People / RUSSH Guide

Digital dating in iso

Many of us with S/O’s are considered lucky to be bunkering down with another human while isolating. Likewise, many of us with S/O’s are worried that without a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel to when self-isolation might end, our significant others will be significant no more.

But for those doing isolation single style, fear not. According to Chloe Brinklow, founder of TOMBOY, proclaimed digital-dating virtuoso, and someone who resides in New York, the epicentre of coronavirus in the US – connection amid COVID-19 is still very much possible (from a distance, that is). If you’re on the hunt for someone to virtually distract you in the present, do all the activities with post-pandemic, and are struggling to find ways to start the fire via DM’s, we speak with Brinklow on the most practical ways to virtually spark the flint.

Best apps for pandemic dating?

I have actually only ever been on Raya. Though, I’m not opposed to a cheeky slide into the old Insta DM’s, and a lot of my girlfriends advocate for Hinge.

In the interest of transparency, my profile is currently set to ‘Just here for friends’ for a couple of reasons (namely that I don’t do well with ambiguity and the global pandemic is serving it up in spades), so I am not actually quarantine dating at the minute. That said, every relationship I’ve had in the last three and a half years has either started on Raya or Instagram and involved a lot of courting online before graduating to IRL. I don’t necessarily prefer it that way, but it comes with the territory of living in New York, spending a chunk of time in Australia and my hopeless ingrained attraction to Aussie men. I’ve been doing an iteration of ISO dating for years.

Best pickup lines when there's no chance of physical connection? Is it all about the first impression?

The opener is everything. If someone says ‘sup?’ or ‘hey’ - they’re likely going to be boring and have bad posture. Creativity is key. My most recent relationship started after he started following me on IG and liked my first ever post! It showed me that, a) he was either really bad at social media, OR b) was pulling a power move. Whether an accident, or a flex, either was attractive to me, and so to not to let him upstage me with boldness, I screenshotted said, ‘follow’ and ‘deep like’, DM’d him asking, “Deep recon on your future wife?”

I am also partial to a dad joke. You- to-them. Their response will tell them a lot about their sense of humour, or lack thereof. I once sent a really lame dad joke to a guy I matched with who works on Saturday Night Live, and it ended up on the show a week later. Co-writing a skit for SNL is a marker of success in my book.

What should we look for in a quarantine partner?

I subscribe to the law of attraction. If like me, you want your partner to be funny, witty and intelligent, be funny, witty and intelligent.

Dos and don'ts when trying to woo someone in lockdown?

Don’t take anything too seriously or start planning your wedding. I’m a perpetual optimist in love and know how easy it is to get caught up in the fantasy versus reality, especially when there is distance and a lot of chatter. But right now, no one is living their real life. People likely have more time, less social commitments, and/or more stress. Keep it light and cute, with high hopes but low expectations for a future beyond dating in ISO.

What to do on the topic of nudes? considering real-time nudity is out.

At risk of sounding prude-ish, I am not really into a nude send. One day you might run for office, or end up with a public-ish profile, and there are very few of us that can afford the services of an Olivia Pope-style fixer, should the nudes surface. If a cheeky request for one lands in your text thread; send them a cute pic of your dog, they’re always nude. 

How can we foster real connection and trust when spending physical time together is a non-option?

While it isn’t ideal, it is absolutely possible to form a connection and build trust, sans the physical. There are so many variables, but when it’s historically worked for me it hasn’t been completely random. If you have mutual friends, and transparency over each other beyond just what you’re sharing direct; i.e. shared network, from the same town, same industry, it’s probably going to give it more of a chance. But of course, crazier things have happened. Keep it light and fun, with low pressure.