COVID lust
LOOKING ASKANCE - Joseph Gonzales (The Freeman) - May 31, 2020 - 12:00am

“If you love me, you’ll take off your mask.”

The new dating scene in our pandemic world. Where people will ultimately need to let down their guards and trust another person with their lives --literally.

A scenario that isn’t so far away from the HIV-AIDS era (not that it’s over, just more manageable). Remember those times when a person you’d be dating would plead, whine, and beg for unprotected sex? Whispering those four fearless words that immediately raise hackles: “You can trust me.”

Or worse, those three little words unleashed during groping, a tired phrase that might just be calculated, guaranteed to disarm the flushed and disheveled gropee: “I love you”. Dialogue that’s bound to make dating infinitely more complicated, as right then, one thinks, “Now, how do I bring up safe sex and not lose this special moment?”

In this coronavirus season, I can just imagine what it would be like to navigate trust and love issues. Like, those getting-to-know-you scenarios, where people have just met and want to give the best first impression ever.

Take off my mask sensuously in the middle of the conversation while tinkling with laughter? Or keep the mask on to preserve the allure? How to make those lips pouty when they’re covered by a mask? (Thank god, my saggy chin is hidden).

Would profiles in dating apps now boast of COVID status? Some would proclaim themselves as “COVID-free” or “COVID-negative”. Some might even write in their profiles: “I survived COVID”. (That might bring the most cachet to a prospective match - a person who advertises himself as having the antibodies would be the most desirable).

What about the first kiss? How can that happen? When would women feel safe enough to allow a first kiss to occur? (I am assuming here that men are dogs and just want to get to first base, whatever the cost).

Here comes more fodder for that chaste belief of “no pre-marital sex”. Parents will lecture their kids - “save it for when you get married! He might be a carrier, you never know, he might be the death of you. And of us!”

Even the wedding ceremony will now be fraught with danger. Hey, if I were a suspicious bride, I would make the groom lockdown with me for two weeks straight --no contact with anyone else prior to the wedding. No well-wishers. No fittings. And I would give the fiancé an RTK test right before the ceremony. (Bring an extra test kit for the officiating priest, please.)

And what’s really important --goodbye to the timeless tradition of stag night. No way would I risk the groom and his friends dialing up a dancer for rent the night before the wedding, and doing some crazy shit like lap-dancing or tequila shots. And that’s the tame version of a stag party already. (Same goes for the bride and her brood during a hen party. No go-go boy for you, dearies).

At most, there would be a zoom-night-before fete, where friends would wish us well and laugh and cry, and we would express our last-minute doubts and fears about this union during the virtual celebration. Hopefully, no one will press the “record” button and capture those last-minute confessions.

Then, it would be time to wake up (alone) and put on make-up and jewelry and wedding gown (mostly alone) and onwards to the actual ceremony, where another zoom conference has been set up for guests from around the world who were unable to fly in.

And this is already happening now, as we have seen friends and relatives walk down the aisle (on social media, naturally) to confess their fealty to the gods. Who themselves are virtual, anyway, come to think of it.

The gods just beat us to virtuality by a few millennia.

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