The word "dating" is synonymous with "going out" for a reason - you have to feel a person's presence, look at them in the eyes, and observe how they exist in the context of the world around you.
So when we're instructed to stay in, dating is easily one of the first things to be cut from our day-to-day lives. Like the movie theaters, dive bars, or coffee shops, dating isn't deemed "essential" for survival. Or... at least that was true at the start of all of this, when we were focused on the surviving and not so much the thriving.
Now that we're collectively settling into a new normal, it could be time to consider bringing dating back into the fold. This time could even be looked at as an opportunity to seek new, deeper (and safer!) ways of getting to know someone.
In that spirit, we present to you ten first date ideas that can all be done over your video call platform of choice:
1. Do a take-out swap for dinner.
This works best if you're familiar with the neighborhood your co-dater lives in, but you can also make an educated guess with Yelp. Each person chooses the other person's meal from a restaurant that you love (or would love to try). The meals should then be ordered for takeout or delivery and eaten while you chat. If you already know the person as a friend or acquaintance, you could order the food to each other's apartments but otherwise - keep your address to yourself.
2. DJ for each other.
If you and your co-dater share a love of music, take advantage of having full control of the hypothetical jukebox by playing DJ for one another. Consider it a show-and-tell, introducing them to bands, songs, or albums that you're loving right now or mean something to you in your life. It's an excellent way to get to know someone while getting music recommendations along the way.
Bonus if you each walk away from the date with a curated Spotify playlist, made in real-time based on what you learn about each others' taste.
3. Cook something together - coordinated or Chopped-style.
You could either plan ahead and decide on what meal you'll both cook in your respective homes or you could both decide to improvise and share in real-time how you're using the random ingredients you've got in your fridge and pantry.
Eat together at the end and give honest reviews of your own cooking.
4. Have a talent show for two.
Whether you've learned a TikTok dance, perfected the dalgona coffee, or got better at the ukulele, show it off!
If it feels dorky, it's because this date idea is kind of dorky. But when you share that side with each other, leaving plenty of room for mess ups, you'll feel much closer because of it.
5. Have a pajama party over brunch.
This is maybe your one chance in life to wear pajamas on a first date and have it be acceptable. Don your finest matching set, fix up a nice breakfast, get cozy, and chat it up on a lazy weekend morning.
6. Watch something apart, discuss, then watch together.
Before your first date, plan to both watch an episode of a show neither of you have seen before, on your own time. Do a podcast style episode de-brief with each other at the start of your date and then use a tool like Netflix Party to watch the second episode together.
If you hit it off on the date, keeping up with a shared tv watching experience is a great leap-off point for continued conversation.
7. Go to a virtual show / dance / event together.
There are lists upon lists of events you can attend, virtually - whether it's catching the opera at The Met, taking a live dance class, or DIY workshops taught by local instructors, it feels like there's almost more chances for FOMO now than before.
You could meet up before or after (ideally both!) to create the same vibe as an in-person date - think, cocktail hour before the opera and a recap over tea afterwards.
8. Do an at-home show and tell.
Chances are, you'll both be looking over each other's shoulders during a video call anyways. Make it part of the plan by giving an MTV Cribs style tour of your space, calling out specific items that mean something to you. Our homes say a whole lot more about who we are than we might realize or notice.
9. Do a workout together.
Invite your co-dater to join in for your regularly scheduled virtual yoga class or pick a new class to try out altogether.
Afterwards, fix up your post workout protein of choice and hang out over video chat. The physical exercise will have done wonders for any pre-date jitters so the conversation should flow like water.
10. "Grab a drink".
Don't fix what isn't broken - just do it over video. Show each other how you make your DIY cocktail of choice, gather some of your favorite "bar" snacks - pretzels, olives, peanuts, and get to chatting.
Bonus if you wear something nice. It feels good to feel glam every once in a while, whether it's for the whole world to see, one other person to see, or just for ourselves.