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Rowdy After Dark: Online (School) Dating

How do I get a quarantine bae? Is it even possible?

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Rowdy After Dark is an unfiltered, inclusive and sex-positive column by and for college students. Do you have a burning sex or relationship question you’d like answered? Send it to us here*.

*Questions may be anonymous


The start of the fall semester has crept up on us like that cheesy John Green quote: slowly, and then all at once. But it’s unlikely we’ll be experiencing the same whirlwind romances in the rest of John’s work this back-to-school season.

Which begs the question:

How do I get a quarantine bae? Is it even possible?

It might come as a shock that quarantine began almost six months ago, and in that time many people have found ways to get creative with their romantic and sexual connections.

But now that school is back in session, COVID’s uprooting of traditional dating and hookup culture is going to be put to the test.

There’s a lot of different things you might want when you talk about a quarantine bae: Do you want someone to talk to about your hopes and dreams with late at night? Are you missing some physical intimacy and hoping there’s a way to safely get it on? Looking for just a flirty situationship to pass the time until “normal” dating can resume?  

Remember that a lot of people are feeling what you are when it comes to wanting a partner to brave these uncharted waters with – all you really have to do is ask.

I personally hopped on some dating apps a couple months into lockdown and asked the people I matched with what they were looking for during the pandemic. Most of them said they were open to conversation and willing to see where things go. Some people mentioned being down to meet up at open spaces, like parks. And still, others went for the classic: “What’s ur Snap?”

The surge in dating app usage over the past several months points toward an online dating renaissance of sorts, and this might just be the biggest tool to combat back-to-school loneliness.

While we can’t develop classroom crushes in the same way we used to be able to, opening up the digital classroom is going to present a new arena for how we socialize. I really can’t think of a better story to tell your future children than “It was love at first Zoom square sight.” Making virtual study groups could be a good way to get to know people in your major and potentially hit it off.

Likewise, a lot of clubs and organizations on campus will be continuing their monthly meetings and even some socials – just online. It’s generally good practice to hang out in spaces or find hobbies which interest you in order to meet like-minded people. This is still true of the hundreds of opportunities for connecting at school, even if it’s through the Internet for now.

Finally, remember who NYC Health designated as your safest sex partners: yourself, and those who you live with. 

Vibrators might not be able to do pillow talk with you at the end of the night, but sometimes it really doesn’t matter.

And while I’m not necessarily encouraging dorm room shenanigans, I’m not not encouraging it, either.

Good luck, and happy online (school) dating, reader.




Morgan is an online writer at Rowdy Magazine and a fourth-year journalism and women’s studies student at UF. You can usually find her at a local coffee shop, petting her latest foster cat or on social media @morgangoldwich.


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