Dating In The Time of Covid

This is either the best, or worst time to be single.

With most of the world under some form of lock down, and everyone encouraged to practice social distancing, many of us are spending a lot more time at home. All of us who said “I would love to date, if only I had the time” suddenly have all the time in the world, but the catch-22 is that we have no where to go. With bars, restaurants, and coffee shops shut down, and concerts, festivals and fairs on hold, where do we go on a date? For that matter, where would we even meet someone new? Welcome to dating in the time of Covid-19.

It is the golden age of online dating.

It’s true that dating websites and apps have taken over the dating scene, but many romantics are still holding out for a spontaneous connections. There is nothing like hearing about the adorable meet cute between two love birds bumping into each other in the wild. It seem’s more glamours and fateful to meet in person than it does to swipe right on an app. Still, the stigma around dating apps and website’s is fading as the digital age progresses. In American society workaholism and hustle culture keep us all busy from sun-up, to well after sun-down. With so little time to socialize, most young adults want to streamline dating the same way they streamline their morning routines, and apps are the perfect way to make that happen. With that in mind, you could argue that modern dating hasn’t been impacted by this pandemic, but there is still an important factor to consider: how do you get to know someone you can’t meet?

I don’t like virtual dating.

Text messages and snapchats quickly become boring and repetitive. Video calling like Facetime and Zoom feels awkward and disingenuous. Call me old fashioned or crazy, but no digital substitution quite measures up to real, face-to-face, in-person interaction. While a phone calls and texts can help give a general “feel” for a person, I don’t feel I can measure interpersonal chemistry through my phone. Maybe I’m just a product of the analog age, but I still value real experiences over the virtual world. While I do enjoy all the benefits the internet has to offer (I work in SEO after-all), relationships is still the one thing I like to keep grounded in reality.

So, How do we date in lock-down?

Frankly, I don’t know. Personally, I like my first few dates with a new beau to be in public spaces to alleviate awkwardness and ensure safety. Usually I meet my date at a local coffee shop or book store so we can get to know each other in an inviting, neutral location. With most public spaces limiting access and 6-ft spacing and face masks encouraged at all time, sharing a malt at the local ice cream parlor is hardly an option. After all, I can’t imagine any date is worth running the risk of catching and spreading this virus.

So that’s where the single stand.

Many of us are stuck with virtual dating or weighing the risks of meeting a potential match. With rumors circulating that that Covid could keep the economy closed for another 6 months (or longer) there appears to be no end to our dilemma in sight. In a way, we can look at this time as a way to re-connect in an old and slow fashion. 100 years ago our grandparents sent photographs and letters to foster a connection with their lovers, and we can send texts and memes to ours. In a twisted way, keeping us physically distant could allow us a chance to get to know a potential partner a little better before jumping to the next partner in sight. After all, if there is one thing most of us have right now, It’s time.

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