Like other major international cities, Hong Kong is transient, and it’s one of the easiest cities to meet to people. But now with the virus, the landscape has changed. Everything’s stagnant and starting today, the new restrictions make it incredibly difficult to even leave your house. Not that Hong Kong was easy to begin with. As cases grow rapidly here, the inclination to swipe left on any dating app goes up too, because I would rather NOT catch feelings, or COVID-19.
I didn’t really care that much about dating in Hong Kong, but I didn’t know many people and it seemed like a good way to meet them and also pass the time. But when someone slid in my DMs a few months ago and invited me to a boat party, and the next week we go hiking, and maybe I meet up with someone else for drinks in some bar I heard about in Central, I couldn’t help but find myself in the midst of a “dating” situation here.
In spite of face masks, plastic dividers, and temperature checks, dating was still fun. I felt like I learned a lot about a person that I normally would not have without the virus. How someone wears their mask says a lot about them (avoid the maskholes), whether they curb their socializing (or just party on), and their predictions for future travel set the tone easily and indirectly (if they want something casual or meaningful).
As a recent member of the Hong Kong dating scene, it’s also been an adjustment figuring out the dating culture here. The small but prominent expat community combined with social media quickly reveals that not only is Hong Kong small, but it is REALLY small. That friend you made last week used to go out with the person you’re going on a date with next week, everyone is connected to you in six degrees or less most likely.
Some friends have told me that they witnessed big shifts in certain other people’s attitudes towards dating due to the virus. Mostly, the idea that those that enjoy casual dating or avoid monogamy, may find themselves reversing that stance in favor of something more…serious. But at the same time many couples have split up in the face of the virus, so perhaps love can’t conquer all.
I see the merit of online dating in Hong Kong, especially as a girl. For the times you can’t/don’t/won’t leave your home, you can log onto dating apps and/or social media to see what’s out there, without coming into physical contact with any of your prospects. Kind of seems like a win-win scenario for these times. As social media becomes the cornerstone of Millenial/Gen Z dating, the virus may be the panacea for dating woes, if we know how to use it right.