Apps Striving to Make Pandemic Dating Less Awkward
Image Source: Ben Wiseman/Vanity Fair
As if COVID hasn’t done enough to turn our worlds upside down, one area it has certainly affected is dating. Though I can’t speak from experience, I can imagine that a mask and six feet of space makes for an awkward date, especially if it’s your first time meeting someone. And, how do you know when it’s okay to let someone into your “bubble” and dare I say, get intimate? Lucky for online daters, dating apps have recognized the struggle and adapted their services for these trying times.
Early on in the pandemic (April), when we were still in lock-down mode, Hinge introduced a feature called “Date From Home,” which allows matches to indicate when they are ready for a video or phone call as they chat on the app. The responses remain anonymous until both users are ready, then they can take things to the next level if they choose. Around the same time, Tinder made its “passport” feature free to all users, allowing daters to swipe to their heart’s content in any state or country of their choosing, instead of just their current location.
The newest example of dating apps adapted for present-day dating is Match’s “Match Date,” which is similar to Hinge’s remote dating feature. Once both daters agree to move to the next step after chatting, Match brings you into the “Dates” portal, which allows you to share your dating preferences, like whether or not you are open to in-person dates or would rather stick to video calls, masks or no masks, and even the greeting you’re most comfortable with (is a hug too much?).
According to Mashable, “in initial testing of the Dates feature of around 15,000 users, 96.5 percent are open meeting in person while only a slight fewer people (91 percent) are open to wearing a mask. While 92 percent of men are open to a hug hello, only 71 percent of women are.”
Sounds like we are on our way to (some) sense of normalcy when it comes to dating. If you’re struggling with pandemic dating, know that you are not alone!
Posted by Erin