Love in the Time of Cholera, I Mean, Coronavirus
Surviving walking dates during the world’s longest lockdown
It was late afternoon and I was standing on the corner of Punt Road. I leaned in to give him a “mwah” on the cheek. It was awkward, as these things are at peak hour on a Thursday afternoon at the busiest intersection in Melbourne.
“Wanna make out?” He said.
“Here?” I laughed nervously.
“We can pretend we’re somewhere else. Like a holiday romance.”
I side-eyed the nosy walkers crowding around the traffic lights a few meters away. “Sure.”
And so we made out. Passionately, with tongue and everything.
As I walked off into the sunset, I texted my mom immediately (yes, I know, I have issues). “Omg I just made out with him on the corner of Punt Road LOL.”
She replied, “Lol. You go girl. I saw you. I was so embarrassed, I can’t even! Dad and I were on our walk. Seriously, who do you think you are? Kourtney and Travis!”
“Omg, no you didn’t? I’m dying… Omg I’m actually dying.” My face was burning.
I got a text back. “Yes we did. Die girl.”
I later found out this was one of my mom’s elaborate hoaxes (one of the reasons I have issues?). But for those few hours when I thought my parents had seen me (passionately) pashing a guy on the street in the middle of the day, I desperately missed my dating life BC (Before COVID).
In Melbourne, where we have endured the longest lockdown in the world, we have officially arrived in a new era of dating. Gone is the spark of electricity as two legs touch in the dark corner of a dark bar (all the bars closed). Gone are stolen kisses in dark alleyways at midnight (um, curfew). Gone are the diarrhea-inducing “wanna get a quick bite to eat?” texts (good luck getting a table anywhere).
COVID turned fringe ideas into mainstream ones: remote work, wearing pajamas in public, situational depression, Zoom fatigue, soft-core porn on Netflix, gingham face masks, and yes, the walking date. Hence my afternoon pash with The Punt Road Kisser (his official serial killer name, by the way).