We spoke with a 28-year-old consultant living in Shaw about what it’s like to be single and using dating apps during quarantine, as well as what it’s like to go on a date in the age of social distancing:
“I’ve recently become single and decided I would get back into the dating app world. I previously have been like alright I’ve been fairly successful dating in the real world. No need to fall back on these. But then [once we quarantined], I was like well, guess not. It was inspired by isolation.
“So I matched with [this guy], and he commented on my ‘About Me’ [section]. I’m wearing a unicorn head [mask in] my main photo. He said, ‘Unicorns can’t get Covid-19, so you seem like you’d be lovely to socially isolate alongside.’ We talked about his preparedness [for quarantine]. He really wove it in nicely to the flirting conversation. He had a lot of one liners available—all about toilet paper.
“I almost feel like he wanted to get in a meeting before things got really bad, so we talked a lot over a few days. It was probably only a week that we chatted before we met. He wasn’t ignoring the crisis, but it wasn’t top-of-mind for him.
“All bars and restaurants were already closed, so we decided to meet in Meridian Hill Park. And luckily, the way that the park is set up, there’s some separate little structures you can sit on, these different wall areas. He came from one entrance, I came from the other. He sat down on one part of the wall, I sat down arguably six feet away. We decided we needed some alcohol. I stood in the door of the apartment, not entering, and he sanitized and washed his hands, made two screwdrivers in little to-go mugs, and then we went on a walk around the neighborhood. [We were] at a pretty safe distance, but still facing the same direction. And we just chatted. There was a goodbye hug that was a little awkward. It was sort of like an ass-out hug, to the side, a no-face-touching situation. And then I quickly ran away.
“Obviously, it’s very awkward when you can’t [touch]. I feel like a lot of the ways that I interact with someone on a date is touch, you know? Just like little things. And it’s so present in my mind to not be able to do that. I did [feel nervous about hugging], mostly spawned by my very news-attuned roommate who has the feeling that [me dating is] quite dire. I would have left without hugging. He insisted upon it, to be honest.
“[Our second date] was arguably way more awkward. It was my birthday. He bought me a cookie cake. I was like, balancing the admonishments from my roommate, my personal concerns about my health and well-being, my interest in eating a cookie cake, and the fact that he had hoarded toilet paper and we were down to six rolls. I was like you know, I feel like I can be a good roommate here and get more toilet paper, but it may mean some concessions.
“When I was walking out the door was when that Covid-19 DC alert hit my phone. It was like wow, if that’s not a sign I don’t know what is. I almost didn’t go, but I was like you know what, I’m already dressed, I already put makeup on. He met me on U Street. There’s literally no one out. We went up to his apartment, I interrogated him about his Cloroxing and disinfecting strategies. He said he had fully disinfected every surface and we went through the list, it was very thorough. We sat on opposite sides of the bar in his kitchen. We probably had a four-and-a-half feet distance between us. I think the guilt of being out when I wasn’t supposed to be and having been in a stranger’s apartment was hitting me and I was just like, I have to get out of here.
“I feel like I am kind of done with the in-person interactions. If I’m not seeing like my best friends, am I really going to start dating a stranger? Like, probs not. I feel like we probably will still FaceTime. It’s just really kind of impossible [to date now]. You can’t just be a pen pal with someone for months and keep that up.”