Long the preserve of put-downs, turn-offs and the trait your granny tells you is important in a partner, ‘kind’ has become the buzz word of summer 2018. Of course, The Waistcoated One is the personification of cool kindness, but England manager Gareth Southgate isn’t the only one leading the charge.
Culturally, we’re at the heart of a revolution. While thousands of us turned off The Handmaid’s Tale (too brutal), Queer Eye is 2018’s breakout TV success, and was last week nominated for four Emmys. It’s a show centred on kind (and never bitchy) men, helping everyday men shine after they’ve become victims of bad circumstances – or grooming.
We’ve also unexpectedly fallen under the spell of BBC Two comedy Gone Fishing, where amiable, middle-aged comedians Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse chat on very green country riverbanks. Meanwhile, anything with ‘Great British’ in the title continues to thrive, whether it’s baking, pottery or painting.
Meanwhile, podcasts such as Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place top the charts. And we’re all eagerly awaiting the Christmas return of the original master of stern kindness, Mary Poppins – Emily Blunt’s filmic take on the nanny.
Then, over on Love Island, the nation has become smitten with Jack and Dani’s ‘nice’ relationship, but despair of Dr Alex’s protestations that he’s ‘one of the nice guys’ – when he clearly isn’t. Off-screen, the NHS’s 70th birthday celebrations were heartwarming and misty-eyed. Pride month continues to joyfully celebrate the power of accepting that love is love. Then there was the brave selflessness of the volunteer divers who rescued the Thai boys’ football team from flooded caves last week – and captured the world’s heart.
A sure sign that kindness is cool? Brands have jumped on-board – Skinny Dip London has launched an Instagram account, @hatesucks, full of niceties. Meanwhile, Shahroo Izadi, author of The Kindness Method, is one of many writers releasing books on kindness this summer. She says our craving for kind makes sense. ‘In the face of societal division, more people are finding comfort in the universal ways we are similar. Practising kindness is an indisputably positive thing. With so many people affected by stress, anxiety and addiction, there’s more acknowledgement we’re all fighting (often invisible) battles and kindness and compassion can make it that little bit more bearable.’
Dr David Hamilton, author of Why Kindness Is Good For You, tells Grazia, ‘We subconsciously know we need to balance unkindness with kindness. I think we intuitively understand that kindness is a solution to many problems.’ Including, it seems, the state of the world.
‘The key characteristic to 2018’s kindness is that it’s genuine,’ he says. ‘It’s also why it feels so good.’
Long may the kindness revolution creep up on us – just like the realisation that you’ve unexpectedly fallen in love with a Mr Nice from Tinder, started crushing on Gareth Southgate or that your granny was right all along.
Look back at the unexpected winners of the 2018 World Cup in the gallery below...
England manager Gareth Southgate has undoubtedly come out on top of all of this. Beyond the sporting legacy that he's on the cusp of making, there's a wave sartorial admiration that's got it's own hashtag (more on that below) and he's suddenly the most fancied man in football. True story. Prime crush material.
The girls are back ladies and gentlemen. The band's millennium chart hit has become one of the unlikely chants of Russia 2018. Fans edited the words slightly - 'Southgate you're the one / You still turn me on / Football's coming home again' - and Natasha Hamilton performed the reprisal in a Twitter video ahead of the big match.
She and band mate Liz McClaron even hit the studio this week to record the new football version and it's probably their biggest gig in a good few years.
See here an England fan dressed as our love, Gareth Southgate. He is to blame for the fact that #WaistcoatWednesday exists. He is to blame for the fact that waistcoat sales are through the roof. He is to blame for the fact that menswear for summer 2018 is suddenly on its way down a very different road.
Lidl & Aldi
The stakes are pretty high for Lidl and Aldi staff. It was announced yesterday that the supermarket chains will be closing their doors early on Sunday if England make it through to the final. We'll see if other retailers follow suit...
The music charts
How many times have you heard the words 'it's coming home' so far today? Too many to count? Thought so. Which it will come as no surprise that The Lightning Seeds, David Baddiel's football anthem Three Lions is performing really well in the music charts.
They'd hit the number one spot in the mid-week charts and it doesn't look like it's moving. George Ezra was the previous holder of the UK number one with his single Shotgun, but he's since abandoned that as a priority and urged fans to download _Three Lions _instead. Because, it's coming home.
Perhaps this isn't all that much of an unlikely win but when it comes to social media sentiment, things can go either way. Thankfully, the internet is fully behind England's World Cup endeavors and the result has been a flurry of exceptional memes. The theme, of course, is 'it's coming home', and it's coming home at any cost necessary.
American pop stars
Everyone's jumping on the England To Win bandwagon, even the American camp. Over the course of a few music appearances here in the UK, the likes of Justin Timberlake on his Man Of The Woods tour and Post Malone on stage at Wireless Festival have roused the crowds in diverted excitement for their music with a hearty chant of 'it's coming home' mid-performance.
Drake was caught by BBC Sport after watching Serena Williams' Wimbledon win and gave the 'come on England' cheer a go. Needless to say, they've all momentarily been awarded status as honorary Englishmen and earned a few extra brownie points from fans.
Prince William got in early with his England support as one can gather from this exceptional image of him having a little chat with Harry Kane at a training session back in June. His commitment to the cause peaked, however, when he commandeered the Kensington Palace Twitter account for the first time to congratulate the England team. The tweet read like a DM which only made his efforts as a 'cool dad' even more endearing, but the royal seal of support filled our hearts with the type of patriotism we weren't sure existed.