For single people, this past year has been without the awkward first dates or single day flings. The realities of the ongoing pandemic have forced single people into hibernation — or, against all odds, into relationships.
One Carleton student, a second-year majoring in communications, has been using Tinder for years, but she says that there was no better time to be on the app than the beginning of the pandemic.
“Tinder was popping,” she said. “Everyone was answering quick because no one had anything better to do.”
This student said she got easily overwhelmed because there were just so many options.
“I talked to maybe 15 dudes at once … I couldn’t remember what stories I told who and who liked what,” she said.
By the time May rolled around, everyone realized the pandemic wasn’t ending soon and everyone started coming out of hibernation.
Another Carleton student, a third-year in Political Science, said that her dating life pre-pandemic had been completely different. Although she got Tinder in her first year at Carleton, she never used it to actually meet up with guys.
She explained she was too nervous to go out with guys she didn’t know and mostly dated guys she met on her own or through a mutual friend. But once the pandemic hit, she used Tinder more and, when things began to open up, she also started meeting up with her matches.
She recalls her first date post-lockdown had been out on a patio at Lansdowne, which was uncharacteristically quiet for a weekend. She said that she felt super weird being physically close to someone new.
“He drove me home, which was kind of odd because I hadn’t been in a car with someone in literally so long, I hadn’t really been around anyone besides my family,” she said.
The communications major said her life had pretty much returned to normal by the summer, but with one distinct change: the constant paranoia that hovered over everything. She remembered a time when a guy spat in her mouth and she freaked out – immediately went to the bathroom to rinse her mouth with his soap! – when, really, she’d already put herself in danger just being at his house.
In the summer, the PoliSci major was also going on more dates, but she was sticking to one guy. When things started opening up, she said they did more things like dining in at restaurants and going over to each other’s places.
Both girls met their current boyfriends through Tinder. Our politics major says that even though the pandemic is most definitely not a blessing, without it she would have never met her boyfriend.
Dating now, she says, she “understands why people might get a little bit bored with just the same routine. I can get why it can be hard to keep things interesting.”
The other agrees. “You can only watch movies and have sex so many times,” she said. But her boyfriend is high risk, and she says it really opened her eyes to how dangerous it was to be living life as if we weren’t in a pandemic.
She says that every time she wants to forget the rules and go out, “you just gotta remember that you care about this person, and you care about others, even if you don’t know them, and just sit at home!”