Being single was one of the last things on my mind when we were all forced into lockdown back in mid-March.
I was more worried about the fate of my Master’s degree, which was only 6 months from wrapping up, I was nervous about having been in Vegas for a bachelorette party only the weekend prior, and I was growing increasingly worried about my loved ones.
Being a Journalism student, I was also engrossed in every detail being reported on regarding the pandemic. For a moment there, I think I may have truly forgotten that my love life was even a thing.
I had chosen to stay in my student apartment in London, Ontario for my self quarantine. I had been in Vegas from March 6th to 8th during a time where most of us had no idea how bad the coronavirus would become. It seems foreign now, but back then we had never received any instructions to do anything but to go about our everyday lives.
After a few days of being on my own and not being able to partake in my regular everyday routine of attending classes, I felt something that I don’t like to admit to very often -- I felt lonely.
I still had the luxury of FaceTiming my best of friends and any member of my family and extended family, but that feeling of desiring companionship from a partner suddenly became real.
In all honesty, there were a few prospects on my single-girl horizon prior to lockdown, but everyone was too scared to see anyone who wasn’t living in their homes or in their “bubble,” as we call it now.
My family home that I eventually would return to after my self-quarantine was occupied with my two parents over the age of 50, my 90-year-old Bibi (grandmother) and my 29-year-old brother.
Keeping my household COVID-free and as far away from my vulnerable grandma was the only thing I was worried about.
I was able to push these worries aside for a little while, as I scrambled to finish school and keep one eye glued to Twitter for updates on the constantly evolving pandemic situation both locally and globally.
In the months ahead, my inherent human need for companionship and affection would become confronted by the guilt associated with dating during COVID.
To pass the time, I returned to my on-again-off-again relationship that I had two years of history with: Tinder.
Before ‘rona, once I got past the men who fetishized my body or culture, or degraded me for not replying fast enough, there were quite a few people who had caught my attention from dating apps.
I’ve met some interesting personalities who I still amicably follow on my socials to this day, and I also got to meet some men who I would wind up never speaking to again -- but hey, it is what it is, right?
This time, dating apps like Tinder became something I was aimlessly pursuing because deep down I was too nervous to see anybody and bring that looming threat into my immune system, and inevitably, into my home.
If I wasn’t comfortable seeing my dearest of loved ones, how could I make sense of seeing some guy I swiped right on two days ago, or someone I had met at a club once three months ago just because they seemed “nice”. Dating apps, a millennial rite of passage, and something I had long normalized was also being threatened in the pandemic.
I did finally decide to see one person in the early summer when restrictions were being lifted. One person who I had met prior to COVID-19 outside of dating apps who I had been in a reasonable but not committed “talking stage” with.
He was staying safe and seemed weary about COVID the same way I was. I felt safe. We decided to go on a scenic walk, but before the day was to come one of my best friends looked me dead in the face and asked “are you sure you trust him?”
“Are you sure you trust him?” or a variation of this question was always something that women asked their friends even before COVID-19 was a thing.
Women live in constant fear that their first date could be a nightmare. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we go in with blind faith, and it works out. I find myself satisfied if a guy respects my space and doesn’t come on too strong, even if his personality sucks (Chivalry isn’t dead).
But most of us know all the atrocities that have happened, and how often women get blamed for meeting up with a guy they barely know, or going home with a guy too soon. We always bear the burden of responsibility and so we ask each other, “Are you sure you trust him?”
Initially, I felt offended by her asking me the question, because the truth was I did trust his whereabouts and I did trust myself to not put my household at risk (Spoiler: he never gave me the ‘rona, and he created a safe space for me).
But she did have a valid question, and as my best friend of nearly 14 years, I know she was truly concerned for nothing more than mine and my family’s well-being. Above all, that question made me confront the fact that being single during this time would be even more difficult, and that this question of trust was going to be way more loaded than it once was.
This brings me to present day.
I am currently living in the ‘rona-ridden province of Ontario. I come from a region that’s already been placed into a modified stage 2 due to a spike in numbers, and I have had that dreadful Q-tip swab done twice to date.
In the last few days, Ontario hit a record high of daily cases at 1,042. Needless to say, dating probably will be difficult for a little while longer
While you might read this piece as a non-single person or a hopeful single person and think “Damn, nobody is going to find any love anywhere, anymore!” I assure you that is not the case.
There have been beautiful success stories about people solidifying their love and being able to find great happiness.
In fact, some people love being able to meet somebody online, the excitement of texting throughout the day and the easy-going nature of a Zoom date; a pseudo-long distance relationship, if you will.
But this isn’t an article about the person who found success in love during COVID. This is an article about a person who still doesn’t know what she’s doing, simply reaching out to other people who also don’t know what they’re doing, to say it’s okay, and we’re all in this together -- from at least six feet, or more away.