Dating during COVID-19

Cooped up at home doesn't mean you can't get out and meet someone

Timaree headshot
Sex advice shouldn’t be syndicated. We wanted a local feel to ours so we’ve enlisted the sound advice of resident sex professor Timaree Schmit. Have a question about your love life that needs answers? Email her at asktimaree@philadelphiaweekly.com. | Image: Redlite photos

COVID-19 has been hard on pretty much everyone … besides Jeff Bezos.

It’s difficult to say whether it’s hit people in relationships or single folks harder because lockdown sucks whether you’re trapped with someone or alone. For those Philadelphians who are in the market for partners, what’s dating been like?

“I was pretty shocked and horrified with a lot of the way this was all being handled on the dating apps,” says Red. “People would match and look to meet up the same night. I’m not above a random hookup by any means, but I did feel like a lot of people were going about it as if nothing had changed. I found that pretty unsettling.”

The Chinatown resident was in a long-term live-in relationship when the lockdown started, and, “Unfortunately, sheltering in place highlighted a lot of things that weren’t working in that relationship. Going through that breakup, having my ex move out, exploring non-monogamy, and beginning to date again amidst all of this has been really difficult and weird.”

They headed to the apps initially, but found that overwhelming. “I was pretty heavily vetting people before even considering an in-person meet up. I had quite a few phone dates and video chat dates to determine if I even felt like there was enough chemistry to warrant bringing someone into my IRL pod of humans,” Red says. 

Red works with the public and the pandemic has heightened their existing vigilance about sanitation. Outside of work, they see very few people. “My pod is pretty much exclusively the people I date and sleep with. We all know what precautions we are taking and none of us spend any unmasked time with non-partners.”

“I really wanna know how people are having safe hookups (I doubt most are). Are you just supposed to sit on opposite sides of the room and beat off at each other? Use very long dildos?”

Making sure you’re on the same page with a potential partner about risk is crucial, as Upper Darby resident Joanne can attest. “I found that COVID Compatibility is a real thing. I was seeing one woman virtually for six weeks and she broke things off because she felt I was too loose in my COVID restrictions.” 

Fortunately, she was pleasantly surprised to find love in this unprecedented time. “In the spring, I joined the apps just for a distraction, an extension of social media really. Then, I met my new love. We are insanely compatible in many ways, but the way that we approached social distancing seemed to make the most impact in the beginning. We were comfortable enough with the safety precautions we were taking to eventually be in the same room together and now we’re in the lovesick stage!”

Charles says dating now is, “Pretty much the exact same as before. I’ve actually gotten more matches than before, because I think that people are bored/lonely.” The Germantown resident adds, “I do find it interesting meeting couples who met right before COVID, or right after. You can tell that they are not sure whether they are in it because they like each other, or the convenience of it all.” 

Michelle agrees, “It’s been pretty much the same as before, but tougher since you can’t really meet as many new people in person. I’ve gone out with two guys who I knew before the pandemic. They’ve been my ‘casual lovers.’” The consultant and dance instructor says she was ghosted by a guy from Hinge but also ghosted another date herself. “It feels exactly like it did before the pandemic for me.”

Victoria, a chemistry teacher, has found connection through online means, “At the start of quarantine we would use Google duo to work out together. We also would have our digital date nights where we would play Minecraft together and voice chat through messenger.”

“I do find it interesting meeting couples who met right before COVID, or right after. You can tell that they are not sure whether they are in it because they like each other, or the convenience of it all.” 

Similarly, Melanie requires a FaceTime or Zoom meeting from any potential date. “It’s become a bit of a compatibility test just getting someone to make it that far. If a person can’t manage the technology to meet via either of those methods, they clearly aren’t for me.”

The Boontown, NJ resident has been dating for four years, post-divorce. “I’ve tried Match, eHarmony, OK Cupid, and Agnostics.com,” she says. “Some short relationships have been pleasant, but for the most part, the men who reach out don’t seem to pay attention to what my bio says I’m looking for….It’s frustrating.”

Frustration could also describe the situation for Bastion. “I had every intention of entering a long-delayed hoe phase (for real this time) in April. At last count, I have turned away 10 hookups because of The Virus, and every time it makes it more difficult for me to not just bodycheck every 50-year-old man walking down the street puff-chested without a mask.”

The Fairmount resident has been trying the apps, but the interactions haven’t been fruitful. An additional barrier is discomfort about physical meetings. “I would meet someone in person biding that we practice physical distance, but that’s it.” He adds, “For me: I’d go to a park or nothing, personally.

“I really wanna know how people are having safe hookups (I doubt most are),” he says. “Are you just supposed to sit on opposite sides of the room and beat off at each other? Use very long dildos?”

Have a question for Timaree? Send an email to asktimaree@philadelphiaweekly.com.

  • Timaree Schmit Headshot

    Timaree Schmit is basically an episode of Adam Ruins Everything, but in the shape of a person. She has a PhD in Human Sexuality Education and years of experience in community organizing, performance art, and finding the extra weird pockets of Philly.