For some, a coronavirus shelter-in-place order means being shacked up at home with a significant other, making couple TikTok videos and ordering in. For me, a single 20-something, being at home means watching those couples' TikTok videos while cooking a pasta dinner for one. Self-isolation has made me even more aware of my single status, and now, more than ever, I've been longing to find that person — my person. But since dating can't happen face to face right now, I decided to take matters into my own hands and went on a first date with a Bumble match via FaceTime. Here's what happened.
It took me a while to figure out what to wear. Do I put on full first-date attire? Do I throw on some loungewear and call it a day? Or do I wear a dressy top but keep my sweatpants on? Despite having this virtual date in the comfort of my room, I decided to put my best foot forward. After all, a date is a date no matter the unusualness of the circumstances. I settled on a cute, casual top paired with my comfiest leggings and completed the look with my usual daytime makeup (even though I haven't worn makeup in at least a week).
The Time and Place
We picked our date time as 3 p.m. on a Friday, which is basically the self-isolation equivalent of an afternoon coffee date (bonus: this time of day meant good natural light in my room). Surprisingly, I still had a slight case of the first-date jitters, nervous to meet the guy I had only ever texted. Like any first date, you never really know what you're getting into or how it's going to go, and the whole video-chat thing added an extra layer of apprehension. I wouldn't be able to read his body language to gauge interest, and this could turn out to be painfully awkward. But 3 p.m. rolled around, and, ready or not, this date was happening.
As the phone rang, my nerves heightened. He picked up, and a pixelated face filled my computer screen. We both smiled and said hi, and immediately his image froze. Technical difficulties. Just another obstacle to face while dating in this medium. It took us a while to get our technological footing — my connection wasn't great either. But after turning my WiFi on and off again a few times, we got it to work, and then the date really began.
When I could see his image clearly, I breathed a small sigh of relief when I realised I wasn't being catfished and, yes, he looked like his dating-profile pictures. Thank goodness. We broke the ice and had a laugh about how we were both chilling on our respective beds (as one does in isolation), and as a little caveat, we agreed to attempt to talk about things other than the heartbreaking news. The goal was to really try to get to know each other and keep as much normalcy as we could muster in a situation such as this. I don't know what it was, whether it was his cute smile or his infectious energy, but I felt entirely at ease with this stranger. All of my previous nerves quickly dissipated as we talked more and more and more.
He's from the Midwest and I'm from the South, and, as it turns out, we have a lot in common. We spoke about places we've travelled to and shared music we both like. We talked about how we've changed over the years and exchanged college memories. We chatted about how we keep busy and reflected on where we are in life and where we want to be. We even decided to make a collaborative reggae playlist and loosely made plans for a post-isolation trip to a national park. He was laid-back, a good listener, and incredibly easy to talk to. An hour and a half flew by, and we hit our allotted time limit (he had to hop on a work call), but I could have talked to him for so much longer. As we said our goodbyes, we agreed that this is something we would totally do again.
While nothing can beat an in-person date, as far as first dates go, this one was still pretty great. Yes, that was probably mostly due to the fact that he was great, but the entire experience made the prospect of virtual dates a lot less daunting. I would definitely recommend!