Dating During a Pandemic — Jack Groves

‘Eternal, A Love Story Review

Dating during a pandemic is dubious, but it was worth a shot, right?

Pandemic dating is a whole new game. From dating apps to dating mishaps, the pandemic placed restrictions not just on basic needs but also on dating

Lockdowns had me in my bedroom and on my phone. My thumb is still numb from endlessly swiping and typing, continual echo-chambers of no replies and diminishing standards. Being newly single during the first lockdown, I was fresh calamari back on the scene (bedroom) and lonely like everyone. Dating apps being the LAST thing on my mind. App user attitudes have evolved with the pandemic, notably the semi-elicit sex ban and rules that shut everyone inside increased people’s engagement. But are dating apps still the sexy future or have they become platonic chat servers?

Everyone began to value commodities that we had once taken for granted. The pandemic led us down the road of puritanical narratives. Sex isn’t something to be ashamed of and guidelines/roadmaps/government advice was platonic at most. During the first lockdown dating and sex outside your household was taboo and in some cases illegal. For many of us, minus
Neil Ferguson’s “error of judgement” breaking rules with his lover, the rules were tough restrictions over our fundamental needs. This was the first we saw of the moderately understated sex prohibition. The absurd logic had no impact and served to confuse people further. Later, we saw intermediate moments of freedom where dating was allowed. The summer of love, or as someone cruder than me coined it “The Season of Shagging”

Cohabiting nuclear families and established couples were largely not affected by the guidance given on sex. Nonetheless, people’s living situations changed. As someone who does not fit in those categories, I felt delegitimised. Facing uncertainty meant everyone was chasing to understand the new rules. Younger demographics felt that dating wasn’t convenient or sustainable. The market for dating apps is so wide that platforms vary from conjugality to hookups. Although, what good is accessibility and discretion when their users are not comfortable using the apps? At the time, digitally dating didn’t seem very utilitarian. But human connection cannot be denied as desirable (even if it’s electronically). Digital dating was supposed to be the new thing, but I wasn’t feeling it.

Liam Joseph-Beckles — @liamjosephbeckles

I have had a precarious relationship with dating apps. Natively meeting someone felt organic. Nothing is forced or uncertain. Online holds a sense of uncertainty, but also mystery. It’s augmented reality. Just like social media, you only want to showcase your best self. In essence, you’re uploading a CV with shaggable credits and housewife references. It can be difficult to understand someone’s vibe through text messages. People’s undertones are lost through electronic semantics and suggestiveness through emojis and ellipses. The pressures of online dating can be daunting and this was only emphasised during the pandemic. I felt that dating apps were commodifying people’s love and people’s hearts. I felt like a statistic in a constant loop of matching/swiping/complimenting, followed by profiles fizzling out.

Some people find comfort in novel writing bios and endless conversation, but that was not the comfort I was looking for. Contrarily, the sleazier apps bombard you with unwarranted nudes with eXXXcesive enthusiastic chat. Constantly thinking to myself, “you need to back up a little bit!” I thought dating apps were supposed to be symbiotic, so why did I feel unheard, unrepresented and ghosted?

People want companionship. Online dating revealed a shift in user approach: I saw fewer nudes, heard less cringy one-liners, with a warming influx of people who had a real investment in their romantic disposition. People were making efforts to establish intimate relationships, making hard decisions, whilst following the rules. My dating journey faced these restrictions, which caused tension. Apps were ghost chat rooms and romance was dead, especially when trying to establish new relations while locked inside.
Unless you’re locked inside with who you are dating.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries said:

“Couples should test the strength of their relationship and decide whether they should be permanently resident in another household”

To circumvent the tight restrictions imposed on leaving your house during the coronavirus lockdown, couples were asked to consider cohabiting. This rhetoric and policy framework did not work in my situationship. Not here for #LockdownLove. So, no.

I spoke to Liam Jospeh-Beckles, 22, a broadcasting executive for a dating app. He said, |“Now that restrictions have finally lifted people are more likely to want to start the whole dating process again.” | This statement is interesting. Apps had an influx in user acquisition, but user attitudes had also changed. Did the adjustment in engagement denote purely for online chatty
constancies? If the user’s intentions aren’t to meet up, then why the haphazard discourse? He continues, | “there may be a decrease in downloads as we’re now able to see each other in person.” | Personally, I don’t understand why users continually entertain false online connections if alfresco dating has agency for new relationships. There is fluctuation of
temperament and rationale, although I expect apps to advance in the coming months.

isolation — @jkgroovin

Restrictions are now easing and the world is opening up. Online prospects continue to change. The overlap of sexy apps and endearing love notes is confusing, although expect apps to advance in the coming months. However, for now, my thumb is still numb from endlessly swiping and typing, in a continual echo-chamber.


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