Dear Elle: Talk to ‘em before you do ‘em

Q: Any advice for meeting people or starting a relationship during quarantine? How do I get some action and still stay safe?

I’m not gonna lie, sweetheart, this is a tough one. How to meet people during a global pandemic without being irresponsible?? Well, let’s see.

To be completely honest, dating was a gamble before the pandemic, so I think difficulties will arise no matter what advice I give you. But I will start with the essentials: don’t take it too seriously. Dating right now should not be priority-number-one. And it very well may not be a big deal for you, but I want to make sure you know that the pressure to date (especially after Valentine’s day posts about couples I didn’t even know existed) is insignificant. Don’t worry that you’re not getting some right now. Most people aren’t because, well, it’s hard to stay safe doing it.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t get some… You should just (at least slightly) trust the people you’re getting down and dirty with. (In any scenario, not just the pandemic.) So, my take on meeting someone in quarantine? Talk to ‘em before you do ‘em.

It’s that simple. Believe it or not, conversations are the answer, even before the relationship starts. I know, spontaneity is a hoot, and we all love that moment when you say, “fuck it,” and ride that Tinder date ‘till dawn, but that’s just not today’s reality. And maybe it’s not a bad thing. You get to set boundaries with your date. You can tell them if you’re comfortable at a restaurant, in a park, at your apartment, or maybe just over Zoom. Let them know if you’re uncomfortable with physical contact before you get to know them, especially if you really can’t risk getting sick. Ask them if they go out a lot – if they care about being careful. Because it’s not weird to ask. In fact, if anyone you’re trying to hook up with shames you for being careful about a deadly pandemic? Well, that’s just next-level stupid, and you can send them over to me.

At the end of the day, mackin’ on anyone who isn’t part of your inner circle is going to be a risk. Shit, getting with anyone, in general, is a risk. But a positive part of this pandemic (if there is one) is that you can’t really do any of it without talking to the person you want to be with. And talking to people is intimate, important, and typically, the safest option (not just physically).

Best of luck with the romance, and keep me updated.

Yours,

Elle

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