You’re hanging out with a group of friends. The person you’ve been head over heels with for months is there. Your mind starts to work in overdrive when you glance over at them.
You’re suddenly aware of the outfit you’re wearing and the way you styled your hair this morning. You felt so confident today but everything feels so… off now. You look away trying to focus on your conversation with your friends, but something draws your attention back to them.
You look up and meet their eyes. It’s magnetic. You want to pull your gaze from them. But the smile they give you seems to say, “Don’t you dare.”
Time slows down as they walk toward you. You think to yourself, “Is this really happening?”
Then it happens. They slide down their mask and greet you warmly. The spell is broken. You wonder, “Will I get COVID-19 from this interaction?”
Welcome to dating during a pandemic. The population? The whole world. One of life’s universal truths is that your youth is meant for exploring, meaning that you’ll date a lot of people and fall in love a little too much. But it’s all worth it in the pursuit of figuring out who and what you like.
But no romantic comedy could’ve planned a plot twist like this. This year, serial dating is officially canceled.
Many young singles are afraid to even get close to anyone they don’t explicitly know. With the coronavirus running rampant and social distancing becoming a necessity, it’s nearly impossible to meet new people. In fact, dating poses an ethical question: is interacting with people really worth the risk? What are the odds that a fruitful relationship is going to start with a date with a stranger?
Based on the last few years of my dating history, not likely.
There’s always online dating. It’s the only way to socially distance and date. I shudder when I say this but for a few years, online dating might’ve been the most popular way to date. You meet tons of significant others and are able to talk to them within the safety of your own home. It’s a dating utopia.
That is until you remember that dating sites are essentially a convenient way to find hookups. I think it’d be a little naive to think that “Netflix and Chill” is dead because of the pandemic. You can stick to your guns all you want, but I think it’ll be a little disheartening sifting through people who don’t want to date remotely for a little while.
This frustration is definitely better than the alternative. People with multiple partners are at high risk to catch the coronavirus. This is because of the constant interaction with people and the activities involved with having multiple partners. Even something as simple as a peck goodnight can infect you easily. It’s a no brainer to keep your distance.
I won’t lie: the reality of the dating scene is pretty bleak. But people have found love in dark places before. Life doesn’t stop because we’re in a pandemic. Things just look different now and if I’m being honest, nothing in life comes without risk.
During these unprecedented times, we have to ask ourselves, “Is this worth the risk?” Then, the even more terrifying question, “Are they worth it?”
For comments/questions about this story, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @TheWhitOnline.