If we could rank each year by “horniness,” 2020 and 2021 so far would surely come out bottom. What could be less horny than a raging pandemic in which you are legally obliged to stay more than 2 metres away from everyone? And people are coughing and spluttering and can't taste anything? For so long that it's become the norm? It's not even been horny in a “repressed and yearning lesbian in the Victorian times” way. Even those who can have sex haven't necessarily wanted it.
Even so, the past year or so hasn't put a halt on dating. For some, that's meant accelerating relationships way quicker than usual. For others, it's meant ending things because the logistics simply didn't work out. In between all of this, there’ve been all the dates that haven't quite gone to plan for reasons that wouldn't necessarily have happened pre-pandemic. Arguments about vaccines, for instance. Feeling “fluey” but showing up to the date anyway. Having different ideas about what a first date in a pandemic should even entail.
After almost a year of back-to-back lockdowns, we asked people to share some of their lockdown dating horror stories. Here's what they said:
‘I WAS GHOSTED AFTER BEING GIVEN COVID’
I'd been on a few dates with this girl – I didn't notice any red flags and thought she was really sweet! Right at the beginning of the November lockdown, I went to hers for drinks. We ended up making out – we didn't go any further because ironically I was paranoid about catching the virus – and went home afterwards. About two days later I messaged her and she said she was feeling really ill and hadn't got out of bed.
The next day I came down with a cough and started to feel really out of breath. I texted this girl asking if she felt any better and she said no, in fact she was feeling a lot worse. Two days later, both our tests come back positive! It didn't really affect my “feelings” for her, like I still thought she was great and was worried for her.
I sent her a message every couple of days to check up, but it seemed she'd gone MIA since finding out we'd both tested positive. I assumed she was too ill or embarrassed to text me back, and soon enough I got too ill to care, lol. I still hadn't heard from her after a month, when things started getting back to “normal” – I headed back to work, etc – so I decided to just text her saying I hadn't heard from her in a while and I hoped she was okay.
Didn't get a response then either, so I started to just accept that I was being ghosted after being given COVID. To this day I still have no idea why, but I assume out of embarrassment or guilt? About a week later I saw she'd blocked me on WhatsApp, went to check Instagram and she'd blocked me on there as well. I won't lie, my feelings were hurt, but I got over it pretty quickly. — Hannah, 25
'I REALISED I WAS ON A DATE WITH A COVID DENIER’
I went on a date with this guy in January. The third lockdown had just happened so I suggested going on a “walk”, just to be safe. He had immediately suggested dinner at his – maybe a red flag? – but said a walk would be fine too. The walk was going well and I actually fancied him at first, he's really good-looking and definitely my type. But then when we inevitably started chatting about the pandemic, he started saying some things where I was like… what? First he said he was undecided about getting the vaccine, that he'd “read some stuff” and didn't want to put a “random chemical” in his body – that's not how vaccines work, babe. He then said lockdowns “obviously didn't work and weren’t needed”. By the time we'd done our third round of the park I realised I was pretty much on a date with a COVID denier, made my excuses and left.
I've thought about it a lot since and wondered how the date would have gone if we weren't in the middle of a pandemic. Maybe we'd be in a relationship by now and I'd never have known how fundamentally different our views were! Or maybe he's also a flat earther or into the Illuminati and it wouldn't have worked anyway. We'll never know. — Charlie, 27
'WE TRIED TO DO IT AT SOME POINT BUT I WAS TOO DRUNK’
I matched with this guy on a dating app and we chatted online for two or three days. Conversation was easy, so we said why not meet outside? We walked for hours and then he said we could order food [at his]. I liked him, I was incredibly attracted and starving for attention and affection.
I went to his place and he opened one bottle, then another bottle. I was so attracted to him that I drank a lot. We tried to do it at some point but I was too drunk. Apparently, at one point, I told him for some reason that he was arrogant and cocky and then we had an argument. I don’t know why.
He asked me to leave his place a few times. I did order a taxi after an hour of negotiating with him... I only wore my coat with nothing under when I left his place. I did manage to take a few of my things. I called him a few times in the taxi to say it's over, I don’t want to talk to him again.
I woke up with the worst hangover ever, not sure what had really happened. I was obviously incredibly embarrassed – I had taken a t-shirt from him. After a few hours, I sent him a text apologising for my behaviour. He called saying it’s okay, water under the bridge, let's move on. He suggested we meet again and said he could cook something and give me back my stuff. I was relieved until I realised he wasn't responding anymore. So I sent him his t-shirt in the post with some money for the postage for my stuff. After a few weeks of nothing, he replied saying he had been busy and he'll send my stuff. I have still received nothing. So, no closure.
Though he had raised his voice with me when I was at his, I feel I blew it completely by drinking too much as I was impressed by him. I have felt incredibly alone during the lockdown and in need of affection and it’s pushed me to act in exaggerated ways with a stranger, which really made me think about what I want or need and how I can deal with this during this lockdown. — Ria, 26
‘HE MADE ME WAIT IN THE HALL OUTSIDE THE DOOR IN THE DARK’
I met this guy in November and he was really cute. We’d been following each other online for a while and eventually I asked if he wanted to go sit outside and drink a few cans somewhere. One can turned into seven, and soon we’re making out on this log. He then asks me to come back to his, but says his flatmates are really strict about the restrictions – which, by the way, as am I when sober! – so we’d have to do it without them knowing. His place was only round the corner, so I was like, “sure why not?”
I didn’t realise he lives in this tiny flat with four people, who were all in there. He made me wait in the hall outside the door in the dark for – I swear to god – about 25 mins, which is a long time when you’re just sat waiting. When we’re finally in his room and getting to it, he’s whispering the whole time, almost silent, and keeps going “shh!” which starts to get on my nerves. He said I could stay the night, but I’d had to leave at like seven before anyone’s up. I thought, “fuck this, I’m not going to stay.” Luckily everyone was in their room so I could sneak out without being caught.
The whole thing put me off him because I feel like… if you’re going to break restrictions, at least own it? It felt kind of immature, like teenagers sneaking around their parents but not in a hot way. Anyone telling me to “shh” is always going to be a turnoff, regardless of the circumstances. I don’t care if we’re at a funeral and I’m yelling, don’t tell me to “shh”. — Nathan, 24
‘THE BED IS FULL OF VOMIT AND SO IS THE CARPET AND MY BRA’
I matched this girl on Tinder during lockdown. Surprisingly, she asked me to come over, so I went to her place. She was already a bit drunk and we started hooking up and she decided she wants to take drugs. I only had K with me, so she takes her dose and we continue.
Soon I realize she's falling asleep. I took her arm away from me and she turns around and starts puking on me. After I try to control the situation, I lead her to the bathroom but she can barely walk, so after ten mins I go to the kitchen to wash myself and come back to the room. The bed is full of vomit and so is the carpet and my bra; I steal a grocery bag to put my bra inside. She comes from the bathroom and just lays down on the bed with the vomit. — Redgi, 26