Day 1: Waitwaitwaitwaitwhat?
Day 2: Checked Hinge and Bumble. Fellows are posting sadface-emojis under “Best travel story” prompt. Does one need more sources of sadface? Deleted apps.
Day 7: Dreamt I attended one ex’s wedding and ran into all former exes, each with supermodel-esque wife and child-model-esque children. Woke up angry at all parties — including figments of imagination.
Day 23: WhatsApping up storms with multiple former and ongoing flames, near and far — if the world is ending, may as well warm oneself on any and all available fires, yes? Yes.
Day 28: Read an essay on lockdown-romancing, called “Loneliness Is Other People.” Gasped out loud at this line: “For the single among us, the advent of coronavirus was like the sudden silence in a game of musical chairs; in an instant, the people we were casually dating — many of whom we had already deemed incompatible, and no doubt vice versa — were the people we were stuck with.”
Day 37: Fellow unpartnered BFF said on video chat: “We should’ve gotten married at 24 like all those girls we judged for getting married at 24. Now they’re locked down with their husbands and we’re sending memes to boys we’ll never
Day 42: Attempted sexting. Moved lamp near bed for hot porn-type lighting. Took some 80 timer-clicked selfies. Liked exactly four. Sent to three different LDFs (Long Distance Flames) to maximise validation-for-effort ratio. Received bountiful validation. Continued to feel empty inside. Nice.
Day 55: Muted two separate “blessed to be locked down together!” couples on Instagram.
Day 72: Read NYT article called “How To Go On a First Date During Quarantine” with video chat date activity ideas like, “Give a tour of your fridge, ask them to open theirs.” Of course, yes, the girlhood dream — to look into a stranger’s fridge via glitchy FaceTime connection during global pandemic.
Day 94: Struck me that sexting is basically co-writing a porn script that’ll never be produced.
Day 113: Show from hell called “Indian Matchmaking” appeared in cultureverse to further horrify singles. Binged it, ended up doubly afraid of “ending up alone”, self-soothed the only way I know how — by reading feminist disquisitions on marriage. In a favourite from the genre by Sharanya Manivannan, she writes: “The sharply honed critique does not fill certain voids; it does not put its arm around you as you sleep; it cannot slow-dance with you or hold your hand on a turbulent plane. But what it does is recalibrate your own sense of self-worth.” Yes.
Day 121: Spent a record six hours doomscrolling on Twitter. Um, so, a couple of updates: Pandemic continues to rage. Fascism continues to march upon major democratic states. Institutions of justice continue to be undermined by megalomaniacs. Ancient societal fissures continue to be deliberately widened into violent chasms for electoral gains. Disempowered populations continue to pay the steepest prices for each of these developments. On the one hand, this is not an ideal chill vibe for building new relationships. On the other hand, Rihanna did one time find love in a hopeless place.
Day 122: Re-downloaded Bumble at 2.20am, swipeswipeswipematched and at 2.24am, one Arun said hi. He made a bad joke, I made a worse joke, he said, “I’m impressed.” He told me his “favourite joke ever” which was a truly terrible pun that made me laugh out loud and for a second, in the glow between my screen and face, I felt like I was on a first date going well. At 3.45am, we said goodnight and at 9.09am he messaged, “Hi,” but I woke up and got to work and forgot to check Hinge for… months.
Day 150: Heard from a friend about an ex’s engagement, swore under my breath, chided myself for not being happy for him, ranted to BFFs about how straight people’s decision to get married, knowing everything we know in 2020, is a betrayal of feminism and LGBTQ+ allyship. BFFs laughed and, mercifully, didn’t call out my appropriation of social justice discourse as emotional armour.
Day 162: Felt a surge of appreciation for that casual hookup from years ago who, bless him, never stopped sending fire emojis. Reliably cheeky without ever crossing over into seriousness or simp-hood. A real MVP.
Day 179: Remembered dating apps. Lay up zombie-swiping in bed until I had “gone through all the bees in the area” on one and “seen everyone who fits my preferences” on another. Woke up to 38 new messages from 38 new matches. Felt nothing. Replied to none.
Day 190: BFFs and I spent an hour on video call discussing a fantasy for the future. Here’s the deal: we live in a multi-bungalow compound where we each have a big house to ourselves (we are, in this fantasy, enormously wealthy… or everyone is… or money as a concept doesn’t exist… unsure); progressive movements have ousted all divisive leaders; weed is legal and endogamy is not; prisons have been abolished; therapy is universally accessible; all exams on earth are open-book exams; romantic partners come and go; we tend to our own gardens.
Note: Based on real-life events, with just enough details fudged or fictionalised to protect identities, hearts, and, uh… prospects.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.