Admittedly, dating during quarantine has been quite a fucking doozy. I broke up with quarantine boyfriend #1 because, yes, it was that bad, and, yes, I am that fickle. So I hopped back on the dating apps and found a nice looking Texas boy who invited me over to his condo. I know, I know: how taboo. We’re supposed to be social distancing, but I decided on the first day of this shit that my mental health was as much of a priority as my physical health, so I’ve allowed myself to continue to see a select few people during this time, all of which are my family and then also someone to fuck.
Dating within the context of quarantine has been quite an experience. Mostly because I’m trying to not be a total coronavirus slut and start dating a ton of new people at once because I don’t want to endanger anybody. So that meant that I basically had one shot to get it right when it came to picking someone off the Internet to meet IRL. Which has been fine so far, but as a seasoned downtown Oakland bar fly, I must admit that going over to someone’s house for the first, second, third, and all future dates has put me out of my element. Quarantine dating for me looks like: sitting at this dude’s house, playing Monopoly, watching The Last Dance (I love it! Such good television), and one time we went on a hike. Normally, I would never play a board game on a second date or go on a hike for a third date. If I’m trying to get to know someone, I want to bring him onto my turf so I can appropriately judge him on a number of criteria: 1) does he dress like shit for a date to a bar? 2) does he know how to order and behave at a bar? 3) does he look at his phone the entire time throughout the date? 4) does he flirt with other women at the bar? 5) is he rude to the bartender? 6) does he complain if I order an ‘expensive’ drink? 7) does he tip well? 8) can he handle his liquor? 9) does he know anybody here? 10) can he hold a bar style conversation? All of these are things I take into consideration when dating someone new, mostly because I spend so much time in bars so I can’t really fuck with someone who doesn’t know how to handle themselves in a bar. But seeing as there has been no opportunity to go with this guy to a bar, and there probably won’t be an opportunity any time soon, I’m a bit at a loss here. I like to think I’m a decent judge of character, so I don’t foresee too many problems on the above listed criteria. He’s not going to show up to a public place wearing a fedora with a tweed jacket and a stained T-shirt. He’s not going tip $2 on a $50 bill.
However, there are a few other pitfalls when it comes to trying to get to know someone within the confines of their own apartment. First off, it feels like we’ve totally jumped the exciting, getting wasted at bars part of dating and have settled into the later stages of a relationship where we just sit at home and drink and talk shit. Which is fine, I love doing that, but I also had this glimmer of a thought the other day that this guy was boring. No, no, he’s not boring, it’s just that this style of dating doesn’t lend itself to a lot of excitement from jump. I also realize that the monotony of the context in which we are trying to get to know each other doesn’t offer a ton of insight into the soul. There are few outside forces than can trigger a deeper glimpse into who he is. If all we do is drink rose and watch ESPN, it’s pretty easy to get comfortable with each other in that context. I want to see something deeper, something darker. I want to know what kind of risks he takes. Is he the type of person who jay walks? Who drives drunk? Who gets in fights at bars? Does he like to steal shit from Whole Foods? Is he easily suggestible to a bump of cocaine? Is he spontaneous? Adventurous? Does he like to try new things? Or go new places? If I asked him to go to the museum with me, would we have a good time together? Is he scatterbrained? Tardy? Punctual? There are so many things that I’ll never learn about him if we just sit in his apartment and make small talk all day. Although, I’m a clever woman. I can find the answers to these questions if I try hard enough.
I want to know his secrets. I don’t know that sitting in an apartment for the next six months will give me a clear path to understanding what his secrets are. How will I know if he’s a womanizer if we just sit in his apartment? How will I know if he’s a slut if the only place I ever see him is at his apartment? What if he’s clingy, but we spend so much time at his apartment that I can’t tell? What if he’s mean, but he has so much control over the situation so it doesn’t show?
My friends tell me that dating someone in this new quarantine context might be good for me. They’re right – I’m trying to get away from Gangsta Boo-esque lovers, and what better way to not date an alcoholic than by not going to bars? Part of me just wishes that this guy would cave to my will and just move me in so we could fuck all day every day for the rest of quarantine, but, then again: we’re in a new context here. I am, as always, eager to initiate yet another codependent, toxic, sex fueled relationship. In ye olden days, that kind of relationship was frowned upon by people who prioritized things like their careers and their boundaries, but seeing as we’re all stuck inside now, the barrier to entry for a toxic relationship has lowered significantly. It’s hard to separate the true freaks from the ‘I’m new to toxic relationship’ ilk. Personally, I’m looking for someone who is seasoned in the art of mutual skull fuckery. Which is why I’ve surprised myself with how much I’ve taken my time with diving into quarantine boyfriend #2. I’m pretty sure than anyone I start dating during quarantine will devolve into some sort of bizarre, toxic boyfriend, mostly because what the fuck is going on right now and how do we navigate that in new relationships? My expectations for quarantine boyfriend #2 are very, very low, mostly because I feel like that’s the most merciful way I can approach this situation. Yes, we are both lonely and we are both horny. Yes, we can help each other with that, but how much will quarantine cloud our judgment? Will the insanity of quarantine bring us closer together? Or is it making us say, “Yeah, let’s fuck” to someone that we would normally never say that to? Only time will tell if this is yet another misguided, quixotic pursuit of the physical comforts of flesh, or maybe the context of quarantine will help us access a more authentic level of vulnerability and togetherness. Either way, I’m just stoked to fuck.