Editorial, Opinion

EDITORIAL: The pandemic poses new opportunities and challenges for dating

Dating apps — a mindless game of swiping left or right on the single prospects in your geographic location and feeling validated after they “Super Like” you.

Vanessa Barlett/ DFP STAFF

These apps can be problematic as is: the threats of catfishing and miscommunication about commitment desires are quick to break up a match. And while we have all heard the success stories of dating app relationships that beat the odds, the horror stories seem to be a bit louder.

Surprisingly enough, the coronavirus has posed even more dilemmas for the online dating world.

Meeting up with someone you met on the internet is already awkward. It can also be fairly scary. While there are safety measures on the apps themselves as well as other precautions you can take, such as sharing your location with a friend, you just never know who you are going to meet — pictures can be very deceiving.

But with COVID-19 rampaging on a lot of college campuses, the awkward meet-up is made even more so when someone goes in for the hug but you step to the side. Make sure to communicate before the date about what you’re comfortable with, or else you can end up with an unpleasant fist bump and uneasy laughs to play it off.

We are all forced to be more selective with the people we let into our lives, and because of that, it almost seems pointless to be active in the dating scene right now. Every activity we do will be limited, and if you’re being smart with your decisions, the closest you will get to a stranger is on the Commonwealth Avenue Bumble bench — stocked with two seats six feet apart, hand sanitizer and the lovely ambiance of squealing trains to set the mood.

The Bumble Bench on Commonwealth Avenue. LAURYN ALLEN/DFP STAFF

But for all the singles out there, there aren’t many other opportunities to meet people. Before, you could meet someone in a slew of ways: a frat party, study groups or really any location outside.

Alas, we are stuck inside, forced to find a partner via not-so-private Zoom chats and trips to the COVID-19 testing facilities.

While this may seem to be a daunting task, there are definitely some upsides to dating right now, and this isn’t the only time singles have relied on the internet to blossom a relationship — sliding in the DMs has always been a solid move if you have the right pickup line.

For instance, there is no pressure to rush into an in-person date. You can truly take your time getting to know someone and determining whether or not they are worth your time.

You can sit in the comfort of your bed, scroll for hours and have those short little conversations whenever you’re free — it’s not a major time commitment and it’s much easier than getting ready to go out on multiple dates.

This situation also opens the door for innovative and creative ways to hang out. Use FaceTime, Zoom or any other video-calling platform for easy dates. With the advanced technology we have, there are a thousand different options for a fun, socially distanced activity — Kahoot, online card games and even Netflix Party, which allows you to watch a movie or show simultaneously.

Or, find a fast food restaurant that is near both of you, and FaceTime while you eat your food — the meal is affordable, everyone pays for themself and it’s a nice way to feel connected.

And if you take the next step of meeting in person, for general safety, no one should be offended if you ask them the last time they got tested. As it was in pre-pandemic conditions, everyone had an expectation to communicate the last time they got tested for sexually transmitted diseases — add COVID-19 to the list of questions that help you make informed dating decisions.

While many singles are struggling to start a flame, many of those taken are struggling to keep theirs alive.

Especially during the time of stay-at-home orders and the intense lockdown we all endured, it was incredibly difficult to keep a conversation going when your life consisted of solely doing homework on the couch. On the off chance that you started your relationship right before quarantine, you had to get through the honeymoon phase without even seeing your significant other.

By now, you may have gone up to six months without seeing your significant other. During those isolating times, every relationship is long-distance — even if you live in the same city.

So, for the single and the taken, don’t be discouraged by our ill-fated dating life.

Our freedom will come once again, but for now we can have solace knowing that everyone’s love life has been stunted by the coronavirus pandemic.

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