By Vaila Bhaumick

As much as I would love to get into the fun world of socially distanced dating, I’m married. So I asked some friends to share their thoughts instead. The ubiquitous humour that has punctuated the pandemic was ever-present! 

I’ve been trying to date my wife. She’s having none of it though.” 

I’ve been dating a bottle of wine—at first full of expectations, then empty promises.” 

Then came a suggestion for the article title: “The Invisible Quickie: 10 Tips for Not Getting Caught While Trying to Get Down During ‘Rona!

Things are tough out there! Dating is a completely different ball game during the time of coronavirus.

Lockdown Lovin’

For years now, we have seen a trend towards online dating. Some good friends of mine have met their long term partners this way, so there is living proof that it works. One friend confided that she liked the fact her new man (now her baby daddy) wasn’t overly eager to meet straight away. She thought it was nice that they got to know each other a little online first.

Apps like Tinder, usually rely heavily on users being able to meet up for dates and they have had to make some big changes. Video dates are now a thing. Activity on dating sites has increased since lockdown began, but unsurprisingly, people are unwilling to spend money.

During the pandemic, imagination has taken over! Folks out there are being very enterprising—coming up with new ways to entertain left, right and centre. 

On the dating scene, Love Is Quarantine has become the at-home, lockdown version of popular Netflix TV show Love Is Blind.

Roommates Thi Q Lam and Rance Nix started Love Is Quarantine after binge-watching the Netflix show where participants date each other through the walls of ‘pods’. They don’t actually get to see each other until they agree to get engaged. Wow!

The quarantine version obviously needs no pods—just a google spreadsheet, some willing singletons and a fan base. They already have over 1000 contestants signed up for season 2 and 19,000 Instagram followers, so I’d say it’s a roaring success!

Creative Canoodling 

Virtual dating is all very well, but what if you just can’t wait to get a bit more physical (while still social distancing)? 

One couple, a real-life Romeo & Juliet, ‘met’ at a neighbourhood balcony concert in…wait for it…Verona. He found her online via his sister, they stayed in touch and shared their first kiss two months later.

In Brooklyn, a man used his drone to pass his phone number to an attractive neighbour that caught his eye. After they had dinner together-apart from their respective rooftops, he surprised her for a second date by appearing in a bubble. Safety first!

A friend of a friend was on a Tinder date when they found out about the lockdown. So how did they get around social distancing? They decided to move in together! From first date to COVID-habiting in one easy step! 

But what if you’re just a little bit too far away geographically or you want to continue distancing from people due to the virus? People have been dealing with it in different ways—from streaming films together to cybersex. Still, it can be (ahem..) frustrating. 

A handy tip would be to just forget all about the dating palaver and go for some good ol’ fashioned self-love! Invest in a new vibrator or check out feminist erotic filmmaker Erika Lust’s ‘Sex & Love in the Time of Quarantine’ for some lockdown lovin’. But, if you do still miss interacting with your partner, help is at hand…

A New Reality For Dating

Sex has been online for years, that’s no secret. But the pandemic’s social distancing ramifications have given more people a nudge to explore further. Yes, there has been an increase in erotic fiction offerings, online sex parties, and professional webcam sex services. But the new kid on the block is teledildonics or smart vibrators, and they’re getting the juices flowing!

The vibrators connect via the internet so you can simulate sex with your partner, even if they are many miles away. It’s not a new concept, but a patent on the technology expired a couple of years ago, so we can expect a boom in VR bedroom buddies fairly soon. The saviour of the long-distance relationship, or the creepiest sex robot that ever was? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

You can say what you want about humans, but COVID-19 is highlighting how creative we are if nothing else. Finding a mate is such an inbuilt urge that we will always find a way. Whether it’s in a big plastic bubble or from your living room ‘pod’, I wish you well on your quest. Stay safe out there!