It was sheer pandemonium that kept my words from y’all last week. I was too focused on rounding up food and supplies so that I could start working from home indefinitely. Service industry and retail workers are starting to experience layoffs now, so I actually feel kind of lucky to have a job that is deemed essential and can be performed remotely. I do not take for granted my ability to keep earning while isolating, but this solo-dolo lifestyle is starting to wear on me.
There’s no way that I’m the only person out here dreaming of hugs and the Normal Bar fire pit. I know you’re lonely. I know you’re bored. But washing our hands and keeping 6 feet apart in public won’t count for anything if we’re still partying or traveling like there’s not a highly contagious illness propagating across our nation. And yes, that includes dating and having casual sex.
First off, I wanna address the students who came back to town and wanna party, or really anyone who’s throwing events in the face of this. I get it: You only have one life, and Athens is supposed to be a party town. But your keggers are not Gatsby-level functions; they’re not legendary. You are wrong to assume that these parties will be cherished memories in your future, and they’re not worth the risk at which you’re putting yourself and others. It can be up to two weeks before a person infected with COVID-19 starts to see any symptoms, and that’s a big part of why self-isolating is so important right now. Wash your hands and use sanitizer even if you feel like a hundred bucks, because it’s not just about you anymore. I’ve always loved our local speakeasy culture, the house parties and the secret spots, and I look forward to returning to it once all this blows over. That should be your plan as well.
As I said last time, I’d been planning to do a springtime swan-dive into all the booty that I could before this pandemic hit, and it’s been taking literal physical effort for me not to download Tinder or some other dating app right now. I’ve been staying home, saving money, exercising when I’m bored and doing my hair, so I feel like I’m primed for some socializing and dating right now. It’s the one activity that makes me want to disregard social distancing. I can still date—I know that—but I want the freedom to choose intimacy (or not) with my date, and I really want to drink at the Manhattan.
Online and long-distance dating is already a very real relationship model for lots of people, and it’s going to be our only hope during these times. Maybe I’m being a brat by not putting myself out there, not wanting to “settle” for a virtual boo, but I would never advise someone to act the way I am if they wanted a date during a pandemic. Download Tinder and get after it, right? I’m no stranger to online dating, and I’ve mentioned before that I met the first person I slept with in a D&D chat room in 1996. I guess I just wanted to get my booty smacked, or perhaps smack someone else’s booty, but dating consists of so much more than consensual butt-touching.
There’s a thrill when you meet someone you’ve connected with online, and sometimes those weeks or months of long-distance yearning can build up into a tension that explodes into some truly dynamite butt-touching.
I’m gonna stop being a schlemiel and find myself a date, I promise. I thought I’d left my dedicated online dating days in the past, and the idea of having no alternative is mildly infuriating for me—no way I’m the only one. But I love the world more than I love being able to touch someone’s butt or have my own butt touched, and I’m not going to be part of the problem. Fingers crossed, and here’s hoping that I’ll be drinking boxed wine on Skype with a cutie real soon.
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