On March 10, mere days before the searing reality of the pandemic swept over New York City, I was filling a suitcase with bikinis and yoga pants. I was headed to Costa Rica. Nosara, to be exact. A quaint surf-meets-yoga village nestled on the northwestern coast of the country. I’d signed up for a yoga retreat with one of my beloved Brooklyn-based teachers.
But it was more than just a week of green juices and asanas for me. The trip served a dual purpose: it was both a celebration for (finally) finishing my book proposal and a means of bringing 2019, a year largely devoted to recovering from a breakup, to a more final close. The goal was to spend five days reflecting, relaxing, and soaking up some much needed Vitamin D, and returning to New York with a stronger headstand and fuller heart.
But then the coronavirus officially hit the U.S., and I had zero interest in traveling abroad to hit the reset button on life, and a much greater interest in fleeing my apartment, buying a month’s worth of groceries, and not leaving the confines of my home in the Hudson Valley for the foreseeable future.
But once I’d purchased enough canned chickpeas to feed a small army and made sure my family was safe, an interesting feeling started to percolate.
I want to date.
Was this real? We were in the midst of a freaking pandemic?! How could I possibly have the mental and emotional bandwidth to fiddle around on an app? And what was the point anyway? When would I actually touch anyone again?
I wasn’t alone in this feeling. As the spread of the coronavirus gained momentum across the world, so did the use of online dating apps. A significant uptick in downloads and messages was noted. Helen Fisher, Ph.D., a behavioral anthropologist and Chief Science Advisor to Match.com, dubbed the pandemic as a “gift” to dating, marking it as the age of “slow dating.” One study even found the pandemic made singles take dating more seriously.
The general consensus: COVID-19 had changed dating for the better.
But was that really the case? Was this drastic uncertainty in our lives causing singles to take their pursuit of partnership more seriously, or was shitty behavior still lurking amid abandoned chats and unwarranted dick pics? I posed the question to a handful of women. Here’s what they told me about their experiences dating during the pandemic.
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