When the world shut down in March, I was ill-prepared without a quarantine buddy living in LA county.
I had been kind of seeing someone late February into early March. We had just gone on our third date the week before we all transitioned into stay at home orders. But by the time we all had to stay at home, I came to the realization that I had been ghosted.
Not to despair, because I quickly decided that if I couldn’t leave my house to meet people, my only option was to go online. So online I went. Bumble has always been my go-to, but during quarantine Hinge has been my favorite. I spent a dark few days on Tinder, but we don’t need to talk about it.
The first beach guy
Early on there was this cute guy who lived by the beach and told me how he’d go running on the beach every morning. I envied him, and wished I could simply be there to enjoy the ocean breeze with him.
We talked a lot of what we would do after quarantine, but perhaps the wishing was too much for him, because soon he stopped talking about it. Well, I mean, he stopped talking to me completely.
The PTSD guy
He was one of the first guys I talked to in lockdown. Through text he seemed very enthusiastic and thankful when I offered to help him with an essay.
We talked about mental health, and he admitted to me he came to be a lot more empathetic about the subject after his experience in the military left him with PTSD. He told me about the meds he was on and that the week earlier he had run out and was a mess. But, by the time we video chatted, per his suggestion, he said he had them refilled.
He was working on a homework assignment while video chatting me and I wondered why he even offered to talk if he was going to half pay attention to me for an hour and a half. It turned out that his enthusiasm in text ended up being a sporadic attention span with moments of full engagement.
Through text, he had complained that he wanted something serious but he only met girls who wanted to hook up. I did not want to hook up. So when he messaged me the day after video chatting asking to cuddle, I told him we were in quarantine.
I also quickly realized he didn’t want to talk and get to know me. He wanted to use me to feel better about himself, and when I called him out on it, he said I was just like all the other girls who only wanted to hook up. Because obviously wanting to get to know each other and not seeing them in person means all I want is a hookup. Right.
I think that ended in mutual ghosting.
The second beach guy, aka “Oso”
Then there was “Oso,” who said I could call him “Teddy” when I’m feeling playful. I admit that since the month of March was lasting forever and I had acquired a new roommate, I was itching to get out. I know I know. I shouldn’t have done it. But I broke the rules for this Teddy who I’d only talked to for three days.
He also lived by the beach, because apparently that’s a thing for men who I meet online nowadays. He drove to me, and then I drove us to a canyon I used to go to in college. I told him to bring his guitar, whereas I provided the wine and whiskey.
As far as irresponsibly seeing each other goes, we were responsible with not drinking too much. And to my defense, he had been mandated to quarantine for two weeks after traveling from Europe, and the only person I had seen for the past two weeks was my roommate. But, I know. Still wrong.
Even so, it was a romantic and much-welcomed escape. He serenaded me in the backseat of my car as I sipped on wine. I liked listening to him play with his soothing voice that hummed whenever he forgot the words to a song, which was fairly often.
We kissed and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I didn’t enjoy it. However, I did manage to tell him that I didn’t think we should see each other again, and thus ended my one romantic night with Oso.
The one I wouldn’t ghost
As a rule, I prefer to be upfront rather than ghost someone. I even often wait for the guy to ghost me instead. Makes things easier somehow. But there was one during these past two months in quarantine that I really should’ve ghosted a lot earlier.
We quickly became Instagram friends, and he wanted to have a phone conversation right away, which was fine by me. I’ve missed human interaction that wasn’t just words on a screen.
He seemed to fall in love immediately, whereas it took me just as fast to determine I wasn’t interested.
He suggested we play the question game, and his rules were that we answered 100% honestly and couldn’t skip a question. He said he was an open book, and I have no problem being honest. It seemed like it could be fun.
His first few questions were along the lines of, “How tall are you?” and “Where do you live?” Whereas mine were, “What’s your greatest passion?” and “What do you want to be doing with your life?”
He answered concisely at first, claiming he didn’t think we’d get that deep or that I’d ask those kinds of questions.
Finally, when I tried to go with a lighter question and ask what his ethnicity was, he made a really big deal about wanting me to guess. I told him I didn’t want to, and he said he wouldn’t answer. I reminded him of his own rules, and he said I wasn’t willing to compromise. I felt like I was having one of those petty fights couples get into, even though this was our first time talking on the phone.
By the end of the phone call, he jokingly declared that he wanted to marry me. He loved talking to me. I was mostly annoyed with him, but thought that would be rude to say.
Over the next month and a half, he would randomly text me. We’d go back and forth a few times. Then he’d stop texting me for a few days to a week. Each time I thought maybe this time he’s finally ghosted me. When I finally realized that wasn’t the case, I knew it was time to ghost him instead.
The chemist was one of the ones I really loved talking to, and one of the few guys I video chatted. Our first phone call was incredibly entertaining. He was working on his PhD I believe to do something with chemistry. He loved food and took a very scientific approach to cooking.
I have always been a picky eater, and every guy I’ve gone out with has always struggled with that. The chemist, however, is the first guy to take a different approach. He asked me endless questions about what food I liked, didn’t like, and why. Without giving judgment on my strange eating habits, he would simply say, “Hhmm, that’s interesting.” And then I swear he wrote it all down somewhere.
When I was cooking veggies one day while on the phone with him, he told me to add a small amount of brown sugar with balsamic vinegar. I questioned this heavily, because it seemed weird to me, but now I don’t cook veggies without them. It tastes amazing.
We both really enjoyed talking to one another, and even gave virtual tours of our apartments. He was Chaldean (I didn’t know what that was either) and from Canada, but living in SoCal, so I was fascinated with learning about his background, just as much as he was about learning what I ate.
We had only been talking for about two or three weeks when something strange happened. He started disappearing on me. I didn’t believe he would ghost me because he didn’t seem like the type and also seemed far too interested in me.
After days of not hearing from him, he told me he was going through family problems. I told him I missed talking to him and that I hoped everything was okay. Another week went by before I checked in on him again. I haven’t heard from him since.
The third beach guy, aka San Diego guy
He was Indian, living in San Diego, and complimented me a lot. He’s another guy I video chatted, and also one of the few I really enjoyed talking to. He said he loved talking to me too.
I thought he was incredibly intelligent and “woke,” as the young people say. He was born in India, raised in the Middle East, and has lived in America for the past six years. He seemed to me a product of all those cultures combined to form a very insightful person. I liked discussing how we both saw culture and feminism.
On a video chat that lasted from 1 AM to 5 Am on a Friday night, he talked of visiting me, or of me coming down to San Diego. He said he lived near the beach so we could walk there. I told him the beaches were closed, so it didn’t matter. Still, it was nice to think about it.
I don’t know what happened with him either. He also seemed very interested in me, and after video chatting until near dawn, I thought this was the guy I could keep consistently talking to. But that video chat was the beginning of the end. We texted twice more, until by the third time he didn’t respond to me and I knew I was ghosted.
The dependable one, aka My Lover
It seems fitting to reveal that during these past couple months of quarantine, all I wish I had was a quarantine buddy. Since I couldn’t have that, I at least wanted attention because I’m needy as heck. I didn’t care to talk to new guys every week. I would’ve preferred one that I liked enough, and who liked me enough, to stick around until the end of this.
Alas, the guy turnover rate has been fast, with far more than I’ve mentioned so far.
But there has been one silver lining I’m grateful for. Early on, I called him the “rule-follower” to my best friend, but recently he’s named himself my lover. Mind you, he declared us lovers after I declared us friends. He said I wasn’t his friend, because that’s a strong word. So now we’re lovers I guess.
We started talking early on in quarantine and he’s been the most consistent one. He texts me regularly, and thinks it’s cute if a few days have passed without contact and I text him saying, “Where have you been!?” He also writes poetry and reads his poems to me whenever I ask.
We have a great time talking, but it didn’t take long for me to tell him I wanted to be his friend rather than eventually date him. He agreed to this, seeing our incompatibilities. He’s very practical.
What I like most about him is his understanding of boxes and categories. I love both those things. I know many people are against them, but boxes make the world make more sense to me. Right away, we talked about personality types and love languages. He knew his already, which I don’t often find in others. The world makes sense to us both in the same way.
Early on I joked with my best friend that this is the kind of guy you marry. He’s consistent, family-oriented, and has strong morals. She said he must be bad in bed and that is this what our lives have come to? What happened to excitement and adventure?
. . .
Excitement and adventure are limited in quarantine. Even if they weren’t, it’s not all I’m looking for anymore. Though all I’ve wanted is a quarantine buddy, I am thankful to all the guys who have helped me get through this trying time, even if 95% of them didn’t stick around.
I’ve had romance, been serenaded, had poetry read to me, and have had great conversations. I’ve also had petty fights, disagreements that led to not talking, and general annoyance. I’ve probably had everything couples have had these past two months and more.
Of course, I’m still talking to new guys and waiting to see how that will go. One of them I’m very attracted to, one I hope to be friends with, and one gives me just enough attention and flattery to keep me satisfied.
And yes, one of these three guys does live near the beach. I’ve been online dating on and off for six years and I’ve never met anyone who’s lived near the beach. And during these past two months when I haven’t been able to go to the beach, now I’ve met four. What is it with men in their late twenties living in apartments by the beach, and why can’t that be me? Good things beaches are open now.
Since I haven’t been able to have one boy in quarantine, I guess I’ll just have to be satisfied with having many.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love and is republished here with permission from the author.
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