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Dating, as many people knew it, definitely changed since the pandemic. In 2019, a person could date more than one person without much concern, but that changed. Now people to sticking with their current suitor or not dating at all for fear of being exposed to COVID.
In the early 1900s, dating was nothing like today. It was called “courting,” which was private and low-key. Parents would allow their daughters to meet with a few men in their presence. After having researched their financial and social positions, the woman would choose one to see exclusively. This process would eventually lead to marriage. In those days, two people were not dating, they were preparing for marriage.
Courtship had a set of moral rules, traditions, and was seen as an integral part of society. People felt like the rituals enhanced their values. The gentleman caller was considered a young man interested in a young lady and abided by the rules of courting. He would go to her home and be allowed into the parlor by her parents. If he were invited back, he would “call” upon the young woman at her parents’ allowed hours.
From the end of the 19th-century to the present day, romantic relationships have changed the culture dramatically. First, couples started going out on dates, with the young man paying instead of the young lady’s family making the rules, which gave the couples more freedom. Second, attending college, and working exposed men and women to a large arena of people to date, which changed the purpose of dating to have fun, not necessarily marriage.
In 2020, the pandemic dropped a bomb on the dating world. Instead of meeting for a drink after work, singles began having virtual dates and masked meetings. Touching or hugging was possible after having long discussions first. People self-quarantined for weeks if they wanted to meet for lunch or dinner with someone.
Online dating was discussed years before the general public even had access to the internet. In 1965, two Harvard students created “Operation Match” to ease the process for young people. Dating websites began popping up around 1991 and a few years later, Match.com was founded. By the 21st century, people started to write ads in personal columns on sites like Craigslist as an alternate way of romantically linking up with people.
Every era of dating has its pros and cons. Some people feel that finding dates online is easier and really works, while others view it as just another game.
Early dating websites apps, such as Match.com, eHarmony, and Grindr, allowed users to define their search parameters for potential mates by age, gender, location, sexual orientation, and shared interests. However, many feel that combining artificial intelligence technology with dating apps would be beneficial.
Artificial Intelligence Matchmaker (AIMM) is a real-world dating app where the virtual assistant communicates with a person for at least one week before introducing them to other people. The AI-based application suggests candidates individually, giving people a chance to learn a few things about each other and decide whether they should continue learning more about each other or move on to the next person. The virtual assistant also arranged phone calls and offered dating advice. Statisticians believe that by 2040, an estimated 70 percent of all couples will initially meet online, compared to 24 percent in 2017.
Before the pandemic, people had become more digital, increasing their data consumption daily and focusing more on their education and careers, all of which created less time for face-to-face interactions.
Since almost half of American adults have been fully vaccinated, the in-person first date has returned, and many people do not know how to begin. Recently, people in Washington D.C. searched for answers to the phrase “how to date” more than any other, according to Google.
Going on dates after the pandemic has become a new frontier and will take a lot of work but love can still happen. Whether online or in-person, “the one” can still be found.
Some COVID-19 dating rules have provided structure for being able to continue to find romance while staying safe. According to an article in The Washington Post, below are seven tips to get back into the game:
1. Virtual dates are still a thing.
2. Be upfront with your date and slow down.
3. Find a way to talk about your values.
4. Keep the work talk to a minimum.
5. Be curious about your date.
6. Go ahead and be vulnerable on a first date.
7. Follow up.
Harrison Forman, a 29-year-old comedian, and producer in New York, knows how it feels to be ghosted, so if he is sensing a “friend vibe” after a first date, he politely makes that clear.
The dating scene feels more direct these days with a no-loose-ends energy in the air. You can’t come out of covid and live the same life.
Written by Brenda Robinson
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
The List: How Dating Has Changed Over The Last 100 Years; by Taylor Markarian
Itrex Group: AI Dating Apps: A Match Made In Heaven
The Washington Post: How Has The Pandemic Changed Dating? Here Are 7 Tips For Getting Back Out There; Lisa Bonos
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Elvert Barnes’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image Courtesy of Jernej Furman’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of Governor Tom Wolf’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License