Quarantinder? No problem.

Seattle Online Dating Tips For Coronavirus

COVID-19 is here. Can Seattle update how we date?

Coronavirus? Seattle, we’ve got this — some of us, literally. Social distancing is our [blackberry] jam. Even in non-pandemic times, we cancel plans, scowl at gray skies, and nap with our laptops. We basically have the social skills of cats.

If you’re single, don’t envy folks quarantined with their honey; they’ll get sick of (or from) each other soon. Just update how you date­­ — without leaving home.

Like teleworkers, dating apps still kinda work in a pandemic — just differently. So no need to become un-Hinged, fear Quarantinder, or say OKCovid.

Though for everyone’s sake, Cough-y SHOULD NOT Meet Bagel.

There are obvious ideas, like video dates­­ — Skype right for co-vid — while eating takeout separately. Bonus: your date can’t snag your last dumpling.

But you want to stand out in the crowd (of not over 50 people, per state order), not just Bumble along. So, here are ten ways to switch things up and help you show off your curves while flattening the curve.

Just think of it as ethical non-monotony.

1. Fish out, toilet paper in

Nobody wants to see that salmon you caught; it probably died of coho-vid-19. Instead, hold aloft the package of toilet paper you reeled in. Or the last bottle of hand sanitizer in the Pacific Northwest, if you’re willing to share.

Stage the selfie in Costco in front of a cart full of essentials like sanitizing wipes, pretzels, and Nutella. Or in your home “work space” — as though you don’t work pantsless on the couch.

2. Break out a new bio and hobbies

Pre-COVID bio: “I’m an open book looking for a partner in crime with no drama who doesn’t take themselves too seriously and is up for anything. I like going to shows, checking out bars, camping, touching my face, and licking doorknobs. Poly. Pic is my niece.”

Pandemic bio: “Looking for a partner in the event of a breakdown of society who takes avoiding health-system overload seriously. I like washing my hands for 20 seconds, cooking creatively from my pantry, hiking at least six feet apart, and double-checking the source of viral coronavirus posts before I share them. Doorknobs taste gross. Celibate. Pic is my cat.”

3. Friends with benefits

But not those kinds of benefits. More like your sick leave policy, or, “Hey girl, my COVID is COVERED.” With so many of us laid off from local arts and business fallout or facing new challenges finding work, we might just swipe right for fabulous health insurance.

Also, Amazon bros step aside. (Kidding — already swiped left on them.) These days, there’s nothing sexier than an epidemiologist, especially now that everyone’s learned what that is. Unfortunately, they’re all too busy saving us to date us.

4. I’ve been tested, and I’m clean

Clarify which kind of testing, although either way you could have been exposed recently and not had symptoms yet. Get back to social distancing!

5. Up for canceling something tomorrow?

Going on actual in-person dates is so 2019. Now that you’ve matched with someone, agreeably take turns coming up with date-cancellation ideas.

You: What are you up to Friday? Interested in canceling getting coffee?
Them: Yes! And maybe sometime next week we can NOT hang out at my place to play Pandemic and watch Contagion?
You: Perfect. Now about not Tuesday?

6. DTF?

There’s only so long you can take the isolation. You’re craving touch. You need that itch scratched. No, seriously; you want to touch your fucking face because it’s itchy, but you haven’t been able to in how many days now? You’re DTF: Don’t Touch Face.

Message with your match about how badly you want it.

Them: I’m scratching it for you — hard.
You: A little to the left. Yes, right there. Above my cheekbone. Aaaaaah.

7. Crosswalk-flag semaphore

If you REALLY want to meet in person, Seattle has the social-distancing infrastructure — pedestrian crossing flags. Wipe the flags with disinfectant, stand at opposite ends of a crosswalk, and spell out messages in flag semaphore.

Bonus: It’s slower than texting, so it’ll take longer for them to get around to asking about your douchey ex. Also, you get to confuse drivers.

Drawback: You don’t actually know semaphore, despite having watched Monty Python’s Semaphore Version of Wuthering Heights.

8. Give bots a chance

Face it, most of those profiles are fake — scammers, catfish, bots, etc. Take advantage of the numbers while social distancing, and just date a bot.

Public health leaders generally agree that if someone doesn’t exist at all and is only a series of responses generated by artificial intelligence, it is PERFECTLY SAFE for them to come over, make out with you, and compliment your book collection. Bonus: You don’t even have to open the door to let them in.

Because viruses mutate, officials will update us if these guidelines change or this virus can infect your electronic device.

9. Netflix and ill

Many of us will get sick. You may end up messaging your matches from your quarantined home in a hot-headed haze, especially if you’re not in a high-risk group and don’t want to overwhelm emergency rooms. That feverish, incoherent you isn’t your most charming self, so extract — and distract — yourself from the conversation until you’re healthy enough to impress.

You: I’m gonna go watch just one episode from the first season of The Good Place and definitely not get sucked in. Brb.
Them: OK
Them: Hey

10. Use Tinder

Actually, there’s no need to change how you use Tinder, since you were going to swipe left on everyone anyway: Dull dude with fish. MAGA-hat white supremacist creep. Bot. Guy cheating on partner. Bot with fish. Woman even more jaded than you. Isolated photo of a hairy chest. Person with coronavirus. Bot cheating on fish.

Accidental super-likes and rare exceptions aside, Tinder’s pretty much a tool for building strong left-swiping thumb muscles. All that exercise helps your immune system. Maybe you’ll stay healthy after all.



Public health professional, writer, and pun perpetuator living in Seattle, WA.

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Deborah Gardner

Public health professional, writer, and pun perpetuator living in Seattle, WA.