WIth the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, we're all being warned not to go to public spaces, gather in large groups, or hit the Ponsonby road bars at 2am on a Saturday.
Ok, that last one hasn't exactly been spelled out, but there's no doubt it's a tricky time for singletons looking for love. A pandemic where we're supposed to stay two metres away from other people isn't exactly conducive to romance.
So how do you go about finding love when we're supposed to be social distancing?
First of all - don't go to bars. Health officials are asking us to avoid places with lots of strangers all in one area, so that includes your local watering hole. Parties are out as well, as is church - if that's your romantic steeze.
Instead, this is the time to fire up 'The Apps' from the comfort of your sanitized couch: Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Her...and the other 5000 which seem to have sprung up in the brief two years I've been off them.
Instead of filling your diary with a date every night, take your time really chatting to your matches. You can sip gin and tonics separately and talk about the important stuff: where they went to uni, what their relationship with their parents is like, do they think pineapple belongs on pizza? etc.
Utilising distance measures like video chatting, texting, and phone calls to connect with matches forces singles to "solely get to know each other by asking questions about themselves, their family, their hobbies," Maria Sullivan, dating expert and VP of Dating.com told Cosmopolitan. "This allows both parties to connect due to similarities in each other’s lives and not on physical looks or lust."
And while it's not the sexiest of topics, don't be afraid to talk about the pandemic. A recent survey from the dating website OKCupid reveals those looking for love are using coronavirus as a conversation starter. Between January and March, COVID-19 has been boosted in mentions on dating profiles by a whopping 262 percent.
Here's a little list I put together of ways to woo during the pandemic:
- Create word puzzles like crosswords and word finds for each other to do, with the answers corresponding to interesting facts about yourself (for fellow nerds only).
- If you're both gamers, use the wonders of two-player modern technology - bonus points for using headsets. Fight crime? Go to war? I am not a gamer, I don't know what's trendy.
- Each buy a bottle of the same wine, and sip it cozily on the couch over Facetime.
If you do decide to live like it's the end of the world and meet up, please do it safely. The apps themselves are warning us to put hygiene measures in place. The official Twitter page of dating app Hinge warned users to "wash your hands before stealing your date's fries," and Grindr is instructing users to do similar. Tinder even had a coronavirus pop-up, recommending people bring hand sanitiser on dates and avoiding touching the face.
Or, sexy singletons, you can use this time of self-isolation to really fall in love with yourself. Take up meditation, get into drawing, start that journal you've been longing to do.
Finally, of course, there's always this tactic.