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Illustration: Time Out
Illustration: Time Out

Dating apps have changed during lockdown, but is it for the better?

Written by
Kate Lloyd

Single right now? You’ve probably already come to accept that the next few months will be a sexless, dateless void. But don’t think that you’re going to have to fill quarantine by texting your mates about how lonely you are (even though that is a productive and meaningful hobby). No, no – the good news for you is that dating apps have launched a load of new features, meaning there are still ways for you to ‘virtual date’ from quarantine. The bad news? None of them is as good as going to the pub for a couple of drinks and then going back to theirs. Here are your options.

1. Hinge

The app that's designed to be deleted has launched what its calling a Date from Home feature. Its a fancy name for what is basically a button that you press when you decide ‘Yeah, I'd quite like to talk to this person on Zoom. If both you and the person you're messaging on the app press it, you’ll get notified.  

Is it actually a good idea? Maybe this is just us being naive but surely ‘do you want to chat on the phone’ is a conversation that doesn’t need to happen like a game of Mr and Mrs. Plus, if you can’t ask someone out properly during the actual apocalypse, when can you?

2. Feeld

The spiciest dating app in town has come up with a saucy solution to the whole ‘not being able to meet up’ problem. Normally the app encourages you to set your location as where you physically are (ie. London) but now there are three virtual spaces: Quarantine, Remote Threesomes and the Sext Bunker. In each of them you can find people from around the world to share nudes with.  

Is it actually a good idea? Sext bunker might sound like something from a Daily Express headline – and, sure this might not be for everyone – but, you know what, the whole thing makes a lot of sense. Why not use this universal dry spell as a chance to send racy nudes to someone in Australia, rather than soppy texts to someone you fancy up the road? Get your kicks while you can. 

3. Tinder

For a long time, the OG dating app has lured horny holidaymakers into paying for a feature called Passport, which allows you to talk to people in cities around the world rather than just the one youre in – a great way to line up some dates before your week in Majorca. Now Passport is available for free until April 30, so you can chat to people around the world just for kicks.  

Is it actually a good idea? It’s basically a PG version of Feelds bunkers, thereby making it a million times worse. Yep, meeting strangers is fun; yep, it’s good to form international bonds during tough times, but it also presents a strong risk that you might fall for someone a 14-hour flight away. An expensive move during a financial crash. 

4. The League

You have to be vetted to get on The League: its one of those. But if you do make it on to the dating app, youll find the most quarantine-friendly set-up: virtual speed dating nights. Every Wednesday and Sunday at 9pm, you can log in to a section called League Live and swipe through video feeds of potential suitors from your neighbourhood. You get two minutes to chat before you decide whether to give them a like or not. 

Is it actually a good idea? Since its the closest to going on a real-life date, it doesn’t feel quite as bleak as the others. And yeah, it’s awkward, but in a fun doing-something-novel way. That said: you do have to talk to people who self-identify as elite’. Whatever, do what you can to get through this trying time, even if that means chatting up an investment banker. 

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