New York: With governments clamping down on social interactions to contain the coronavirus spread, and dating sites discouraging dates and asking users to get to know each other virtually instead, interactions have moved online from bars and restaurants. Some women see it as a boon.
Comedian and author Lane Moore says many of the men she meets on Tinder want to cut the conversation short and jump straight to meeting in the flesh. She thinks it’s a good thing that now men are being forced to chat more first.
“That’s something that women have always wanted because it’s an opportunity to meet someone you like the first time but also try to make sure that they’re safe,” Moore, who is from New York, explained.
Leading matchmaking app OKCupid encouraged bonding online, tweeting, “FaceTime, Skype, call, text, message on our app.... all very romantic right now.”
In fact, the coronavirus itself is a topic of conversation through which couples get to know each other better. “I’m talking to a guy right now who I met on Tinder Live and we’re both talking about how this coronavirus COVID-19 stuff is impacting our lives so that can be a good way to know somebody,” Moore said.
Moore also said the coronavirus helps weed out incompatible matches. “If someone seems like they’re not taking the crisis seriously or they’re making fun of it for me personally that’s a turnoff,” she said.
The dating site Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB) is proposing several different ideas for remote interactions, including an online video game date. CEO Dawoon Kang they are having to think out of the box, and are organising an online group discussion, which they have never done before.
Dating sites contacted by AFP refused to divulge their traffic since Covid-19 starting shutting down US cities this week but it appears their usage is far from slowing.
Yale University student Ileana Valdez and five friends spent just a few hours setting up a dating site for students whose classes have been cancelled and campuses are deserted.
The site, OKZoomer, a nod to the popular expression “Ok boomer” which millennials use to refer to older people, picked up 6,500 users in less than a week, according to Valdez.
“Social distancing allows us to focus on conversations and building up existing and new relationships,” the computer science student told AFP via email.
She feels that the big dating apps are focused on “hookups,” and argues that OKZoomer sets the ground for “meaningful relationships.” For example OKZoomer”s algorithm does not prioritise proximity, unlike most major dating sites.
Other sites are emerging too, such as “Quarantine Together,” whose slogan is “Get close even when you can’t be close.” Moore, the comedian, isn’t convinced that the new coronavirus will spark a dating revolution though.
“I can imagine that once all of this settles down the men who don’t really want to be having a conversation will probably go back to one-word answers.”