Digital Dating During a Pandemic

Putting yourself out there when you are single is not easy. It can be hard to find people you connect with, and while online dating services have been around for years, when you connect with someone on one of those platforms, you intend to meet them soon to see if you really connect. The problem is, in this ongoing quarantine, you do not know when you will get to meet them, and your interest may begin to fizzle out as you wait. If you were already seeing someone before the quarantine, not being able to do things together or even physically see each other can make it difficult on a relationship.

Thanks to technology, we have some help in this issue to make things a little easier on singles and couples alike. There are many different sites and dating apps that are now hosting virtual gatherings for singles to meet on, including virtual speed dating apps. The entire dating world has quickly digitized to accommodate the COVID-19 quarantines.

Connecting in Quarantine

Some online daters have noticed a shift in the way users are interacting on apps. Lucy, a 22-year-old who dates online, said that “Before coronavirus, I felt like a lot of guys I matched with instantly wanted to go for a drink, clearly just going off my photos. I didn’t like that. I always like having a bit more of a conversation. Coronavirus is sparking a lot more conversation because no one can actually meet.”

Some people have been lucky to connect during this time without need apps to do so. One couple in Brooklyn started talking after Jeremy Cohen, a freelance photographer, saw a woman dancing on her roof while he was flying his drone around. To maintain social distancing, Cohen sent his drone over with his phone number attached, and Tori Cignarella responded not long after that. They have had FaceTime dates and they sort of met in person, and Cohen stayed in a giant inflatable bubble to keep them apart.

Quarantine Apps

There are plenty of apps who have adapted to quarantine dating and some that were launched specifically for it. Currently, if you meet someone on one of the mainstream dating apps like Tinder or OkCupid, you will have to use Zoom, Google Hangouts, or another video call service to connect beyond text-based chatting. The only mainstream app with video calling currently is Bumble, but the others may begin to implement the feature as the pandemic continues on. Tinder and Bumble have expanded their offerings to allow users to match with anyone in the country, instead of keeping it local; if the date is virtual anyway, it is probably okay to have it with someone on the other side of the country. Of course, if it gets serious the distance could pose a problem when the pandemic ends.

Blindlee launched in October and it offers three-minute video calls to let people meet, but the faces are blurred out so you cannot see the person you are talking to. This app’s creators were “tired of the sometimes fake and superficial aspect of the online dating world,” so they did this. The app matches you and sets up the video call, giving you a blind date with someone who matches your criteria. There are even fun question suggestions that pop up on your screen during your call. The app’s activity has doubled since the quarantines began.

Wingman, an app that lets you make matches for your friends, has seen a 75 percent increase since the virus started spreading, and within 24 hours, there were over 200 profiles with the words “corona,” “soap,” and “isolation.”

There are even apps available for virtual speed dating. Filter Off is a new app that is structured like speed dating. The app’s creator, Zach Schleien, designed it so that you have to have a 90-second video call with a person before you can give them a thumbs up or down. “You can read fun facts about someone before your chat, but the photo is blurred,” Schleien said. “We don’t want you to cancel the date because you don’t like the photo.” The app used to hold speed dating sessions once a week, but they have had to increase to three times a week because of the coronavirus.

Quarantine Dating Shows

The reality dating show Love is Blind featured contestants who were only able to speak without seeing each other to see if they could forge an emotional connection without ever seeing each other. Love is Quarantine launched, which has a spreadsheet of the different contestants who follow a similar concept, except it is all done digitally. They also have contestants record “confessionals” before and after the dates.

Quarantined Bachelor is another dating show that emerged based on a popular reality dating show. The contestants all talk through Zoom and instead of roses, he presents a roll of toilet paper to the winners of each round. There is less drama in this than usual too; the contestants are becoming friends instead of fighting like you usually see in the Bachelor.

 

 

References

Coady, Serena. “Will Video Dating Become the New Normal?” Vox, Vox, 3 Apr. 2020, www.vox.com/the-goods/2020/4/3/21198794/coronavirus-video-dating-tinder-hinge-grindr.

Greenspan, Rachel E. “This Man Successfully Asked out His Neighbor via Drone during Quarantine: ‘I Was Just Attracted to Her Energy’.” Insider, Insider, 27 Mar. 2020, www.insider.com/guy-asked-out-girl-drone-facetime-rooftop-date-quarantine-2020-3.

Psihudakis, Melissa. “Quarantine Love.” Https://Open.spotify.com/Episode/31T8NEwfvDVdT5g9hlXqyb, Https://Open.spotify.com/Episode/31T8NEwfvDVdT5g9hlXqyb, 30 Mar. 2020.

Wells, Madeline. “Dating Show ‘The Quarantined Bachelor’ Is the Best Thing on the Internet Right Now.” Dating Show ‘The Quarantined Bachelor’ Is the Best Thing on the Internet Right Now, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Apr. 2020, www.sfgate.com/sf-culture/amp/The-Quarantined-Bachelor-Instagram-dating-show-15175602.php.

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