I don’t know about you all but I’m certifiably going insane sitting at home all the time. I went outside for the first time on Wednesday (to drink coffee on my enclosed deck and there was no one in sight) and those 15 minutes basically kept me sane the rest of the day. But, that was days ago, and the stir-crazy feeling is back.
Trust me, during this Coronavirus Self-Isolation/Social Distancing/Quarantined time, I will be writing a lot more blog posts (because what else is there to do – especially when I’m avoiding all my law school work which has tripled?!) about how to stay motivated, fun activities at home, new hobbies you can try, etc., etc!
But today, I bring up everyone’s favorite topic to talk about: dating! Now dating is hard enough – some people are great at it, but me? Eh, not so much. This is especially true with App Dating! I love getting to know people, but the second they start saying things like: “Oh, do you want to meet up for coffee/dinner/an actual excursion in person?” my mind starts BLARING a siren and I take the next exit off that dating highway, oops. I told you I was bad at it.
But, with these unprecedented times, maybe I’m open to new things, and maybe I experienced a personality change in the last few weeks, so here I am, to report Love in the Time of Corona, a spinoff of the Gabriel García Márquez novel (and by spinoff I mean less than 2000 word blog post).
So it’s time to do social experiments! I will say, the number of dating apps out there has dramatically increased since I’ve graduated college, and I can only imagine what the usage of these apps has become since we are all shut-ins. Isn’t it great to go back to the good old-fashioned days of talking and getting to know someone? I know, I’m so old school.
And who else to do this social experiment than my alter ego – Bachelorette Sandhya!! The question is, who gets the rose? Who gets eliminated right away? Will there be any hometown visits (I hope not tbh), and will I meet their parents and family?! (Again, hopefully not during this pandemic!). But I will answer these questions and ask you to join me on the ride 🙂
Alright! Let’s begin 🙂
One lovely afternoon, I got my warmed up tea, flowers for inspiration, sat at my desk, and decided it was time to begin!
The first was having to choose which app to download, and for this social experiment, I’ve downloaded a few (names of apps excluded!!) to see if results are consistent throughout the apps (Spoiler Alert: They are). Then, of course, setting up a profile! So I chose the usual 6 pictures, and in some apps, I even listed my likes/dislikes and answered some questions.
Then writing a bio/about me. I always hate this part! I kept my bio short, similar to my Instagram bio: “Beautifully chaotic” with some animal emojis. Then I wrote my usual line: “I’m 9 3/4 obsessed with Harry Potter!” Some people ask “what about the other 1/4” and I realize that they don’t get the joke or watch HP enough to understand what I’m talking about – and I’ll be honest, I’m not going to be a part of that teaching process of explaining to someone why Harry Potter is the greatest in the world and why everyone should read the books and watch the movies.
Usually, I screenshot my profile and send it to my closest friends to get their opinion on the order of my pictures and whether the answers to my questions are witty enough. But this time, I figured let’s just give it a try and answer the questions the way I want to and not the way I expect someone else wants them answered.
Many people’s bios are covid-19 related: “I thought I would never join an app but there’s nothing else to do during this social distancing,” “Welp, I’m here too. #covid19,” and “Look, I’m not going to bore you with stories about how we can have social distance dates; now that you mention it, let’s have some social distancing dates!”
There are A LOT more people online – the lag time is real and you never run out of people in your area (probably because everyone in the area is trying to find something to do at this time)
Now think back to the last time you went grocery shopping. Maybe you went to Costco. Maybe you had an empty cart and had to stand in line for an hour before you could enter the store (so much for social distancing right?) and then once you enter, you stand in line to get your two packs of water bottles, and then you roam around the store to look for items you desperately need for your family this week only to find out that everything you want is out of stock. After a quick check on Amazon and your genuine shock at how the price surge is real, you decide you rather buy them now. Then you end up getting a bunch of substitution items on your list. Then you go to a long line waiting to check out – there are babies crying in line, there’s someone in the distance who coughed and other people are convinced that it’s not allergies and it’s actually this pandemic, and all you want to do is be home.
Now that I’ve painted that picture in your head, the amount of boys who have tried to stimulate conversation by inducing me with their toilet paper hoarding skills is truly the most unprecedented part of this pandemic. One guy even replaced his profile picture with a picture of 23 packaged rolls. There’s no way I could have predicted 6 months ago that boys will be bargaining a date with me in exchange for a roll of toilet paper!! Actually. Some of them didn’t even make clear if they were going to share their hoarded supplies so who knows what I would even get out of this? These are wild times we live in folks.
Now, one thing about me is that one of my favorite things to do is pick a show/movie to watch with someone and watch remotely with them at the same time and then video chat/live chat our reactions. “Watching tv together while apart” is such a nice calming activity!
And it seems that everyone on these apps has finally realized that this cute date idea is the way to go!! (But also people are acting like it’s something unheard of: “All of my dates with my boyfriend are skype dates” like… what? skype dates are great!!) Classic lines included: “Let’s have a social distancing date” “Want to quarantine and chill?” “Be my survival partner as we go through this pandemic?” (how survival are we talking here bud?? are we talking surviving this social distancing and parting ways in a few months once this pandemic is hopefully over, or are we talking marriage??) and even some people who reminisced of better times when the internet was carefree and filled with Baby Yoda memes. But it was one man who said it best: “Day 3 of Quarantine. It feels like it’s been almost 2 weeks” Right there with you buddy.
Some people have actually suggested in-person dates, and to me, that’s a red flag! If you’re not going to take this social distancing seriously, then I’m not going to take YOU seriously! All the people at the beach and the bars? Come on, guys. This is bigger than your fun. Needless to say, they were hard-nos.
The Excitement of Getting to Know People
Regardless of where you fall on the covid-19 cautionary spectrum: whether you’re in full quarantine, whether you’re doing your best to distance but still living your life because you have to go into work, or whether you’re going about their normal daily activities, or likely somewhere in between, chances are you feel a little bit overwhelmed/anxious/lonely too. (Will address ways to combat that later too!)
And the one thing that I noticed is that everyone has been really happy to talk to new people during this time of less social interaction. It’s fun talking to someone about your lives and sharing stories and getting to know people! With the world that we live in with constant updates and news (I literally have the JHU Map of cases around the world bookmarked on my computer ugh) then it’s important to talk about other positive things that can clear us out of this anxious time! Lately, I’ve been scrolling through Tumblr and finding a lot of those “Ask Me” posts and asking the questions to my friends just because I think it’s fun getting to know things about someone you may not have known before!
That being said though, no matter whether you’re on these apps or you’re dating someone steady, or you’re not looking or whatever your plan may be, I would suggest using this social distancing time to reach out to people who you haven’t spoken to in a while and take a moment to catch up! I’ve noticed that people are a lot less patient and more aggravated lately, but it’s always nice to hear from an old friend! Maybe you can cheer someone’s day 🙂 One of my friends reached out to me after a few months and it was really nice to hear from her!
So What Have I Learned?
First, after the first few days, I found myself getting annoyed at the variations of coronavirus pickup lines – especially because after day 2, I felt like I had heard them all.
Second, Bachelorette Sandhya is taking a break and holding onto her rose! Because…
Third, I have confirmed that my personality hasn’t changed and I’m still not really a fan of dating apps. Partly because I have a tough time trusting people i don’t know; getting from the talking-online stage to the meeting-in-person stage, is very hard for me! And also because I’m very into Bollywood Movies and want a meet-cute!
So alas, here ends my week of trying dating apps.
Now I need to find some other way to spend my time quarantined at home.
Maybe I should get started on that law school homework… 🙂
If you want to talk more personally about your situation or ask more questions about my experience, feel free to message me or comment below so other people can benefit from your questions as well!