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10 ways dating in NYC is different now than it was a year ago

A wave "goodbye" will do after a bad date.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

Dating in New York City was already hard, but now, paired with a pandemic and subsequent shutdown, it's nearly impossible. As always, New Yorkers are up to the challenge. We're ready to overcome obstacles to find that special person.

That being said, there are quite a few new things we've had to deal with that are just straight up bizarre in their own right: 

1. Zoom dating is a thing.

Unless it was a long-distance relationship, dating over video has never been something New York singles do. Now, we have to meet prospective significant others over a screen, which if there's a bad connection, can be excruciatingly awkward. Most of us opt out of it completely to avoid the weird pauses, bad lighting and talking over each other.

2. Now you have to worry about whether you should take your mask off or not.

At what point do you take your mask off—if at all? Walking up to your date with no mask just seems disrespectful, while leaving it on for the entire date seems apocalyptic. It's always a weird game to see who takes theirs off first.

3. You can't be out late because all the bars and restaurants close by 11.

Gone are the days of staying out late and sitting over a glass of wine for hours. Now, restaurants and bars have timed seating and close up early. Most of us have been calling it a night earlier than ever before.

4. You have to find outdoorsy activities.

Yes, indoor dining is back, but many of us aren't yet ready to return. Outside is the most viable option these days, so dates are more active. We're going to parks, going for bike rides, kayaking, going to Governors Island and more. 

5. If it rains, it's likely you have to cancel.

Because we're outside more, weather plays a major factor in whether or not we go on a date. If it looks like rain, we cancel. If we get caught in the rain, it's pretty much over because there's nowhere to go to dry off.

6. Any physical contact is a big deal and one-night stands are basically off the table.

Going in for a hug or kiss is taboo nowadays since germs are on top of mind. If it happens, it's a big deal—a true quarantine moment. Furthermore, there are fewer places to even meet anyone right now, so one-night stands are less likely. Plus, that mysterious cutie could have the 'rona.

7. You don't have to awkwardly hug if the date didn't work out.

On the flip side, it's a relief knowing that there's no expectation of a handshake, hug or kiss. There's no forced physical contact, which gets us off the hook when things didn't go so well. A wave is enough, and maybe we should carry that on into the future.

8. You need to have a conversation about how "exclusive" you are almost immediately.

One of the most awkward conversations in any relationship—about if you're dating or sleeping with anyone else—actually has to happen much earlier now. You can't wait until after a few dates anymore because everyone has a different comfort level with the amount of risk they're putting themselves in. 

9. You have conversations about getting tested and what to do if you're positive.

Some of us have required potential SO's to get tested before going on a date while others have waited until symptoms show up. Either way, testing is a major topic of conversation, and if someone tests positive, it's a whole other ballgame that spurs on a whole new set of problems for both parties. It's serious stuff!

10. You have to check with your roommates before you bring someone home.

If it's time to move the relationship forward, it's not like you can randomly bring your date into your apartment anymore. You have to alert and check with your quar-pod to make sure it's OK. It's a faux-pas not to get their blessing, and you should feel bad if you don't.

How has dating been different for you?

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