The world of dating has followed a pretty structured regime for several years: match with someone on an app or pass your number on to someone in a bar, arrange a future meet up, go on said date, and allow nature to run its course.
But what are we meant to do with the current coronavirus epidemic forcing virtually all of us to stay indoors for days, weeks and potentially months? It would be all too easy to say you can put your love life on hold, but for many, that just isn’t an option.
Enter ‘co-vating’, a new term we’ve coined to describe the fact singletons are having to navigate the tricky nature of self-isolation, by turning to virtual methods of dating.
Dating apps are, perhaps surprisingly to some, seeing a surge in usage. Speaking to Buzzfeed News, former matchmaker Hannah Orenstein said, “Historically, dating app usage spikes whenever people do have to stay home, so you see that most often with snowstorms or blizzards,”
“People are stuck inside, they’re bored, they might be feeling lonely or a little stir-crazy…but the difference, of course, is that during a blizzard, there isn’t really a risk of passing a virus between two people who might be hooking up on a snow day.”
But just because you’re stuck inside doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be looking for that special someone, and technology has given us the power to speak with practically anyone we wish. ” If you match with somebody cool. Just say, ‘Hey, I’m stuck inside, are you free for a FaceTime date? I’ll have my glass of wine, you have your glass of wine in your house a mile away, and we can FaceTime.”
Sydney-based sexologist and relationship expert Dr. Nikki Goldstein has taken to Instagram to offer assistance to those in this time of need, and says that even though the fast world of dating has now slowed down, “there is a silver lining.”
“This will force us to be creative and to really explore the connections with people during this time of possible physical isolation.”
Tinder is also doing its bit, by helping people the world over connect with anyone else on the app, as it will make its Passport feature free to use for everyone from March 26th. This feature lets you expand your search radius to the entire globe, so you can match with someone in another country and get chatting. Even if it’s just to see how they’re doing in the current climate.
But what if you’ve matched with an absolute worldie, you’ve chatted for a bit and you get on tremendously with one another. Are you allowed to meet?
The short answer is yes, absolutely, but and this is a big but, proceed with caution. If you’re feeling even the slightest bit unwell, you should cancel your date. Given the situation, you’d hope they’ll understand.
I’ve got a virtual first date this week.
He’s ordering me a Deliveroo, I’m ordering him a Deliveroo.
Neither of us know what the other has ordered.
We both then FaceTime & open them together.
We’ll know instantly if we’re right for each other 🍿🥂
— Nina Sawetz (@nina_future) March 18, 2020
Alex Abad-Santos, a journalist at Vox, spoke to Anna Muldoon, a former science policy adviser at the US Department of Health and Human Services. After talking about making sure their phones were sanitised before they started swiping, Alex posed questions regarding sex, and if one-night stands can still go ahead, and indeed if couples can still engage in a bit of under-the-covers fun.
Anna admitted it was a tricky question to answer, as the Covid-19 virus can’t be transmitted sexually. However, with sex naturally comes kissing and touching, two surefire ways that can transmit it.
“You’re breathing on each other, you’re hopefully touching each other a lot. I guess I could imagine everybody showering, sanitizing yourself when you came into the house, and showering beforehand and making sure you’re never face-to-face, but it doesn’t sound like a lot of fun.”
Even if you do shower with bottles of sanitiser, there’s still a good chance you could pass the virus on, if you have it (and don’t know it).
So again, yes, you can enjoy yourself but only if you know full well that you’re fit and healthy.
As for couples, Anna said, “…if you live together, you’re not going to move out because your partner’s sick, because you probably love them and don’t want them to be sick by themselves.”
“However, if your partner starts to not look great, they should call ahead to their doctor and get checked out.”
Oh and for all you single studs out there: you could do worse than order one of these genius $199 sex toys (a Fleshlight Launch). A true stroke of genius, they really are worth a look.