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Coronavirus - the end of FOMO

Blog | By Harry Mount | Mar 27, 2020

Empty London: the view down Great Titchfield Street from Oxford Street

A depressed friend of mine shyly admits that he's feeling a bit better because of the coronavirus tragedy.

Of course, he doesn't want people to feel ill, let alone die. But one of the symptoms of his depression was a feeling that everyone else was having a good time – particularly in lovely spring weather like we're having now – and he wasn't. Now everyone is confined to barracks – and social life has disappeared for everyone – he doesn't feel so bad.

We all feel different degrees of FOMO. The great FOMO poem, Letter to a Friend about Girls, was written by Philip Larkin and addressed to his philandering friend, Kingsley Amis. Larkin – who in fact had his fair share of lovers – was envious of Kingsley's success with the opposite sex. He imagines Amis living in a world

'where to want
Is straightway to be wanted, seek to find,
And no one gets upset or seems to mind
At what you say to them, or what you don’t:
...
And beauty is accepted slang for yes.'

In the current lockdown, only the most daring swordsman would venture outside in search of a new conquest. So sexual FOMO has been banished, too.