I get it. The weather is warming up, the vaccine is starting to course (at least halfway) through many young people’s veins, and it feels like maybe, just maybe, we might get able to get back on track and start making the necessary moves to advance our life plans. I’m talking, of course, about meeting people—specifically, prospective romantic partners. What, you thought my life plan had to do with career advancements or personal accomplishments such as buying a house? Ha. Well, I mean, the pandemic probably fucked that up too, but my mom’s not hassling me about when I’m going to finally buy property. Anyway, this isn’t (really) about me. With the beautiful weather and vaccine rollout lulling us into a sense of something approaching normalcy, you are probably feeling some urges. Urges to, in the immortal words of Coach Carr, take off your clothes and touch each other. If you’re not feeling an indecent exposure charge, then maybe you just want to make out with a hot person in public. It’s completely natural, what with the whole being-cooped-up-with-no-company-but-your-thoughts-for-a-year thing! But before you go exchanging mRNA with the first person you set your eyes on, ask yourself: do you actually want to make out with them, or are they just a person you haven’t set eyes on in 13 months?
Below, a few factors to consider before getting your usually-masked area up close and personal with their usually-masked area.
Do You Know Their Name?
Not like it’s mattered before, but I suppose for contact tracing purposes it might be helpful to keep some identifying information on hand. A phone number, at least? Fine, an email address. A Snapchat handle? Make sure your carrier pigeon knows where to deliver your most recent test results, at least.
Close Your Eyes. Can You Recall Their Face?
You can’t use the darkness of the club or your inebriation as an excuse, so be honest with yourself. If your life were somehow dependent on it, could you actually recall this person’s face other than “uhh… they have eyes and… a nose”? Didn’t really think so. He’s probably not Mr. Right, or even Mr. Right Now, since he’s not even making an impact in your short-term memory.
Have You Exchanged Any Words With Them?
Any at all? Note that “hi” is only one word, and I specifically asked about words, plural. Maybe back in the club, one carefully placed eye-f*ck would be all you need for you and your mystery person to gravitate towards each other as if propelled by an invisible magnet and start sucking face. But in times where we don’t even see our own friends without making them verbally fill out a detailed health questionnaire, prolonged eye contact is no longer enough to initiate a public makeout… that is, unless you have them fill out a physical detailed health questionnaire. Is that HIPAA compliant?
Are You Confident They Haven’t Been To A Super Spreader Event In The Past 2 Weeks?
Do they seem like the type of person who has friends? If so, that could be a risk—one of those friends could have gotten married, or had a birthday, or just wanted to watch football on Sunday. What are the odds they’ve been to Florida within the past 14 days? Are they drinking a Red Bull vodka, doing a line, or wearing Bermuda shorts? If so, best to not take those odds. Make the sign of the cross with your fingers and stay far away (six feet).
Seriously, Do You Know Anything About This Person?
Do you have an eye color? Blood type? Just kidding, I don’t even know my own blood type (should I?). What color shirt are they wearing? Are they wearing a shirt? Can you identify a single element that attracted you to this person, or did your brain just immediately fire off, “PERSON!” when it detected a human life form in the vicinity?
Okay, Does Their Body Temperature Seem Within A Normal Range?
Are their cheeks flushed? Do they appear to be sweating or having the chills? No? Then you’re clear to approach them cautiously. Does their forehead feel warm to the touch? If you’ve already tried testing it with the back of your hand, try doing what your mom would do when you were a kid and putting your cheek to their forehead. Just my mom, then? Well, now that you’ve thoroughly made it weird, a makeout shouldn’t be too out of the question.
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, I’m pleased to inform you that you meet the minimum requirements for a summer 2021-approved spit-swapping. Congratulations! You might want to take a little sniff inside your mask to make sure you don’t need to pop a mint or anything. Actually, scratch that—just get a mint either way. As far as how to kiss, a skill that’s no doubt been long forgotten, I can’t help you there. Best of luck, and try not to do anything weird.