Dear A.A.

Look, I know I’m not supposed to ask about this. It’s not allowed. Hell, it’s not even legal, technically speaking. But I can’t take it anymore. I don’t have a live-in partner, or a committed relationship of any kind. And it’s been more than 20 weeks of social isolation in this studio apartment, and I’m losing my mind.

Sure, I miss sex. But I miss human contact more. I want a hug. I want to flirt in person. I want to feel the sparks, and not through a computer screen.

I wear a mask properly and always. I only go out when it’s necessary. I wash my hands obsessively. I carry a little bottle of hand sanitizer everywhere I go. I haven’t seen my over-60 parents since this thing started, and don’t plan to until it’s over (will it be over?). What I’m trying to say here is that I’m trying to be responsible. But I simply can’t be celibate any longer.

Auntie Alfawhore, how can I date as responsibly as possible?

Suffering in solitary

Dear Suffering,

We both know I can’t endorse you to BREAK THE LAW. But as Matthew Mcconaughey so aptly put it, “I see a lot of lawbreakers out there.” For real. Every time I walk outside, there are people without masks, there are couples elbow to elbow on park benches, there are old people tucking masks under their chin while they sip their cortados outside the cafe and you better believe they’re not two meters apart. 

People are getting antsy. And that’s understandable. We’re social creatures by nature…and that applies to our genitals as well. So while I cannot endorse your choice to date during a worldwide pandemic, I will try to use my clout correctly and guide you towards making smarter dating decisions during this tricky time.

Here are your best options, as I see them:

Option A: Virtual Dating

I know you’re rolling your eyes. But I had to suggest this first.  The apps are wild right now! Everyone is being forced to use them, even the sexy, charismatic people who used to just walk into bars to find their fun. And people are surprisingly open and vulnerable these days…in a good way. We’re all trauma-bonding right now, after all. And once you’ve established that your match is a real person and not a 65-year-old man named Alfredo, you can even get a little zesty over chat with my best tips for safe sexting.

But if physical contact is a must, I suppose you could meet clandestinely in the park for a masked and socially distant date (the secondary catfish check). How fun! Try to be really choosey about who you meet up with in person. Every interaction is a risk, and you can’t be taking risks for someone with whom your biggest connection is that you both hate coronavirus. Otherwise you’re (at best) going to have one awkward, stilted night together and (at worst) leave the park feeling lonelier than when you arrived. You just can’t force these things, kiddo.  

Option B: Buddy System

Maybe it’s a past FWB, a long-ago ex you’re on good terms with, or a romantic encounter from a pre-Covid era that still makes you feel a little tingly inside. Ask if they’ve been tested recently, or been in contact with any known cases. Then ask if they want to watch that new mobster docu-series on Netflix, order ice cream, and cuddle. Hey, I’d be into it…if I wasn’t abiding to the strictest letter of the law. Which I am. Ahem. 

Option C: Go Back to Your Toxic Ex

LOL JK DON’T DO THIS. Seriously. I will personally break quarantine to hunt you down and drag you back to your house and lock your silly ass in there. I know you’re lonely. It’s 2020. We’re all lonely. Go read an erotic novel. Watch some ethically-sourced, preferably feminist-directed porn. Invest in some nice toys. Don’t go back to that person. They are a garbage person. Is that what you want to do during a pandemic? Hang around with some garbage? Does that sound healthy to you? Does it? 

No. No it doesn’t. 

Anyway. Whoever ends up coming over (seriously, not your toxic ex), make sure they wash your hands first. And then, make them feel welcome. Clean your house of its depressed quarantine detritus before they come over. Put some clean sheets on your bed. Maybe even put some fresh flowers on the table. You might even notice that doing that kind of thing feels really good just for you. And maybe you won’t need someone else’s company as much as you thought. 

Hang in there,