Date Ideas for a Post-Quarantine World
(Originally appeared in New Yorker, June 2020)
Mush your sourdough starters together.
A drone tour of the Epcot Center’s Italy Pavilion.
A sensual third-date unmasking.
Share an order of mozzarella sticks after first sterilizing them in an autoclave.
Get sweet little tattoos of each other’s covid-19 immunocertification bar codes.
An orgy, but within “human hamster” bubble balls.
Be first in line at the zoo reopening before the animals are once again traumatized by crowds.
Make uncomfortable small talk via bullhorns in an empty stadium.
A sunset champagne toast at the airport while watching C.D.C. planes land.
Seven minutes in a heavenly hyperbaric oxygen chamber.
Teach each other some fun words from the extinct languages you learned in isolation.
Strap on Rollerblades and hold hands while skating through an abandoned Nordstrom.
Wait patiently for an hour while your date solves an escape room built for one.
Dress up as bed-sheet ghosts and scare all the squatters out of the old post office.
Do what you’ve always done on a date: dinner, followed by a cocktail, and then back to your apartment, to rigorously sponge each other down with white-wine vinegar.
A trip to the new Museum of Sex exhibit, “Dry-Humping Through the Ages.”
See who can hold more jelly beans behind their face mask without spilling.
A fun pedal through the park on a custom-built six-foot-spaced tandem bicycle.
Pay a temp to hug hello and kiss goodbye, but you got all the middle stuff.
Sexy food-play using the five-year-old box of macaroni you recently resorted to opening.
Whatever type of sex it would take to impress these cats who have seen it all over the past six months.
Same shit as always: she watches you play video games; you hand her a bag of chips; she hits the hay; you rock on alone.
Coquettishly clip oximeters to each other’s erogenous zones.
Take a fun class in immunopathogenesis at an adult-ed center.
Have a nostalgic “Outbreak” viewing party, and remove an item of clothing each time a character sneezes.
Find a cozy spot to ask your date if it’d be O.K. if you quickly checked in on your mother, who lives in a nursing home.
Lovingly describe to each other long-distant memories of great salad bars.
Take a paint-and-sip class together, and make a “TRUMP LIED, PEOPLE DIED” painting in gouache.
Grind at the club against either side of a thick slab of Plexiglas.
Sit outside your favorite boarded-up bistro, eating Wawa ham hoagies.
Hold hands and watch subway rats “rewild” your back-yard conversation nook.
Role play: you are Governor Cuomo. She is an inquisitive NY1 reporter who isn’t quite grasping it.
A virtual key party, hosted by the only swingers on your block who paid for Zoom Pro.
Go “apple picking” in an orchard that is now a makeshift graveyard.
Dab each other with seventy-per-cent isopropyl alcohol while reënacting the screamiest bits of “Marriage Story.”
Bask in the months-long buildup of sexual tension stemming from your mutually unshakeable association between human contact and terrible death.
—With Scott Jacobson, Todd Levin, Jason Roeder, Mike Sacks, and Ted Travelstead