Dating, otherwise known as ‘courting’ if you’re a hundred years old, is a concept that’s been around since humans first began to roam the planet. Of course it has, or how would anybody meet a partner? It even goes on in the animal kingdom, penguins are known to mate for life, as are swans, grey wolves, beavers, Barn Owls, voles and crows. And there are others so it’s a lot, basically. And these animals must have gone through some sort of ‘dating’ process, for elimination purposes. The sum of all this is that it’s intrinsic in us to seek out a partner once we reach sexual maturity and it’s through ‘courting’ that we can identify who that suitable mate might be.
The good old days.
Pre-lockdown dating seems to have been lost in the mists of time, a time where masks didn’t need to be worn, you were allowed to stand close to people, and restaurants and pubs welcomed you in with open arms. Dating was easy then, meet someone (through dating apps or not), you’d arrange a date and go on it, your only thought being whether you liked this person enough to go on a second date. Speed dating was a thing, meeting multiple people in a short timeframe across tables that certainly wouldn’t have passed social distancing roles. It was all so simple in retrospect. Then the pandemic hit and the landscape of dating seems to have permanently altered, not least because this virus isn’t going anywhere any time soon. So, how do you proceed? If you’re finding it tricky to navigate through these new dating waters, we’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts to help you on your way.
First of all – are you actually able to date in person? There are still ‘bubbles’ in place and thousands of people shielding, so if you are close to someone in a vulnerable category then any personal contact is a no-no. If you’ve travelled from abroad then there’s a mandatory quarantine period. These and other factors need to be considered, so pay attention and don’t break the law. That is definitely not a good start to a date!
(Some of these are going to apply both pre-and post-lockdown)
- DO spend time getting to know them a little before you agree to a date. Principally to ensure your safety – both physically and with regard to Covid. Luckily, the chances are that you’ll have to spend a period of time chatting online/on the phone and that should give you some answers to your questions.
- DO treat the person cautiously, you probably don’t know if they’ve been in contact with anybody who’s tested positive and you can’t necessarily rely on the date to be accurate with information.
- DO find somewhere you can sit outside, whether that’s a pub garden or a park.
- DO ALWAYS take the appropriate PPE. For most that’s spare masks and an industrial quantity of hand sanitiser, but some people need more protection. Check out what’s right for you.
- DO always tell at least one other person where you’re going and who you’re meeting.
- DO take notice of whether they’d got appropriate PPE with them, that tells you a lot about how much that person values both their and your safety.
- DO take responsibility for birth control – however unlikely you may think it to be.
- DO NOT meet them without a certain degree of thorough conversation. Not the ‘tell me about your exes’ type of conversation, but just enough to weed out whether their ideas about Covid safety match yours.
- go their house on certainly the first date and ideally a couple more. You don’t know that they will have cleaned to the COVID demanded high standard and you could be putting yourself at risk needlessly.
- DO NOT rely solely on the vaccine to keep you safe.
- DO NOT be free and easy about personal contact, even if you’re really attracted to them.
- DO NOT forget about social distancing.
- DO NOT throw caution to the wind, cross your fingers and hope for the best.
- DO NOT rush into anything.
- DO NOT put yourself at risk in any way.
All of the above might seem overly careful and quite possibly confusing, what exactly is the right path to take, after all? Well, a lot depends on who you’re meeting up with for your date. If it’s someone you already know then you can afford to be a bit more relaxed, same goes for the friend of a friend type scenario. But if your date is someone totally new then take every precaution, both with PPE and common sense. COVID puts you at risk far more than normal.
Don’t be afraid to slow the whole dating process down, either. If you’re not comfortable meeting up – don’t do it. If there’s one thing that’s come out of this pandemic it’s that communicating virtually is just about as sophisticated as it could be. You can take your pick of plain old phone calls, Zoom, FaceTime – whatever you want. Plus, you can exchange photos on whatever platform you desire! Which will give you an accurate idea of what they look like, gone are the days of squinting at the one, lonely profile photo.
We are slowly, but surely, adjusting to our ‘new normal’. It won’t be the same as before, but as far as dating goes it’s entrenched in our DNA, so that won’t be going anywhere!