For the single introverts among us, lockdown might seem like the perfect opportunity to re-charge our social batteries and have some much needed alone-time. But no, thanks to the wonders of technology and just how damn adaptable human beings are, virtual dating has totally become a thing.
For better or for worse, people are dating just as much as ever – albeit through a screen. So if you’re using dating apps during lockdown, arranging video dates and looking for virtual date ideas, here’s a handy guide on how to stay safe and how to ace virtual dating.
Make a damn effort
Act as if the date was in person and get ready accordingly. Shower if you haven’t already that day — it’ll make you feel a lot better — and put on your favorite outfit. Even if it’s not seasonally appropriate, who cares? Wear the sundress pushed all the way back in your closet. Put on makeup if that’s your thing, and do your hair.
It makes all the difference not only in how you present yourself but by how you perceive yourself. You’ll feel better on the date, more like your “usual” self.
Figure out your camera setup beforehand
Pro-tip: Do all this the day before, or at least an hour before, the date starts. That way you’re not scrambling and worrying about your angles. Decide if you’re going to use your phone or computer. Put it at eye-level, if possible. If you’re using a laptop, you can place it on a stack of books, but you can also DIY it by leaning your phone against your laptop screen (which can have its own book stack setup) or anything else you can find.
And…lighting…lighting….lighting! Set yourself up with some good, flattering lighting before you start the call. Find a place that’s the most flattering in your house. Be sure you’re not backlit by a window which can wash out your face.
Simulate real date ideas
Although you obviously can’t “grab a drink” together, you can simulate that. Text before the date and decide if you’ll be drinking wine, coffee, or eating dinner “together.” You can even do a twist on “Netflix and chill,” simultaneously using Netflix’s “party” function; if you go that route, choose something campy or that you’ve both seen before so you can chat easily during it.
Trust your instincts
“A nip slip may not be appropriate for a date with a new person,” Moraya DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist, joked to Refinery 29. “It’s modern times, so I think there will be the temptation for people to be really bold and ask about FaceTime sex. People are horny and trapped in their houses. On one hand, that’s okay, but on the other, you’re risking someone taking screenshots,” she cautions. “Listen to your intuition and don’t do something you don’t feel comfortable with.”
She adds that you shouldn’t take the call from bed, because “you’re immediately sending all these other signals unintentionally.” Generally, she says you should conduct the date as you would in person.
Expect awkwardness to happen, because it will happen
Awkwardness isn’t necessarily a bad thing and, when dating is involved, it’s inevitable. First dates in real life have their own clumsy moments, so don’t beat yourself up if your camera freezes for a moment, or if you talk over the other person. It’s going to happen! Just laugh about it and move on.
Stay safe and comfortable
Although it may seem like common sense, being cooped up inside for so long has left many of us lacking some of the most basic people skills. Remember to not give out any of your personal details – think home address and bank details – and watch out for any suspicious links that might come through in the chat.
Before the date, it’s also a good idea to do some recon on your date’s social media to make sure they are who they say they are. Also, don’t show your face on camera if they’re not showing theirs, that’s a serious red flag.
And lastly, know that you can end the date whenever you want to. You don’t owe anybody anything and it’s totally fine if you’re feeling uncomfortable or in danger to just end the call. But remember, basic dating etiquete also still remains so don’t just close your computer screen without saying goodbye because you’re just not feeling the vibe.
Last Friday, Bryant celebrated the 21st anniversary of the day she and Kobe met. She captioned the Instagram post writing “Love at first sight 11/27/99 #21.”
Vanessa and Kobe met in 1999 during a music video shoot while she was still in high school and he was 20 years old. The couple became engaged when she turned 18, announced their engagement at her 18th birthday party, and the Bryants married in April 2001.
In 2013, Kobe shared a picture of the day they met on Instagram.
“On this day 20 years ago I met my best friend, my Queen @vanessabryant I decided to take her on a date to Disneyland tonight to celebrate old school style (pre 4princesses) I love you my mamacita per sempre,” Kobe wrote in the Instagram post at the time.
After their 2001 message, Kobe and Vanessa had four daughters together, Natalia, 17, Gianna, 13, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 1. Tragically, in January, Bryant and Gianna passed away in a helicopter crash alongside seven others.
Last year, Kobe also reflected on the day he met his “best friend,” posting a throwback pic along with the Disneyland snap.
“On this day 20 years ago I met my best friend, my Queen @vanessabryant,” he captioned his post at the time. “I decided to take her on a date to Disneyland tonight to celebrate old school style (pre 4princesses) I love you my mamacita per sempre.”
It’s not the first time Vanessa honored her husband since his death. In October, the former model and philanthropist honored her husband and daughter with tattoos.
Speaking about her loss, Vanessa’s friend La La Anthony told Entertainment Today that she’s done her best to stay strong.
“Well, you know, I’m a real friend, that’s what friends do,” Anthony told ET in September. “You know, you don’t dip out on your friends when it gets really hard. And she’s going through something that is unimaginable, that, you know, I can’t even fathom what that feels like. So, just to be a friend and be there to make her laugh when she needs to, cry when she needs to, is a beautiful thing. But that’s what friends do for each other, you know, so I’m always going to be there for her and the girls and just, you know, want to see her just continue to be strong and amazing.”