Safe-distance dating at the end of the world

Dating at the end of the world is hard, man, but at least I’m built for it. I wish I could say dragging people on outdoor day trips is a part of my new life awakening, but I’ve always been a deranged, soul-gazing dreamer who gets off on dates involving tall prairie grass and backpacks filled with snacks.

It’s actually one of my oldest tests. Yes, I will have a craft brew with you at an official establishment, absolutely, especially when people aren’t dying because of it, but will you also trudge through mud with me?

Dating is also hard when you are currently unemployed, as it turns out. You want to meet people without coming across all: “Hi, I don’t want die alone in all out class warfare or at the hands of killer bees that are maiming other normal bees who are just going about their business and being helpful for the environment.”

I have to remind myself on the daily that I’m an appealing, hard-working person who has been temporarily knocked off course, and I will emerge from the woods like my other disheveled, well-intentioned non-essential brothers and sisters, hopefully for the better.

Recently, a nice gentleman (and I rarely use that word) asked me out on a date, and of course I suggested a nature trail. I swiped for this particular guy because he has lot of mountains on his profile and honeysuckle eyes that make me salivate. It was a successful first safe-distancing date. We saw a freaked out chipmunk and a deer on the trail and talked about our lives and interests and how weird it is to be alive right now.

I had been dreading our date because of my appearance. No, not because of the usual offenders (stomach rolls, cellulite thighs, puffy hair…I can keep going, but it’s boring). I’m weirdly accepting of my body lately. It might be the relaxed exercise schedule, or the wellness (calm the fuck down) webinars the algorithm gods have been shoving at me, or it might be because I’m not currently surrounded by people or media that are at constant war with their bodies.

I’m self-conscious about my black eye though. I was rough-housing with my dog, and I blew on her ears, which she LOATHES. Anyway, she throttled her face into mine, and now I have a real black and blue beauty. It even made a guest appearance in a virtual job interview that I miraculously made it through.

Anyway, my date said he liked my black eye and that I was the first “real” person he’s met on a dating app in a while. It’s nice to get this feedback. I’ve gotten it before. I realize I have the issue of sometimes being TOO REAL, but this is a fear that no longer keeps me up at night. Why should it? There are way too many things to care about instead right now.

Don’t act like you have me all figured out though, algorithm gods. I’ll swipe right for the dude who likes to wear a Harry Potter shirt in his down time when he’s not at work trying to figure how to machine or humanize the currently broken down machine. And we will take a Buzzfeed quiz together that will determine our house compatibility. He will be pure Hufflepuff material, and he will find out I’m mostly Ravenclaw but also 19 percent Slytherin, and that my garbled Parseltongue is bound to make an appearance at some point.

I intend to keep dating in small, controlled capacities. If you do what you’re supposed to do and wash yourself down, I would like to maybe hold you and be held by you, you know? Seeking love certainly comes with heightened risks (among the other usual risks), so I’m making it count when I can.