In 2018 I went travelling for 6 months around Asia and in 2019 I was lucky enough to escape to South America for 4 months. I came back to the UK, and two weeks later we went into lockdown. I can safely say that it’s been a good 3 years or so since I had a first date. With the added pressure of Covid rules – what do I do? Or more importantly, what can I do? Do I even remember how to date?!
As of March 23rd 2021, the UK marked one year since the first lockdown began. Although, to me it feels like it’s been much longer. It’s strange to think that most of 2020 it was illegal to meet someone outside of your household to have sex and go on real-life dates
Pros and Cons of Lockdown Dating
I know a lot of my straight and gay friends have tried to do dating during lockdown. However, there have been so many rules to follow and it seems that these were constantly changing due to the evolving lockdown situation. It’s been hard to know how, or the best way to date in these challenging times.
I believe that due to social distancing restrictions, the landscape of dating has completely changed. People have to settle for park dates, virtual zoom or houseparty meets. it’s not easy always trying to remember the number one golden rule of keeping two meters apart!
After speaking to several people it seems there were mixed feelings regarding dating in the pandemic.
For some, dating in the pandemic was exciting and they relished going on numerous zoom cocktail dates or walks in the park. It was nice to be able to date being in an outdoor environment and getting to know people just by talking. There was no fear about whether he/she/they would kiss at the end of the date. For some it felt like less pressure. A lot of the time during the pandemic people finally got to know each other and take things at a slower pace. There was more time available to get to know a potential partner.
On the reverse, for many others they found dating in the pandemic was too stressful. They couldn’t function on a date without a drink to calm their nerves. Dating in the pandemic for some was restricted. On a walk wrapped up in winter clothes it was difficult to get to know a partner and whether you had that spark. Sometimes that kiss was important on a date to establish whether you felt any connection. Many of my friends told me that they struggled to self motivate themselves during the pandemic and going on dates would just cause them even more anxiety and worry.
So many rules to get our heads around?
Now I am a very sexual person (sorry for the overshare. This got dampened during lock down because I found that there were just too many rules to abide by. With the added pressure of trying to remain two meters apart, I personally couldn’t see the point in dating. I mean there was also the added reasoning that if a guy asked me what I’ve been up to, my response was limited. It was always the same ; I’ve been in my flat re-watching all the seasons of ‘Friends’ on Netflix or watching ‘The Bold Type’ (it’s a modern day sex and the city – if you haven’t seen it go check it out). It’s a bit of a dull time conversation-wise.
There are so many more questions in my head related to dating that wouldn’t have been there before. Who do you live with? Have you been vaccinated? Are you working from home? Everyone’s situation is different and what people feel comfortable with can also alter what dates you can go on.
Do we remember how to date?
It’s been a full year living through a deadly panic, people (including me) are wary of suddenly being able to be in close contact with others again. I feel that the whole situation just makes me socially awkward more so than I was pre-pandemic. For me one of the main things I look forward to when dating is the chemistry you have with people and how that transcends on the first date. I feel crippling nerves coming from trying to remember all the rules. You should be able to live in the moment and vicariously. Just an opinion not a fact.
If you haven’t been dating, it’s going to feel weird. I think for many of us, last year we’ve been consciously trying to keep our distance from others, it will understandably feel strange to make this sudden leap back into dating. For most of 2020 intimacy has been associated with risk but after a year of lockdowns I think we are all ready to have a life again!
My suggestion is order an extra glass of wine on the date and try and not worry too much. We can’t control every situation. It’s important to try and be the same people we were pre-Covid and try to live our lives as best as we can. We might be surprised at how understanding our potential dates are. And let’s be honest with ourselves, have we really forgotten how to date? We’re pros. We can do this!
Written by David James D’Souza
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