First dates are awkward enough, but throw a global pandemic into the mix, and things just got even more difficult!
We can’t meet friends or family, let alone a potential love interest. But luckily we live in an age of technology, and us singletons are quickly adapting to the ‘new normal’ by using Zoom, Houseparty and a whole host of other apps to date from home.
What’s my story? Well, I’ve been in lockdown by myself. I suppose it was only a matter of time before the social exile forced me to reflect on life and what I really wanted out if it. And I realised I wanted someone special in my life, probably more than I was prepared to admit.
So I downloaded Hinge and Bumble and threw myself back in the metaphorical dating pool. And it’s going okay so far. I’ve had four virtual dates with two different gentlemen, and chatted to a couple more besides. And I’ve only sent one lockdown wine-induced text to an ex. So I count that as a success.
It’s only been a couple of weeks, but what have I learnt from virtual dating in lockdown so far?
The positives of virtual dating during lockdown
· You HAVE to take time to get to know each other – Well, we have nowhere else to be do we? And its not like we can talk about the latest news or movies, because there is none. Yes, lockdown life means we are having more meaningful conversations and REALLY getting to know people on dates. And I think that means we are figuring out earlier on if someone is a keeper or not, which can only be a good thing.
· You get to avoid the awkward bits of real life dating – I always hated having to decided where to go or what to do on a proper date. And then there’s the feigned polite discussion after the meal about who should pay ( how many times do you politely refuse before you say ‘oh go then..’?) Now all that awkwardness is gone and you get to concentrate on the good stuff. And save a few bob in the process.
· It’s a reason to get dressed up and feel good – My lockdown wardrobe has been a solid 80% joggers situation. My skin is glowing with thanks at the fact I am not wearing makeup everyday. But every so often it is nice to dress up like the old me, and a virtual date is the perfect excuse. Cracking out my favourite dress and the Charlotte Tilbury makes me feel like I have my shit together when the world is in chaos.
The negatives of virtual dating during lockdown
· There’s a lot of people on the apps just because they are bored – We’re all guilty of aimlessly scrolling through social media for an hour or two, but now people are doing that on dating apps. Some people openly admit on their bios they are only on there for something to do. I also find that while the number of matches seems to have increased during lockdown, the number of successful conversations has definitely decreased. People just can’t be arsed.
· It can be very frustrating – And no, I’m not taking about the inevitable time lag on your messaging app of choice. I’m talking about the feeling you get when you connect with someone, but you can’t do anything about it. You miss out on those feelings like the butterflies you get at the end of the first date when you’re in close proximity and waiting for that first kiss. Even if you do meet someone special all you can do is wait, and hope that they are willing to wait too.
· Bad dates can still happen – I can testify to this. You know those dates that end up being more excruciatingly awkward than a bad job interview? You can get them virtually too. On paper me and the guy were well matched, but once the virtual date kicked off the conversation was full of more holes than Swiss cheese. Even if you are doing it virtually, there are some parts of dating that NEVER change.
And what have I learnt from virtual dating during lockdown? Well, I’m actually deciding to give it a bit of a break. I think I’m in the minority of people in that I genuinely want to find someone during lockdown, whereas most people are virtual dating as its something to do to pass the time. Having said that, I won’t be deleting the dating apps, just in case I do get a notification my Prince Charming has swiped right for me…