As a kid, I always had this romanticised idea that you would meet someone, fall in love and that would be that. It would be easy and heartbreak would just be this thing other people talked about. As a now 23-year-old, my experience has been anything but.
Pre-corona, I was used to meeting friends of friends or people on the dance floor. Tinder was just an app for mind-numbingly swiping through pictures and enjoying that momentary confidence boost when you get a match. It wasn’t for actually talking to men. But with the haze of alcohol and the joys of lockdown boredom (as well as Tinder’s passport feature being free), I broke my usual swipe-only routine and talked to a few guys – shocker!
With the passport feature, I set my location back to my university city, still stuck in the idea that I don’t want to date anyone from my hometown, and started to talk to a few guys – some were even successful. In fact, as someone who’s never made it to the second date with someone, it was very successful. Post-lockdown, I found myself back at university for a few weeks to pack up my house and on a first, second and even third date (COVID safe and outside, of course).
Starting the ‘talking stage’ during coronavirus was one thing. It almost seems easier than before with everyone stuck at home and sharing this mutual experience that we’re all collectively going through being the perfect kick-start to a conversation. But what do you do when it comes to a date? With no pubs or restaurants open, the classic first date idea is a no go. And so begin the park walks, sometimes with a bottle of some sort of booze, feeling very much like you’re back in your teen years drinking in a park and not in your 20s trying to start a relationship. It forces you out of your comfort zone and to be more creative with dating ideas, and again it seemed easier to form an authentic connection with someone.
Despite all the caveats of dating during lockdown, I managed my most successful dating experience. However, not only did coronavirus make it harder to communicate and develop a connection, but it also evidently made it easier for the classic ghost. No risk of accidentally bumping into them at a club or at the shops and limited options to meet up to have that conversation, so ghosting becomes the prime option.
Whether it’s because I’m bored of a guy or because I’ve started to develop feelings and panic (my most unfortunate trait), I’m used to always being the person doing the ghosting or sending the classic ‘I’m just not in the right place for a relationship now’ message. Lockdown dating introduced me to my most successful dating experience and simultaneously my first experience of being ghosted. Funny how they go hand in hand.
A few months down the line and coming out of a second lockdown (mine was even longer courtesy of getting coronavirus a week before lockdown was announced), I’m pretty bored. I’ve swiped and swiped on Tinder – I even downloaded Hinge for about a day – but with the difficulties of dating right now and this still romanticised idea of meeting someone in person, I’ve let the talking to guys on dating apps go.
It’s cliché, but I believe people come into our lives at exactly the right moment for a reason. Maybe mid-pandemic will be that time, maybe it won’t. But for the moment, swiping right (but mostly left) will be a fun past-time I’ll continue.