Dating in the Time of COVID
By Carrie-Anne Nolte
Carrie-Anne Nolte had a relationship with online dating on and off from 2009-CoVid19. She has not caught anything from dates... besides feelings.
I have been asked to write a guide, of sorts, for the young professional on the theme of dating in the era of Covid-19. The reasoning is a mystery, since I am in the bottom 19% of people anyone should ask about this. But, since people are gonna do what they’re gonna do, and I have myself dated, I suppose I’ll lay out a few thoughts, as hope and boners both spring eternal.
Here is a general guideline, of sorts, of what to expect and how to conduct yourself when you’re trying to meet someone special in this dumpster-fire world.
Rule 1: DON’T. WE ARE IN THE ERA OF COVID-19. To date is to welcome death. At least, traditional dating where you see each other in person and do other gross things like touch and breath on each other. So Zoom it is, unless you’re already dating and living together, in which case, go for some walks by yourself once in a while. We don’t need the homicide rate to start rivalling the death rate from coronavirus.
Rule 2: IT’S A LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP NOW, I DON’T CARE IF YOU LIVE IN THE SAME BUILDING. Unless the person is already in your bubble and you know they are not leaving said bubble, no. Check out advice on LDRs – there’s tons of it everywhere, and never having been in one myself, they’d have much sounder advice than I.
Rule 3: SERIOUSLY DON’T DATE, I BEG YOU. Reinvest in friendships, relatives, and families of choice. Get a cat or a dog for companionship. A gecko. Start a colony of bees. Literally anything but this.
Rule 4: It’s going to take time to adjust to the lack of physical touch in building relationships for some of you. Human desire for companionship in all its forms is universal and can be difficult to manage. That said, this is an opportunity to build a rapport on something other than physical compatibility, which means you’ll have a solid foundation when you do meet in real life. And if the physical compatibility isn’t there, at worst you’ve probably *gasp* made a new friend. Quelle horreur.
"Hope and boners both spring eternal"
Rule 5: Remember, all of your undealt-with insecurities and vulnerabilities are gonna come roaring up to whap you square in the face at some point. Which is why dating is the worst. Talk that out with trusted friends, therapist, and your potential significant other. It’s a good litmus test. Also, be patient. Everyone is going through it in various degrees this year- we’re all stressed out, in a funk, worried. So be kind and understanding to yourself and others.
Rule 6: GIVE UP. Seriously how many times do I have to say this. DON’T DATE IN A PANDEMIC.
Rule 7: Get tested. This is old advice from before the pandemic but absolutely applies here as well. Share the results with your partners and you’re free to meet up for some socially distanced dates. Don’t take that as an excuse to go for huggy-kissiness because the VIRUS CAN STRIKE AT ANY TIME AFTER EXPOSURE FOR UP TO 10 WHOLE DAYS.
Rule 8: Acquaint yourselves with some dating guides from the more stringent fundamentalist religious sects – those will give you a rough idea of the kinds of in-person dates that you can have although you should definitely not be leaving your damn house.
…Actually scratch that I just looked them up and they want you to visit each other’s homes with the entire family there. Absolutely not. If you must, go on walks together, masks on. Enjoy a sunset at a vista, six feet apart. Some people suggest hiking but I’m here to tell you that any activity involving panting is not what you want. Bocce ball could work. If you’re in a colder climate, since it’s the winter months, build a snowman? Warmer climate, decorate a cactus or palm tree. Cold, but not cold enough for snow? Find a bush, make it a bushman. MASKS ON THE WHOLE TIME.
Rule 9: Keep in mind the person you meet during the pandemic may have habits or characteristics that are present BECAUSE of the pandemic. You think they love binge-watching TV shows with you? Once everything opens back up entirely, that may change. Are they super talkative right now? They may withdraw. Your great Zoom relationship could be cuffing on steroids- be honest with yourself, with your partner, and keep your eyes and ears open to knowing their true selves. Or skip all of this entirely and get a pet like I said at the beginning, seriously people are dying.
To sum: Don’t do it, please don’t, even when we aren’t in a worldwide pandemic, dating is awful. But if you absolutely must: wear a mask, stay six feet apart, get tested and share the results, outdoor activities only, Zoom often, be patient, be kind, and use this time to truly get to know another person’s character and judge whether they are worth pursuing outside the pandemic. Good luck and hold your sneezes.