These are strange times for romance. People are quarantining with matches they just met on Bumble, Zoom happy hours have negated the need to ever wear pants on a date, and the cast of Love Is Blind are probably all thinking, Told ya so. Love in the time of the coronavirus is strange indeed.
But you don’t need a bubble like Jeremy to fall in love even in these weird, weird times—socially distanced love is very much thriving. In an era where we do pretty much everything else virtually, virtual dating has quickly become a new norm. To keep your virtual drinks from getting stale, here are 11 creative virtual dates you can go on while maintaining a safe social distance.
1. Tour the Louvre, in pajamas.
Museums and galleries—always the classiest of date options—are largely closed due to sweeping shelter in place orders. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still get your culture on with your own private virtual tour of the world’s finest curated collections. It’s like your very own version of a Bachelor date.
A few online exhibits and virtual tours to check out: L.A.’s Getty Museum look at Renaissance food & drink, the Louvre’s decadent Gallerie de’Apollon ceilings, the Smithsonian’s Natural History guided walk-through, and the National Women’s History Museum’s NASA exhibit (because nothing says social distancing quite like outer space).
2. Turn your living room into the main stage.
There are hundreds of artists performing worldwide, from big stages and backyards that you can stream from home. (See John Legend’s performance at the Chrissy-officiated Stuffed Animal Wedding.) For a weekend-long Coachella experience, don your flower crowns and neon for the Stay at Home Festival—a music festival on Instagram Live, April 3–5—or track the greats as they go live with Billboard’s continuously updated list. (For local musicians, Venmo a tip, if you can.)
For a more intimate listening experience, send each other an album to listen to during the workday, and discuss it that night. Or use one of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts as a nightcap. (Lizzo is our fave, duh.)
3. Invite a guest storyteller.
You’ve been swapping stories for a few phone calls—maybe it’s time to turn to the storytelling experts. The Moth, a globally renowned event series and podcast, features live vignettes of real human experiences—you’ll laugh, tear up, and have some new content for your endless phone calls with your virtual lover. You can “buy tickets” by making a gift via the Moth website, and send your date a calendar invite for showtime.
4. Play dinner-delivery roulette.
This potential partner already knows plenty about you, and you’d invite them over if you could. Instead, exchange addresses for a surprise takeout night that also helps support a local business.
Set a time for delivery, and schedule your favorite local dish to land on their doorstep. Watching them unbox and enjoy your favorite food—and you, theirs—is perfect whether you’re a plate-sharer or not.
5. Take a long walk on a virtual beach.
No one is going anywhere for the time being, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a virtual trip together (minus the TSA hassle and fights about wake-up times).
Using Google Maps, you can revisit a favorite place you’ve been, your date’s old summer spot, or even give each other a tour of your childhood neighborhoods. You can even feast your eyes on global adventure by snorkeling from a resort in the Great Barrier Reef, visiting China’s terra cotta warriors, hiking through Yellowstone, or exploring the International Space Station.
Want to virtually explore the world during the height of our global shutdown? Check out the *New York Times’*s The Great Empty series, capturing international hot spots in this unusual quietude.
6. Get sweaty.
Hundreds of fitness trainers are livestreaming their favorite workout classes to make working up a sweat at home easy-peasy. Schedule a gym date to take a class together and have a little fun getting active.
For a dance-based workout that feels like a party, 305 Fitness brings endorphin-boosting virtual workouts that will make your heart race. Grab your brightest ’80s neon, clear the floor, pop that Zoom video line open, and get twerking together. Their classes are available for livestream twice a day.
7. Get wild.
Break out your favorite day-trip snacks, and load up a wildlife cam or virtual zoo tour. You can watch a baby bald eagle enjoy breakfast, or party with the polar bears at the San Diego Zoo. Looking to get wilder? Roam the woods with wolves in Minnesota or beat your chest among gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
8. Take a deep breath over meditation and tea.
Couples massages and yoga studios may be off-limits, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan a relaxing date. Join a guided meditation with MyWellBeing founder Alyssa Petersel on Instagram Live (or check out her team’s library here). For a quick grounding exercise, you can walk through together anytime, Anna Murphy, an executive coach in Chicago, recommends a 5-4-3-2-1 check-in: List five things you see, four that you feel, three that you hear, two that you smell, and one that you taste.
Want to move off the couch? Check out Yoga With Adrienne and see how your date grooves into Downward Dog. Once you’ve hit the zen zone, make a cup of tea and discuss how you’re both feeling.
9. Host trivia night.
Remember Sporcle, the online trivia platform that made a big splash about a decade ago? We’re ready for a comeback. Whether you’re naming candy bars or listing out all the presidents in record time, you’ll learn a lot about your date in the process.
10. Netflix party and chill.
We’ve already binged Tiger King, and so has your date (and if not, they should go do that immediately). Though you can’t quite cuddle, grab your favorite pillows to create cozy tucked-in vibes, pick a movie and set up a Netflix Party. This add-on enables synced video viewing and live chats so you can share each other’s reactions.
11. Get deep.
Maybe you’re a big Brene Brown fan, or you’re just running low on ways to get deeper while distanced. The “36 Questions That Lead to Love”, published in 2015, is the best conversational road map to connect with your virtual date. Find out their dream superpower, gaze into their eyes, and start to envision what your future partnership might look like. Romantic, intellectual, and inspiring, this exercise is a must for all couples from fifth date to 50 years together.
12. Educate yourselves.
If you want to use this time to ‘level up’ your life, MasterClass has your guru for, well, everything. Learn style from Anna Wintour and look impeccable for your first date. Cook with Gordon Ramsay and wow your boo with those new knife skills. Take Billy Collins’ poetry course and write each other some sonnets. And if you love your trial, MasterClass has a buy one, gift one membership special right now.
13. Drop some knowledge.
Consider yourself a life-long learner? Be a teacher, too. Create a private TEDTalk of your own. Choose your topic of expertise, develop a very serious slideshow, and present to each other. Suggested topics include: The Best Pickles, Why Cats Rock, Purity Symbols in Twilight, and TikTok Culture (all of which were featured in my friend’s evening of drunken powerpoints, and had our Zoom room in stitches). You’re an expert in *something* and it’s worth sharing with your date.
14. Tap your inner sommelier.
Just shy of stomping grapes in the tub, you can get close to vineyards from your couch. The Sonoma County Vintners have this handy list of wines you can order direct to home. On date night, you can create your own tasting notes (with coaching from this Wine Folly blog). Not confident in guiding your own tasting skills? Invite Emma Swain, the CEO of St. Supery to walk you through the wine tasting experience she hosted on Zoom. Don’t forget your own virtual Zoom background of a vineyard for the full feel on your date.
15. Have a laugh.
Comedian Marissa Goldman is hosting weekly stand up shows from up and comers across the industry—and you’re invited. This digital experience takes place live between YouTube and a Google Doc, as creative comedians try a pandemic-friendly format with no drink minimum. Your live commentary with your date during the show is a whole new kind of social distance-friendly heckling.
16. B.Y.O. Brunch for a boozy drag show.
Ready to get a little wild? Drag Queens are tearing up the virtual stratosphere with Drag Fest. Make a mimosa, share your screen, cheers to your quarantine date and settle in for an amazing show.
17. Play Pancakes vs. Waffles.
In this imaginative game that exposes core identity values, you have to pick one forever. Start with waffles vs. pancakes. If you choose pancakes, waffles are gone forever. Next, challenge your partner with pancakes vs. french fries…and suddenly, you’ll be arguing about whether you want to keep oral sex or public education in this mental jungle of a future you’re designing together. Someone at Middlebury College takes credit for creating the game and explains it with an example script. We think the origins are more nebulous—and played widely at freshman orientations and company bonding events.
18. Get some space.
Pre-Quarantimes, Ariana Grande said it best: Imma need space with her jam, “NASA.” But have you been to space? Probably not. (And if you have, wow you are so cool!) Check out the National Women’s History Museum’s NASA exhibit or prepare for a virtual launch with the Space Center Houston app to the International Space Station, where you can take this NASA tour.
19. Host a virtual game night.
Board games are going virtual. You can battle it out with Risk, Settlers of Catan, or Battleship. Explore your future with a game of Life, or make a murder mystery with Clue. Virtual versions of your favorite games are popping up everywhere.
20. Test your cosmic compatibility.
Whether you swear by your horoscope or think it’s hooey, embrace the cosmic bizarreness of the times by reading your horoscopes to each other. What definitely describes you and what doesn’t? We’re addicted to Co-Star—enter the time you were born, add each other, and let an astrological algorithm guide your discussion of compatibility.
21. Change the world.
Find the superhero in your significant other. Discover what matters most to each other and explore the local networks of folks rising up together. These local action networks rally around dog parks and solitary confinement and everything in between—what do you two care about together to get involved in? Want to use your power for good against COVID19? Check out this growing database of Mutual Aid Networks and other communities coming together to help our neighbors in crisis while staying safe and socially-distanced.
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