Raven Smith on the necessity of boldness in a time like this

An illustration of a man holding various masks.

Our resident columnist has the key to staying sane: be the boldest possible you (or hire someone bolder to take your place)

By Raven Smith  Illustration by Elena Xausa  Friday 15 May, 2020  Short read

Life, with its weary impetus on earning and spending, can sometimes feel like a dreary merry-go-round. The carriage familiar, the scenery never changing. Another working week, another brisk weekend, and then it’s Monday again. We have medicines to help us bypass polio and supermarkets to keep us nourished. But they can feel a little too everyday when you use them every day. Luckily, there’s a way to technicolor yourself out of the humdrum. To raise your life above the squabble of the rabble. Forget italics and underscores, it’s time to live more boldly. Here are some ideas:
 
Rather than sitting at your at-home desk dreaming of a vacation, hire an actor to play you. Olivia Colman is a good choice because of her range, but she’s spoilt for roles since the Oscar. As the actor takes your place, you can holiday by googling ‘summer sun’ and hit the slopes or the beach at your leisure. 
 
Binge-watching new TV eats up time and you have to economise when you’re living boldly. Rather than perusing an amazing new boxset, try quickly revisiting the old selfies on your phone and posting them with new captions. Or maybe do a severe makeover, like a home renovation where the pirate developers leave no original features. Think of your face literally as a blank slate without pesky holes for breathing. The taught skin of a bongo. Those little fish that eat your dead skin are lacklustre. I guess it’s bolder to do a full-body submerge, or even save time and swim with great white sharks. Your calloused feet will be a distant memory in no time. 
 
Swap your chic Martini for a goldfish bowl of several non-identifiable liqueurs. A sparkler is for the meek; you want Bonfire Night fireworks, a rocket and a Catherine wheel. Ice and a slice? Upgrade your drink with the iceberg that sank the Titanic and the man from Del Monte perched on the rim plucking a ripe kiwi for Zorro to cut into a perfect disc. 
 
Think of your current partner as a stepping stone. Find a more muscular lover with extra erogenous zones and some kind of formal kitchen training. Possibly a masseuse. Import Italian bedding that would make Casanova blush. Think 70s, black satin sheets and tiger-print cushions in vivid colourways. And if we’re in that decade, a full bush is a must, and a spritz of Fabergé Brut. Crotchless knickers are old fashioned. Go commando for the win. I don’t mean for sexy times, I mean when you nip out for milk. 
 
Sharing personal secrets and intimate truths with your trained therapist is pedestrian. Invite everyone in your contacts into a WhatsApp group and tell them all your worst habits – the ones you do when nobody’s looking, like when you’re on the phone on the loo. Try to share all the group’s secrets you’ve ever kept to yourself. Immediately leave the group. 
 
Interiors trends are gobbled up by Instagram and become passe in minutes. Try a fully carpeted kitchen just to be unconventional. Perhaps raise all your worktops to picture-rail height and commission triple-stacked wedged clogs for cooking. House plants are lovely, but an indoor orchard means fresh apples each day and the added fission of a potential mouthful of maggots. The last time someone regretted a flock of live chickens roaming freely through their house was never. Feast on fresh eggs and tiny squares of cheese on toast off your dainty wedding plates, which you immediately smash for no clear reason, apart from that it feels bold.