The global pandemic unquestionably put a damper on the dating scene. If we’re being honest though, the dating scene was already prone to dampness, whether we are talking sweaty palms or the cup of cold water thrown on the sparks of last night’s promising text exchange.
But when you’re stuck in a rut, the best way to get traction isn’t spinning your wheels. It’s straightening them out. Let’s get you out of that dating ditch.
Assess the Situation
When you’re stuck in the mud, you’re probably going to need to get out of the car and investigate. Take a hard look at your romantic plight. People have been telling you that love will find you when you are least looking for it. “A watched pot never boils,” they say. Don’t listen to them. We’ve watched plenty of pots boil. This isn’t Toy Story – it’s a world governed by the laws of physics. In fact, we don’t recommend averting your eyes when you are trying to boil water anymore than we recommend staying in your car and hoping that the earth just shrugs its shoulders and deposits you gently back on the road. A quick diagnostic might only confirm that you are indeed stuck and your options are decidedly murky. Or maybe you realize that nobody even knows you are single because you and your ex have continued your pre-breakup routine of yelling at each other in public before retiring to her place to binge episodes of The Office.
Use Tools to Give Yourself Some Leverage
Sinking axle-deep in the mud sets you back. Pulling up the internet’s advice on how to get unstuck sets you off. Oh sure, just squelch back to the trunk and pull out an army shovel, four wooden planks and 12 pounds of kitty litter. Too bad you were going to the dentist instead of a “Build the World’s Largest Cat Box” competition. The only supplies in your trunk are a broken umbrella and an unopened blueberry energy drink. Fortunately, when it comes to prying your love life out of a rut and putting it back into a groove, the toolkit is a little more accessible. Swap out that blurry profile pic that looks like it was selected at random from a toilet drop photo burst. If you are hiding behind pixels because you are embarrassed by acne, let’s clean up that real life profile, too. Swipe right on a gel moisturizer for oily skin and get ready for your close-up with a charcoal face wash.
Stop Sabotaging Yourself
Avoid the temptation to push the pedal to the floor. That’s just going to mire you more deeply. When resetting that profile pic, avoid shirtless selfies, especially from the gym or bedroom. Don’t make it hard to figure out who you are. You’re not being mysterious by picking your buddy’s dog as an avatar and sliding red-flag slogans like “Doesn’t Date Stuck Up B’s” in the space reserved for personal details. If you’ve managed to land a date, be on time and well-groomed. Moreover, don’t just put in the work to look presentable when you get within 30 minutes of meeting Monica at the movies. You aren’t required to sleep in a tuxedo, but if fellow passengers visibly wrinkle their noses when you reach for the bus-stop cord, maybe up the activated charcoal body wash. Don’t beat yourself up because a pretty girl didn’t sit beside you on public transportation, but don’t shoot yourself in the foot by not washing it.
Be on the Lookout for Unexpected Breaks
Okay, so let’s say that love does come when you least expect it. Are you even in a position to notice? Or are you the person who misses the tow truck driving past because they were staring moodily at the low bars on their cell phone. Become aware of your surroundings. There are more opportunities for dates than hovering around an obviously private conversation between two women at a club. Ladies might not be waiting in line for a bagel because they are dying to be hit on, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t up for a polite interaction (though getting a good read on body language is important here). If you are worried about flagging down some help on your lonely stretch of road, maybe walk down to that busier intersection. People on dating apps are looking for dates, and if you are one of the last remaining holdouts in terms of online dating, stop being that.
Look, bro, the universe doesn’t owe you a date with a shampoo model. And simply because someone isn’t a shampoo model, that doesn’t mean they owe you a date either. But while the world might not be conspiring to frustrate your love life, it hasn’t been doing you any favors in that department. So you might have to do yourself a few favors instead. Good luck out there.