Online dating in the year 2020 feels less like a coming-of-age romance movie and more like an apocalyptic thriller. From Hinge to Bumble to Tinder, it feels almost impossible to make actual connections with complete strangers amid the global pandemic.
It’s no secret that the bane of every online dater’s existence right now is pick-up lines like: “If COVID-19 doesn’t take you out, can I?” and “Stay home if you sicc. Come over if you thicc.” Such clichés have spread across these sites like the virus itself, and I can guarantee that absolutely no one wants to catch them.
Yet romantic conversations are admittedly harder to have without someone mentioning the life-threatening coronavirus plaguing our society. Instead of asking about hobbies or aspirations, it’s natural to want to veer more into the realm of casual existentialism.
These timely conversation-starters always seem to get the ball rolling: “Have you gone clinically insane after spending six months in the same house as your family?” or “Do you work with the general public? If so, how often do you cry yourself to sleep?”
OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But it is hard to have any kind of interaction these days without bringing up the terrifyingly obvious reality we’re all living in.
However, when you do have the occasional decent conversation, it doesn’t tend to stay on a dating app for long. Many young adults and college students prefer using a different platform to communicate—Snapchat.
With online dating, this is where a good connection tends to go bad. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer who prefers to show her immeasurable wit through text, but something about sending pictures of my face or my mundane quarantine surroundings to someone who doesn’t care feels weird and impersonal to me.
Nothing beats finally meeting the person you’ve been strictly online with. As restrictions loosen in the real world, it can be awkward to suggest outings for dates if the other person isn’t completely ready to go back out into the real world just yet. This is a great opportunity for homebodies looking for a chill night in—or a potentially terrifying situation for any woman ever.
This brings me to another fun pandemic dating perk, which is the cat-and-mouse game of waiting to see who brings up their medical status first.
Much like when it comes to gestures like holding the door open and paying on the first date, I’m a traditionalist: I believe it should fall to the more masculine person.
For the more desperate singles, you could always go in completely blind and hope your date isn’t going to secret frat parties in their free time.
If you go with that option, expect to have a potential curveball thrown your way. As a tip: just think about how you’re going to react when the conversation is going predominantly well only for them to casually mention they were one of the first confirmed cases on campus.
Online dating right now isn’t for the faint of heart—by any means. Did they ghost you, or are they just stuck in the hospital? The world may never know.
At the rate everything is going, I think it’d be smarter for us to revert to the olden times and let our parents arrange our marriages for us. Now is definitely not a great time to be searching for the love of your life—or even just the love of your Friday night.
Gabrielle Martinez is a 19-year-old mass communication sophomore from Gonzales.