Love in lockdown: How have Glasgow students been dating during the pandemic?
Have the current restrictions got in the way of Cupid’s arrow?
Life in Glasgow has been quite miserable for students this year. There’s been a serious lack of stuff to do in lockdown. But of course, we’re all students, so a rule or two has been bent in order to ensure we’ve had fun. The Tab wanted to find out just how much of a good time students are having, and what crafty ways they’ve managed to overcome the limitations of lockdown on their search for love. This week we spoke to John, 23, who has just finished his Master’s in Biomedical Engineering and Gabrielle, who is 23 and in her last year of Chemistry.
How did you meet people back in the day?
John: “I met several exes in the library. Struggling with Microsoft Office usually attracts attention. I had a friend who was a bartender in Tingle, so I met a decent number of girls through him. It goes without saying that I loved a good Hive Thursday. Apps never really interested me in all honesty. In general, people are quite fake on social media and Tinder is one of the worst places for that.”
Gabrielle: “I mostly met people through nights out and parties and all the other fun things we used to be able to do. All the classic places like Viper, Sanctuary, Hive. I don’t think any one place stands out, they were all great because everyone wants to pull on a night out. I’ve used some apps, Hinge and Tinder particularly. I had Bumble for a bit, but I’m terrible at replying and an app that requires me to message first is not going to work out. I usually end up matching people I already know, it’s like a mutual “Oh, I’m also interested in you.” And in real life, I’ll be like “let’s hook up.” I’ll rarely meet up with strangers.”
Have you got any bizarre dating stories?
Gabriella: “There was this one guy. We hooked up like twice. He said “Come over to mine,” and when I showed up, his parents were in, but he told me we could go down to the basement. Not exactly the best start. It was horrible, basically a stone basement with a couch in it. He then proceeded to tell me he was quite kinky and liked it quite rough, but his definition of quite rough was just a bit of scratching and biting. Anyway, we had very mediocre sex.
The second time we met up, it was in a hotel room. Primarily because I did not want to go near that basement again, but also because we’d set up a threesome. Lo and behold, the other girl got cold feet on the day so it just ended up being the two of us. He showed up with a leash saying “Daddy’s Girl” and it was the least sexy thing ever. Maybe some guys could have pulled that off, but definitely not him. We had really awful sex and then I pretended to go to sleep as I was stuck in this hotel room.
Since then, he’ll message me once a month saying “Hey,” which I would ignore. Eventually he called me out on it and I just told him I wasn’t interested. The monthly messages haven’t stopped.”
Let’s look back on 2020. It’s fair to say it’s been pretty shit for pretty much all of us. Because of all the new rules, life as we know it has gone out of the window, and people are expected to socially distance and not mix households. We wanted to know how the new rules have affected students and if they are able to still go out and meet people.
Now, I want you to think about post-Covid. How do you meet people now?
John: “The only way there is to meet people now is through Tinder, which I’ve had some success with. My first Tinder date ended with sex but we didn’t really connect. My second one led to a great friendship.
For my third date, Tinder actually helped me reconnect with someone I met two years ago. I met this girl outside BBQ Kings and we had a nice chat. It didn’t progress beyond liking each other’s Instagram posts for two years. We went for the last possible drink, two hours before lockdown kicked in again. Things are going well.”
Gabrielle: “Before Covid, I’d have a dating app for one or two weeks. I’d get bored or horny, download a dating app, and very quickly remember why I’d deleted it to begin with. I haven’t met up with anyone yet, been chatting to a few people though so we’ll see where that goes.
I had the most fun this year when I went to Italy a few weeks ago. We went to a bar one night and got chatting to a group of boys who were sitting at the table next to us. We had a great night and I eventually went back to the flat of one of the boys and we ended up having sex in the lift! He didn’t speak any English so it was very much just a purely sexual encounter.”
Mental health has taken a massive hit. Everyone has struggled to some extent, and human interaction, while very important, has been severely limited. Unfortunately, social distancing and close human contact do not go hand in hand. That being said, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and you best believe people have found many ways to get that sweet, sweet oxytocin.
How do you look after your mental health now? What are your go to methods of relaxation?
John: “Fitness has always been a big part of my life. I was going to the gym a lot, but my flatmates and I have adapted to lockdown 2.0 by working out in our home gym and going for regular park runs and hill sprints. I also enjoy reading, listening to music and playing my guitar. I’m a big thinker, and for anyone else out there struggling with sleep I would recommend a cup of chamomile tea.
Gabrielle: Exercise is a big way for me to destress. I’ll go to the gym if it’s open, I’ll do some Muay Thai. My flatmates do Muay Thai and we have some pads so we’ll get some workouts done in the flat too. When I find the time I like to read for pleasure as well.
When I got a positive COVID test, I mentioned it to a boy from home I’d shagged a few times, and he asked me if I wanted to receive a “wank parcel.” Two days later, a vibrator turned up, which improved my isolation a little bit.”
Do you think your mental health is affected by a lack of intimacy? Do you find dry spells have an adverse effect on you?
John: “The only time I’ve ever experienced a serious dry spell was when I broke my collarbone in first year of uni. It was difficult, but I think it was more to do with not being able to train than it was about sex. Sex is a big part of my life, but it’s not the most important thing. Intimacy is more important than sex itself, so I quite like finding a partner that I can vibe with.”
Gabrielle: “I’d say this is the first real dry spell I’ve had, and I don’t think it’s done me any harm. I’d like to say I reflected on my past choices and my standards have improved, but I also think that if Hive was open I’d be going home with anyone.”
Finally, what advice would you give to people out there looking for love in lockdown?
John: “Focus on yourself and improve yourself and love will find you. If you want something, make your intentions known. You never know who else is looking for some fun.”
Gabrielle: “Just don’t be too desperate. Don’t make this pandemic make you lower your standards just because you’re feeling lonely. You shouldn’t make any compromises, everyone should know their own self worth, and from this you’ll hopefully meet someone suited to you rather than settling for the first thing that comes your way.”
Love in lockdown is The Glasgow Tab’s series on dating during Covid, with articles dropping every two weeks. Wanna get involved? DM @thetabglasgow on Insta