A straight male friend from the Bay Area told me that the tone of the Tinder profiles he’s seeing are very different than they were before the pandemic. “Every other profile has something like ‘How are you holding up?’ as their introductory message,” he told me. “It’s a little depressing. I don’t necessarily want to be reminded that I’m miserable, you know?”
It’s pretty hard to put your best foot forward when you’re constantly bombarded by negative news from around the world. Dead bodies stored in refrigerator trucks and hospital ships docking outside plague-ridden cities sure can kill the mood. But that isn’t stopping enterprising people from reaching out, some in unusual ways.
A straight woman in New York City says that she’s now seeing come-ons in places that are not ostensibly devoted to hooking up-most notably LinkedIn. “I’ve noticed a major spike in random connection requests from men I don’t know over the past 2 weeks, all right around my age, with no business connection to what I do whatsoever. They like to send the very benign ‘hi, how are you beautiful’ messages and I just don’t go there,” she says.
In addition, enterprising creators are debuting new products specifically for this moment in time. CNN reports on the launch of Quarantine Together, an app released on March 15 that sends every registered user a query asking if they have washed their hands. If they respond affirmatively, it matches them up with another user for a text conversation, which can be escalated to video chat by mutual consent after 15 minutes.
It’s a lot more basic and less choosy than your average dating app, but developer Daniel Ahmadizadeh says that is purposeful-life has changed, and the way we meet and date new people should change too.
Even though the traditional first date is off the table until the quarantine is lifted, there are a number of digital alternatives that could help bridge the gap.
A female friend in New York City is working on finding ways to maintain excitement with the person she’s dating, like “staging sexy photo shoots in my apartment and making a game of trading the photos for creative projects on the other end (like, write me a song and i’ll trade the photos for a song!), creating projects to work on together long distance, video chatting/sex, voice memos.”
Whether that sort of interaction is enough to keep a romantic relationship is a tough call. For other people at the start of a relationship, the sudden shelter in place order has forced them to make decisions about the future very quickly.
Another woman in New York has found herself quarantined with a new partner she met on Hinge. “We were at the point, about 6 weeks into dating, where it was like we either had to commit to not seeing each other indefinitely or to just go for it. So he basically moved in with me. And now we’re dating exclusively.”
Whether you’re seeking a new partner to while away the long lonely hours in quarantine or working to keep a relationship going from at least six feet of social distancing, the rapid adaptation of both dating apps and the human spirit has made us able to get a little closer in spite of it all.