March 24, 2020

Dear Dating Diary,

I was both excited and a bit nervous about my first virtual date with Avi, who lives across the river in Jersey City. I’d finally broadened my zip code boundaries and left the isle of Manhattan in search of a good prospect. Well, virtually left the island.

These are bizarre waters to navigate. Neither of us had ever had a virtual date before. Would it be weird, I wondered? Would there be awkward moments of silence? What would I wear? What if I wanted to end the date early? Would it be rude to say I had another call coming in? Who calls anymore?

That last question has now been answered, because I’ve spoken to more people on the phone in the past two months than I have in the past two years.

I got ready as I would for any other date:

Took a shower.

Brushed my teeth.

Straightened my hair.

Applied just enough lip gloss to twinkle through to the other side of the screen.

Put on a cute blouse.

Put on tight black jeans.

Spritzed my Chanel Chance perfume.

Hell, I even lit a candle that first date!

And it was awesome! We talked for a few hours and had lots of laughs. Avi texted later saying he felt a connection between us and would like to keep up on the communication throughout lockdown.

As the isolation days turned into weeks then months, however, things started fizzle. I was OK with that – it turns out he doesn’t like dogs in the bed. That’s a deal-breaker for me. Next!

April 8, 2020

Dear V-Dating Diary,

As I found my virtual mojo, I started to become more relaxed. I realized my dates couldn’t see what I was wearing from the waist down unless I had a slip of the camera, so I started going sans jeans. My second V-Date was with a cop. I wore my cute top again, but left the sweatpants on. (He decided to show me he’d also worn a nice shirt … but left his boxers on.)

The cop was 20 minutes late. How da f**k are you late when you’ve been off work for two days? Did he get lost making his way back to the couch from the bathroom? Oh well, some things never do change. We never had a second date.

April 18, 2020

Dear V-Dating Diary,

I also met Tom on Hinge, and we’ve had the most fun V-Dates so far. He’s a scientist who lives in Brooklyn – a mix of brains, looks, and a very funny personality to boot. He’s working on a big project related to COVID-19, which ups his sexy factor – a man who is helping to save the world and get us all out of this damned isolation? YES!

“I changed my background to a picture I took at Long Beach last summer, sat on a beach chair my upstairs neighbor had lent me, and hung a starfish picture I had taken on a scuba diving trip behind me, to make it feel like I was by the ocean.”

On our second V-Date, we moved over to Zoom. I wanted to pretend I was on a beach because my vacation to Aruba had been cancelled. And that weekend, holed up in my apartment when I should have been lapping up the sunshine and the Caribbean waters, started to look not so bad after all because I had Tom to see.

I changed my background to a picture I took at Long Beach last summer, sat on a beach chair my upstairs neighbor had lent me, and hung a starfish picture I had taken on a scuba diving trip behind me, to make it feel like I was by the ocean.

The second date went on for a couple of hours, and so did knocking back the drinks. When talk of Halloween (our favorite holiday) came up, we both changed into our skeleton costumes (which we both just happened to have lying around our apartments). It was fun and silly and spontaneous – just how dates IRL should be!

I dusted off my sewing machine and made him a facemask, complete with a skull. He said it was badass. I went to the post office, used the self-serve kiosk, prayed I put the right amount of postage on the envelope, and mailed him the mask. I guess I’ll find out eventually if I mailed it correctly.

We scheduled a third date – kicking up the beach vibe a notch and wearing bathing suits, drinking fruity cocktails, and playing beach music. I think he really just wants to see me in my bathing suit.

What day is it? Can anyone remember anymore?

Dear V-Dating Diary,

I exchanged numbers with Robert, a good-looking journalist living downtown. We connected on Coffee Meets Bagel. The caption that piqued my interest was “Future Trophy Husband.”

“This ‘relationship’ would be very short lived when I realized how obsessed he was with his pet NYC pigeon.”

He seemed to have a good sense of humor, but this “relationship” would be very short lived when I realized how obsessed he was with his pet NYC pigeon. Yes, you read that correctly. He has a pet pigeon that apparently has free range of his apartment, building little nests out of pipe cleaners. Next!

Are we in May yet?

Dear V-Dating Diary,

Third date night with Tom! I was a little nervous trying to choose the proper beach attire. I tried on two outfits the night before to prepare: a bikini, with a cream-colored coverup and denim shorts; and a plunging one-piece with black coverup and shorts. I didn’t feel comfortable bearing it all so soon, so decided on the one-piece my friends helped me choose after texting them pics of the outfits. Cera said it wasn’t “classy”; it was very “SEXY.”

“I clicked the Zoom link and bam! There was Tom, shirtless.”

When 8pm. rolled around, I clicked the Zoom link and bam! There was Tom, shirtless, sunglasses on, margarita in hand, and cool beach music in the background. We had another two-hour date filled with lots of laughs and beach cocktails. He is definitely a fun guy and someone I hope to continue to get to know better.

Hanging on in there …

Dear V-Dating Diary,

There are a couple of upsides to virtual dating. Now that I’ve got the hang of it, it feels like it’s less pressure, My dates and I can really be ourselves from the comfort and safety of our own homes. We have more time to get to know one another because, what else are we doing?

It’s been two months since NYC has been in lockdown and it feels like the norm now. I do kind of hope that, when the world opens up again, we’ll continue to get to know one another as easily, and build on the meaningful connections made through our tiny screens – just in the flesh.

(Oh, and update, the facemask I mailed Tom was sent back to me for insufficient postage. I slapped on five more stamps and resent it. It should finally be making its way to Greenpoint in a few days.)


Mary Geneva is a healthcare professional by day and hopeful romantic by night, looking for the avocado to her toast. She lives, works, and plays in New York City, and calls Hell’s Kitchen home. She shares her studio with her rescued pets, pup Valentino and Kitty Diva. Her blog, That’s So Mary, is a compilation of true-life stories that includes dating, travel, scuba diving, and lots of pictures of Valentino. She says: “I can’t make this shit up so I might as well share it. But until the right guy comes along, I’ll continue to grow, learn, travel, create, and mold my life into the best it can be.”Follow Mary’s adventures at @marygenevanyc.

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