We might assume after being locked up for over a year, relegated to loneliness, irritating roommates, or bothersome family members, singles would be itching to go on dates again. But is that how it’s shaking out?
It’s bizarre to imagine the life we would’ve had, had there been no such thing as COVID-19, the pandemic that has now stolen over a year of normality from us, months of Millennials’ and Gen Z’s youth. Some of us would’ve landed a job we’d been dreaming of for years, others could’ve taken a long-planned road trip with friends, making memories we’d one day fondly reminisce about, and others might have met the love of their life, had everything just been normal.
Alas, such things were taken away from many of us – or at least put on the backburner – and we spent many a night inside, watching as this virus took over the world. Countless lonely singles turned to dating apps, yearning to at least get a head start on forging a connection with someone they’d want to see when COVID had run its course.
And with the grand majority of 2020 being spent socially distanced from one another, the summer of 2021, the finish line we’d been given, was deemed the impending summer of love, when those of us who didn’t have a COVID romance would finally get their chance in the sun. But is this prediction coming true?
Everyone Is Way More Insecure Now
Everyone’s been chattering about “hot girl summer” for months now, posting healthy diets, challenging workout routines, and gorgeous summer fashion inspiration, ready to jump back into life and embrace these warm and inviting short-lived months.
According to Bumble, over half of singles are even more self-conscious than they were before months of quarantine. Bumble surveyed adults younger than 34, and 58% of them admitted to canceling their date if they felt body insecurity. Many of those who had an ongoing battle with body dysmorphia before COVID have reported their symptoms worsening, with little more to do for a year than look in the mirror and obsess – especially with gyms having been closed for months on end.
58% of young adults admitted to canceling their date if they felt body insecurity.
But it’s not just what we couldn’t do that contributed to our insecurities, it’s what we had to do, too. I’m talking about Zoom calls, of course – the countless, dreaded video calls we were dragged to, the video calls whose filter-less cameras made us feel like hideous gremlins, despite the cute top we threw on and the lipstick and mascara we swiped on seconds before hopping on the call (truly, is there anyone who looks good on Zoom?). Still, even if our laptop’s camera didn’t do much for our face shape, we’ve been able to control what people see of us for the past year – and an attempt to start dating again in 2021 takes that safety blanket away.
Being either alone or in limited company for over a year made us fixate on ourselves, our body’s flaws, and our face’s imperfections, one of the few faces we actually saw for the majority of 2020 (we didn’t have much else to focus on, did we?).
We’ve Forgotten How To Interact in Real Life
About a month ago was the first time in over a year that I found myself in a group of more than 10 people. People I’d come to know over months of video chats were suddenly standing right in front of me, three dimensional and all. But despite having “met” them virtually, I felt awkward. They’d only ever seen me from my shoulders up, but here I was, feeling like an animal born in captivity let out into the wild for the first time, totally unsure of how to behave.
Our people skills have grown rusty and anxiety has crept in.
Spending such an extraordinary amount of time isolated from other people left us forgetting how to do something as simple as socialize, psychologists say. While we might assume that, after missing out on social events for so long, our tails would start wagging at the thought of getting back out there, it’s not uncommon for some to wince at the thought of there being no more social distancing.
And it’s safe to say that, even for those who live for social interactions, there’s a good bit of re-learning the art of socializing to be done, as our people skills have grown rusty over time and anxiety has crept in.
COVID didn’t ruin romance for good – but it certainly threw a wrench in the works. Although one day this whole pandemic will feel like part of another lifetime, for now, many singles find themselves far more self-conscious than before.
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