I recently became single again right before this unfortunate pandemic put us all behind wooden doorframes. I had just come out of a long relationship and was starting to get into the swing of dating apps. I enjoyed the late-night noncommittal texting with some guy 10 years younger than me named Chris, requiring zero follow-through. Mastering the blind date, I could get in and out of an in-person encounter in less than 30 minutes with some guy named “Rick”—his real name is Nick, but I had so many texts flying around, contact typos were more the norm than the exception. I found labeling their source—Hinge, Raya, Bumble (the WORST!), Friend of X—the best way to keep track in case I decided to make a rendezvous part deux.
Two days before I quarantined, I had met Nick at a local hotel lounge—those days of eating bar nuts feel like a distant memory. We met in a dark corner. I arrived fashionably late.
“Well, this is probably the last time you’re going to see me for a while,” I stated bluntly. I continued to tell him how I was moving to the Hamptons to find my own place out East and had been divorced for less than a year.
“Are you sure you’re ready for a relationship?” he inquired.
“Good question. I’m here right now!”
I really thought very little of our time together. His observations were astutely grounded in reality. Freshly entering the singles market, embracing my freedom and dating applications, moving three hours away … I was probably not the poster child for emotional availability even by New York City standards.
Nick texted me the next day anyway: Do you talk on the phone?
Hmmm … wow. That was a good question. Was he actually saying he wanted more in a relationship than sassy text messages back and forth to make pseudo-plans with no last-minute cancellation policy?
Honest, I am, so I did the only thing I could. I said yes.
That began my foray into the world of dating in times of COVID-19. Nick began calling me every day, and I picked up the phone. We got to know each other over the next couple of weeks, and I found myself looking forward to our daily substantive phone sessions. Since seeing each other was out of the question, we decided to FaceTime.
Unprecedented times call for spicing up your wardrobe routine. Let’s be clear, it’s always about what’s above the waist—your brain, of course. Alas, let’s face it, men fall in love with their eyes, so calling attention to your perky 32 Bs and soft lighting falls in close second. Get your Zoom on, pull out the lacey bra, and bust out the white undershirt. Screw it. Take the first date into your bedroom. It’s only FaceTime virginity you’re losing. I started with a sweater, date two was a tank, and Agent Provocateur brushed lightly over with a camisole by date three.
Cinco de Mayo calls for margaritas. Full moons call for taking a virtual swim together. Make it hot, make it sexy, and keep it safe. It costs you—and him—only a few minutes on your cellular data plan. If cyber hacks are of concern, Zoom offers some features for a bit more security. If you get FaceTime cold feet, just don’t pick up the phone. It’s not like he’s sitting at a bar with a glass of wine.
These are uncertain times. If you have no intention of ever meeting the person, use Raya. If you don’t mind swiping a lot of annoying flies looking for your honey bee, try Bumble. If you’re still stuck on your Ivy League diploma, maybe the League is for you. Personally, I enjoyed the lack of effort that Hinge affords. Put the focus on yourself and do what makes you happy. Remember, chose yourself every day, and relationships are just one long interview.
So, here I am today, and now all those random texts from Steven, Michael, Brett, Paul, Chris, Rick—or Dick—have become a nuisance. Nick is my Corona boyfriend, and it probably worked out because I wasn’t taking anyone or anything too seriously. Practice non-attachment to outcomes and life can be a well-Lysoled box of chocolate: you never know what you’re gonna get.
And now I’m in love. Fuck me.