Online Dating

Reports from the frontlines of pandemic dating indicate that COVID-19 has brought along with it some unexpected perks for singles.

Instead of being able to mindlessly swipe right and hit someone up for some instant gratification — a typical Tinder date — singles in this pandemic are faced with two options: head into the war zone for a quick fix that could quite possibly kill them, or actually figure out how to have a conversation with the person on the other side of the screen.

Radical times call for radical measures, and the data suggests that most people want to live, so they are actually going through the antiquated process of getting to know each other first.

“I think that the lockdown is doing us all a favor because it is automatically weeding out for us the super bad guys, the ones who want a quick fuck. Gone. The quick fucks are now automatically eliminated. Before, you actually had to process that and maybe even go on the actual date,” said Dorothy Lin, a 50-year-old flight attendant, who, being blessed with great genes, regularly passes for a 30-something.

“Go through the having drinks, spend money, spend time, waste gas — all kinds of things — to then realize the same thing that you can now and don’t even have to worry about — they’re weeded out because it doesn’t exist during social distancing and quarantine,” Lin added.

Lin and others agreed that no one is happy about the virus, but it is undeniable that in the realm of app dating it has had some actual benefits.

“I think that the fact is that we don’t see each other face to face and that we are kind-of forced to get to know each other through words, you know? And also reading because when you read it’s like you are hearing yourself by means of words and conversation. I think it’s very powerful. More so than if it was more casual, like just physical, you know? I think it’s more intellectual and that’s more intimate at the same time,” said Mariella Freyre, a 42-year-old entrepreneur who looks so youthful she routinely gets carded at the grocery store.

Freyre added that using the computer screen as a buffer also has its benefits.

 “It’s easier to open up when there’s a computer and you can hide behind words. You can also be more creative, you know, sharing. Like I’m sure you know a lot of music videos that are amazing and bands that are amazing and articles that are amazing, you know?” she said.

Nothing says love quite like your own personalized pandemic playlist.

Another unexpected outcome is that some couples have decided to go ahead and get on with it.

“In a pandemic you’re like hunkered down with one person because you’re afraid, right?  It’s like, ‘well I trust you and I’ll be hunkered down with you,’” Lin said. 

So this is also an opportunity to experience what we might call Pandemic Speed Dating.

Apparently people are becoming boyfriend and girlfriend in less than a month, which, prior to COVID-19, would have been unheard of.  Why would you settle for just one when that means you’d have to miss out on five or six others?  But in a pandemic many have realized that having just one can actually be enough, maybe even, dare I say, more satisfying?

Whether these relationships will survive once things normalize is another matter, but for now, those who have managed to find someone are clinging on a little tighter and considering themselves lucky.  This is something that, in many cases, would not have happened were it not for social distancing and the rules of the pandemic.

In response to the virus, Tinder recently announced that its Passport Feature, which allows paid subscribers to connect with anyone regardless of location. The feature is free to the world until April 30. 

So, while you are home alone busy color-coding your sock collection and checking off your Netflix list, you may as well expand your Tinder horizons into a new time zone. At the very least you will exchange some cultural banter and hey, you may even wind up with a place to stay on your next vacation or, if the stars are truly aligned, find yourself with a whole new country of residence.

While these times are filled with uncertainty, experts have managed to agree that two things are certain — divorce rates will go up and, in about nine months, a whole lot of babies will be born.  In the meantime, if you’re still uncoupled, go ahead and swipe right, safely of course, who knows where it may lead you.

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