Hospitality Recovers Covid
Culture

A crash-course on dating while hospitality recovers

27th May 2021 · by Seb Mannering

All you need is love… and a mask

It seems we’re all beginning to reconcile with the fact that things are going to be different from now on. Flexible working is becoming the new norm, socially-distanced gatherings are occurring in public spaces and groups of thirsty Britons are huddling under flimsy beer-garden umbrellas in the pouring rain for a pint. What this shows us is that we are nothing if not adaptable. But how has the wonderfully wild world of dating adapted to the times?

Well, given that the online dating industry is set to reach a £3.5bn overall valuation by 2025, it’s clear that our appetite for romance hasn’t gone anywhere during this challenging time. With normality set to return on the 21st June, we’re finally beginning to feel like we’re nearly out of the woods. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to date while being covid compliant. Step number one…

online dating

1. Online dating

For better or worse, dating apps and Zoom have become key defining factors of the covid era. From the weekly Zoom quizzes in the first lockdown to the ongoing interviews and meetings in-between. It’s safe to say that more than a few of us are getting what is known as ‘Zoom fatigue’.

Thankfully, the days of Zoom dates are coming to an end. Just picture it: All the awkwardness and idle chatter of a real-life date combined with all the awkwardness and idle chatter of a Zoom meeting. When out on a date, we’ve all at some point thought ‘This is great and all, but what this really needs is more accidental talking over each other’. After all, nothing more says you’re both having a great time like repeatedly saying ‘oh, no, you go first, sorry’ or ‘you’re on mute.’

Get yourself on one of the big dating apps, get swiping and pull out your best cheesy one-liners. Once you’ve suitably wooed whomever it is you’re wooing, the next step is to meet in real life. Since it’s a nightmare booking anywhere at the moment, it may very well be a relaxing walk or picnic in the park that’s on the cards.

So dress for the weather and remember to brush your teeth, because you’re stepping away from the screen and going…

Love

2. Socially-distanced dating

Once you’ve whispered sweet nothings into each others’ screens, the next step on your quest for lockdown love is to go for a socially distanced date. Before doing so, please ensure this person lives reasonably nearby, lest you incur the wrath of the British Government. If they aren’t located near you, simply repeat Step 1 … with someone that is.

You’ve been left to fall back on a combination of good weather and even better conversation to carry a date. These things can carry you through, but there is also ample opportunity to take advantage of everything at your disposal.

For people living in London that are looking for an ideal picnic location, all it takes is a trip to your local park. If you’re looking to take it up a notch, however, you can take them somewhere scenic around Central London or the Thames. From Tower Bridge to Borough Market and onto Southbank, any sunny day in lockdown will provide a scenic and vibrant atmosphere for your date. If this goes well, it could be time to treat yourself by going back to…

restaurant love

3. Pubs and restaurants

Beer gardens are open again and so is the opportunity to take your date somewhere nice. It may be freezing cold outside, but it sure beats searching high and low for the park toilet and eventually settling for a bush. Plus, there are plenty of atmospheric and lively venues dotted around London for you to impress your date.

If you’re looking for views of the River Thames and a scenic backdrop for your evening, you can take your date for a bit of a crawl between three pubs in fairly close proximity. But maybe don’t actually crawl. You’ll put a dampener on the date if you get to the venue covered in cigarette butts and chewing gum. The three pubs on this route are the Horniman at Hays, then to The Old Thameside Inn and finishing off at The Anchor.

For one of the finest eating and drinking experiences in the nation’s capital, head over to Coal Drops Yard. This is a venue that is certain to impress. But even if you’ve successfully wooed, the question remains: can you even kiss? My official answer is to refer to the UK Government website. But, just between you and me, go with your gut. I won’t tell Boris. Later down the line, you might even take the next step towards…

Support bubble

4. Bubbling up

Congratulations, you’ve done it. As the famous philosopher, Rihanna once said, you’ve ‘found love in a hopeless place’. This is no small feat, and you should be proud of yourself for getting this far. But what happens now? Do you join each other’s support

bubbles? Move-in? No, probably not move in. Unless you want to. In which case… Congrats? I suppose.

Things are set to return to normality on the 21st, at which point you’ll be free to see each other to your heart’s content. Until then, however, you could bubble up with each other. You will always remember that tender moment in their relationship when they lean in and softly whisper in your ear ‘do you want to be in my bubble?’

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