Sunday, September 26

I’m looking for a fun boy: tall, with GSOH… and a Covid hit | Online dating

Before the pandemic, Neha knew exactly what she was looking for on a date: an athletic, liberal-minded guy who liked a healthy life but was not overly into the outdoors. Ideally, he would be Indian like her. Party guys were a no-no, pets were a detour. Now multiple dating apps, three crashes, and a handful of real-life quotes later and Neha is adding a difficult new quality to that list: Covid vaccination status.

According to data from dating apps, nothing means sexy in 2021 like “I’ve been vaccinated and I have this unflattering photo to show.” Platforms like Tinder, OK Cupid, Bumble, and Coffee Meets Bagel have reported an increase in users disclosing whether or not they have received their jab or plan to do so. Some, like Elate Date, have added vaccine status to their criteria to allow users to calculate whether or not they want to match a potential partner.

In the US, where the vaccine launch has taken off, the syringe emoji has become the new winking face, while a double-dose selfie on your profile is claimed to bring you double the quotes. According to OKCupid spokesperson Michael Kaye, users who claimed to have already received the Covid vaccine were receiving “likes” at twice the rate of users who said they were not interested. “Basically,” he told the New York Times, “Getting vaccinated is the best thing you could be doing on a dating app right now.”

Neha, whose ideal partner would at least be willing to have a Covid jab.
Neha, whose ideal partner would at least be willing to have a Covid jab. Photograph: Sophia Evans / The Observer

Neha, a 40-year-old IT consultant from East London, thinks it’s an advantage. “Obviously the picture is a bit different in the UK, as many people are still waiting for the vaccine, but for me it is good to point out whether or not you will receive it because it tells you about that person. Some people still think that the pandemic is a hoax. I do not have time for that “.

In January, Tinder identified a 238% increase in vaccine mentions in user biographies, while Bumble reported “a steady increase” in the number of people including “vaccinated” or “vaccinated” on their profiles. According to Sanjay Panchal, founder of dating app Elate, the vaccine is not only becoming a big talking point on dating apps, it is also becoming a deal breaker.

“It’s getting a bit flexible to say that you’ve been vaccinated. Our research finds that more than 60% of people would not consider dating someone who is against vaccination and that it has become a trend to include ‘vaccination’, ‘antibodies’ and ‘injections’ in biographies of dating the same way people would. height, job or interests, ”said Panchal.

Julian Keen
Julian Keen, whose caregiving responsibilities rule out dating someone who isn’t vaccinated

For 41-year-old Julian Keen, a West London tube conductor, it’s essential. “I have two children and I am my grandfather’s caregiver. I have to think about keeping them safe and not spreading the disease, so that I don’t have an appointment with someone who is not vaccinated or who is not planning to be vaccinated. “

Keen’s last long-term relationship ended in October and he took to the apps both as a distraction and in search of a serious partner.

“Obviously, it’s different and it’s restricted in what you can do and how much you can see someone, plus a lot of people are very anxious and it’s hard to break that ice,” he said. “I’m good at making people feel comfortable in person, but you can’t really do that on a screen.”

Despite Keen’s caution, it seems that screens are here to stay. While today’s dating has drastically adjusted with socially distanced dating and masked meetings, a Hinge spokesperson said that in the next decade, “video dating will become everyone’s first dates.”

Citing “convenience,” Hinge added that video dating would continue to be “a discreet, safe and efficient way to assess compatibility” for singles. Nearly half of Hinge users have been video dating in the past year, and the app reported that nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they “felt a growing connection” to someone they met that way.

“That is a very bad idea for people like me,” Neha said. “You would think that I am a very virtual person. I’ve lived in different countries and kept in touch with people, but I hate video calls. “The perfect date for her, then?

“I don’t have a type of activity or place that I like,” he said. “The perfect date is the one you never want to end.”

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