That’s why Fisher used to offer one cardinal piece of advice to people on dating apps: Meet the person as soon as possible. And yet, in the age of COVID-19, she has become surprisingly bullish on dating at a distance. “Everybody thinks this is a bad time for dating. I think this is an extremely good time for dating,” she says. “Sex is off the table, so you actually have to sit down and really get to know someone. Because the most important thing to look for in a partner is having a good conversation.”
Stripped of the ambiance of a restaurant or the taste of food, the quality of the conversation on a date comes into focus. “People definitely have to improve their conversation skills. There’s more talking on video chat than there would be in a loud bar,” says David, a 25-year-old engineer in Philadelphia who did not want to be identified by his last name for work-related reasons. “It’s also definitely helped my wallet.” He usually pays for the first date but calculates he is saving hundreds by not going out, a factor no doubt high in the minds of many online daters as unemployment soars.
Across the country, Bumble is seeing more “quality chats”—based on the length of messages people exchange in the app and how long the conversations last. And studies show a longer courting period translates to a more stable marriage. Fisher is confident this quarantine period will lead to a boom in weddings.