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  • JMR

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

This is a bad time to be dating. Though the weather is getting warmer, the daylight is getting longer, and crocuses – the most determined and optimistic organisms on earth – are pushing through the soft soil with their colorful flags to herald spring, there is simply nothing to do anymore.

Sports are suspended. Concerts are canceled. The curtain has come down on theaters. Museums and attractions are temporarily shuttered. Even Disneyland, the happiest place on earth, is closed. No one wants to go out to eat or see a movie. Furthermore, everyone’s 401(k) has tanked and all the toilet paper is gone.

So what are lovers to do?

Well, sure, there’s that, but you can’t do that all the time. Not without a good supply of lotions, potions, and pills, anyway. No, the real question is what happened to all the recreation in the world? There’s nothing left open. We might as well all go into self-quarantine; home alone, I know I can amuse myself. I have a stereo, a TV, lots of CDs and DVDs, booze – TOILET PAPER! – a fridge, booze, a MacBook, apps, books (almost forgot books!), and a couple of plants that just might survive if I spend more time caring for them.

But clearly, the winner of this crisis is Netflix. There’s going to be some serious bingeing going on. Forget toilet paper, stock up on microwave popcorn and Junior Mints. And that’s fine, nothing wrong with some couch time in front of the tube.

It’s just not a great date activity. Not day after day, anyway; not night after night. You want to appear interesting to the other person, show that you enjoy a range of activities and know what the good restaurants are. Demonstrating how fast you can spell a film title in the Netflix search function is not the best way to impress a date.

So yeah, it’s a hard time for daters. Even those with full-on significant others will quickly find they may not have as much to talk about anymore. That’s why this is a great time for introverts. It’s now perfectly acceptable to stay home on a Saturday night and indulge all your favorite anti-social habits, like eating a full pint of premium ice cream in one sitting, writing fan fiction, or dressing up your cat. The shame, the stigma are gone, along with our entertainment options.

There is one thing still open to us, however; an attraction that never closes: nature. Go for a hike, climb a mountain, take a bike ride together. It’s still a few months before you have to worry about mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile or Eastern equine encephalitis, so spend time outdoors. Even if it’s just sitting around a fire pit. You’re still staying away from germy strangers and you can toast marshmallows to boot.

In time, weeks or months perhaps, this crisis will be behind us. I hope so because not only is it hurting people’s love lives, it’s also hard on workers whose places of employment are negatively affected by the virus. After all, when things reopen, you’re going to need some money to spend there. It’s time, then, to be like crocuses: determined and optimistic. Say it with me: This, too, shall pass and we just may have a summer of love yet.

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