5 Dating Slang Terms to Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic

5 Dating Slang Terms Brought to Life by the COVID-19 Pandemic

It’s too early to say yet how the coronavirus pandemic will impact the world as we know it. 

Once businesses reopen, travel begins anew and people come out of their quarantines, how will the weeks and months of isolation have shifted the way things function? Will we ever “return to normal” or will some things be changed forever? 

There’s no way of knowing, of course, but one thing that’s fascinating is the coronavirus’s effect on dating. Beyond just altering how we date, it might even alter how we talk about dating — in this digital culture, the specific language we use around things can change so fast as new terms spread like, well, viruses. 

To help keep yourself in the know during these strange times, here are five coronavirus dating terms (some of which are more real than others). 

QUARANTINE AND CHILL

Dating / Behavior

Pronunciation: KWOR-en-teen enn CHILL

For years now, the phrase “Netflix and chill” has existed in our cultural lexicon as a dual-purpose term. What started out as a euphemism for a stay-at-home date that shifted from movie-watching to a hookup without much of an effort became, for many people, just a way to describe what they did after getting home from work: eat dinner, watch Netflix and veg out.

However, pandemics have a way of shaking things up, and the phrase “quarantine and chill” is bringing back the sexier implications of the “and chill” portion of the saying.

There’s only one reason many people would lock themselves in an apartment with someone else, and it’s not because they respect them as a conversationalist. That reason, you ask? To hook up, possibly a whole lot.

Though QnC-ing is technically a way to catch the coronavirus, it’s a decidedly safer approach than anything where you’re hanging out with more than one other person. 

Etymology: Combines the concept of a quarantine (enforced isolation to prevent the spread of disease) with the dating term “Netflix and chill.” 

“This guy I used to to be hooking up with last year just slid into my DMs to ask me if I wanted to quarantine and chill with him. The crazy thing is … I’m considering it!”

SEXUALLY ISOLATING

aka “sexual distancing”

Dating / Behavior

Pronunciation: SEK-shuh-ly AY-suh-LAY-ting

Men who struggle to find sexual partners have been mocked for a long time. In today’s climate, online-driven terms like “incel,” which became popular on Reddit, have surpassed “virgin” or “loser” as the insult of choice. 

But having sex isn’t necessarily something to be proud of, and not having sex isn’t necessarily embarrassing — it’s just a question of what you want in life, and the pressure men face to be sexually promiscuous or dominant can muddy people’s ideas of what’s best for them. 

Thankfully, the COVID-19 pandemic has given the celibate a new framework for their celibacy: Rather than a mark of shame, it’s a mark of pride. By abstaining from hookups, which can easily lead to coronavirus transmission, you’re helping flatten the curve by keeping people out of hospitals and keeping the world healthy. 

You’re a hero! And heroes deserve titles of honor, not insults. You’re “sexually isolating” for the common good. Kudos to you, O brave one. 

Etymology: A play on the phrase “socially isolating,” used to describe staying indoors as much as possible in order to avoid unwittingly catching or spreading the coronavirus, and “social distancing,” used to describe staying approximately 6 feet (2 meters) apart from other people so as to limit your exposure to the virus. 

“Have you slept with anyone this year?” “No, I’m sexually isolating. It’s the responsible thing to do.” 

CORONA CLINGER

Dating / Persona

Pronunciation: kuh-ROW-nah KLING-urr

You’ve heard of cuffing season by now, surely — the fact that people often couple up in the fall and split up in the spring to benefit from body heat in the colder months.

Well, similar principles apply to the COVID-19 pandemic: Being lonely when you literally have to be alone is the worst. So if someone likes you a little bit, when a global crisis occurs, that desire to be by your side can get cranked up a whole lot. 

That, ladies and gents, is a Corona clinger — someone who wants your companionship now, but who’ll vanish as soon as they get a chance to date around again. Instead of cuffing season… call it “coughing season.”

Etymology: A combination of the words “coronavirus” and “clinger,” someone who’s very needy and attached in a somewhat negative way. 

“So things have been getting pretty serious between you and Rachel, huh? Do you think it’s for real, or is she just a Corona clinger?”

BEARFISHING

Dating / Behavior

Pronunciation: BARE-fish-ing

“Catfishing” is a common online dating behavior where you pretend to be someone different online with the intention to scam or mislead someone else emotionally. From catfishing came kittenfishing, the act of fibbing about yourself rather than outright lying and “dogfishing,” where your online dating profile features pictures of you with dogs that you don’t actually own. 

Now, say hello to the coronavirus pandemic-inspired concept of “bearfishing.” With early runs on grocery stores leading to massive shortages of toilet paper, bearfishing is when you pretend you have tons of toilet paper at home in the hopes of getting a crush who has none to come over. 

Etymology: Bearfishing is named for Charmin toilet paper’s adorable bear mascots. No, it doesn’t really exist, but yes, it could if this continues to be an issue indefinitely. 

“This guy I was messaging just sent me a picture of his bathroom with a giant 24-pack of toilet paper. Is it really his bathroom, or am I getting bearfished?” 

CORONA CABIN FEVER 

Sex / Term

Pronunciation: KA-ROWN-uh KAH-bin FEE-ver

Men and women alike are most likely going to go a little crazy over the next little while without any sex. And that may lead to some … rash decisions once the quarantining stops. 

Let’s just say that whenever it’s cool for people to start partying again, it’s possible that all kinds of people will be looking to get lucky, pronto. Once people have gotten a COVID-19 vaccination, caution will be thrown to the wind with a desire to put their body to good use.

We’re all for having fun, but that doesn’t mean you should go out there completely exposed. In other words, bring condoms — even if you’re not in danger of catching that virus, there are other infections that can be transmitted during sex.

Etymology: Is this a cheesy term that we just invented? Yes. But is there some basis in truth? Also yes. 

“Oh God, I can’t believe I’m contemplating hooking up with my roommate Chad right now. I have the worst case of corona cabin fever.” 

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