Virtual Life

I don’t know about you but my social media timelines are filled with people taking their professional lives online. There’s been a particular explosion of people talking about tools and training for supplying your products and services via an online platform. I’m a long-time home worker, with my professional life split between a small IT business and life coaching. I had plans to take aspects of my life coaching – specifically a workshop currently in the planning stages – online at some point, but I’m not entirely happy with the prospect of selling right now. It doesn’t feel like the right time. Instead, I am filing away lots of useful information for later.

Many of these online tools are being used by people to stay connected in their personal lives. Book clubs are meeting virtually, families are making video calls in small or large groups, friends likewise. I’ve also seen a large number of virtual pub quizzes, on top of exercise classes, museum and gallery tours, even a virtual tour of the tulip fields at Keukenhof in Holland which my mother absolutely loved.

But what about the singletons who are actively looking for love? Social distancing and staying-at-home in your individual households means dating cannot happen as usual … or can it? Most people meet via online dating sites these days, so the initial introduction already takes place virtually. The first stage – being generally an exchange of messages – is still a virtual behaviour. For a few, the next step is a telephone call – so no difference there but, for most, it’s a quick coffee meet-up. With current stay-at-home regulations, you’d now need to share your coffee virtually using one of the many video-calling options available. Potential drawbacks of the virtual coffee that I can see immediately are …

1) Those who prefer not to give out their telephone number until after that first quick meet-up, will now to put aside their discomfort, or organize a separate telephone/sim card for dating.

2) You don’t get to see how your date treats wait staff – one important part of screening for many daters.

3) For those who’s purpose during that quick coffee meet-up is to “check for chemistry”, will the virtual platform be successful?

Assuming you get past that initial screening, subsequent dates will need to be carried out virtually. You can accompany one another on walks (in the UK that will have to be your one outing for exercise), you can share a drink or two, watch a film/other television programme together, arrange to share a meal during a video call (allowing you to uncover any unattractive eating habits such as noisy eating, slurping or burping), but what about that all important third date …?

Obviously you’re already having to do without exchanging a kiss, a snog, or any form of PDA (public displays of affection). So, do you just put off the physical aspect of dating until we’re no longer in lock-down, or will we see an increased expectation of what I dubbed the cyber-sex w***er in my dating days? Those for whom the whole business of dating was to allow them to get their rocks off online?

My very first experience of internet dating involved a guy asking “do you have a webcam?” –  (I didn’t), but then received a request to allow him to stream live video to me. With some trepidation, I agreed – but I’ll admit it was interesting, for I got to see what he looked like (more ravaged than his photo – which I considered a positive for he appeared too pretty for my taste in the photo). There was a bit of light verbal flirtation and I relaxed into the call – until he mentioned being a stripper on the side. I smiled politely … but then he stood up and proceeded to demonstrate his – ahem – skills. I’m afraid I roared with laughter, which was clearly a blow to his fragile ego 😉

Readers, you’ll not be surprised to hear we never actually met. When sharing tales of my virtual dating experiences with other veterans, this was a decidedly innocent one …

I do wonder how many people will build online relationships – whether physical or purely emotional – only to discover they don’t survive meeting in person, or of spending extended time together in person. For many an existing or long-term relationship is currently under significant strain anyway …

Despite having very much enjoyed living alone in the past, I am grateful to be sharing my life with Himself in the current conditions.

Are you managing to transfer your lives – personal and/or professional – to the virtual medium?  Any tips or tricks to share?

© Debra Carey, 2020

9 thoughts on “Virtual Life

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  1. I have yet to do anything online that involves sharing myself via a webcam or a selfie or FaceTime. I am a reserved person so I’m wary of all those ways of communicating. I haven’t ever done an online class either. Pretty much I am [blissfully] out of it.

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  2. I’m past all that – dating – but I too have been wondering how people who are still looking for love are managing right now. I also wonder about teenagers being parted from their crushes and the agony that will ensue. Out on my solitary walks, I still see teenagers hanging in groups despite social distancing. If I was still a teen, I would probably be one of those rule-breakers too…because I knew everything back then and adults knew nothing! 😜


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  3. Ok….omg…the stripper is my favorite story….. my husband and daughter are adapting, but it’s not the way they prefer it. They want to be in a classroom or office, and are itching to get back. Oddly, I wrote about work challenges today too

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  4. My wife is a psychic who works via chat or phone. Probably 90% of her clients have romance problems to discuss, with the other 10% are job and career questions. At the moment, her income is down probably 50%. People are focusing on other problems at the moment, and of course many people are also not receiving paychecks. But of the remaining 50% who are still calling her, they’re still asking the same main question: “When will I hear from him?” So romance is apparently still alive and kicking at the moment, but it’s clearly taken a back seat to health and financial concerns!

    After I divorced my first wife, I did the whole Internet dating thing. This was before Tinder and all these cell phone apps. I found it such a stressful way to meet people. I cannot believe you had a guy strip for you! Hilarious. – Marty

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  5. Ally, I intentionally bought a desktop without a camera for I didn’t want work to insist that I video call colleagues and/or clients – something that was expected of us when we first started working from home. But I’m OK with using it to talk to my Mum and to see my daughter & granddaughter. I video call friends at the moment too. But, after that first experience, I never used a camera during the dating process again! Himself & I talked a lot on the phone for some weeks before we met in person. I’ve always found the telephone to pretty intimate and have fallen in love via telephone a couple of times 🙂 But then, I’m all about the mind and not about looks.

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  6. I think teenagers – especially the younger ones – are really struggling with social distancing. Can’t say I blame them as it can’t have been helped by hearing that it’s mostly older people who are vulnerable. When that age, we all felt totally bomb proof anyway, didn’t we? 😉

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  7. It’s always made me laugh. I think it was a useful lesson to learn about the dating process early on. Important to not only have boundaries but to keep your sense of humour intact! 😀 I feel for those who are social creatures during this lockdown – like anything, it is do-able, but it’s not easy. I also feel for those with no outdoor space. A young child in the neighbouring flat had a total meltdown being taken home after their one allowed brief outing for the day – for it was still beautifully sunny and he was too young to understand why they couldn’t stay at the park.

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  8. My dog doesn’t get it either. I really feel for those with young kids though…I don’t understand what’s happening…how can they process it?

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  9. Marty, it was hilarious 😀

    Interesting about your wife – d’you know, I’m not surprised her remaining clients are romance/relationship in nature. I did consider specialising in relationship issues myself but after too many client with – tricky, let’s call them, issues of a physical nature later (I’m famed for my nutter magnet) – and I decided to select a different niche.

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