Priorities, manscaping schedules, sleep cycles — Coronavirus has impacted everything, one lockdown at a time. ‘You know who’s really going to suffer during social distancing? Dudes on dating apps. Welcome back to courtship, Brad. Welcome back to talking to a gal for weeks before meeting…’ was a tweet right at the beginning of the pandemic, a clear indicator that swiping and talking was going to see some serious change, especially since ‘I’m just looking to hook up’ would sound laughable, and also very irresponsible. 

And change it did. We saw people move in together to see if they have a connection. Phone and video calls, which were earlier a screening process, now became the norm — virtual date nights, Netflix Party, people did everything to keep life as normal as possible. Actually having to interact before you meet someone meant swiping less (unless you could do 20 video calls a day, in which case, bravo). As Instagram boomed with ‘living in the moment and realising what’s important’ gyan, the last two years have led to a change in nature of what constitutes as a deal breaker. What one could earlier let go now counted as a red flag, as we realised life’s too short. 

Cutting out bullshit was a process that was sped up, tolerance slowed down, and more awareness of what one values in life impacted every For those who would otherwise excuse last minute cancellations, or a phone call or message that was not returned, what is now breaking the deal is not respecting time, safely colliding with being selfish. Shivani shares how she has stopped allowing people to take her time for granted, while Avantika corroborates, adding that dating, even casually, is a two-way street, and if it’s lopsided, it’s not worth it. As we were no longer having sex under the pretext of ‘Netflix and chill’, being able to really spend time virtual together meant having similar interests — it reflects how much your tastes match with someone, explains Tanu. Not being able to share common interests matters, and, well, you can’t really date someone who won’t Ms. Marvel with you at all, right?

Common interests also bring up another one on the block: not being able traits’ — not even your dog can help you if you’re bor-ring. We wrap up this telling tale of ‘I can’t deal’ with the political. Our deputy editor, Samreen, swipes left on all the apoliticals on Bumble. The pandemic saw some major mishandling by different people in power and states, and that, in turn, closes the loop and redirects to our first ranker i.e. lack of empathy, as Priya (name changed) points out. A liberal mindset is non- negotiable — your political inclination reveals a lot about the ‘bigger stuff’: are you misogynistic, what do you think about women’s rights, and do you understand privilege? These were always important questions, but a near-death experience like COVID has shaken up the best of us to see people and things for what they are. As things inch back to normal, it’s interesting to observe how many of these deal breakers continue to count.

Swipe, talk, find out.