Realistically we can’t spend the next few months pulling out tape measures to see if one’s date has encroached on the one metre rule. We have to start to live our love lives to the full. But how to get the dating ball rolling again when 60pc of those interviewed by dating.com said they still felt cautious about post lockdown dating?
The trick, as I see it, is to draw up a list of dating behaviours that don’t stray too far from the guidelines.
Know when to say goodbye. On a stroll along the river last week, my date kept leaning in and putting his arm around my waist. I realised that if he couldn’t care two hoots about Covid Caution then by extension he didn’t care about me. We weren’t Covid-compatible.
If you decide to take it to the next level, how do you navigate the social distance rule? Bars are full of the uninhibiting effects of alcohol. One chilled glass of Gavi too many and the polite elbow bumping has gone by the wayside and you are all over each other.
A man I met one evening this week suggested sitting opposite each other, ‘The table acts as a barrier’ he said, laughingly. He was right.
To be honest, dating still feels like something rather taboo. Even though society is opening up, shaking hands with a total stranger is seen by many as high risk. Perhaps the way forward is to take the Covid test before you meet. One might argue that it is hardly the most romantic pre-date sweet talk, but, for the moment, knowing you are both Covid clean is bound to ease the anxiety and allow romance to flourish more freely.
This has certainly worked for me. Since I contracted the virus back in March, tested positive and recovered, my supposed immunity has acted like a sort of dating golden ticket. In the past few months whenever I have mentioned it to a potential suitor, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. One man said he was going to give me a big hug, “well you are immune” he said. I replied by telling him guaranteed immunity is still questionable. Still, until we find a vaccine or the virus goes, could this be a possible solution to the dating problem?
Some friends think producing a Covid test before any action in the puckering up department is the only way forward. A sort of statement of intent. To kiss is to commit.
In one sense, Covid has simply slowed down the dating process and made us really think who we want to be with. This can’t be a bad thing in a world, where we swipe and ditch so quickly that we fail to connect on any real level. As an older woman out there, maybe it is time to exploit my Covid-secure dating advantage after all.
How the dating industry is responding to Covid-19
By Alice Hall
Love in the time of coronavirus was never going to be easy. When the Government advice states that we can’t even touch those closest to us – let alone a stranger – how can singleton’s expect to forge a new relationship? Thankfully, the UK dating industry has adapted to keep up with the socially-distanced age…
Video dates have seen boom in popularity. App Hinge added a “date from home” feature, allowing users to notify a match if they’re ready to chat over video or a phone call. Tinder and Match.com followed suit, with popular virtual date ideas including museum tours and shared drawing challenges. Tinder also made their ‘passport’ feature – which allows users to match with people in different countries – free, so users could “transport themselves out of self-quarantine to anywhere in the world.”
It’s clear the nation is divided between the corona-cautious, and those who are hankering for a return to normal. App Bumble identified this rift, and has introduced new features to help people establish their dating comfort level. Users have a choice of adding ‘virtual only’, ‘socially distanced’ or ‘socially distanced with masks’ to their profile. Meanwhile, Tinder has introduced a message that flashes up on screen to remind users to carry hand sanitiser and maintain distance.
The days of wooing potential suitors with fancy meals out are over. Now, the key to people’s hearts is… antibodies. In New York, a trend known as ‘antibody flaunting’ has taken off, with singles boasting about their test results on dates, and some even adding them to their dating profiles.
For those who choose to meet in real life, dimly lit bars are out of favour. A survey by OkCupid found that an outdoor stroll with a date topped the list of socially-distanced date ideas, with 57 per cent saying this would be their preferred option. The website has since introduced a guide to dating while social-distancing. With kissing off limits, some psychologists have even pointed to a new trend for ‘slow love’, as lockdown restrictions force potential partners to take more time getting to know each other.