Has anyone told Covid that it’s over? Sure, we’ve given up on banana bread and the news seems to focus on the situation in Ukraine instead of the latest death toll (or the monkey flu outbreak) but, as I can personally attest, coronavirus is still affecting our lives and dating scene. Having managed over two years with no infection, I recently caught the damn thing and spent several days vomiting, coughing and alone, before becoming struck down with post-Covid, which seems to involve heightened depression and anxiety, exhaustion, and, ironically, insomnia.
None of this feels terribly sexy, and it’s more likely that I’ll spend my weekend trying to watch Derry Girls instead of heading to a bar and chatting someone up with a bedraggled ‘hey, wanna not sleep together?’
Dating in lockdown was a nightmare.
Government guidelines seemed to change every few minutes, and we went from planning to eat a substantial Scotch egg as a date to the best-forgotten Zoom-dating which seemed to include judging the books on someone’s shelf as they said, excitedly, that they were doing an online dance class and hadn’t had a hug for four months. Online dating scene has always been awkward for some, and the prospect of keeping things online for longer is wildly unpleasant, so dating post-pandemic is appealing.
Yet the fear lingers – what if they have Covid, but are asymptomatic, and I catch it, and next thing is I’ve killed my granny? Sure, they have an attractive face, but that’s not enough! I can’t put my family at risk. Back to social distancing love, I think. If analysed, I think my dating psychology would suggest that I’m lacking communication skills and, possibly, am still utterly terrified at the thought that the pandemic isn’t actually over, no matter how much we pretend that’s not the case.
Dating scene post-pandemic.
So perhaps procedural slow dating is the answer. If I’m going to go on a date with anyone, I’ll need to know that I really like them – say, a two-week ‘talking stage’ – and then I’ll want to see three negative lateral flow tests, and then we can meet for a drink. There will be no Lady and the Tramp moments where we share food, and then we may attempt socially distanced sex. It’s just doggy style with no kissing. To be honest, we could probably remove the ‘dating’ (are people still dating? It seems very 1950s to me) and go straight from taking over a dating app to fucking in masks. Great news for gimps, I suppose.
Of course, not everyone feels this way. I know people who are confidently vaxxed and determined to get on with their lives, which is certainly commendable in its way. They swipe through dating apps, not looking too hard at the profiles, determined to make up for lost time and keen to avoid taking things slow in their prospective relationships. They’ll date 10 people at once because they had to be single in a pandemic and now they’re keen to make up for lost time and live their most hectic, exciting and sexy lives. I can certainly see the appeal.
Whilst I certainly commend their fearless attitudes and see no issue with anyone behaving in such a way, provided they’re testing regularly and being mindful of their boosters, I think I still need some time to process what we’ve been through. I never thought I’d live during a pandemic, any more than I expected to live through an alien invasion, and I still need to work out what’s happening and process what we went through.
Everything was difficult during the pandemic. It was hard being single, it was difficult dating, and a lot of relationships ended because it turns out, you might like someone but being locked in your house with them for weeks changes things. Now, I want to meet new people and fall in love – or just spend weekends hooking up with folk from Tinder – but there’s apprehension. My actions are still tinged with uncertainty and, I think, it will take longer for me to feel truly safe and happy on the dating scene again.