Dating is tough even in the best of circumstances. Sure, we have all these social media tools that save us time and energy in figuring out our interest level before meeting in person. But even as efficient as sliding into dm’s and snapping each other can be, the ultimate goal is to make a connection that can translate in person. So, what happens in the middle of a global pandemic when that part of dating isn’t a possibility? In a world where we are now going to school, church, and even the doctor virtually- could virtual dating now become the new normal?
So that’s where this blog begins. A social experiment of sorts, where every week I go out (welp- stay in) on a dinner date with different CWU guys. The ultimate goal? Perfecting virtual dating and maybe even creating some real connections in the process.
I’m not going to lie; it sounded like a dream job at first. In my mind, I'm Hannah Brown handing out roses with Chris Harrison's voice in my head, narrating every dramatic moment.
In reality, there is nothing more cringy than having to re-watch yourself on a date. The weird facial expressions I keep making for some unknown reason, and realizing some of the basic eating skills I should have picked up as a toddler has escaped me. And don't even get me started on my brilliant choice of chopsticks for the evening. It was tough to watch.
But the experience itself? Pretty great. Sure, there were awkward moments, and it took us a while to warm up. But there is something about sitting down to dinner with someone, even virtually, that makes it more real. This slightly more formal dinner zoom date ups the importance and the excitement level of the virtual dating experience.
So, for my very first zoom dinner date? Brett, a CWU sophomore and athlete that I met…. well, is that part really important? Okay, I met him on Tinder. I feel your judgment. In my defense, Tinder is a relatively new thing for me, and I think I've got it figured out.
In Ellensburg- by the time you swipe left on all the guys not wearing shirts in most of their profile pics, over your age range, or posing with dead animals- you're pretty much left with the guys you kind of already know or at least know of. This was the case with Brett. Even though we had never met, I knew of him, which made it seem safe to swipe right.
So, after snapping a few weeks, he was brave enough to be my guinea pig for our very first zoom date. There's something really attractive about a guy that puts himself out there, so major points for that. Plus, he's cute, and I have yet to see him in an overabundance of camo, so he's starting strong.
I'm a little nervous and have to gather myself before we start. At first, this seems a little weird for both of us, which I'm sure I didn't help on my side with the roses and candles I placed strategically within view. I blame that decision on Chris Harrison.
But soon enough, we are talking and laughing. We talk about our love of sushi, the NBA, and all of our favorite things. We both love the office, and neither of us can pronounce John Krasinski.
The only thing that might be an issue is that one of his biggest fears is spiders. Don't get me wrong, the fact he's scared of spiders is adorable. But knowing I don't do spiders either, the realist in me can't help but wonder who would be the one to step up in the case of a surprise arachnid situation? Assuming we can work this out, everything else seems to be going well.
Occasionally there are moments of silence, which awkwardness can seem amplified because you are talking to a screen. That might be the downside of virtual dating, but I also got to experience what might be the biggest upside.
First date, and I've already met his mom. That's right, one accidental visit from Carolyn, and I have managed to push the fast forward button on traditional dating and have already crossed over to the meet the parents' stage. There's nothing more attractive than a guy being sweet to his lovely (if somewhat confused why there is a strange girl in candlelight on the computer in her home office) mom.
So, while he may have started strong, it was this interaction that put him over the top. That, combined with the words "we should do this again," could only mean first Zoom date success...right?
*If you’re a CWU student, 18-24, not a serial killer, and interested in taking me on a Zoom dinner date- DM @881theburg on Instagram
Laynie Erickson is a CWU Freshman and volleyball student-athlete. She is a native of La Center, Washington and likes scary movies, breakfast for dinner, and nice boys in sweater vests. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @laynieerickson