While there were still possibilities to see someone in Tesco or during a rare in-person class, the COVID-19 pandemic largely eliminated the ability to meet and pursue new people in-person. This led not only to a lack of new romantic relationships, but a lack of friendships as well. The way I see it, the only solution is to reach out online: say hello, introduce yourself, and see what happens. In the worst case scenario, you no longer look at their square on a call. In fact, it may be easier to ‘make a move’ behind a screen; it’s less imposing and sometimes you can see their reaction to your message in real-time. In the best-case scenario, you make a connection that leads to something more - be it romantic or platonic. Here’s my story...
“I’m living for the side-eye - thank you.”
To me, these are now famous first words. I sent them to a classmate over Teams while the class was listening to a peer ramble for ten minutes. Even though the class was virtual, I felt his frustrations through the screen. So I thought, I’ll be working with him all semester - I might as well reach out and become friends. So I hit send.
I was nervous. Messaging someone I didn’t know and had never seen in-person was not my cup of tea. I’ve never even downloaded a dating app. However, I didn’t even have time to freak out. I got a response back immediately. I heard the now-familiar sound of the Team’s notification and saw his reply:
“Side eye to whom?”
We continued messaging until class ended. As soon as I hung up, a Teams call was incoming from my new screen-crush. We talked for about an hour about everything; from classes to how we missed New York/New Jersey pizza. We clicked instantly (although we still argue about which state has better bagels). A week later, after pm-ing incessantly, we exchanged numbers and Snapchats. But we were far from leaving Teams behind. We continued to send each other messages during class and called each other afterwards. It became a ritual. We were lucky enough to be able to add ritual walks around town, Monday drinks at the Adamson, and the odd trip to Janetta’s. It wasn’t easy finding dates that followed COVID-19 guidelines - especially when one considers the weather in Scotland. So, in addition to in-person dates, we had virtual ones. There have been movie nights, study dates, and coffee catch-ups. Honestly, I enjoy them nearly as much as in-person dates most of the time, but that may be because I don’t share popcorn!
We have been dating for just over six months now. There have been time differences and quarantines. Holidays and birthdays. Weekend visits and week-long ones. Picnics and movie nights. Some of these have been spent together, others have not. Through it all, we have made beautiful memories, had lots of fun, and gotten even closer. We cannot wait to see what comes next.
And it all began with a single message on Teams…