Covid19 has had a huge effect on all aspects of our lives. The everyday activities we use to do, gone. Socializing, no more. One aspect that’s effects have been particularly painful, especially for single gals like me, is dating. For those of you in a relationship and have been isolating together, count yourself lucky. There are many people in relationships, separated from their partner, or single with no one special in their life. Yes, we are getting on top of the pandemic but who knows how long these restrictions last? Even with them eased, things won’t be the same. Especially when it comes to dating. So how do we navigate this crazy time and the times ahead? Lucky for you, I am very experienced in dating and have some ideas on how to cope.
A return to getting to know someone
So this sounds pretty normal, but with no ideas as to when and what restrictions are lifted, you are only able to chat to people and have no idea when you can actually meet and do something normal. What I mean here is really chatting to someone and getting to know their ins and outs. Prior to COVID19, you might meet someone at a bar or have a drunken pash on the dance floor as well as use apps. Now, your only option is apps. You might chat to someone for a while on an app, move to text, add each other on social media and make a date within a relatively short time (a week or 2 was a healthy timeframe for me) without actually knowing them that well. With that option of a date removed, all you can do is chat which is actually pretty great. You can actually get to know someone on a deeper level, figure out if you click, have mutual interests and similar views. This is great and actually prevents a lot of heartbreak down the track as well as wasted time (I wish I did this with multiple guys). I’ve had some great experiences with guys that I’ve chatted to for a month, 2 months, 4 months and even 8 months before meeting. You develop deeper, more meaningful connections that are more genuine and yes, you can get the feels without having met someone. But this just adds to the anticipation and excitement when you do meet someone. I matched with a guy who was visiting from interstate, chatted for a month before I visited him and it was wonderful. We had a proper connection and I fell hard. One of the best and most exciting experiences I’ve had dating. So the long chats are worth it. Obviously once the restrictions have been lifted, we may be a bit more cautious as to who we meet, or we may be inclined to resort to our previous ways of meeting up quickly because we can. But I think really getting to know someone is something we should hold on to. It does pay off.
Video calls are your best friend
Throughout the pandemic, people have been preaching about the video call. I certainly have in previous blogs. It has been great for keeping in touch with friends, family and loved ones, be it over Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp, Zoom, Houseparty or any other app. But it’s particularly great for dating. Obviously for those in relationships but are not isolating together, it is the only way you can see each other, providing you with the reassuring face of your boo. But for single gals? It isn something I’ve rarely used in the past (except after matching with guys that live interstate). But now, video chatting is the next logical progression from texting and phone calls. From seeing someone for the first time (and making sure you aren’t getting catfished) to actually having a virtual date, it is quite fun. You can make quite the occasion out of it, get dressed up (only upper body is necessary), have a wine together, eat together, serenade each other with music, the options are really endless. Having been in long distance relationships, I realize it has a place, and now, we are all in long distance relationships so embrace it. Even once restrictions have been lifted, I think it is a great way to stay connected. It’s cute, fun, playful and intimate at the same time.
Join in on activities together online
Ok, in some ways, this really is an extension of video chatting, but there are so many activities you can do together, despite not being in the same room. I suggested having a wine together over video chat or together. How about combining the two and cooking together instead? Find a recipe, share it with your date or partner, have a drink and prepare the meal together via video chat. If cooking isn’t your thing, enjoy takeout or delivery from the same restaurant. It’s as if you are having a meal together as well as supporting local businesses which need all the help they can get. Another idea I love is to make each other playlists on Spotify and share them with each other over drinks, nibbles and checkins via video chat. You’ll learn a lot about their tastes and get a new playlist in the process. Online games are always fun and who hasn’t had a date without the good old Scrabble board? Words with friends has never been so enticing! If you want to go old school and watch a movie together or even a tv show, there are plugins that allow you to watch Netflix together whilst video chatting. Scener and Netflix Party are two good ones that are very popular. I think this could be really fun even though there won’t be a happy ending of cuddling and kissing on the couch which I adore. Another recommendation is to join in an online quiz night together. Heaps of pubs, not for profits and other groups are doing these via Facebook or Zoom. The Facebook Isolation Trivia page livestreams quizzes 3 times a week on everything from general knowledge to Kath & Kim and Seinfeld. Lots of fun to be had. If you are a bit more active and love exercising, you could livestream an exercise class and workout together (this is my idea of hell but some people love it!). There are all sorts of classes out there, catering to different disciplines and different fitness levels so you are bound to find something that suits.
Obviously once restrictions are lifted, most of these activities will be replaced by doing the real thing together. However, things like watching tv & movies together on Netflix and creating playlists for each other will stick around. Even online quiz nights will stay, but rather than videoing in from seperate locations, you can do it together.
Safe socially distanced dates
Some restrictions have been relaxed in different states around the country. The Northern Territory have allowed bars to open up, WA has allowed gatherings of up to 10 people, Queenslanders can go out for socially distanced recreation whilst NSW and Victoria are still largely in lockdown. The federal government will announce in coming weeks national restrictions that are to be lifted and when, but individual states will act as they see fit so it could be sooner rather than later for some. With this in mind, I can’t say as to when we will be able to go to bars, restaurants, the movies or do something fun and quirky like mini golf or bowling. But, I have some ideas as to what we can do for dates once we are allowed to see people other than family and go out recreationally whilst typical date venues are closed. The obvious suggestion is to invite someone around to your place for a meal (home cooked or take out), Netflix and any of the other online activities I suggested above. For anyone who has been isolated from their partner, this is a given. But for single girls who haven’t met the person they have been chatting to? Maybe not the greatest idea for a first date. For second dates onwards, I think it is perfectly acceptable to invite your date to your place or visit theirs, provided you get a good vibe. But not first dates. You have to feel comfortable with a person and be safe, and although you may have been chatting to someone for a while now, they are still a stranger so not a smart move. But if you feel comfortable, go for it. Instead opt for a picnic with drinks, nibbles and maybe even some games. If you wanted to go to a bit more of an effort, you could get takeway from your fave restaurant and dine alfresco. If you are after something more casual and don’t want a big first date, a takeaway coffee in the park, by the beach or the river is always fun and allows you to leave quickly if it is awkward and you don’t click. If being active is more your thing, go on a hike together in a national park. There are plenty of beautiful parks just outside of all the capital cities and you can keep at a safe social distance.
These are great date ideas regardless of COVID19 but also just great safe dates which is of great importance at the moment. They all are rather wholesome so perfect for first dates. Also, as street drinking is frowned upon, drinking in the park might be fun but not legal. Can you imagine following all the government restrictions during the pandemic only to get busted for street drinking shortly after? Not cool. So keep it legal. And safe by sticking to 1.5m between you and practice good hygiene.
These are only a few ideas to cope with dating during the current restrictions and for when they are lifted. If you have suggestions, let us know. Obviously once we know which restrictions and when they are going to be lifted, we can plan our dates accordingly. However, I think we can take the measures we’ve adopted during the pandemic to dating post pandemic. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Stay safe!