Love in the Time of COVID-19

Woman's hand holding a phone

I would not want to be looking for a relationship right now. It’s difficult enough in normal times. It’s significantly harder to look for a significant other in this time of social distancing.

Online dating is probably a good way to start but it can be embarrassing too. I had a strange interaction yesterday that will show you what I mean.

My phone rang yesterday afternoon.

I tried to answer, but the caller had already hung up.

What followed was a series of strange text messages. Since I’ve been looking for a job, I thought that the messages were about a job opportunity. I’ve edited the contents of the exchange a bit and have changed her name, but here is the gist of our conversation:

“Hey, this is Lily from Bumble.”

Me: “Did you just call me?”

Lily: “I tried. How are you?”

Me: “Refresh my memory. Did we talk about a job?”

Lily: “No. I am a translator. U?”

Now I’m beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable. Maybe I should have simply blocked the conversation and let it go at that but I was curious.

Me: “I’m a writer. Why are you contacting me?”

Lily: “Do you mind?”

Me: “I’m not sure. Where did you get my number?”

Lily: “Bumble.” And then, “Never mind. Take care.”

At this point, I looked up Bumble. I’m sure you’ve figured out for yourself by now that Bumble is a dating site. I didn’t recognize the name and, since I’ve been looking for web development work, the name didn’t mean anything in particular.

So I contacted “Lily” again:

Me: “Just so you know, I did not sign up for Bumble and I’m sure how my number got there. What do you think my name is? That might help me get my number removed.”

Lily: “I got your number from Bumble. We exchanged numbers but you never called.”

Me: “I know that, but I don’t belong to Bumble.”

Lily: “Never been there? Can you send a photo?”

Me: “What gender do you think I am?”

Lily: “Man. I am a woman.”

Me: “I am a happily married woman. Maybe the guy made a mistake?”

Lily: “Sorry. You’re lucky. I’m a strong believer that love and happy marriage exist.”

That was basically the end of our conversation. I tried to contact Bumble but you can’t contact their customer service unless you are a member. I switched to Twitter, found Bumble, and sent them a DM. They response was quick.

After a bit of back and forth, it turns out that my phone number is not associated with any profiles on their site. Which leads to one of two conclusions:

  1. The man was serious and, when he gave her his phone number, he made a typographical error in his phone number.
  2. He didn’t want to make any further contact but felt pressured into giving her the number so he made one up on the spot.

I am not sharing this to make fun of the woman who contacted me. She thought she was connecting with someone with whom she had already shared her information. On one hand, it’s funny. Accidents happen. I am not complaining about Bumble either. They were good about responding to my complaint and both polite and helpful.

But, this incident brings up a few interesting questions. How long do you suppose the need for social distancing will continue? We need to reach a point where we have a vaccine or at least a cure. At some point most people will have had COVID-19 and will therefore be immune or the virus itself will have mutated to the point where it doesn’t affect humans anymore. But how long will that take? Months? Years?

Would we need to go back to the days of arranged marriages where the couple don’t meet face to face until the wedding? Or do you have to require a COVID-19 test before physical contact?

Now this has been a funny little story, but suppose the message had been received by someone with a jealous spouse/significant other? Can you imagine the fights that could have caused? Or, even worse, considering that there are kids out there with cell phones of their own, suppose the recipient had been a 13-year old boy? Poor “Lily” could have found herself up on charges of soliciting a minor. I guess all I can say is all’s well that ends well.

I’d love to hear what you think of this little tale… please leave a comment below.

Featured image courtesy of Dayron Villaverde from Pixabay

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