Love in the Time of COVID-19

Gone are the days of the meet-cute and accidentally bumping into each other in the coffee line. If you’ve fantasized about reaching for the same elliptical in the gym as your soul mate, at the same time — think again. Finally, you can flirt from the toilet. Social distancing and isolation during the coronavirus pandemic certainly are changing the dating game.

 Thankfully, the creative minds behind independent businesses, global dating apps and local delivery services remain innovative. Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to keep your love life as active as ever — provided you’ve been abstinent your entire life. 

Apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge all continue to promote dating from a distance. Set your dating radius real small and get to know your neighbours on a different level. Or go big and use Tinder Passport and dream about when we used to board planes and complain about layovers.

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, this is “the new normal.” It’s time to accept our new reality and adapt to it by getting creative and thinking locally. 

Now you’ve likely wondered, just like me, what’s the biggest worry in the lives of lonely, touch-deprived young business professionals during a national pandemic? The economy! Well don’t you worry one bit, we’ve got a solution for you.

Plenty of local businesses remain open for pickup and delivery to assist you in making your date as amorous as possible. Local breweries such as Abe Erb, Block Three and TWB, among others, will ensure that you’re not without liquid courage during these dark days. Schedule an order to your house and your date’s, connect through video chat, throw on a little Sugar Ray and you’re set for the night.

Have a dinner date from across the driveway. Due to decreased revenue, more restaurants continue to pop up on food delivery apps such as UberEats and Skip The Dishes. Also, check out if the restaurant runs its own delivery off their website and help them save those fees.

Take a day off from ordering that hockey puck your burger chain calls a patty and support independent local businesses instead. I’m not suggesting you go out and forage herbs and insects — though they are a great source of nutrition, there are countless terrific options no more than a few kilometres away. 

Ignore your initial guilt as your courier Bob cycles your $11 sushi roll over to your house during a torrential downpour or the fact that the soup you ordered coated his bag with an irremovable mess. Just try to enjoy the night!

 If you ask me, Veslo Family Restaurant has the best schnitzel in town. The Cactus on Phillip St will be the greatest burrito you’ve ever had and there’s no better place to order a pie from than Fratello’s Pizzeria. Impress your date with something original, something local. 

For those of you who feel the constant need to commentate through every possible second of a movie, try setting up a Netflix Party. Nothing says romance like monotonous, unnecessary narration and comment scrolling up and down the side of your screen for two hours straight. Spend 45 minutes arguing on what to watch before inevitably caving and throwing on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for the third time. It’s a great way to test your new relationship.

For those hopeless romantics looking to make that big, jaw-dropping gesture, take a page out of Lloyd Dobler’s book. Grab your boombox (a solo cup and your phone) and serenade your beloved’s entire family from their driveway. Nothing gets a father’s approval quite like waking him up to Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose” at 1:00 AM.

I will admit dating from a distance is less than ideal. You’re deprived of all those little intricacies: uncomfortable eye contact, natural pheromones or trying to hide a belch. But there are lots of positives to it as well — the typical dating prep and worry are no longer necessary. For one, you never have to excuse yourself to use the washroom. Just ask about their parent’s divorce and put yourself on mute. There’s also no expectation to dress up — feel free to hide that isolation haircut you thought would look good under a toque.

Believe me, I understand endless movie nights with the roommate you found on Kijiji don’t necessarily promote or encourage the feeling of romance, but it’s always healthy to find that happy medium. Don’t be afraid to designate a night solely to your mother, or another person in your household you hold dear. There’s nothing quite like spending two hours crudely following painting tutorials found on the internet. Sure, the entirety of your materials were purchased from the pharmacy, but no one ever said they were going up on the mantle. Your romantic endeavours will be there for you tomorrow. Try your best and make time for those you live with, as crazy as they may drive you.

We’re living in a weird period of time when even a brief embrace is considered highly dangerous. Keep the romance alive whichever way you can. Talk to those you care for, start a fling or heck  — fall in love. Don’t let quarantine stop you from finding a connection even in the strangest of places.

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