In November, I began seeing a nice guy from Bumble. He’s a musician, conversation flows easy, and we’ve gone on six great dates. But, we’ve attempted a kiss only once, and it wasn’t all sparks and fireworks. The awkwardness of taking off masks paired with the need for some sort of verbal agreement made it far from dreamy, and I don’t quite know how to make a next move or even initiate a next kiss. Last week, he told me he was “patient” and liked spending time with me. Are there rules for building physical intimacy during a pandemic? I’d like to kiss him again, but haven’t been able to get myself to make the first move.
— Twenty-six and trying
A. You know what’s not spontaneous and sexy? First (or second) kisses during a global pandemic!
Welcome to responsible courtship during COVID. It involves discussion and thoughtfulness about how one kiss can affect your entire community. Sometimes it looks a lot like a Regency romance novel.
There’s not much you can do about the pace of things until everyone is vaccinated, especially if you both live with parents, roommates, etc. That said, you can talk. You can make plans. Sexy plans.
You negotiated that first kiss, which means the musician is open to talking about how this could work in the future. Will there be kissing after vaccinations? Will there be more? He’s patient, which is great, but what is he looking forward to? You can tell him you wish it felt easier to connect that way, and even get specific about your anticipation. Talking about plans can be very good for fireworks.
Understand, though, that it might take a while for him to feel OK about acting on anything. Maybe that kiss didn’t sit right with him because he knew you were returning home to family. Be patient. Be honest. Continue to look on those apps while you wait.
Three to four months, six dates, one attempted kiss. This is going to fizzle out, if it hasn’t already. You’ve lost momentum. JACQUISMITH
If you found the kiss awkward, so did he. Intimacy builds from two people daring to talk about what they feel. You take the lead on this one. He’ll lead on something else. OUTOFORDER
I am struggling with some people’s comprehension of infection control. If you are going to kiss, you don’t need a mask. Go on a mask-less date and see how it goes. ASH
He sounds extra concerned about cooties, which is a good thing. Keep hanging out with him and see where it goes. WESTBROOKMAJOR99
Ugh. Hence why *I* was off all online dating sites the day the pandemic was announced. No thanks!! GDCATCH
Get tests and then plan an evening accordingly. REB64
Meredith Goldstein writes Love Letters for The Boston Globe. Her new novel is Things That Grow. Join her on Thursday at 7 p.m. for a free live online conversation from The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home. Register at edithwharton.org/event.