What Sexting, Virtual Dating And Eight Weeks Of Isolation has Taught Me About Men
As we enter week nine of lockdown, we know that a lack of contact with friends and family is taking its toll on everyone. But for those isolating without their loved ones at life-changing moments, the lack of basic human interaction and touch can be particularly hard. Over on Instagram, we asked how many of the Tyla audience are locked down alone and found that over a third of you are. So we're starting a new editorial series, Locked Down Alone, bringing you first hand accounts from women sharing their stories, advice, practical tips on how they're coping and - we hope - making you feel a little less lonely. And remember whether you're in lockdown with friends, family or solo, we are all in this together.
Words by Tori Halman, 26, from London
It's 6.30am on a Tuesday morning and I'm sitting in bed alone, sorting through my Bumble/ Hinge admin. Welcome to the reality of a single woman living through a global pandemic.
Living alone as a single woman in 'normal life' is great. You can bring dates over whenever you like and drink wine uninterrupted. There's no awkward housemate run-ins waiting for the bathroom and, best of all, no judgement when you bring home a man half your height after a subpar first date (the nights are long, OK?)
Now, I find myself flying solo in my one-bedroom flat with no 'isolation buddy' - committed to a sexless, dateless eternity. Thanks a lot, Covid-19.
And that does things to a woman, especially one whose thirst is off the charts thanks to Normal People and *that* chain. I know guys supposedly think about sex on average 19 times a day, but during lockdown I think about even the disappointing, bad sex, at least 19 times an hour. And I know I'm not alone, ladies.
With the dawning realisation that it could be months until another human touches me, it's fair to say things have got a little out of hand. In the first few weeks of lockdown, I pretty much completed the list of 'old reliables' and no, I'm not proud.
You know the ones: the weird Harry Potter-obsessed guy you once went on one date with ("What's your patronus?" is not a good opener, FYI lads), the pen pal you furiously sext after two drinks, and the ex who you really shouldn't message, but 100 per cent always do.
In the midst of lockdown, there's absolutely zero chance of catching someone's eye across the bar, striking up conversation or making a move on the dance floor. I crave the anticipation of whether a guy will brush my hand with his across the table, the nervous laughter as you decide what to order off the menu or the awkward, fumbling, end-of-the-night kiss outside the tube.
Instead, we're left with sexually-frustrated WhatsApps, underwhelming Houseparty virtual dates or 'want to watch me shower?' FaceTime invitations (honestly, who said romance was dead?).
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In a bid to feel desired and retain some semblance of a sex/love life, I've staged full-on photo shoots in my underwear, alone. I have genuinely committed hours of my day, when other people are baking banana bread or curating their art Instagram accounts, to making a full image library of 'sexy pics'.
I've perfected the art of breathing in so aggressively I might pass out whilst simultaneously tensing to create some semblance of abs, bending my limbs into weird contortions - all the while trying to look relaxed, playful and cheeky. And for what...?
Don't get me wrong, pre-lockdown, I was a steamy sext enthusiast, but now they're falling a bit flat. While I never really got off on the poorly-spelled, beer-fuelled lines that popped up on my phone screen at 11.30pm, it was a great way to shake off a busy day.
Like a quickie, but more efficient, there's nobody to chuck out afterwards and you don't need to shave your legs. It made me feel excited, wanted and satisfied. But, after eight weeks of lockdown, I've run out of things to say and, what's worse, so have they.
Men, I'm sorry but your sexting chat leaves a lot to be desired. I like to think I've put time into mine (all saved on iPhone Notes for a quick copy and paste job - maximum efficiency), crafted the narrative and chosen provocative vocabulary. It's hot.
In return, 'my d*** is hard' or 'Are you gonna make me c***' just won't cut the mustard, I'm afraid. Please, men, for the good of womankind, up your sexting game. Thesaurus.com that s***. It's all we've got left.
As we move into yet another week of lockdown, with a forecast of balmy weather, I'm considering some socially-distanced dates having been set up with a newly-single army man. Maybe it'll re-ignite my love of dating, remind me of the magic of meeting someone new and seeing if you hit it off.
So maybe it's not all bad. I used to bail on dates, often blaming work, and now I'm actually excited for them again. I can't wait to get dressed up, put on make-up and wake up after a first date to panic about what I said after three glasses of wine. Bring it on.
Featured Image Credit: Tori Halman
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