It’s an age-old question, one that men and women have been asking themselves since the dawn of time in that hard worn battlefield of L-O-V-E. A question in fact made famous by a noughties rom com sharing the same name, featuring a taught, DILF like Mel Gibson, who is suddenly able to hear women’s thoughts after being electrocuted by a hairdryer in the bath. (PLZ DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME) Unfortunately – noughties rom coms indications aside – humans have not yet figured out a way to read the thoughts of women kind. But, don’t worry, that’s where ThisThat comes in– ya welcome. We’ve surveyed the * hottest singletons in London town on the big do’s and don’ts, a kind of first date protocol to help you find the big L in that other baby l – lockdown.
(*hotness is subjective)
ARE YOU ACTIVE ON DATING APPS?
At the moment going for a drink or meeting someone spontaneously out and about is looking pretty unlikely. So, many are turning to dating apps to help foster some sweet human connection. Here are a couple of unexpected discoveries:
1. Of the participants 48% of men and women were active on dating apps. After filtering the active group, only a pretty measly 30% of people were up for socially distanced dating.
2. HOWEVER a whopping 76% of people would be up for or are already breaking lockdown rules.... All’s fair in love and war? Well... that may not really apply in a pandemic guys, so, get it together.
That means, even though many would like to meet someone, they’re more likely to want to do it via potentially illegal means.... When comparing results, a pretty lowly 25% of people would be happy to zoom date. This doesn’t necessarily mean participants of the survey are ignoring all moral duty as such, but more perhaps that there’s a level of frustration and ennui surrounding this second lockdown amongst young people.
The first lockdown was peppered with success stories on the BBC featuring new couples having shared video cooking nights, or sending notes via carrier pigeon to their sexy neighbour, helping their remote romance flourish but now that all feels a bit pointless. If you’re not sure when lockdown may end or the potential for (god forbid) lockdown 3.0, investing in a virtual relationship which doesn’t have a deadline for coming offline, is tough.
HAS LOCKDOWN MADE YOU LONELIER?
This sense of listlessness and frustration is further supported when we dive deeper into the mental health response.
- An overwhelming majority of both men and women surveyed, 85 % in fact, felt that lockdown had made them feel lonelier.
There’s nothing like feeling we’re in a weird dystopian nightmare, to give you an extra jolt of existential crisis and angst. When we filtered the results by gender, men actually came in as the loneliest, but the least willing to socially distance date, and do something about it, a pretty damning thought for this Movember.
WHAT ACTIVITY TO DO?
We then looked at people’s ideal date activity during lockdown. Zoom can be awkward. A walk feels kind of quaint, like you’re harking back to Jane Austen era and subtly touching gloves in the piano room while bitching about Lady J. Gray. Most millennials claim to need that good ole fashioned social lubrication of being ever so slightly drunk for an effortless first date. So it doesn’t just feel like you’re performing a version of yourself at a s*** standup gig and wheeling out your best anecdotes. Our discoveries – despite this widely proliferated opinion on drinking culture – dictate otherwise:
- Women ranked listening to music as their top activity on a first date.
Sharing music taste with someone, in the same way when you’re a kid and you discover someone likes the same flavour play dough as you, triggers a kind of familiarity/ intimacy response (me + you = same, me you make friend). Listening to music was closely followed by a walk, then playing a sport in order of preference for women. So, think about getting PHYSICAL and leave that wicker basket at home, with going for a picnic coming in 9th out of 10 options for women surveyed.
When we compare results with the male identifying population, it painted quite a different picture – #1 Walk, #2 Movie, #3 Music, #4 Sightseeing. So stretching your legs and a walk n talk comes out top for both sexes, and maybe with some headphones thrown in too for good measure. Or, getting cosy with a movie (social distancing rules be damned) was also pretty popular.
TO STALK OR NOT TO STALK, THAT IS THE QUESTION
50% of those who took part in the survey stalk their date on social media before meeting, so when in doubt, brush up on your social media presence.
AND MAKE SURE YOU DELETE YOUR SEARCH HISTORY. I’m still haunted by the story of a friend of mine who while on a first date, had a guy that wanted to show her something on Instagram, but she KNEW with a sweat inducing certainty, that her most recent searches were number 1. Him, number 2. His brother and number, 3 (and most epically) his mum. So, she tartly REFUSED to get her phone out, claiming she wanted them both to be “present” and “in the moment”.... Yikes. Instagram has clocked onto this stalkerish habit of ours, and now lets you delete your most recent searches, bless up.
The dreaded “cuffing season” is upon us, winter has arrived and with it the general need to find someone to drag to any upcoming Christmas/ NYE parties and snog under some wilting mistletoe. A couple of takeaways in the world of dating according to ThisThat – walks and headphones are in, picnics OUT and when in doubt, just ask your zoom crush/ hinge guy or gal what they’d like to do because everyone, almost without exception is feeling a little lonelier.
A wild idea maybe, but with social distancing and lockdown making the normal cat and mouse game of flirtation/ disinterest/ keeping things cajj (double j) kind of unworkable in a pandemic; we’d say, get out there boom box in hand, placard presentation at the ready, and wear your heart on your sleeve. If you can’t say it at Christmas, when can you, eh?