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‘The real peril of dating in a pandemic? Conversational constipation’

After yet another two-hour socially-distanced walk, Anthony Gilét is ready for a sex first, questions later approach.

By Will Stroude

This article first appeared in Attitude 334, May 2021

I had finally moved out of my dad’s house, into my own flat, so it was sod’s law that lockdown would pop up to dampen my sex life once more. ‘Dampen’ being the operative word for a coochie that was most definitely as dry as the desert.

I tried to do things the socially responsible (and distanced) way, but getting stuck on two-hour walks with painfully boring men felt more like self-harm than progressing my love life.

Can you imagine spending that long on Hampstead Heath and not getting noshed in a bush? Clearly, the only thing getting sucked was the life from my afternoon.

You know it’s bad when a guy is good-looking, but you still can’t bring yourself to have a fling with him afterwards. Suddenly, anonymous sex makes even more sense… some men are just not attractive when they open their mouths — unless it’s for your [redacted].

It only highlighted the reality that while some men are meant to be dated, others are just the means to an end (of a dry spell). One guy spoke nonstop about his time in ‘COVID prison’, and all I could think was if this was all he had to offer, maybe he should be locked up permanently.

Conversational constipation is just one of the pitfalls of dating in a pandemic; people forget how to interact and struggle to keep things lighthearted. Then again, another guy I got lumbered with on yet another walking date did have things to say; they just happened to be the lyrics of West End musicals in a high falsetto in the middle of Seven Dials.

The tragedy in all of this is that I’d have actually emptied my balls if I hadn’t learned who they were as people first. Giving all men enough time to show off who they really are often leaves more than just the conversation flaccid. And then we’re back to square one: horny and frustrated, and even more deflated.

Regardless of whether the men you meet were socially inept before or because of the pandemic, walking dates aren’t natural. There’s no dinner or mini-golf or movie to complement the conversation, so there’s already that added pressure. (There’s also no easy ‘get-out’ route when you’re having a stroll in the middle of Hyde Park).

So, it makes sense that people want to hit the brakes on dating altogether. Although, at the end of the (Groundhog) day, we’re all human and we still want to connect with other people, even if it is just sexually.

I’d always preferred the more traditional, date-before-sex method, but as we get older, time is precious. Therefore, we have to choose who we want to join us for an enjoyable, laidback afternoon wandering along the Thames, and who we want to spend half an hour taking a pounding with.

For the sake of self-preservation and sexual sanity, perhaps it is useful to ‘date’ backwards; especially when wining and dining isn’t an option.

That way, if you’re just as aroused when his mouth isn’t full, you can invest in something truly intimate: getting to know each other…

Follow Anthony Gilét on Instagram, or listen to more dating disasters on his podcast Cocktails & Cocktalk.