I committed the cardinal sin of COVID-era dating. The evening began like your typical socially– distanced coronavirus pulp fiction novel. It was a fourth date, we walked several feet apart and raised our voices as loudly as possible in order to be heard. We looked into one another’s eyes — primarily because that was all we could see of each other. The temptation finally became too great after several hours together. We stepped closer to one another, with only two feet between us, abandoned caution and removed our masks. I suddenly realized the implications, stepped back and uttered those sweet words of romance, “I shouldn’t have done that. Now I need to get a COVID test.”
There are different levels of religious-like observance when it comes to contemporary dating. Similar to the religious dictate of being shomer negiah, not touching before marriage, I have mainly kept to corona negiah, although it is finally feeling a bit much, since we are now 11 months into the pandemic. The only way to kiss safely in today’s world is to be adequately protected, which is why moving forward, I’ll attend dates wearing a latex prophylactic stretched over my head. Breathing may be an issue, but you can’t put a price on safety.
Different people hold by varying levels of COVID-observance when meeting friends outside. Some believe it is fine not to wear a mask because you can’t catch it in the open air. I disagree. One study says that a person is 20 times less likely to catch the disease outdoors, but if it’s still a risk, then why risk it? Chemistry Professor Jose-Luiz Jimenez at the University of Colorado compared it to the smell of smoke. We can certainly smell smoke when outside — or at least we used to until California made smoking into a capital offense. If we can smell the smoke, that means it is entering our nose. The same principle applies to someone’s breath if they have COVID-19.
I now hold by the coronavirus Orthodox approach of wearing a face covering with everyone I meet, and it adds an air of mystique when you can’t see what your date actually looks like. Perhaps we all could star on the show “The Masked Singer.”
I now hold by the coronavirus Orthodox approach of wearing a face covering with everyone I meet.
Several Facebook dating groups have appeared during the last year, including the popular Corona Crush, whose name either refers to potential romantic interest or the coronavirus’ effect on the central nervous system. The group allows participants to introduce their friends with photographs and a short introduction. A friend posted my information,and it felt a bit like a human auction. However, unlike a human auction, you do get a series of likes, shares and comments from friends, like “he’s loyal!” “he’s kind” or “he’s a hard worker!”
One thing I never made peace with is the dating resume, a curriculum vitae that is increasingly requested by professional and informal matchmakers. I got to work on one, and instead of my work history section on a standard cv, I included an abbreviated relationship history including responsibilities, activities, challenges I had overcome and humbly-presented personal strengths. “Marcus sports the body of Brad Pitt and the brain of Stephen Hawking. A fine worker, with a swashbuckling wit and attention to detail, he is a loyal friend, a tireless worker and deeply romantic. Marcus will make a fine husband and has a fine head of very Jewish hair.”
For the “past experience” section on my resume, I included a detailed relationship history, including responsibilities for each appointment, and lessons learned. Unfortunately, there were very few lessons learned, but I tried my best.
Towards the end of the resume I provided testimonials from previous girlfriends, “highly inventive in all areas. And I mean all areas,” “he makes a fantastic breakfast” and “he’s a heroic lover.” Obviously these were bolstered by sentiments from their mothers who had lamented the potential son-in-law that got away.
The last lines of the cv were the phone numbers of two ex-girlfriends as a references. I am still awaiting a single response from the matchmakers.
An upside of the situation is that coronavirus-era dating is a very low-cost activity since all bars, restaurants and entertainment venues are closed, so the only real investment is a good pair of hiking boots. Even being well-dressed isn’t that important because it’s generally dark, so you can’t see what the other person is wearing beyond the cut of their coat. All of the hairdressers are closed due to lockdown, which is almost irrelevant since unkempt Jewfros are kept under wooly winter hats. In short, the lack of style demands are perfect for the average fashion-challenged Jewish male. Headwear will be compulsory if they are single, mildly eligible, and standing on the dating slave auction block.
I look forward to the day when dating is normal again, unless I get selected from Corona Crush before then. In the meantime I’ll stay protected. Wish me luck with the COVID test results.