Dating isn’t what it used to be: how to keep searching for ‘the one’ during a pandemic

Monica’s been on the lookout for love – but thanks to lockdown, it’s been harder than ever before

Looking for love is hard enough at the best of times, so how on earth do you go about it during a pandemic?  For those of us who are looking for a companion, doing so while social distancing measure are in place seems a near impossible task. However, dating apps exist, even though frequently they’re a bit of a drag: deleting and redownloading Tinder is a common occurrence for me, at least. But, without them, our only opportunity to meet Mr or Mrs Right is at the local Tesco – your eyes may meet across aisle 7 as you seductively basket your 4-pint carton of green milk, for example. Oh so romantic.

First you need to filter the absurdly horny “sneak out of your house and break the social distancing for the best night of your life” individuals from the genuinely looking for love individuals.

Back to dating apps – first you need to filter the absurdly horny “sneak out of your house and break the social distancing for the best night of your life” individuals from the genuinely looking for love individuals. Warning signs to look out for are bios containing things such as “I survived COVID-19, I’m now immune”. Unfortunately, this person is unlikely to be a scientist who understands the virus and has discovered you cannot catch the virus twice, therefore we cannot trust this desperate plea – they just have not had any action in several months. Another red flag is if they start talking about anything sexual after exchanging only a few messages. This is likely an indication that this is all that is on their mind, so don’t be surprised if they try to encourage you to break the law for a hump and dump.

A virtual date

Eventually, you’ll find someone who is looking for the same as you and you want to date them. How do you go about it? For me as a 22-year-old female, firstly it is vital to figure out whether or not I’ve been talking to a catfish for the past few weeks the best place to start is a video chat. Although this can be quite awkward, after you have done it once, it gets easier. It is also important to ensure you have a safe first meeting; with the person you’ve been led to believe you’ve been chatting to. I have found having a couple of virtual drinks together can be a good as it could help the conversation flow if you’ve slightly nervous. However, limit your drinks and the time you spend on call. Being at home with a bottle of already paid for vodka to hand is the equivalent to a date at an open bar. DO NOT GET CARRIED AWAY. Unfortunately, on one occasion on a video call date, the guy on the other end got so drunk that he passed out in front of the camera. I was left calling his name and trying to wake him up, but he was out for the count. It made me feel uncomfortable and concerned, although it was a little amusing.

Unfortunately, on one occasion on a video call date, the guy on the other end got so drunk that he passed out in front of the camera. I was left calling his name and trying to wake him up, but he was out for the count.

A successful video call date, for me, consists of playing question games. Write down a list of questions, like, what is your best travel story? Do you have any phobias? What superpower would you have? What is your secret talent? What is your favourite book/movie? The list goes on. By asking questions like this, it prevents the boring “so what have you been doing during lockdown” questions. What we have been doing during the lockdown is not an accurate representation of ourselves. If you have something exciting you’ve been doing during lockdown then share this, but otherwise it’s generally best to keep that conversation short. Give them a tour around your house or bedroom; show them your posters, plants, and books. Doing this it gives an insight into some of your personality and, they may spot some common interests through things you have in your room. Discuss plans, what you’re excited to do to when the pandemic is over. Keep it upbeat, and light-hearted.

Meeting up

For the time being your dates cannot progress any further than this, so don’t be tempted – we must protect our NHS and save lives by staying apart for now.

The next step I usually take is arranging a meet up somewhere local – in a public space for safety reasons – where you both can bring your own picnic, a speaker to play some music and have a chat. There are plenty of incredible outdoor spaces you can meet around Bristol, like Leigh Woods, Abbotts Pool, Brandon Hill, Clifton Downs, Blaise Castle, or walking the Banksy trail, and if you are happy to go further out of Bristol places like Blagdon Lake, Cheddar Gorge, or the Forest of Dean are all beautiful locations for a romantic day out. For a more chilled out date you could visit each other’s gardens, if you have one, and watch a movie from a laptop (while staying a safe distance apart). Go to the harbourside, order a takeout, and watch the sun set over the water. For the time being your dates cannot progress any further than this, so don’t be tempted – we must protect our NHS and save lives by staying apart for now. While it is currently illegal to have sex with someone from another household, the rules don’t stop you from really getting to know someone. Ultimately, the wait for a sleepover will make it all the more exciting. Plus, it is quite Romeo and Juliet falling for someone but not being able to be together for the time being. Good luck and stay safe.

How have you dealt with being single during lockdown? Let us know in the comments.

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