I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships and this pandemic and how dating will look post-pandemic. Unfortunately, I don’t see life returning to the normal that we once knew, at least not for the next five years or so, and by then we’ll all be different. It will be a new normal and I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
On the suggestion of my friend Tarrah, I downloaded an app called The Pattern. I highly recommend it. You give the app some information, mainly your birthdate and the time you were born, and it gives you an insightful look at your patterns in relationships. If you want to know how your mind works, or see what’s important to you, the app knows. At least it does for me. It’s been really spot on so far. I think you should all try it.
When you become aware of your patterns, you will start to see how you should pursue your life. It will give you a dump of information when you initially download the app, and then you get daily updates. Today I learned that I’m meant to trust myself and take my own unique direction in life. But it seems like I’m encountering more detours than I’d expected.
Well, duh. Hence, the fact that I’m writing about dating three years post-divorce. Not someplace I thought I’d still be. But here we are.
I have tried to spend this time thinking about what type of relationship I want to be in and what type of person I want to be in that relationship with. I have already done this for the most part, I’m just making sure what I think I want, is actually what I want.
When the world opens up again what will dating look like? I have a hate/hate relationship with dating on a normal day, and in post-pandemic society I see myself being a little more open to it. I say that with a cringing face.
My philosophy is that we’re going to be forced to make actual connections with each other again. Sure, you can still meet someone on an app, but what is meeting for coffee or lunch or dinner or a drink going to look like moving forward?
A good, old-fashioned phone conversation to start. I think texting will still be part of it, but we’re all craving connection so badly right now, a phone conversation is way more intimate than text.
The Zoom thing is okay, but it’s a little weird and almost feels totally disconnected. There are no distractions, you’re talking over each other because of the delay, and there’s no eye contact. I mean, I wouldn’t know, but Tarrah does, and I’ve had enough Zoom Happy Hours over the last month to get a sense that a Zoom date would just be awkward.
We may all need to meet up in abandoned parking lots where you stay in your car, I’ll stay in mine. I’ll bring the tin cans with string attaching them and we can play a game of telephone.
Or we may need to meet at a park, sitting six feet away from each other on a bench. Definitely no touching on the first date, or at least no touching without some serious fucking thought about it. Instead of questions about your previous sex life, did you wash your hands? is going to feel more important.
Just kidding, they’re both important. You should still ask questions about sexual history. And hygiene. AIDS is still out there. While a condom won’t save you from COVID-19, soap and water will.
The Death of Hook Up Culture?
After a 10-month hiatus, I tried dating apps again. In two months on Coffee Meets Bagel, I had no luck. I then moved over to Bumble. After a week, I got stuck in a polyamorous/ethically non-monogamous pool of candidates, so and I just deleted everything. I have a better chance of meeting someone at the grocery store with a mask on then I do on a dating app right now. Or ever.
I have spent some time thinking about the hook up culture and wondered where that’s going when we’re all free. It’s so not my jam; I hope it goes away. Let’s face it, it exists because those who like it are scared of real connection, and it’s a way for them to still get intimacy without commitment. Then again, apparently lots of people are currently looking to be in a throuple, so maybe…
I guess a positive way of looking at this mess is all the guys who used to flood dating apps looking for hook ups, living their best lives, are now at home on their own forced to examine those lives. I really hope they’re taking the time to think about what they want and how they want to proceed moving forward.
Think about kissing, or the simple act of holding hands. You’re a silent carrier or you don’t wash your hands and you could potentially kill someone? It may be the same risks we take during flu season, but it is a fact COVID-19 affects everyone differently. You’re going to have to feel really secure with that other person to play Russian Roulette with their tongue.
If people still want only hook ups, so be it. But good luck finding a someone, women especially, willing to take that risk. My guess is your pool has just been severely cut.
I hope this is going to send us back to an early 1900’s way of living we haven’t seen since, well, the early 1900’s. Courtship, communication, clear intentions. No ghosting because it didn’t exist back then. Sounds amazing to me.
The Dating Pool
If the hook up dating pool has been cut, either by people who now want to be in relationships, or by people not wanting to engage in risky behavior, that’s not a bad thing. The relationship material pool just got bigger. Also, the sad reality is current relationships will fail. Lots of them.
Self-isolation is challenging on a good day. If you’re not already in a solid relationship, and even if you are, this is forcing you to take a long, hard look at it. Only the strongest will survive. And again, the dating pool just got a little bigger.
Maybe a pandemic is actually good thing for dating. A girl can dream, can’t she?
UPDATE: No one gives a shit about Coronavirus anymore, even though they should. It will have little to no effect on dating, until it does. As with AIDS, it will take years to change behaviors around this virus. Maybe there will be a vaccine by then, and maybe there won’t.