Commentary: COVID-19, the perfect time to date

Managing editor Jasmine Gidney explains how online dating wasn't as anxiety inducing during COVID-19. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

I’m an awkward potato. I try to avoid speaking to my crush in public because my brain shuts down. I start speaking in broken English and I can’t meet his eyes. Any chance at a relationship crash and burns. 

With COVID, dating apps became less about meeting up as soon as possible and more about getting to know each other. I could go weeks, even a month, without meeting the guy in-person. 

I don’t have to worry about broken English or tripping over my words. I don’t have to worry about sitting in uncomfortable silence or awkward eye contact. I don’t have to worry about the awkward “Do we hug or shake hands?” when saying goodbye. 

With online dating, I can take time to think about what I want to say and how I want to say it. I can be myself, or a calmer version of myself and take things at my own pace without having to rush to meet in real-life. Then, once we both feel comfortable, we can meet in person.

Because we got to know each other online, the first date isn’t as awkward or as nerve-wracking as it would have been if we jumped right into it. 

Before COVID, I couldn’t go more than a few days before a guy asked to get coffee. That’s not enough time to make sure he isn’t going to murder me. But the pandemic is a good excuse to put a hold on the coffee date. 

My go-to excuse was, “I would go out with you, but with COVID going on I really don’t feel like it right now. Maybe another time.”

In my experience, most guys take the pandemic rejection well. It’s better than saying the thought of going out so soon makes my anxiety go haywire. 

But the “golden era” of pandemic dating was during lockdown back in March. 

Locked in my apartment with my roommate and her two cats, I needed someone else to talk to. I turned to dating apps to make connections and the guys I talked to were just as bored as I was. 

The physical aspect of dating was non-existent. There was no pressure to meet or hookup. All we did was text and get to know each other. 

Once, I spent five hours texting a guy on Tinder. We talked about our lives, dreams, insecurities, adventures, pop culture and probably more. While our talking didn’t continue for more than a couple of weeks, it was nice while it lasted. 

The pandemic is my scapegoat. It’s my safety net. It’s easier to explain that I don’t want to meet because of COVID regulations than because of anxiety. It’s weird, but it works.

At least this way, I have a chance to show someone who I am, not my anxiety.