Prior to lockdown, I’d only vaguely heard of Zoom. Then, during lockdown, everyone and their Nan (quite literally) was using it. From work meetings, to quizzes, to violin lessons and personal training sessions, 99% of all human interaction was suddenly happening via video calls.
Dates were no exception. Having a virtual date with a long-term partner is definitely a pretty chilled affair, but what about first dates? Right up there with job interviews and public speaking, first dates can be super nerve-racking occasions. Whilst arguments against virtual first dates include the potential for stunted chemistry, surely there’s a lot going for the virtual dating scene? Even now that first dates can resume in their more typical restaurant and coffee shop settings.
"If you start blushing, sweating and/or shaking, you can just turn the video quality all the way down."
To me, being able to first meet someone in the comfort of your own home, without them physically being there, sounds a lot kinder on the nerves than meeting someone for a fancy dinner. For a start, it’s much easier to maintain composure via a video call than in person. If you start blushing, sweating and/or shaking, you can just turn the video quality all the way down until you become nothing more than one gigantic pixel. Alternatively, you could fake a sudden loss of Wi-Fi connection, by moving and speaking incredibly slowly, before jabbing at the end call button. Terrible jokes aside, Zoom calls are a much more chilled and easy going way to meet someone, especially if you class yourself as a bit of an introvert.
Virtual dates are also a much safer way to first meet someone. It’s not nice to think about, but if you’re meeting up with someone you don’t really know, there's definitely a risk associated. Trying to suss someone out though their messages alone isn’t always the easiest, but if someone’s a creep, that usually becomes pretty damn clear once you’re speaking face to face — whether that’s virtually, or in person. Cutting a call short because you’re getting weird vibes is always going to be a lot easier than trying to make your excuses to leave a date early.
"It sucks when you spend loads of money on a date that was hands down just awkward and uncomfortable from start to finish."
Plus, another great benefit of virtual dating, is that it’s basically free. This point is super crude, but let’s be 100% real here, it sucks when you spend loads of money on a date that was hands down just awkward and uncomfortable from start to finish. If you’re going to click with someone, you’re going to click with someone. Fancy food and quirky activities aren’t a fundamental part of building chemistry with someone.
I suppose it ultimately boils down to what type of a person you are. If you’re a more traditional and/or romantic type, you’re probably going to want that candle lit dinner, or that dreamy sunset walk. Which is completely fair enough. But, if you’re less fussed about the romance, and more of a practical type, you’ll probably be of the mindset that Zoom dates are the way forward.