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I Went On An IRL Date After Iso & You Know What, I Kinda Miss Zoom

How To Date After Isolation: I Went On A Date IRL & I Kinda Miss Zoom

Trying to date during iso had its challenges, but now things are starting to open again and dating IRL is possible. Everyone’s figuring out how to date after isolation, and let me tell you, it’s… rough.

Transitioning from the real world to Zoom dates was a big mood, and now you’re telling me we need to remember how to date IRL? I think not, you tricky bitch.

I matched with someone on a dating app just before *all this* started, so we had no choice but to have our first date over Zoom. It went surprisingly well, and we had a handful more, slowly getting comfortable enough to sit on our beds, wear less makeup and show each other the questionable art we’d been given or tried to make.

You know, normal date stuff.

And then restrictions in NSW eased, bars opened, and we decided it was time to meet in person.

I realised I had no idea how to date after isolation.

Real talk: I hadn’t been on a real date in at least a year which is, conveniently, how long iso feels like it’s gone on for. At this point I think I’d just forgotten how to do it.

Should we make a dinner reservation? Should we find a place that accepted walk-ins? How close could we get? How can you make sure you don’t turn someone off by talking about Animal Crossing too much? Honestly, how did dates even work before the world became a trashcan fire?

The worst part was, at this stage the bars weren’t even open so we couldn’t just go for a drink and get comfortably tipsy. It was like being in high school again. (I assume. I didn’t go on any dates in high school. Shocking, I know.)

I was starting to miss Zoom dating and its cursed, but controllable, chaos.

We decided to meet outside a trendy fried chicken shop we knew accepted walk-ins. When we got there, I admitted that I’m a vegetarian and she admitted she doesn’t eat much chicken.

I blame iso for making my brain soft and dumb, and also my brain for being soft and dumb.

In the end, we ate pizza slices in the freezing cold park near a street light. It was hard to see our food and each other. But the group having a nighttime picnic directly under the light looked like they were having a great time. Simply thrilled for them!

We both agreed it was actually a fun night and a good first (kinda) date. We’ve been out again since bars reopened, which I cannot recommend highly enough if it’s safe for you to do so.

After going on a handful of real-life dates, I’ve figured out how to date after isolation and narrowed it down to three key points:

#1. It’s going to feel like a first date all over again, even if you’ve met on Zoom.

I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to have two first dates and there’s no way around that. No matter how much you texted, called, sexted or how many memes you shared, meeting up IRL is going to feel like meeting them for the first time.

#2. Dating after isolation is different, but the same.

The rules around where you can go and what you can do have changed, but it’s still just dating. You know how this works, and you know what kind of date you like. Just lean in and have fun, even if your night turns out different than you expected.

#3. I have a newfound, deep respect for Zoom dating, but I never want to do it again for the rest of my life.

Please no.

(Lead image: Parks and Recreation / NBC)