In the thick of the lockdowns, it felt as though we’d forgotten how to sustain a conversation with a real person. “So, how’d the lockdown go for you?” somehow became the go-to question when we met someone after months spent holed up in our homes.
When a conversation with peers and friends seemed like the hardest thing in the world, a date might’ve just felt like you were suddenly dropped into an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen. Before you know it, he’s holding up a bun on either cheek, calling you an ‘idiot sandwich’ for everything you say.
Feeling anxiety before a date is common. But when lack of human contact during the lockdown left us anxious about someone clearing their throat near you, the anxiety from a first date after months might just be enough to make you consider quarantine for a couple of more months.
An Awkward Affair: The First Date After The Pandemic
For those of you who started dating IRL again after in an almost-post-COVID world, congratulations. You lunged into the unknown and came out the other end a stronger person, even if the date didn’t go too well. For those who are figuring out how to get back into dating after COVID (even worse if you’re dating as an introvert), the list of what goes on in your mind during the first date after the pandemic may just give you an idea of what to expect:
1. “Do I take my mask off?”
“I have to eat at some point”, but what about when you just meet and you’re both wearing masks? Then you go on over to your table, order whatever it is you want, and then just…wait?
Alright, say your food is now at the table and you’re still wearing your mask. Do you suddenly yank it off so you can eat, in the process also orchestrating a face reveal of sorts? Do you acknowledge it? Should you just not eat? Why is everything so confusing?!
But if you see them walking toward you sans mask, hopefully, that makes things a lot easier and lets you know you can take off your mask too. But wait, did you just land yourself a date with an anti-masker? Hold on to that sanitizer for dear life.
Related Reading: 20 Valuable Tips For A First Date After Meeting Online
2. “Are they vaccinated?”
Whether a person is vaxxed or not says a lot about them. Do they believe in science, or does your date believe Bigfoot is still roaming about, playing poker with his Bigfoot friends? It’s a tough topic to bring up, but one that’s oh-so-crucial. Kind of like what your parents thought before they gave you the birds and bees conversation.
If on your first attempt at post-COVID dating, you come across someone who thinks the whole pandemic was a hoax, we’d suggest you cite a sanitizer shortage at your home and bolt. Sure, you might’ve liked this person, but how long will they even be around when they’re not willing to take a vaccine? What’s next? Will they think voting is a scam too?
On the other hand, perhaps dating after the COVID vaccine is actually doing us a favor. By knowing your date’s stance on vaccination, you can immediately judge your stance on staying.
3. “What do I even say right now?”
You already asked your date how their lockdown went (twice), you already asked them which vaccine they took (and got judged for it) and you’re now contemplating hitting them with worldometer numbers you were anxiously checking during the lockdown.
Basically, you’re going through first date jitters, times ten. And if you landed on saying “So….what did you do to boost your immunity?” You can be sure of the fact that your date has already texted “help” to their best friend.
4. “How do I bring up my lockdown skill in this conversation?”
Since it’s possibly the only thing you get to boast about while dating during the pandemic, you’re most probably always on the prowl to spot an opportunity to throw in how you learned to cook during the lockdown.
If by cooking you mean heating up a frozen pizza and/or finally learning how to chop an onion without crying your eyes out, it’s better if you just talk about something else (NOT THE VACCINE).
Related Reading: Dating Etiquette – 20 Things You Should Never Ignore On A First Date
5. “Wait, how do I even flirt without Google?”
Dating during the pandemic basically meant flocking toward dating apps, making a profile, lying about your height, and hoping for the best. Since you two probably met online as well, you might’ve just been Googling “funny things to say on dating apps” every two minutes to keep this person interested.
Now that you’ve raised the expectations and made your date believe you’re some sort of comedic genius, good luck trying to awkwardly flirt without Google at your beck and call. Too bad you can’t compliment his/her face either, since you both are still probably figuring out when it’s okay to take your masks off.
Dating and the pandemic don’t really compliment each other very well. The awkward video-call dates where you kept your notes on what to talk about next to your laptop might’ve made you confident, but IRL dating after COVID can be a bit challenging.
Just make sure you don’t start spitting random worldometer facts at your date, and you should be good to go, really. Dating can be tricky, but it’s also the only way you’ll find someone to snuggle with if we’re unfortunate enough to go through a lockdown again.