As countries go into lockdown one after another, it has become obvious that this Covid-19 situation will affect our life for the long haul, if not forever. Especially in dating, coronavirus has pushed for a transition that we have long been anticipating – a drastic increase in video dates (or more fancily known as virtual dates nowadays).
While we are more socially distant, we are for sure not less connected. Many dating apps like Tinder and Bumble reported surges in number of active users, time spent on messaging and usage of audio/video functions, even as their stock prices took a hit.
To minimize the economic impact, dating apps have rushed to adapt with new functionalities. Tinder made one of its premium features – the changing of location free to its users. Bumble rolled out its in-app audio/video feature before coronavirus hit, and is now capitalizing on it. CoffeeMeetsBagel’s founder is experimenting with virtual meetups/dates for its users.
As for the users, since it is hard and sometimes impossible to meet in person, people spend longer time courting. They schedule virtual dates before meeting. Users claim that people are now nicer in their messages, and present less impolite behavior. Overall, there seems to be a return to more old-school romantic style of dating than the fast and casual trend that we became accustomed to in the Tinder era.
As the co-founder of a video dating app myself, there surely isn’t any greater news than this right now for my company. While I am lucky enough to be in Taiwan, where life goes on as usual, except that wearing masks is mandatory in public transportation and certain places, I have received SOS messages from many friends in quarantine to give them some dating advice in this dire time. So, here we go!
This is maybe the easiest way to virtual date, because let’s admit – who isn’t binge watching Netflix at this time? But why watch a movie/show alone when you can Skype with your date and play the same movie at the same time. You can hear each other’s laughters and screams and discuss at the end. There is even some plugins now for doing this without using Skype or other video app on the side.
A NewYorker got news famous when he spotted a beautiful neighbor on a nearby rooftop, wrote his number on a paper, attached it to a drone and flew the drone over to the girl to set up a date. Well, not everyone is as financially abundant and dedicated as this guy, but you can always tell your date to buy the same bottle of wine to drink or cook with the same recipe. You can even top it off with some candles or sprinkle your apartment with flower pedals.
If you really can’t resist the urge to meet them in real life, go somewhere in the nature, far away from people. But please please please make sure that you are ONLY doing this according to your city/country’s government guidelines. If leaving home is not really an option, skip to the next one. I am not kidding.
For those who can go out, this could be a great first date as well as a great social distancing activity. To be honest, you don’t even necessarily need to go hiking. You can just go to a park where there is very few people.
You might have heard. In many countries, Nintendo Switch and the game Animal Crossing are sold out. But there are many other free and alternative options. Many paid games are doing promotions or becoming free under coronavirus. Just do a quick google search and you will find something that fits you.
If you are not as lucky as me, you may not have masks readily available at pharmacies or anywhere. In Prague, Czech, people started very early to sew their own masks from old clothes and fabric. What an amazing activity to channel your creativity, protect yourself and others, while being eco-friendly at the same time! You can also try a little paint night/day (I am sure many of us have lost track of time by now) with your date.
Sorry, I have to advertise my own app. We are relatively new, so please send us feedback and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
StepUp is a 3 minute video speed date app that starts with a blur. When you log in, you get connected to another user for 3 minutes to video chat. At the start of the video chat, everything is blurred. If neither of you hangs up and the conversation makes past 1 minute, then the blur starts to fade. It the conversation goes over 2 minutes, then you get to see each other. At the very end, you do the swiping.
Through StepUp, we hope to provide our users an easier way to meet new people in this crisis, but also to enjoy a more personal dating experience. With the app, you can skip the small talk, skip with swiping, and just have a “first date” from the comfort of your home directly.
This is for those of us who crave some physical action. While inviting someone over on dating apps to your apartment is irresponsible, we can still get in on some action together. Personally, I definitely don’t advice stripping in front of a camera ever because I don’t trust people. But there is less to lose in watching porn together over Skype. As a matter of fact, Pornhub is now offering its premium membership worldwide.
However, do this ONLY if you trust the other person and entirely at your own sake.
In conclusion, stay safe and stay sane. We will get through this together and stronger. This is a difficult time for all of us, but also the time to let your creative brains fly. I saw on reddit that someone had an awesome first date by eating fries in his car at a McDonald’s parking lot, while his date did the same in her own car.
You get the idea. Nothing can stop humans from dating (/mating). Happy and safe dating, people!
Credit: photo by @cottonbro