PHILADELPHIA -- Ghosted, catfished ... COVID-19'd? Like virtually every other part of life, the coronavirus has flipped the world of dating upside down.
Should we meet up in person? Where would we even go when everything is closed? What if this stranger goes in for a hello hug? Can you go on a date and stay the six feet away recommended by social distancing? How awkward would it be to just FaceTime instead?
They're all new questions to consider. But when it comes to coronavirus dating, we're in unchartered waters, baby. Doing what you need to stay safe is a top priority -- which will likely mean taking steps not fathomed pre-COVID-19.
"The bar isn't whether or not you're having unprotected sex with multiple people anymore, the bar is touching multiple people, hugging, holding hands, whatever," says Rachel, 36, who asked that her last name not be published.
Heading into date number two with a guy she met through Tinder, Rachel's currently planning out how she'll bring up the topic of exclusivity.
"I wouldn't ever normally be like, 'Hey, let's be exclusive after one date,' but I also don't want him touching other people, so it becomes necessary," she says.
It's a conversation she expects to feel a little strange, but so, too, did the first date, albeit for rather different reasons. Scheduled before the coronavirus completely shut everything down, Rachel and her date met for a walk around South Philly.
"I wasn't even going to touch this person, but it's getting cold, and then we walk by my house, and I end up inviting him in for tea," says Rachel of the first date. "That was definitely not in the plan."
Planning: It's a challenge most daters voice with coronavirus in town.
If you're going to survive dating in it, it's clear you'll need to be ready to adjust. And that means a hiatus on in-person dates as we all try to abide by the rules of social distancing. Sitting, or even walking, six feet apart from someone with whom you're on a first date is virtually impossible. You try holding an initial conversation with someone who's more than two arms' distance away. It's far from personal.