How’s that support bubble looking? You might remember that a month ago I dropped a little article called I started dating someone during quarantine…. And because my life is a social experiment for a blog rather than anything with any semblance of normality and privacy, and because I asked the person in question and they don’t mind, it’s time for an update.
It began innocently as many great love affairs don’t. Let’s be real.
I live in North London so it could have been the difference in altitude that had my heart going as I got out of my car south of the Thames to meet the person I have been wasting my screen time on since March. We had a little social-distance date planned. And I was nervous. I often tell this person I’m nervous about things and they never believe me so I can already hear the you didn’t show it at all in my head. This is also hella moist so I look forward to losing any remnant of self-respect I have left after this drops.
You know that fear when you meet someone off Hinge for a drink? Is the chat going to flow as naturally in person? Will they look more like their best picture or their worst one? (We’ve all done it – don’t lie.) Will they have a really annoying way of flicking their hair or chewing their lip or voting Tory? Maybe not the Tory bit, but I certainly had the fear of whether the person who I’d virtually enjoyed spending all this time with would actually be anything like the hypothetical version of them I’d created in my mind. But seeing them come out of their flat to meet me – thankfully, they were.
They fit my type – shocking, isn’t it? They are unsurprisingly all nose-rings and facial hair. Can’t write anything to save their life but reads every book I lend them, a member of the Green Party and thinks strong women are hot. So far. We spent a Friday night making signs for the BLM march so someone that puts their activism out into the world instead of on their Instagram.
We spent our first social distanced ‘date’ lounging in the sun in Brockwell Park, talking for hours until the sun pushed us back towards their flat and my car. I couldn’t drink because I was driving and staying over wouldn’t be very social distance. When you can’t hug someone, sharing saliva isn’t an option so, as the date ended, we came to that usual bit where you both look at each other like we know what normally happens here. I watched them watch me. Thoughtfully. They looked like they might kiss me so I stepped back, smiled and said I’d see them soon as I unlocked my car. That night, they told me that had been torture. Pretty sure they still haven’t forgiven me.
The second time I drove to theirs, we walked into Brixton and got Santander bikes into Elephant and Castle, dodging the buses and thundering down cycle lanes in the sun. The weather changed up at one point, drizzling and suddenly out of nowhere, the rain cascaded down hard. (I’m not okay with how disgustingly cinematic this is.)
Under the bus stop, people had huddled together. Social distancing no longer a thing when no one has an umbrella.
There’s nowhere to hide, I said.
We huddled in the tiny, smeary-windowed cubicle as the rain came down. Our hair was soaked and I definitely had eyeliner dripping down one cheek. I could see them looking at me again.
Alright. That’s all you’re getting because my life is not a fan fiction.
Photo by Alexander Sinn