Gay Dating After The Pandemic

Gay Dating

5 Tips for Gay Dating After the Pandemic

Mason Glenn

Written by: Mason Glenn

Mason Glenn

Mason Glenn has had a long career in the matchmaking industry and has spent his time helping high-caliber clientele in Los Angeles select eligible matches. He specializes in working with gay men.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Many of us have spent more than 15 months feeling restricted in our lives and pretty much trapped in our homes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us have felt that any unnecessary human interaction should be avoided at all costs to protect our health and the health of others.

Even with the vaccine rollout these past few months bringing a degree of normality, it’s going to take more time for people to feel comfortable being close to another person again. That includes dating, which is such an intimate social behavior. We now have to ask permission to shake someone’s hand or hug them, and we have to be super conscientious about not invading someone’s personal space.

To help you ease back into the dating scene once the pandemic dust has settled, here are my top five tips.

1. Don’t Stop Going on Virtual First Dates

I’ve written about virtual dating in the past, but I do truly believe this will still be the go-to way to meet for a first date. Virtual dating is becoming more normal and less impersonal as people get used to it.

Most people on first dates are scanning for an energy match and usually that yields to some formulation of physical attraction. As perceptive humans, especially gay men, I feel like we know if someone is worth a second date within the first 15 minutes of the first virtual date. You can see someone’s body language and mannerisms on your computer screen.

Photo of man on virtual date

Virtual dates are great for determining chemistry quickly, and you don’t have to waste time driving across town. So I think they’re here to stay.

This is also the first test to see if someone is taking dating seriously. If someone is late and/or can’t give you his undivided attention for a half hour in the comfort of his own home, chances are he’s not in the same dating space as you. One upside is that if things don’t work out, at least you didn’t have to drive across town after work to realize this person isn’t a fit for you.

2. Show Your Date That You’re Listening, and Make Sure He’s Listening to You

Second dates are the ultimate test of your listening skills as well as your date’s listening skills. Did your date mention he likes to hike? Did he share the name of his favorite happy hour spot near you? Did something you said on your first date seem to interest this person? File these things in your mind.

Photo of gay men talking

Everyone wants to share their story, and everyone wants their story to be heard.

Better yet, write these things down or put them in your Notes app after the date ends if you feel you may forget. Then bring them up when you’re texting or on your next date. This is how you get brownie points. This is how you make the second date more memorable than the first date.

Remember that many people have different comfort levels in this skittish post-pandemic ambiance. Show your concern and check in with your date to see what he’s comfortable doing. You may get double brownie points for that. Even putting this small foot forward shows that you genuinely care about this person.

3. Respect Other People’s Physical Boundaries, and Make Sure Other People Respect Your Physical Boundaries

Speaking of comfort level, most of us gay men are quick to jump into bed with someone we just met. Of course, if you are meeting someone on a hookup app, you kind of know the territory. In this case, everyone understands what is to be expected.

I also believe in the power of physical chemistry. If by date number four or five you are still unsure if you trust this person to be intimate with them, you may be dating the wrong person. Listen to your intuition, and I guarantee it will save you a lot of time.

Photo of boundaries definition

The pandemic has helped us all learn what we really want and how to stand up for those wants, so if you’re not ready to get intimate, or your date isn’t, that needs to be respected.

Post-pandemic times will require strong communication to create a crystal-clear picture of how you think someone should behave around you. If this person ignores or disrespects you as far as your physical limitations go, then this person isn’t someone worth any more of your time. I think this is one of the big things singles have learned during the pandemic.

4. Ask Your Dates How They Dealt With the Pandemic, and Use That as a Way to Determine Compatibility

You should ask your dates questions about how they dealt with the pandemic. I would even encourage this during some of your very first conversations. You may discover some very apparent dealbreakers.

Photo of man wearing mask

If you’re serious about wearing masks and social distancing and your date isn’t, you may not be compatible. It’s good to have a similar understanding of the pandemic.

A lot of pandemic culture is around science, mask wearing, and social distancing. If I were single right now, there is no way I would get along with someone who decided to go to Mexico with seven other people in the middle of a global pandemic. I also would have a huge issue with someone who doesn’t believe that wearing a mask is helpful in reducing the spread of COVID-19. If someone thinks that COVID-19 is one big conspiracy, we probably wouldn’t have a lot in common.

However, just because I feel a certain way about the pandemic doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong. I’m saying what really matters is that your pandemic viewpoint should probably be similar to your dates’ pandemic viewpoint.

5. Make Sure You’re Remembered by Planning Fun and Unique Dates

We have all been cooped up for so long that I believe anything other than being in our own apartments or homes will entertain us… just kidding! Most of us probably want to do really fun and adventurous things once we get out there again.

A quick coffee or cocktail on the first date to see if there’s chemistry is fine, but my hope is that a lot of single gay guys will think outside the box when it comes to planning dates.

Photo of gay men on outdoor date

I’d still recommend going on outdoor dates because it’ll ensure everyone is comfortable, and doing things outdoors can be good for the soul.

Consider having a picnic in a park or on a beach, going on a hike, visiting a brewery and discovering new beers together, or going to an outdoor movie theater. The pandemic has made people think of new ways to engage while socially distancing. Try going to a food festival, taking an outdoor crafting class, or touringa garden or outdoor museum together. You get my drift — the date should be outside and it shouldn’t be something you would normally do.

My goal is for your date to tell his friends how much fun he had with you, whether the date results in a mutual match or not. You want your date to remember how creative you were in planning the activity, how nice you were, and how you gave him your full attention. You want your date to remember that you shared important stories about yourself.

We’re All Navigating This New Terrain Together, So Don’t Put Too Much Pressure On Yourself

It’s OK to feel a little overwhelmed during this time. I feel the same way. Sometimes I feel like the pandemic has made my introverted side take charge, and now I avoid being social altogether. My social stamina has been grossly decimated. You may feel the same way. That’s normal.

However, we must continue on the path forward. Humans are meant to interact with each other. Human interaction is not only physically beneficial, it’s important for our mental health. Like working weak muscles, we must flex and strengthen our social skills again.

The pandemic has allowed me to check in with myself more often. Getting out of my apartment more often to be social has allowed my anxiety or even depression to lessen. You really have to feel emotionally solid again before you get back into dating. I compare this to how someone will try to convince themselves they are ready to date again by jumping back into dating too soon. You don’t want to be that person who sends someone a misleading message. Take your time, but give yourself permission to take a leap of faith.

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