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GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO DATE

How to hack your love life post-Covid

22.09.2020

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Being single during a pandemic can have its perks: no need to share your homemade banana bread, no fights over what to watch on Netflix and no makeshift lockdown haircut from your other half, to name a few.

But alas, even free reign over the remote can lose its appeal after a while. A record number of singles have been searching for relationships this year (it even has a name: corona-cuffing). Perhaps you’ve been conducting Zoom dates throughout lockdown (though flirting isn’t quite the same through a laptop, with your ironing pile in the background). Perhaps you’ve been messaging a few likely contenders on dating apps, happily putting off the moment when you might have to go on an actual date. Or perhaps – drumroll, please – you’re ready to get out there for real.

But how to date in a world where your mask hides your sultry smile, the faint whiff of Dettol is more attractive than your signature scent, and social distancing is more important than, well, being social? Never fear: we’re here to help, with our step-by-step guide to dating in a time of Covid.

  1. HOW TO FIND A DATE IN THE FIRST PLACE Obviously, how to date during a pandemic is all conjecture without a date to start with. Apps are proving ripe hunting ground for singles right now, plus dates carry a little more weight than they used to, given that hook-ups are a risky business in this day and age. Bumble has found that 55% of its users are seeking more meaningful relationships after finding themselves lonely during lockdown, with 43% of users believing they’ll spend more time chatting than before. So go forth and shop online.
  2. PICK YOUR LOCATION WISELY Now that September is upon us, meet-cutes in the park are decidedly less appealing (there’s nothing sexy about sharing some rain-soaked crisps on a bench). Keep things the right side of romantic and safe by suggesting a pub with a beer garden: casual and hopefully open-air, but with the option to retreat indoors if it decides to chuck it down. And there’s no reason to stick to just drinks on the first date – who knows, perhaps your hands will accidentally brush as you simultaneously scan the menu QR code…
  3. HOW TO GREET EACH OTHER Formerly a fairly straightforward question, this topic is now a veritable minefield. Hugs and kisses on the cheek are now way too much for a first meeting (no point risking your health for someone who may go on to ghost you anyway). Elbow taps, jazz hands and the like are somewhat cute and a nod to the times, but by far the least awkward option is a swift arm squeeze: distanced, but still tactile. Oh, and for goodness’ sake: either take off your mask before you say hello, or get one that vaguely matches your outfit. That medicinal blue shade rarely does anyone any favours.
  4. WHAT TO DISCUSS Many articles of this ilk will advise you not to discuss the pandemic and to an extent, it’s true: government mishap, health worries and economic turmoil does not scintillating date chat make. But not to reference the last few months at all seems disingenuous to the point of fakery, and you never know what your date has gone through. A simple and effective ‘what a year, eh?’ will suffice to open the conversation if they’re willing, then you can take it from there.
  5. HOW TO SAY GOODBYE I know what you’re thinking, you dirty dog. But a goodnight kiss (or more, if you’re that way inclined) really should wait. You’ve no idea who else they’ve seen or if you can trust them when they say they’re staying safe, so deep breath, and keep your mind out of the gutter. You can hold hands if you like, but only if you’re armed with industrial quantities of sanitiser. Try to see this Austenian, chaste way of dating as rather titillating, and with any luck, you’ll have corona-cuffed a hottie before too long. Get ready to share the remote…

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