Dating in the age of coronavirus can sound almost too good to be true.
Dress your upper half and date from the comfort of your lounge room. You can blame bad internet if the date is failing and log off. And viewing your prospective suitor’s home in the background can have its advantages. Made bed? Take-away containers still hanging around?
It’s like being a fly on the wall without actually having to enter their home.
Social distancing has been mentally and emotionally difficult for many, and those with partners have the comfort of someone else to ride the Corona-coaster. But what about we singles?
We’ve been forced to find solace in our own homes, alone.
“Healthy dating right now is ironically the opposite of what we [used to] encourage to be healthy dating,” Justin McLeod, chief executive of dating app Hinge, told The Guardian in a recent interview.
McLeod’s app is focused on people seeking relationships rather than hook-ups. Hinge used to suggest “meeting up in person as quickly as possible”. Now they have had to pivot to focus on video dating, a feature they launched on April 7.
McLeod has found Hinge’s younger users are more open to using the feature.
“I think if you sort of grew up using Snapchat and things like that … it’s [already] part of your normal behaviour … and if you are already doing that with your friends it’s not a huge stretch to imagine doing it with a potential date.”
Debbie Rivers, owner of the Australian dating site Dare2Date, says of video connections: “For those who have used it, it has allowed people to create a real connection rather than a superficial one. Connection builds and ignites sexual chemistry. Using video chat allows that chemistry to slowly build up. It allows you to have space/time for great communication, without getting distracted by sex.
“The great thing is there is no awkward question of who pays for what, and unlike a phone call you get a really good idea of how someone looks and COVID has allowed people to video date, build that important connection before they meet in real life. Chemistry and connection can and does grow over time.”
And there is researched that suggests the fast physical connection is not all it’s cracked up to be.
A US survey of 1000 college students found that 66 per cent of women and 59 per cent of men were no longer attracted after they kissed. And with the pandemic halting potential meet-ups, video dating allows that connection of a face-to-face connection before any physical touching.
Alex Hayes, 28, has given it a go.
“The last two months have put a dent in my search for ‘the one’ [but] with apps allowing video dating I still have a chance to meet potentials. The benefits of video dating have definitely helped the Friday night alone blues.”