Our Editor-in-Chief gives you a guide for keeping romance alive in 2020
I can count the number of first dates I’ve been on one hand. And that’s not a humble brag about being in successful long term relationships – I was the curator of the GG’s excellent Valentines playlist for the terminally single (if I do say so myself). Instead, it makes it even more shocking that I have managed to get myself embroiled in virtual dating. Thanks to Bumble, throughout lockdown I have been on dates far more interesting than the standard couple of pints on Ashton Lane I was used to pre-Covid. And while I can only take credit for one of these, I thought a compiled list of date ideas could be good for anyone else looking to get themselves involved in what will inevitably become the plot of many a romcom.
A great first date idea, cooking the same recipe at the same time provides the two positives of giving you something to talk about, and the normalcy of a dinner date once you’ve finished cooking. The downsides of this are that if you are isolating with family you have to find a way to keep them out of the kitchen, and may end up having to talk to them about your love life. A hot tip is to balance your laptop on a beer/amazon box to prevent bad angles, and use the website JQBX.fm to sync your Spotify accounts for some background tunes- which also gives you important insight into their music taste.
This chrome plugin went viral at the start of lockdown, allowing you to sync your Netflix with someone else’s. It also features a built in messaging system, meaning you can chat about the programme without having to look away from the screen and can avoid the “three, two, one, play” system that has literally never worked. I’d suggest a drama, so you can try and work out the plot together – comedies will most likely end up with you both typing “hahaha” every 10 minutes just to have something to say.
My virtual escape room experience was admittedly not premium – my date accidentally bought access to the “expert” difficulty room, and we were still trying to escape at 1am, several hours after our “oxygen” should have run out. Despite this, it was still a fun date, and cracking clues together is far more rewarding than it should be – also very easy to introduce a drinking game into. We used trappedintheweb.com, but there are tonnes out there. This one does need a relatively strong wifi connection though!
Take advantage of your unlimited exercise time by venturing out with your date on the phone, as you both hunt for any number of oddities. Put together a list beforehand of 15 things, which could range from a blue historical plaque to your reflection, and then stay on the phone as you hunt, sending pictures as you find them. See if your date can find a zebra crossing if they’re isolating in Glasgow – I’ve been informed that the city just doesn’t have any.
This has got to be the most ambitious date yet proposed, but with lockdown not looking to be lifted any time soon, ingenuity is key. Especially good for the couples that haven’t been able to see each other properly for months, you’ll spend all day with your partner in a more interesting format than just a never ending facetime. The idea is to spend a day somewhere new via the internet. Eat a geographically appropriate lunch, visit one of the many museums worldwide that have started doing virtual tours, order a regionally specific takeout and watch a movie set in your chosen location. It will take a bit more organising, but you can’t say you don’t have the time!
There you go – five date ideas for the first date through to the couples forced apart. And as I compiled the list, I began to wonder.. would I become the Carrie Bradshaw of virtual dating? Swap the Louboutins for slipper boots and New York for suburban Manchester, and it’s the spitting image.