Updated: Apr 5
Dating during quarantine is no easy feat, but with the marvels of modern technology, it is still possible to connect – just not in a penetrative sense.
On Day 12 of lockdown, I had myself a little quarendez-vous with a barfly I’d recently met one boozy night out – before social distancing was a thing.
Let me back up, Hurricane Rona blew away plans that we'd previously made to go on an official date. As a workaround, I suggested that we enjoy a glass of wine via video. Historically, my self-esteem runs on about a quarter tank – not nearly enough to fuel such a weird request – but it appears confinement has turned me (and probably you) into your average loner with a boner.
Quarendez-vous | noun | kwɒr-ɒn-dɪvu – A contraction of the words quarantine and rendezvous. Def. A date that takes place during mandatory confinement via a video chat application. Origin: Me, just now. And kind of French, I guess. Synonyms: Quarantryst, COVIDeo Dating, Lockdown Drinks, Confine & Dine (more aptly Confine & Wine)
Failures in technology can and will increase the level of awkwardness during a quarendez-vous. An unstable internet connection led us to try three messaging apps before having success on the trusty ol’ Whatsapp.
Whatever app you use, it will freeze. Usually, it’ll happen in the middle of a lengthy story or right at the punchline of a joke. While these glitches are obstacles to overcome, they can also be used to your advantage. If the date isn’t going so well, just pretend the audio isn’t working, hang up, and say good night via text. Can’t figure out a way to end the conversation? Just blame it on your battery, wifi or data – voilà! you're both off scot-free.
Between the technical difficulties and the lack of a real physical presence, I found it hard to gauge the chemistry between us. Every natural lull in conversation felt magnified by the unnatural format of screen-to-screen contact.
In addition to alcoholic bevies, you can lube the convo with a game. Some messaging apps like Houseparty, offer built-in games – pictionary, trivia.,etc While these are fun to play with friends, the games aren’t great for actually learning about the stranger whose face is streaming right in front of you.
36 Questions for Increasing Closeness is a list of questions that come from a 2019 Berkeley study that explored whether intimacy between two strangers could be accelerated by having them ask each other a series of personal questions. The study's hypothesis suggests that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness.
The 36 questions are split into three sets. Each set gets exceedingly more personal. The whole thing is supposed to last about 45 minutes. My date and I only made it through the first set, but our whole quarendez-vous lasted around 3 hours – not too shabby.
The Freudian Three is a set of q's that aims to cut through ego to let the psyche sing. The questions were supposedly developed by psychologist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung, but I learned about them by reading ‘I'm Fine...And Other Lies’ by comedian Whitney Cummings.
It's a fun thing to try both on video-chat and in real life. But since you're reading this now (meta), let's give it a shot. Grab a pen and paper or pull up a word doc. Don’t skip ahead, it’ll be cool I promise.
Favorite Animal and 3 reasons why. The 'reasons why' for all of the questions need to be adjective-based and descriptive.
Favorite Article of Clothing and 3 reasons why. This can be something as specific as ‘my Space Jam crew neck from 4th grade’ or something more general like ‘scarves.’
Favorite body of water and 3 reasons why Again. this can be specific or general. It can be as tiny or as big as you want (e.g. a teardrop, a puddle, a lake, the ocean, Lake Michigan, the Pacific ocean, etc.)
Here are my answers...
Elephant – they’re gentle, but also big and clumsy; they’re funny; their eyes are filled with wisdom, but there's some sadness in there too
Boxer Briefs – they’re supportive; they’re a good fit; I feel confident in them
The Ocean – It can be peaceful and calming or powerful and intense; I’ve always been very curious about it, there’s so much to explore; it’s beautiful but its depth is overwhelming when I really think about it
Here's what it all means... (Spoiler Alert)
Favorite Animal – This represents how you see yourself. Think about it, we relate to these creatures because we see ourselves in them – that’s why they’re our favorites.
So I guess I see myself as gentle, but big and clumsy, funny – and I have eyes that are filled with wisdom and sadness. I could have done without the sadness, but I get it.
Favorite Article of Clothing – This represents how others see us OR how we want others to see us. It makes sense because we choose these items based on how we want to express ourselves and what we want to project to the rest of the world.
I’m supportive, a good fit, and confident. Well...okay.
Favorite Body of Water – This represents the way we view sex. I don’t really know why, but some psychologists say it is connected to our deepest urges.
Based on my answers, I find that sex is peaceful at times and intense at others. I’m very curious about it (been pervy since birth) and like to explore. I see it as beautiful, deep, and sometimes overwhelming when I think too much about it.
There is a fourth question in the set, but it’s not really an appropriate date question, especially on a first date. It goes like this...
Imagine that you’re alone in a completely white room. It has no windows, no doors, it’s just an all-white empty room. List three emotions that you are feeling.
My answers: An opportunity to do something artistic, clean and bright, enigmatic. These aren't really emotions, so I kind of did it wrong.
White Room – This represents how you view death. Again, it's not a fun date question. If your answers were something more like “cold, afraid and alone,” it’s reflective of the anxieties you feel around the subject of death.
My answers were surprisingly more on the optimistic side with keywords like; opportunity, artistic, clean, and bright – though ‘enigmatic’ could be interpreted as a big anxiety-filled question mark – which is fair enough.
In conclusion, as you continue to self-confine, remember to think of it as a precursor to the day when you will inevitably die, alone.