Is He Actually Into Me, Or Am I Just Vaccinated?

I was eligible for the vaccine in late January in my state because I’m a teacher. When all was said and done, I was going to be “safe” by early March. 

As the last drop of Pfizer coursed through my veins, I had one thought: time to get going on those dating apps. I got the all-too-popular pandemic divorce and had been celibate—I mean, single—since last summer. I felt like I missed out on one of the summers of my relative youth. Besides everything being closed and canceled, I was going through a huge, terrible life event and wasn’t cavorting around. I was ready for an adventure. 

March arrived, my immunity kicked in, the cherry blossoms popped, and the air got warmer. I fired up my apps. Quoting Hamilton, since that’s all I could do until Broadway comes back, I thought to myself, “I am not throwing away my shot!” I had to get me a date for summer. I wanted someone to go hiking with! I wanted to kayak! I wanted a beach day buddy that wasn’t my dog! 

At the time I got vaccinated, I was a hot commodity: most people my age weren’t vaccinated. Most people my age wouldn’t be ready to exchange the same air without risk until at least mid-May. So, I forced myself out there with the help of my bff who, as a psychiatrist, was also vaccinated and able to visit and sit with me while I weeded through the 500+ likes in my neglected dating app. 

I updated my profile, proudly displaying my (birthdate and last name redacted) vaccine card selfie. I put it in my bio with a disclaimer that I’m still going to wear a mask because science is real, and I messaged some dudes, proudly flexing my teaching degree for the first time ever. With the help of my bestie, I soon had some actual conversations going with several men who, as far as we could tell, are not serial killers, or at least are flying under the radar. 

My friend went home and a couple of my virtual conversations turned into real asks out into the world. It was nice to know they might actually want to meet me in person and then I got worried…what if they ONLY want to meet me because I’m “safe?” What if I’m a consolation prize? What if they’re just lonely and wanting someone who won’t kill them with corona? What if what if what if what if. 

So ask yourself: Do I like him, or is he just vaccinated?

Are you only attracted to him because he won’t kill you with diseases but you still aren’t sure if he is a serial killer? Then, don’t date.

Do you live in a red state and are just so relieved to meet someone who believes in science that you’ll do anything to get in his pants? That’s maybe not enough to form a connection over…

Is his facial hair the kind that you’d be embarrassed to bring home to Mother? Then, swipe him away. 

Is he perhaps only into you because you can come and go under the cover of nightfall and immunity? That’s a dealbreaker, ladies. 

Is he the most annoying human you’ve ever met and only talks about his obsession with tugboats but, you know, with the lights off and some ear plugs it might work? No. 

Does he ask you anything at all about yourself beyond your vaccine status? Promising.

Is he half-vaxxed and worth the wait? Then go for it!

After a lengthy vetting process, I agreed to meet someone in person. I drove to the date, chock full of immunity, caffeine, and a little anti-anxiety medication. My team was rooting for me to have a good time, but there was no rush. I missed my window of being the shiny, vaccinated thing. I didn’t need my vaccine to stand out from a crowd of available bachelorettes, anyway. If my person was ready for me, they’d like me, shots and all. 

Image: Polina ZimmermanPexels

The Best & Worst Cities For Dating During The Pandemic

Happy cuffing season! Buckle up for what’s bound to be the wildest one yet. On top of the normal desire to settle down with someone when the only thing colder than the weather outside is the other side of your (read: my) bed, the thirst is realer than ever after months of social distancing and quarantining. But surprise! We’re still in a pandemic. Deal with it. 

If you’ve been feeling like your city is just really not cut out for pandemic dating (hi, New York), there is new data out that can determine whether or not you’re right. Apartment List recently revamped their list of the best and worst metros for dating to better reflect our current reality with COVID-19. They ranked the top 40 U.S. metros where people are having the most success dating based on the following factors: percentage of singles in the area, outdoor recreation satisfaction, and overall dating scene satisfaction. Without further ado, let’s rip on the list explore the results.

Here’s are the top 10 cities on the list:

  1. Austin, TX
  2. Boston, MA
  3. Virginia Beach, VA
  4. Miami, FL
  5. Las Vegas, NV
  6. San Antonio, TX
  7. San Diego, CA
  8. Houston, TX
  9. Detroit, MI
  10. Milwaukee, WI

K, so there’s a lot to process here. Let’s kick off this recap by highlighting that Texas is the best spot for dating right now, with three metros dominating the top 10. Austin actually earned the #1 spot in 2020 AND in 2019 pre-pandemic times (anyone remember those days? No? Me neither). Apparently this state is ideal for socially distanced dating with its beautiful weather and abundance of outdoor date spots, like drive-in theaters, parks, and picnic spots. It clearly wins high satisfaction scores for the dating scene, outdoor dating, and overall dating. I’d say congrats, but Texas also wins #1 state with the most COVID-19 cases (officially clocking in over 1.2 million cases) so uhhh… yeah. I know Texans are ~satisfied~ right now, but maybe like, don’t keep dating IRL and opt for a more virtual dating scene instead? Just a thought. You know, because lives depend on it or whatever.

Boston comes in hot at spot #2 and the highest dating satisfaction score (42%) on the list. To fact check this data like the suspicious Scorpio ~reliable journalist~ I am, I asked my friend Emily who lives in Boston what dating there is like right now.

“A lot of guys are totally cool with doing COVID-safe dates, and luckily in Boston there are a million things to do safely outside (New England winter quickly changing that),” she confirms. “A lot of the bars set up patios on the street and I’d say especially in the North End (romantic Little Italy) they had a ton of outdoor places with romantic vibes. There’s also a bunch of parks where you can find a good spot and bring a bottle of wine and makeshift cheese board.” With an estimated 43,709 active cases in Boston right now, I’d put the emphasis here on outdoor dating. Apartment List, your data checks out, at least according to my one friend. Good job.

Totally understandable that beachy towns like Virginia Beach and Miami also rank high. Imagine having beautiful weather, beaches, and other outdoor date spots right nearby? Sign me TF up. Well, actually don’t because I’m very anti-social and anti-dating right now after a recent ugly breakup (and also COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Miami). But have fun, everyone else.

Oh, then there’s random AF Detroit and Milwaukee. And party central Vegas. Congrats to you all.  

Now for the “worst” cities on the list… AKA the bottom 10 out of 40:

  1. Sacramento, CA
  2. Charlotte, NC
  3. Baltimore, MD
  4. San Jose, CA
  5. Kansas City, MO
  6. St. Louis, MO
  7. Riverside, CA
  8. Hartford, CT
  9. Cleveland, OH
  10. Jacksonville, FL

TBH I’m genuinely shocked that Cali cities rank on the bottom of the list. Like, why, with all those beautiful beaches and people with active lifestyles who actually enjoy being outdoors? According to this report, these cities have low dating scene and outdoor satisfaction scores. Confused, but okay.

Hartford is another not-so-great city for dating, even though one of my best friends recently just met her ideal partner in CT, so don’t abandon hope, Connecticutians (??). Cleveland scored, as the study calls it, a “measly” 7% dating satisfaction score and ranks second to last on the list, saved by its 60% outdoor dating satisfaction score. And the winner of the worst city on the list, Jacksonville, got a whopping 14.8% satisfaction score. It’s what Florida deserves, amirite?

And a biased honorable mention because I’m from here: I’m sad that NYC falls in the middle of the list with a dating satisfaction score of 23%. But I mean… it makes sense if you think that most of NYC’s date spots are inside and we can’t (read: shouldn’t, if you’re a considerate person) chill inside public spaces right now. So the best clubs, rooftop bars, restaurants, and coffee shops are basically off-limits. And people are fleeing the city because NyC iS dEaD (according to rich people who probably never spent time below midtown anyway).

Anyway, that’s the tea on the dating hot (or not) spots during the pandemic. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, if you’re going to date, please make sure you’re following your state’s health and safety guidelines by meeting outside, practicing physical distancing, and wearing a mask. If you don’t, every single city is going to become the worst city to date because uhhh… we won’t be able to leave our homes at all. Oh, and our lives literally depend on it. 

Images: Pexels, GIPHY (2), Apartment List

5 Socially Distanced Ways To Meet People

Quarantine has made it hard for us to meet new people. My single girlfriends all complain that they can’t date right now because it’s unsafe to hang out in person, and because everyone’s stuck at home, they can’t meet guys anywhere other than dating apps.

That isn’t necessarily true, though. If anything, quarantine is just forcing us to be creative with the ways we meet people and think outside the box. So let’s talk about places to meet people that aren’t dating apps or bars, that are still relatively safe as far as pandemic concerns go.

Nature Trails

 

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Tbh, kinda prefer 2020 // by @betches

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I’m lucky to live in such an outdoorsy city. Austin is full of awesome nature trails to get lost on, and on those nature trails are usually cute guys walking their dogs.

Trails have been my go-to for getting out of the house, getting my steps in, and meeting new people all in one. They’re great because you don’t feel claustrophobic; everyone can safely distance and still have space.

If you don’t have any trails nearby because you live in, say, Manhattan, then long walks can be just as effective. Just be sure to make that eye contact—extra crucial now that we can’t smile at anyone from across the street in our masks.

Dog Parks

Fun fact about me: I met the last two guys I dated at my apartment complex’s dog park. (Guess my dog is my best friend and my wingman.)

Okay, so it may be a little creepy to just show up at a dog park if you don’t have a dog (but also, it’s a pandemic, who cares?). If you do feel self-conscious, you can always accompany your friends that have dogs to the park. Dog people are incredibly social and friendly, it’s just a fact, and I’ve met best friends and romantic prospects alike through my dog.

Or… and hear me out… you could just get a dog! There’s no better time to adopt a dog than now, since we’re going to be home all the time anyway. Clear the shelters, quell your loneliness and up your chances of meeting a guy all in one by adopting. Just be sure to do your research on breeds beforehand, and bring a mask to the shelter.

Instagram

Who’s been slippin’ and slidin’ into your DMs? It’s time to pay attention to those sneaky little bastards. 

A few months ago, I started following a guy on Instagram who lives in my city and who is in a similar field of work. We had been commenting on and liking each other’s posts ever since. Just a few weeks back, he asked me if I wanted to hang out—to which I happily said yes. And it’s a good thing he did, because I was crushing on him. 

Who’s been persistently DMing you? If a guy’s been actively engaging with your content for a while and you’ve started to develop an unofficial rapport, that guy may be worth asking out. (Please note: I’m NOT talking about the creeper persistently in your message requests asking if you want a sugar daddy. Unless you’re into that.)

 

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i respect the hustle // @taylajacksonn

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We all have guys that DM us. And while you’re definitely not obligated to answer any of them, it might be worth noting who the cuties are. Yep, I’m giving you full permission to stalk their profiles…just don’t accidentally like any of their posts from 2011. 

Plus, meeting guys on Instagram can be less creepy than meeting a rando off of Tinder. If you get a DM from a follower, you most likely know them (or at least know you OF them). Plus, you already know what they look like, so your odds of getting Catfished are much lower.

Group Workout Classes

As a yoga teacher, I feel like I HAVE to talk about the power of group workout classes. Both for your health and wellness and all that, but also for your love life. Potentially.

While you shouldn’t go to a yoga class with the intention of meeting a romantic prospect (and go instead for the amazing post-workout endorphins), you can build an incredible community of people by continuously going to your favorite group workout classes. Plus, you’re more likely to meet a guy that prioritizes self-care at a class than off of an app, just like you.

So if you feel comfortable enough to sweat alongside others, start going back to group classes. And if you don’t feel comfortable going to the gym or studio just yet, look out for outdoor group workouts happening in your area. Just don’t forget to bring your mask and stay six feet apart from your fellow exercise peeps.

Waiting In Line For To-Go Food & Drink

 

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Based on my dating history, this couldn’t be more spot on // by @saralememe cohost of @natcpod

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A great place to meet people that you may not think of is waiting in line for your to-go order. In line, people tend to be on their phones. But think of it this way: How would you like to be approached out in the wild? Approaching someone in line can be intimidating, but someone’s got to make the first move. It’s 2020, and that person can be you.

A simple “I can’t wait for this food! Have you tried it before?” or “How’s your day going?” can go a long way—really, any commentary on the line, the restaurant, and/or your general surroundings will work. It doesn’t feel forced, and shows you’re still open to connecting with people during a time when connecting feels really hard.

If you don’t take a chance on someone who strikes your interest, you may be missing out on a great connection. Remember: You’ll always regret what you don’t do so much more than what you do.

Images: Jon Flobrant / Unsplash; uuppod, letmefinish / Instagram

How Are People Actually Dating During The Pandemic?

Over the past few months, the most consistent topic of conversation has been how we will adjust to the ~new normal~ that we’re living in thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Obviously, we’ve all had to make a lot of changes, but what does that actually mean? Coronavirus hasn’t gone anywhere, a lot of stuff is still closed, and pretty much nothing feels normal. That being said, I know I’m not the only one desperate to have a personal life again, and we’re all trying to figure out how to get back into the dating game while not risking our lives.

As we move through the phases of reopening, everyone is assessing how to move forward in dating and everything else. This spring, we conducted a survey with our dating app Ship about dating during the pandemic, and we uncovered some interesting trends. Some of these things seem like common sense, while others are more surprising, but hey, you never know what to expect in 2020.

Dating Apps Are More Popular Than Ever Before

Most of us haven’t been able to do much in-person dating in 2020, but with so much free time on our hands, dating apps have been lit. The majority of people who took Ship’s survey said they’ve used ~the apps~ more during quarantine, and messages on Ship doubled after shelter-in-place orders went into effect. 

We’ve all been busy building our virtual rosters, but what happens now? 62% of people said they plan to meet their quarantine matches IRL, and with all that time to build a virtual bond, I have a feeling we could be seeing a lot of new relationships between now and Labor Day. Everyone that missed the memo on a quarantine bae the first time around will be eager not to make the same mistake again.

 

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Download our dating app @getshipped. The devil works hard but your friends will work harder to find you a match.

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The Bar Is Higher

Now that we’re all being forced to pick and choose who we want to see, it makes sense that we’re getting more selective in our dating lives. Before, meeting someone for a drink was pretty low stakes, and going on first dates was an easy way to weed out who actually had potential. But now, 50% of people say they’ll be pickier than before about who they meet IRL, and 31% of people say their standards are higher in general. We may be desperate in quarantine, but I guess some of us aren’t that desperate.

F*ckboys Are Struggling

With casual hookups pretty much off the table for the near future, it’s easier than ever to tell who’s open to something more serious. In the past, f*ckboys could string you along with the idea that they might want a relationship, when they really just wanted someone to text late night. Survey respondents said this is one of the perks of virtual dating, because it “cancels out the people that just want something casual” and offers “an excuse not to have to meet up right away.”

 

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We all have that one friend, so tell them to download our dating app @getshipped and chill tf out.

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Video Dating Is The New Normal

And of course, as we navigate the ongoing pandemic, it’s still a great time to use virtual dating resources. Zoom happy hours are played out at this point, which is why we launched Ship Party—it’s like Houseparty, but for dating. A simple phone call, FaceTime, or virtual Ship date are also still great ways to determine if someone is actually worth meeting IRL. It might be a little awkward, but at least you won’t waste one of your precious social interactions. 54% of Ship users said they’ve gone on virtual dates, and if you want to spice up  your virtual date, check out these Zoom backgrounds we made for any occasion.

Safety First

I hope this goes without saying, but sadly, your dating life shouldn’t be going back to 100% normal just yet. With cases once again on the rise in most states, it’s important to follow social distancing guidelines if you’re meeting someone new, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions. If they’ve traveled recently, or have been in a high-risk situation, maybe keep things virtual for another week or two. Once you’ve been hanging out for a bit, then you can make an educated decision about hooking up. Don’t take your mask off around someone you don’t trust, no matter how tempting it is. First date kisses just aren’t going to be a thing for a minute.