Despite popular opinion, dating during lockdown can actually be really fun. Even if not to find “the one”, it’s a great excuse to have unexpected chats and spontaneous wines with strangers.
Right now, with both Sydney and Melbourne in lockdown, there are more people giving their dating apps attention, more hot babes ready to try new things and more time on our hands to form connections with people than ever before.
But, if you’ve been on Tinder recently, you’d probably have noticed that it’s had a bit of an upgrade.
Given the lack of ability to go on first dates IRL right now, they’re doing good by changing with the times. You can cut the niceties and video chat with matches using Tinder’s Face to Face tool or play their new in-app game Hot Takes, a speed dating game available from 6pm every night in the app.
But we know that getting your motivation up to spark a convo or go on a virtual date can be a bit much, even when we’re at home with nothing to do, so we’ve called on Tinder ambassador and sex positive queen Abbie Chatfield for some help.
“I’ve been doing a bit of dating during lockdown, but it’s hard because we have the intimate bubble,” Abbie tells POPSUGAR.
“Committing to someone IRL is not really a vibe or even possible right now. I mean imagine third video date in and you’re like: ‘you’re my intimate partner’, it’s be a bit much, even for me.”
We have to agree. It’s a tricky time to be looking for a serious relationship or to form a meaningful bond with someone when it’s unclear how long it will be until you can meet them in real life. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try.
“I do live alone in Sydney, so I’ve been talking to a few people,” Abbie says.
“I’ve definitely been using Tinder a lot, especially their new face-to-face feature, which is like a video call and allows you to have a little Facetime vibe through the app.”
Video dates can be nerve-wracking, especially if you haven’t done one before, but they’re actually proven to work pretty well. There are countless couples having fallen in love via video chat during the pandemic, and their stories are just as romantic as ever. Even still, the idea of cold Facetiming a stranger is scary AF.
“In theory it’s super weird,” Abbie agrees, “like when it’s ringing you’re shitting yourself because it’s like, ‘Oh God, I’m about to see a stranger’s face and they’re about to see mine’.”
“But I think it’s actually fine, because everyone is doing it right now, like we’re all in the same boat.”
Abbie reckons that even in normal times, this new feature could actually be the way of the future, and we couldn’t agree more.
“You don’t have to waste going out to dinner or a cute outfit on someone you might never see again, so it actually saves you so much time,” she says.
“Plus, you only have to look hot from the neck up, which is like way more manageable right now, it’s total vibes.”
But figuring out if someone is hot through a video call is another thing all together. On the one hand, you get to see them for real, which is a pretty fair way of telling if someone looks at their profile.
On the other hand, there’s the fear of it being awkward (just like any first date), or that the conversation won’t flow naturally and they don’t seem at all like you imagined. But at least you know, right?
“I think you can tell if someone hot via a video chat, but I wouldn’t normally do one with someone who doesn’t have much on their profile,” Abbie explains.
“You need intel on who they are and what they like before you see them, because that information matters when it comes to finding someone hot or not. Like, they could be the hottest person ever, but if you don’t know anything about them, then how are you supposed to have a conversation?”
I think we can all agree that there are some profiles on Tinder (or any dating app, fo that matter) that we know to avoid. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can pick out the people that aren’t for you from their photos and bios (or lack thereof).
For Abbie, her biggest turn-off is fake interests.
“I like a profile that’s detailed and shows a 360 view of who you are as a person, because personality matters so much when it comes to attraction.
“Telling me you like hiking or yoga is great, if you actually like doing those things and want someone to do them with. I mean, I like yoga too, but what I really want to do is have a wine and talk about politics, which gives someone an idea about who I am and also how they could potentially relate to me,” Abbie says.
“I think a lot of people make their interests things that they think people want to hear, rather than being direct about who they are and what they like.”
It’s tempting to create a version of yourself that you’d like to be on a dating app because being online gives us the power to feel confidently protected to try on different versions of ourselves. This can actually be a really positive and healthy exercise, but is definitely not the way to go if you’re genuinely looking for love.
The best option always, is to be as honest as you can about who you are and what you want/like, regardless of what people think. Oh, and try not to be cynical.
“I come across so many bios where people write ‘6″1 if that even matters’ or comments that sound snarky, like they’re expecting rejection or have a chip on their shoulder, which is a huge turn-off,” Abbie says.
“There is also a lot of: ‘I want someone down to earth, wholesome, and wants to be a wifey’, which is just them listing what they want and nothing about who they are.”
If you’re not a writer or not used to being super vulnerable and open about yourself, creating dating profile can actually be a bit daunting.
“Try to think about your actual interests and what you like doing,” Abbie recommends.
“Make some jokes, add a video, use all the new Tinder tools to help create a profile that shows others a realistic version of who you are. We might be online but you can definitely tell when someone is being themselves, and it’s way more attractive.”