With her hair coiffed up in a bun, lips glossed to the shade that matches her pink lantern-sleeve blouse, Catherine is all set for her third date. The 26-year-old has arranged an evening of cocktails, followed by a Netflix party with a guy whom she got to know via Bumble, a dating app, a month ago.
By their second virtual date, the marketing executive says she felt some chemistry brewing between them. “I wish we could meet in person… it’d be nice to hold hands,” she laments – before her more intellectual concerns rein in, “But that’s a risk to take.”
The idea of being arm-locked within the breathing space of a stranger is more unnerving than sexy. Amid post lockdowns, singletons remain open to finding love virtually – and dating responsibly. Big players like Dating.com reported an 82 per cent spike in online dating globally, with video calls becoming the go-to alternative.
“People do follow the Covid-19 advisory, which in Phase 2 allows people
to meet but requires them to wear a face mask and practise safe distancing,” says sociologist Tan Ern Ser. “There are also those who are cautious and prefer not to meet in person.” Local dating agencies say virtual dating is here to stay, even as social distancing restrictions ease.
Dating app Tinder’s recent survey shows that 40 per cent of Gen Z users want to continue using videos as a way to decide whether to meet offline, even when their favourite dating spots reopen.