The post-vax slutty summer is happening all around us, but some participants aren’t actually post-vax. The vaccine has been free and widely available for months now, but about half the population still isn’t vaccinated against COVID-19. A portion of those unvaccinated people is still interested in dating and if you’re part of it, we have some tips for how to do this ethically.
(Of course, we recommend getting vaccinated, but you know that by now.)
Know that vaccination status will be a dealbreaker for some
Last month, dating app Bumble released its latest research on COVID-era trends among surveyed users. About 30% of those surveyed in America say they wouldn’t go on a date or have sex with someone who isn’t vaccinated. A YouGov poll conducted in Great Britain found that 28% of daters surveyed over there felt the same.
That cuts into your pool of options significantly.
You might be thinking you should just try to cajole a match into going out with you regardless of their position on your vaccine status. First of all, no means no. Second of all, Bumble’s research team also found that 55% of global users said that they are now feeling less willing to compromise on what they want and need from a potential relationship. So the 30% of people unwilling to go out with someone vaccinated are more likely to stick to their guns than ever.
“I am vaccinated and no, I will not go on dates with anyone who is not vaccinated,” said a 29-year-old woman named Darien, who is dating in New York. Since the world has started to open up again, she’s been on eight or so first dates, she said, “and they were some of the worst dates” she’s ever been on. She attributes that to all the good dating prospects “being snagged during quarantine” and everyone else being rusty. If you’re going into the scene unvaccinated, you’re adding an issue to the already lengthy list of problems daters are encountering out there.
Everyone has deal-breakers. Some people on apps might not match with you because you have the same name as one of their exes or parents. Some people might not go out with you because of your job title, hair color, temperament, hobbies, or who-knows-what else. Vaccination status as a deal-breaker isn’t that novel, but it’s a certainty you just have to prepare for.
If you’re still unvaccinated after months of free access, it’s not a stretch to say you are likely actively refusing the vaccine. The people for whom your lack of jab is a deal-breaker are probably not the mates for you, anyway.
Be honest with a potential date about your vaccination status
With so many survey respondents saying they won’t date someone unvaccinated, it’s clear this is a position a lot of people are serious about. The only ethical option here is for you to be totally honest about your unvaxxed status, even though that can come off a little weird, depending on how aggressive you are.
Luckily, dating apps are making disclosure easier after a number of them, from Tinder to OKCupid to Hinge, partnered with the White House to encourage vaccines among young people this spring. Apps Bumble and Tinder, for instance, offer users the opportunity to add a badge to their profiles once they get the jab. Bumble even has a “COVID Preferences Center” that lets swipers state their preferences for real-life or virtual dates, social distancing, and potential partners’ vaccine status, and is rolling out complimentary credits for premium features like Spotlight and SuperSwipe for people using the badge.
“For those trying to date without being vaccinated, maybe be upfront about it. With most things that affect others, it’s best to be honest and give people the option to decide whether or not they want to date you,” said Darien, although she pointed out she doesn’t disclose her own vaccination status in her dating profiles.
“I think it’s pretty easy to tell by one’s profile if they’re vaccinated or not so I don’t think it’s necessary to add that badge to a dating profile, but it’s cool if you do,” she said. “If I was uncertain, I would also just ask in conversation prior to meeting up.”
So, for anyone reading this who is vaccinated, the message is clear: If it matters to you, ask someone if you’re not sure about their vaccination status or personal safety protocols. Tinder chats and first dates are all about communication, right? You ask what they do for a living, where they grew up, and what they like to eat. Ask about this, too.
Maybe find some like-minded people
There are plenty of hits that come up on Twitter when you search “unvaccinated dating.” The unvaxxed decry the badges on the apps and publicly wish for an “unvaccinated dating app.”
We even found one such app, Unjected, that advertises itself as “a platform for like-minded humans that support medical autonomy.” It has more than 23,000 Instagram followers and a merchandise line, so there’s definitely a community out there full of people who think like you.
(But we still recommend getting vaccinated, in case we haven’t made that clear yet.)