Covid19: Social Distancing and Dating

On March 12, 2020, the Governor of MD and the State Superintendent of Schools canceled schools for 2 weeks in an effort to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Complete shutdown for two weeks. 

Teachers asked: WTF do we do with two weeks off, because a virus is spreading and people are dying? How do we serve our students? How do we serve our families? What does this mean? How does the world of education respond?

We did the best we could. While teachers were frantically trying to figure out what to take home and what to leave at school, we responded the best way that we know how, with humor. Jokes were made about how we would spend our newly found two weeks of unwanted free time. A snow storm shutdown, we welcomed it because we understood it. A virus shutdown, we feared because we didn’t understand it. 

During my final day at school, in order to mask (pun intended) the fear and divert the really difficult questions to which there just weren’t any answers, we made up hypothetical questions that we could joke about instead. How would we/could we spend our unexpected time off?  We concluded that each of us would either come back to school (that is how little we knew at that time) either: hot, not, or knocked. 

Hot, as in sexy. You spent the two weeks exercising and are now hot. Never mind the logistics of that statement: as if two weeks is enough time. Suspend logic with me for this one. We never defined what hot means beyond that. So allow me to give it a try. Hot, as in body be banging? Sure, but according to appearance? Or according to strength? Or a combo of the two?

Some people may argue that being hot is defined by physical appearance. Read here to better understand why I don’t really subscribe to that theory, not one bit: Change Sucks

I used to care. A little bit. Not anymore. Post menopausal body changes are for reals. 

Well, I argue that hot is defined in terms of strength because then I can consider myself hot. I work hard to stay strong. Who are our strongest, non professional, athletes right now? Think about this for a minute.

A minute is up. Did you come up with the correct answer? Crossfitters. They are the current bad asses of the workout world. Well, what if I told you that I have the bragging rights to a victory against three Crossfitters? Yup, I won the crown when I outlasted all three of them in the ultimate strength challenge, a plank hold. All three of them bonafide Cross-fitters.  And we had a bonafide judge too, an accomplished Ironman, nonetheless, which obviously legitimates the entire contest. Never mind that it was 1 am on a Saturday night, I still won. And maybe I imagined the crown; perhaps it was just metaphorical in my own mind. That is irrelevant as well.

Either way, that is my scientific, empirical proof that I went into quarantine already hot in the strength category.  Never mind that all three of them could do more push-ups and pull-ups than me on any given day. That is not the point here. Stay focused.

Heck yea. So obviously a combo won’t work. Process of elimination. Have empathy and let’s stay focused on strength.  I started out hot and I planned to remain hot for the two weeks, already expanded to eight. And will likely become even more. Keep exercising people. Stay strong! Stay hot. You can get hot in eight weeks, for sure.

So, the next category, “Not,” obviously means not strong, physically. You Netflixed and chipped.  Or simply spent too much time watching and reading Covid19 news to do anything besides drink away your stress and sorrows, leaving tomorrow’s workout out of the question. Either way, these people didn’t build up their physical strength. They may have built up their Office trivia game but not their biceps and pecs. They may have built up their money laundering game (Ozark) but not their plank contest game. I hold tight to my crown!

And the final category, “Knocked.” Now our department has many young people in their prime. Knocking boots may still gladly result in a knocked up state. That is a possibility for many of my co-workers. But not for all of us. Some of us are too old and some of us, well, are single. 

So how does one navigate the dating world during a pandemic that requires quarantining? So many questions, so many angles, so many perspectives. Let’s just take a look at a few…

How does one care for and nurture the fresh bud of a relationship? With state mandates suggesting guidelines such as, “The only people you should be seeing are those you can’t avoid; those living with you before this pandemic stated and stable relationships like a significant other…even in those cases, it’s with all the precautions, hygiene, and distancing as much as possible” (said Jagdish Khubchandani, an associate chair and professor of health science at Ball State University, in a Huffington Post article).  This advice almost makes long time couples who come out of this mess preggers look socially irresponsible.

That doesn’t bode so well for those in new relationships.  On that final day before schools shutdown, I had a conversation that illuminates one aspect of these struggles with a friend who said, “Well we have been dating for quite a while now.”

I said, “Oh I thought you guys broke up back in December, right before the holidays. I must have been confused.” 

“No, this is another person. We have been dating for two months.”  This conversation took place in March, the day before the pandemic caused the shutdown. I do not consider that a long time at all. But he does, so they must feel close to one another. 

That is still a tough one. Is this person unavoidable? We didn’t yet know about social distancing. We threw the term around, but we didn’t know, not yet. I wonder what my work friend ended up doing about the relationship. Everybody sees this differently., defines this with varying principles. Six months? A year? So many factors involved here: Are there kids involved? How often do you see each other now? Are either or you leaving home for work? Do your social distancing standards align? Oh boy, I feel lucky to have dodged this predicament.

So then where are the guidelines for determining an acceptable significant other? And how many newly budding couples want to have that conversation? UGH, that sounds worse than having to tell a first date that their fly is down, or that they have walked out of the bathroom with toilet paper on their shoe, or that they need to pay their damn portion of the bill To Pay Or Not To Pay?

Maybe some new couples are so entrenched in fun and exciting new sex that they desperately find the brazen courage to commit, whether it is the right time or not??? Who knows. What I do know is that it would be a tricky, complicated situation, and I feel sensitivity toward the faction of the dating world faced with these decisions.

What about another aspect of these struggles: Those single people still searching? Or just finding themselves ready to begin a search for a partner and companion?  My lovely and single work friend sent me this as an observation/request/solution. I like it:

I love this so much. It made me laugh. It made me sad. It made me have all of the feels as we moved into quarantine. Since she put it on my facebook page for public consumption, I actually had another friend write a poem that rebukes her claim:

Methinks that thou arst wrong…

Yea sing the feministic song…

the yearning in both sexes is strong…

But the blood seeps through the thong…

Females can hold out less long…

—DUDE, John Alma (pen name)

I love this too. What a great way to respond to a request for a poem with a limerick?  I don’t agree though.

I believe that both sexes yearn for physical touch, an emotional connection, and, well, sex with the same fervor and intensity. Not necessarily one more than the other. I know that I miss all three now more than ever now that I can’t even do live yoga. I am not knocking Zoom yoga, I am so grateful for it, but… Let’s Get Physical

But then I remembered that most of the men that I have interacted with online aren’t the best conversationalists…Things That Make You Go…Delete. So I knew that my phone would be quiet and that my social distancing would be easier…but more importantly,  would I be peaceful? Would I find my satisfaction in the simple humor of a limerick and the appreciation of a blog comment? Or will I yearn for more? I surprised my own self by finding peace. I am lucky. 

For those of you not experiencing peace: Seek it. Search for it. Find it in yourselves right now.  In the words of Rumi…

Yesterday I

was clever 

So I wanted to change

the world.

Today I am

wise, so I am



What changes can you make to yourself that would make this crazy, unpredictable, and, at times, fearful world a more peaceful place for you, just for you? Maybe that change is to get stronger, physically and mentally…maybe it is something else for you. Plank for one minute while you brainstorm. I challenge you. 

Next up: How I have found an uncanny peace amidst chaos by changing myself, just a little bit at a time.


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