SACRAMENTO, Calif. — If you're on the dating scene, you may be thinking your prospects are looking a little slim.
The coronavirus [COVID-19] pandemic has caused bars and theaters to close, events to be cancelled, and literally 6 feet of space between yourself and others.
It’s daunting to find a date. Yet, it may be a great time to get into the dating game.
Jenn Brian, dating coach at The Queen of Dating in Sacramento, points out that dating is forced to evolve with the circumstances.
"Not being able to go out and do what I normally would do...it's had to shift," Brian said. "You have to give people different ideas on what to do for dates and such."
But, maybe that change is for the better.
Finding new ways to have fun and connect on a romantic level has caused the dating game to level up.
"People are forced to communicate,” Brian said. “They actually talk and court people and not just hook up. I mean, it's kind of like one of those things: actually having to get to know someone and putting in the time and effort."
Old school romance is finding new life in the age of quarantine.
“Quarantine” care packages can be a thoughtful way to reach out and brighten someone’s day. Sending handwritten letters or flowers has an antique charm and hearkens back to when courtship was popular.
Technology also makes it easier than ever to stay in touch.
"I know a lot of people have been doing Zoom parties,” Brian said. “We've been having watch parties, and drinking parties, and playing games - just being able to virtually do things. I think that connecting that way...it's been really good for people."
There are also ways to indulge in typical date-night fare, such as a nice meal out and a cocktail or two.
Restaurants in California are now allowed to serve cocktails to go, which means you can pop over to your favorite eatery and pick up a fancy meal and drink. By doing so, you and your date will also be supporting local businesses, which is extremely important during this time.
"Doing events–like the bar industry, being able to support food–that's just such a backbone,” Brian said. “That's so much what dating is about–going out there. So, if you can figure out a way to still support local businesses in addition to having fun and being social, I think that everyone kind of wins there."
Brian also recommends combining social distancing with outdoor activity.
“A lot of people have been doing hikes, honestly, for dates and stuff and just, you know, we get outside because we are kind of going stir crazy.”
Doing something energetic together can help strengthen a bond, which is why volunteering for a cause is another great date idea.
According to Brian, volunteering at nonprofits like the Sacramento Food Bank and Sacramento Loaves and Fishes will not only benefit those in need, it can help you connect with people in an active way.
"I think that's a good way to give back and also be able to meet other like-minded people,” Brian said.
With self-isolation, quarantine, and work-from-home people in general have more time on their hands. This can open up a rabbit-hole of dating apps, websites, and the casual (virtual) meet-cute.
However, Brian says this just means that the dating scene is a little more transparent.
"There's no excuse for people not texting back or not calling back. I feel like it's actually making people more accountable,... up their dating game, and actually authentically bond with people and find things you have in common versus more superficial things that we typically are drawn to nowadays."
The key is this:
“Get out of your comfort zone,” Brian said. “Be able to just do things that are going to bond you, and you can laugh about and pass the time."
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