I went on a socially distanced park date and this is what it’s really like

The frustration is real

At the beginning of lockdown I had just started talking to a guy I had met at a party. We were getting on great and planning on going on a mini golf drinking date and then the pandemic put an abrupt stop to our plans. And so we had a FaceTime date, complete with prosecco, cocktails and an interruption from my mother. And for some reason that didn’t put him off and so we had another and then another and basically haven’t stopped talking since.

We’ve somehow managed to keep each other entertained in lockdown via the Scrabble app, memes and many food pics. And then came the announcement of being allowed to see someone outside your household – at a two metre distance. Not ideal when you haven’t seen the guy you fancy in over 10 weeks.

But the time came when we decided we should go on a park date and I’m here to tell you how to have a good one. And yes, this still means no kissing.

Planning the date

When the Boris announcement came out we initially said a park date would be too frustrating, but a few weeks later we decided actually we just want to see each other in person and if that meant no hugging, hand holding and kissing then so be it.

We agreed on meeting at the beaut Virginia Water near Royal Holloway, which is roughly half way between our two homes. We planned on going on the Monday bank holiday, which in hindsight wasn’t our greatest idea.

Look at it, absolutely gorge

Prepping for the date

Like with any date, I told all my friends who then helped me decide what to wear. And the next morning I was a complete bundle of nerves. I hadn’t seen George since early March and though we got on great over text and FaceTime what if that just didn’t translate to the actual world?

I did all the usual getting ready parts of a date – fake tan, sending my friend outfit choices and pretending I was totally chill to George over text.

If anyone is interested I settled on the white dress as it was 24 degrees and I would be a sweaty pig in jeans.

Arriving for the date

We agreed to meet in a car park near Virginia Water and when we got out of our cars it was really weird not being able to give each other a hug and so we just slightly awkwardly waved at each other.

Good news is he’s still as fit as I remember and far taller, thank the gods for 6″4 men. We walked into the park and the chat was flowing before settling down for our picnic.

The picnic

Now this is the really cute bit. The day before our date George messaged me to ask what sandwich I liked as he was in M&S buying stuff for our date. We hadn’t mentioned the picnic and yet here he was buying a whole bunch of food for our date. Boys, this is how you do a date right. And bonus points for it being M&S. I didn’t have to bring a thing apart from my picnic blanket to sit two metres away.

Our picnic was great and for anyone interested in how to win a girl over, this is what we had in our picnic:

– Two chicken caesar salad wraps

– Sausage rolls

– Chicken bites

– Katsu curry crisps

– Percy Pigs

– Mango

– Chocolate whips

– Two San Pellegrino blood orange cans

– Two raspberry lemonades.

Unfortunately we couldn’t have tinnies as we were both driving, but I was completely impressed.

The location

As you can imagine on a sunny bank holiday the park was heaving and so luckily the entrance we went in was a little quieter. We choose to set up our picnic in a relatively quiet spot and there were a few families around us but the space is so open we didn’t feel like we being encroached upon.

On any park date I would recommend having a walk round and assessing the best spot. You want somewhere away from people ideally and not just because of coronavirus. If you’re at a two metre distance you’re going to have to speak pretty loudly and if you’re sharing intimate details about your life, you don’t want Sharon on the picnic blanket next to you hearing about what you got up to in Freshers.

The rest of the date

I’m not going to lie, it was really difficult keeping our distance- he’s 6″4 and brought me Percy Pigs – I deserve a bloody award for not kissing him.

We walked around the park which was very busy and sometimes impossible to keep two metres. But I think we had a great time and will be definitely doing it again soon.

Saying goodbye

Again, this part of the date was a bit awkward and anticlimactic as we couldn’t give each other a hug or a kiss to say goodbye. But he made up for it by bringing me one of his jumpers to keep until we see each other again.

All in all I would highly recommend a park date. It gives you the opportunity to see if you can actually get along with the person you’ve been chatting to for weeks in real life and a picnic provides a welcome distraction from the whole not touching each other thing.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

I went on a FaceTime first date and I’m here to tell you how to have a decent one

Park dates are now a thing, and this is how to have a good one

I went official with my boyfriend in lockdown before we had even met