By Andrea Yu July 23, As Covid restrictions loosen, more Torontonians are re-entering the dating world. Some are sticking to virtual romance while others are approaching in-person dates with caution. The pandemic has inspired some creative ways to meet new people, with online speed-dating and Facebook Live dating shows. I wanted to keep looking for the love of my life. Before that I was in a relationship for a year and a half. Before, it was safe to assume most of us were working our day jobs or careers.
I met her on Tinder in June, and we talked on the phone for three hours. A few days later we had a Netflix Party date and watched Roma, then we talked about the movie on the phone. I feel like dating is risky, but I feel like going to the grocery store is risky too.
Before Covid, if a date went well, an end-of-date kiss was often a possibility. But now I have to be more selective.
I live at home, and my mom is immunocompromised, so I have to be extra cautious now. It was a video call through the Bumble app. It was pretty quick, about 20 or 30 minutes. I was supposed to go on a real, in-person date a few weeks ago. We were going to go for ice cream in my neighbourhood.
I felt comfortable with it because he worked from home and my neighbourhood is pretty quiet. But he ended up bailing on me because it rained that day and we never planned anything after that.
It seems like men are putting more of an effort into conversations than before. Because social pickup spaces like bars and clubs have closed down, I guess we have to put a bit more work into meeting people online. It seems like people are craving more meaningful conversations right off the bat because the options for meeting people are limited. I love the nervous energy and curiosity of a first date. But the minute I see a guy, my instinct is to hug him. Once, my date stepped back to maintain distance and I felt so embarrassed. Recently, I was chatting with a cute guy on Grindr and I asked him on a date a few days later.
We met up at the park and talked for a few hours. It was a really nice time. I liked that he had a sense of humour. We lost track of time, actually, and as the evening came I suggested that we go back to my place.
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And we did. During the lockdown, I was going one or two dates a week, all virtual—either video chats, watching movies together, playing games or eating meals together. On virtual dates, none of us have anywhere to go so it can be awkward if someone suggests ending the date sooner than the other.
You actually have to put in some effort. I had a video phone date with a very attractive guy who was open to non-monogamy and looking for something serious.
But he had the personality of a piece of toast. He was so boring and had his dog on the video to keep me interested. We started having virtual dates a couple of times a week and messaged every day. We cooked meals together over Zoom, watched movies together and stayed up until 3 a. On his birthday, I had cake delivered to his place.
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One time I mentioned I was crushing on him a bit. He freaked out and cut ties. That sucked. At the end of the day we had a really fun two months together, but dating virtually definitely has its communication problems. We stayed close to six feet apart, but I was definitely the one to enforce the rule.
My bubble is pretty small, just five people.
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So this gives me some wiggle room to allow for other connections. If you really want something, you find creative ways to make it work. For the first month or two, I was doing mostly virtual dates and only went on one in-person date. Just a few days ago, I met a girl on Bumble and we texted for a couple of days.
We had a phone date and made plans for the following day. We hung out in the park for a while, talking about our fears and philosophies about life. She was honest, witty and kind. Eventually, we held hands and then ended up kissing at the end of our date as we were saying goodbye.
At the beginning of the pandemic, there were a lot of guys who wanted to meet up in person. That was a turnoff. You can just throw your hair in a bun and not leave your bed. Most of the FaceTime dates have been pretty short, under an hour.
But I really vibed with one guy, and we spoke for hours. After that, we did an online paint night where we both got art supplies and did the same painting of a rose. Virtual dating feels natural to me, but I do have to work harder to keep things interesting, like asking more questions during the date. I would consider it if I met the right person.
I miss meeting new people in person. The first message nowadays is usually, How is quarantine going for you? It was fun: within an hour, I was able to video chat with 10 guys, and each date was three minutes long. Some of the dates were great and some were awkward. If it was a good-looking guy who was outgoing and funny, the dates felt super-fast; when the guy was awkward and boring, they seemed to last forever. Each time it was a socially distanced walk. It was fun! I got so many messages afterwards wondering if anything happened between us because people wanted to continue keeping up with our dating lives.
Covid definitely changed dating in the beginning. After that, I felt okay meeting up with people as long as we both used precautions. All of them have gone very well. Just simple things away from crowded areas. If we have different views on safety, then usually there is no meet-up. That can be frustrating, but life goes on. Dating during Covid has definitely been different. I find that you run out of things to talk about fast. The conversations are pretty dull. If a guy is overtly sexual with their responses, I tend not to engage.
My bios on dating apps are pretty blunt as well, so I think that makes men be a bit more honest upfront. I came across Flare Events online, and I like their style. We played a few fun games to make everyone feel comfortable, then moved into an ice-breaker where we shared some interests and hobbies before getting into the speed-dating portion.
Speed-dating was an overall improvement from dating apps.
We talked about general life stuff like work, hobbies, music tastes and what we were watching on Netflix. We had eight minutes before they would switch out. It was definitely nice to talk to someone face-to-face rather than just texting, even if it was through a screen.