After swiping right on a dating app and heading out on a date, our stance on vaccines should be clear
Matt Shipley // Contributor
Sophie Young // Illustrator
It’s no secret that dating apps, especially these days, are hit-and-miss. It was hard enough to find a good match before the pandemic—now we have to contend with our political views and our beliefs about COVID as well. As vaccines roll out in droves, and pretty much everyone who wants their shots can get them at any time, it’s time we start integrating them into the services upon which we depend.
Most dating apps already have options to declare whether you drink, smoke, party, or any other habits, and they’re there because people’s stances on those subjects can be major deal breakers. Not only is the vaccine a more polarizing subject than any of these, but it’s also a matter of health and safety for the daters, and the people around them. If halfway through a night out, my date took a leftover bite of my pasta, looked at me with an air of derision, and said, “You’re not vaccinated, are you?”, I would leave them at the table and rush to the nearest chlorine plant, where I could douse my body in high-grade bleach.
(For legal reasons, that was a joke).
At the same time, the government is subconsciously doing a lot of the dating-regulation work for us. We’ll need proof of vaccination for things like restaurants, clubs, game bars, and tons of other places that happen to be great first-date venues. As mandates continue to roll out, the only real option for unvaccinated city kids will be to sit out in the rain together and complain about the vaccine—which sounds like a pretty good excuse to get the shot. How many rejections does an anti-vaxxer have to go through before they drag their feet to the nearest health office with their tail between their legs?
Do I think dating apps will ever require their users to disclose their vaccine status? No. It would require a federal health order, and the amount of work it would take to integrate all of the different provincial proof systems would be significant. However, most people are proud to admit whether they believe in the vaccine or not, and that metric will be well proven within an optional-disclosure system. The integration of said system wouldn’t be any different than the little profile tags for drinkers, smokers and the like; it’s just a convenient way for people to avoid having to ask the question themselves. If two people are trying to seduce each other over text, there’s no chance that the vaccine would break into the conversation without also breaking it up.
At the end of the day, dating itself is impossible to regulate. There are endless ways for people to meet, and a two-person gathering could hardly be considered a high public health risk. But as so many of us are stuck at home and keeping in touch with friends over social media instead of in-person gatherings, a small gesture like this from dating apps could give health-conscious people like myself the confidence to step out of our bubble and rejoin the outside world.