I HAVE been swiping right on Tinder to people living in Oxfordshire for nearly a week to find out what their experience of dating during the pandemic is like – and let me tell you, it is wild out there.
The frontlines of dating apps are hard to navigate regardless of the Covid-19 crisis, but now opinions on vaccinations are creating a big divide amongst singletons in their 20s and 30s.
Tinder, Match, Hinge and Bumble users are now being rewarded with free premium features like ‘super likes’ if they choose to display their vaccine status on their dating profiles as part of a partnership with the Government.
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In my shiny new Tinder profile, I added ‘Journalist at the Oxford Mail, here for a story – hoping to ask you about online dating and Covid-19 vaccinations’, so that users on their quest for love did not have false expectations when matching with me.
As part of my highly scientific investigation, I swiped right on everyone – non-binary, women and men across the sexuality spectrum.
I asked them a set of questions: how important it is for them whether someone is willing to get vaccinated for Covid-19 when dating, whether they would date anti-vaxxers (people who are very opposed the vaccinations) and what they think about users adding ‘vaccinated’ to their profiles.
Here are some of the things that I found on my Tinder journey:
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First, I was a straight shooter – I did not wait for people to message me first and I contacted them straight away, which meant that sometimes I got ghosted.
But once people got chatting, they were very open to share their opinions about the link between dating and vaccinations.
I discovered that while most people prefer their partner to be ‘open to vaccinations’, many operated on the ‘their body, their choice’ mantra, with one man arguing that those who do not get the jab have ‘more exciting opportunities’.
In more extreme circumstances, some people said they would never date anyone not willing to vaccinate as it is a ‘very slippery slope’ and it is often a ‘red flag’.
One user added: “My brother is a doctor who has worked on a Covid-19 ward, so anyone who does not want to get vaccinated is putting him at risk.
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“I would not even consider anyone who did not want to get it.”
Speaking of healthcare professionals, I was very surprised to discover a number of NHS employees in Oxfordshire on Tinder, who were very relaxed about their partner not being vaccinated.
Another user explained their stance on dating anti-vaxxers: “If for instance, the person is coming from a highly restricted religious background or some remote tribe and has some serious scientific illiteracy than I cannot really blame them.
“If a person with a more common background is an anti-vaxxer than that is a huge red flag.
“It is not even specific to the Covid-19 vaccine as it would be more a reflection of significant lack in general knowledge and critical thinking in the person.”
However, noone seemed to care whether users add ‘vaccinated’ to their Tinder profiles, with one extremely rude man comparing it to adding ‘fertile’.
Others argued it is ‘virtue signalling’ and just a few thought it was a good idea, but would not consider doing it themselves.
‘Honey, you had me at vaccinated’ does not apply in Oxfordshire.
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