane that wandering the frozen food aisle is an occasion that merits liquid eyeliner. But a desire to be seen by others isn’t frivolous or vain, it’s intrinsically human.  

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