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Are we nicer thanks to Covid-19?

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Life under lockdown has left a lot of single folks more vulnerable (and


Colour me frigid, but I’ve never been one for putting myself out there, making the first move and chatting up my crushes. Not without a hint of sarcasm and self-deprecating humour, at least. I’m not a fan of small talk, I’m super anxious unless I have a drink in my hand and if you compared my lockdown schedule to my regular weekend schedule, you’d see not much has changed. When I do feel slightly social, I hang out with the same group of friends or catch up with folks on FaceTime.

The latter – along with Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp and Instagram – is now my only way of staying in touch with the rest of the world. Since the lockdown, I’ve had three-hour-long video calls with friends, I’ve slid into DMs and compiled playlists for my crush, received more memes and fake news from my mom on WhatsApp than ever and... I kind of really miss intimacy. Hell, I even miss going on dates, bad ones included. One thing this surreal situation has made a lot of us to realise is just how much we all need each other. But what I didn’t see coming? How much I’d long for intimacy and a space to express my vulnerability, as well as being there for someone else in the flesh.

Dating BC (before corona) was already a struggle and if you were lucky, there’d be no ghosting. Physical attraction is instant and based on what we see: height, body type, facial features, even seemingly trivial things like what the person’s wearing. Now that we’re isolated and, on our computers, and phones, all we have to go on is a bio and a selection of flattering photos. It’s a bit like test driving a car versus reading a loaded ad in the Classified section.

Based on the interactions I’ve had (including a few international matches on Tinder, a new feature they introduced to help ease the anxiety of social distancing and quarantining), we’re all out of our depth here and there’s a new kind of empathy I’ve never seen before. Sure, there’s the economically savvy side of OnlyFans accounts and exhibitionism of exchanging nudes, but we’re in a time of fear, uncertainty and frustration and it’s left us feeling more patient, more introspective, more appreciative and braver. It’s weird and foreign. Then again, most periods of transition are.

Socialising will change, industries will change, there are going to be a lot more germophobes and banana bread bakers in the world. This period is make-or-break for many couples, and for the people who feel alone – the ones having first dates on Zoom and FaceTime or sharing music as a form of intimacy or using dating apps and online communities purely to bond with others over shared interests, the ones who’ve always been afraid to open up and trust others – I think it’s going to leave us as better people.

I hope we’re kinder and have realistic expectations. We owe it to ourselves and our fellow humans. I hope it’ll leave us with a sense of what truly is important in a relationship. Not necessarily looks or status, but a simple human connection and honesty. I hope we cut mind games and playing hard to get. This isn’t Sex and the City but it’s not The Hunger Games either. It’s a bit of both. Mixed with a bit of The Handmaid’s Tale.


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