COVID-19, dating and I aren’t the perfect match

Dating amidst a pandemic is no feat for a woman new to the matching game.
Photo illustration by Daena Faustino

Julia Stiles as Kat in 10 Things I Hate About You and Alicia Keys’ phenomenal role as June Boatwright in Secret Life of Bees are at the fore of my list for movie characters I obsessively relate to. Their portrayals strikingly resonate with me to my core and my romantic pursuits. In the love arena, I stand idly to the perimeters as a wallflower, or to the perception of some, a woman repulsed by love on behalf of her personal mission to be more than a glimmering trophy to validate a man’s ego.

It comes to no surprise to anyone in my social spheres that one of my most cherished pieces of literature is the Shakespearean play “The Taming of The Shrew.” My forthright take on love’s ability to bring the strongest woman to the deepest vulnerability is epitomized in the comedy. For even at a meek 11 years old, I rest assured that in love, “if I be waspish, best beware my sting.”

Raised by a matriarchal family, I’ve long understood (or overstood as I would coin it) the power of a feisty spirit for my dreams and the aftermath of diluting it to pacify a partner. I’ve witnessed the female entrepreneurs, corporate CEOs and PhD awarded scholars — the women I revered most in my life — risk it all and lose parts of themselves for sacrificial love.  Each time, I pocketed the experiences as my own; each time, I came to the conclusion that I’d rather choose my pain of pleasure and that was solitude. To me, at the time, the touchstone of love was how quickly, deeply and passionately you could risk it all for someone who was not indebted to you forever.

After a shot in the dark with an exhaustive four-year high school romance and witnessing my familial heartbreaks, I quickly rushed back to my trusted corner in the dating realm. I knew there I could shine brightly, purely and seemingly absolved of all the dreariness that love conjures up along.

The stars of my favorite movies took the leap of faith to the center stage of love when the time came. My single season, a time where romance is relegated to the peripheral to focus on one’s own love, for the past two years is slowly coming to an end. Now, fresh on the market, I’m faced with the isolation of a pandemic.with no sudden end scheduled in the near future.

Social media is the only form of interaction I have now. And although I’m moving out of the singles’ circle, I have absolutely zero interest in making the nerve-wrecking first move nor am I a fan of meeting anyone virtually. Digital platforms are indeed fodder for the proverbial “clout-chasing” that is fixed on idolization rather than authenticity. I’ve been enrolled in the masterclass of shrews for the past nineteen years of my life and if I know anything, I know that I’m not one to live on a pedestal.

I’d be remiss to exclude my underlying love for companionship. Like the stars of my favorite movies, I’m filled with an abundance of passion for an equally yoked partner who loves me for the woman they see outside of the accolades and hard demeanor. Like those same stars, I know organic sparks of pure appreciation makes my heart grow fonder. Meeting anyone amidst a pandemic that only presents me with the facades of the internet is not forte.

Maybe, one day after this period of isolation is over, the universe will grant me a cosmic gift of love. For now, I’ll retreat to my corner to shine brightly and fearfully and single until I’m called to reprise my role amongst the single women. Until then, I’ll be Kat and June ahead of facing their growing love for companionship.