Five questions with
biological anthropologist, chief scientific adviser to dating site Match and author of “Anatomy of Love.”
Q: Did the onset of the pandemic stifle interest in online dating?
A: No, we’re actually seeing a dating renaissance. Before, most people went to work every day. Maybe they met people after work or on weekends. Then, all of a sudden, they’re locked down. They also have enough time to do this now. [Messages exchanged by singles on Match increased 30% between March and Nov. 25, the company says.]
Q: How did lockdowns change the dynamics of a date?
A: Something really good happened: We saw the rise of video chatting. Our [Singles in America] survey found that one in five singles had gone on a video date during the pandemic. These are people who were video chatting just to get know each other.
Many report having deeper conversations and more self-disclosure, which leads to intimacy. And it isn’t just women. People are being more honest, less concerned about what they look like and what the person they’re interested in looks like.
Q:What happened when restrictions were lifted?
A: You could see how the human animal wanted to bounce back. The sun comes out in the summer, it’s warm and you’re sick of being locked down at home. People were craving to see each other. I think they started to let their hair down and say, “I’m going out.”
Q: Aren’t there risks in going out to restaurants and bars?
A: About 20% of the people surveyed said they would insist on both people wearing a mask on a date. About 10% said they would only meet with someone who has quarantined or been in lockdown for at least 14 days.
Q:Will video dating continue even after the outbreak abates?
A: Yes, 69% of the survey respondents who participated in video chats said they would continue to do so. It’s a great way to vet somebody before you spend your money, spend your time or even get to sex.
When singles who used video chats were asked if they felt any chemistry, 56% said they did. You can trigger romantic love instantly, especially in a pandemic when you’re really looking for a companion. It’s very practical. It’s safe. It’s cheap.
Ms. DeCarbo is a real-estate columnist for The Wall Street Journal in South Carolina. Email her at email@example.com.
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