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Love (or lack thereof) in the Time of Corona

It was a warm, sunny day in Edinburgh. It was no longer snowing, and Spring seems close by. The Meadows is packed with happy couples picnicking. How sad is it that one nice day is enough to turn the Meadows into a dating hotspot?


This is what dating has become: A few messages on Tinder, a few awkward meetings over take-away coffee on a cold bench in the Meadows. Elaborating on what courses you’re taking this semester and why you borderline hate them. Where is the excitement, where is the thrill of a top-class banter with a complete stranger with whom you immediately feel this strong, immediate chemistry?


Realistically speaking, maybe it was never there, and the lockdown simply made me open my eyes to this issue. But, I’m not a romantic. I always saw dating as an option, but it was never at the top of my agenda.
But the pandemic made me more reluctant than ever to date. I don’t intend to sound cynical. On the contrary, I support and deeply admire everyone who is either embracing their long-term relationship throughout the pandemic, or is stepping that extra mile to date in this unsupportive environment.


Still, I can’t get over my personal feeling of how overrated and overstated the idea of a romantic relationship is. Society will judge your status based on it, and somehow you will receive a higher score if you are dating someone. It’s upsetting that even in the pandemic the topic of relationships has to somehow always come up in conversation.


Dating is tricky, but the word “love” is even trickier. That being said, I don’t really believe we date because we crave love. We date because we crave human attention and affection. And, honestly, I don’t associate the word “love” with dating. That’s more of a passion, tension, some incomprehensible chemical reactions telling your brain you are currently attracted to a person.


Love would be something else. There is a James Dean’s quote that I particularly like: “Am I in love?” he says, “Absolutely. I’m in love with ancient philosophers, foreign painters, classic authors, and musicians who have died long ago.” And that’s how I would define my attitude to love.
Although, hypocritical as I might sound, I would definitely date James Dean, if I had a chance. But, I know for a fact, he wouldn’t date me, so I won’t dwell more on it.


So yes, I don’t despise the idea of love, I just can’t see myself romantically loving another person. And the fact that the idea of holding hands with someone, even in the pre-Covid times, made me deeply uncomfortable, isn’t really helping.


Current times are uncertain enough, why add yet another drop of anxiety? Because yes, dating is stressful, now more than ever. It requires putting on actual clothes, analysing the whole flow of conversation, and coming up with back-up plans in case you want to escape.


And don’t even get me started on the concept of a “talking stage.” Firstly, why it’s even called the “talking stage”. Does it mean that at some point in a relationship you stop talking? If so, I guess I seriously overestimated my own dating experience, as I have never reached that far. So you either talk to someone or have sex with someone, and there is nothing in between? I’m confused just by analysing the theory, not even mentioning a first-hand experience of the situation.


Dating culture is such a huge phenomenon in our lives, and I just can’t stop wondering why. I know, it can be “cute” and love is one of those higher purposes of life, but at the end of the day, it’s always just you and your own life. Why not focus on that, instead on dwelling on some fantasy, encouraged constantly by millions of voices telling me how I should date? But well, maybe I shouldn’t after all. And that’s also just fine.

Image via Like Totally 80s