Welcome to the new, new normal

by | Aug 1, 2021 | Being Single | 2 comments

I don’t like to invoke pity for the single condition, but let’s get real: being single during the pandemic sucked for many of us. Cats and dogs are not enough. Vibrators are not enough. I’m not even talking about sex. I’m talking about human contact. Single people need hugs, too.

A friend of mine who was single during most of the pandemic talks about being “skin-hungry.”

Here in the U.S., we thought we were on the brink of regaining normalcy. We thought we would be able to leave those masks behind! 

We were all mustering up the courage to leave our houses, go out and meet new and old friends.

I danced tango outside at a Providence milonga twice with glee. I was eagerly planning on going to a 100% vax-only milonga in Boston in August. I was filled with emotions: hope, anticipation, fear, overwhelm, but at least I was getting the tango hug back and would get to meet new people after moving back from Argentina.

I got to feel tango bliss again…but was it fleeting? 

 In the age of the Delta variant dancing cheek to cheek with strangers doesn’t sound like such a solid idea.

Things are changing again! If there is anything we have learned during this pandemic, it’s that we never really know what is around the corner.

Our current situation comes as only fifty percent of the people in the US got vaccinated. When I tell my Argentine and Brazilian friends this fact, they say, WHAT?!

In Buenos Aires people are fighting to get a second dose of Sputnik V, and in the US, millions had their choice of Pfizer or Moderna and said no, or not yet.

Widespread vaccine refusal gave the wildly contagious Delta variant fertile ground to spread in the US as it has in many countries. When a virus spreads it mutates. Delta is a new creature. And it’s a warning sign of future variants to come that could be vaccine-resistant.

Experts are calling the Delta variant as transmissible as the chicken pox.

Welcome to the next chapter, Love in the Age of Chicken Pox. I mean, the last year was bad, but after all this waiting, this situation is getting really frustrating.

Now both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are about equally likely to spread the Delta variant.

We are not totally back at square one. Vaccines prevent life-threatening illness. (Ninety-nine percent of people dying in US hospitals are unvaccinated.) (Please get vaccinated, we don’t want you to die!)

Still the vaccinated and unvaccinated are at risk for long-haul Covid, long-term symptoms of fatigue, malaise, pain, brain fog, and difficulty breathing that doctors have not known how to treat.

A lot of people have not read about this new reality. A lot of people don’t enjoy reading the news. Or they are frankly sick of the virus, which I can understand. Or they are living in their own reality bubbles.

There’s no going back to normal. The question is how do we make life–and single life–work in the new normal?

I’ve approached Covid-19 with the idea that I will be safe and find ways to live anyway. Life is short. I take a middle-way approach.

For now, I am avoiding indoor dining, putting on the mask again in stores, and prioritizing one-on-one interactions with vaccinated people (being vaccinated is sexy right now). And yes, why not a modern-day Covid Lysistrata Campaign? Wanna cuddle? Get the shot! The Lysistrata Campaign is an old idea with a new twist. Women (or people) refuse sex with others to end a war. In this case you only have to refuse sex with the unvaccinated so you still have a lot of sexy people to say yes to. If you want to spread that idea, grab the image at the top of this post.

Sadly, there’s going to be fewer tango hugs for a while. But I’m still going on dates, because those are one-on-one interactions. And I’m seeing friends.

I’m getting tested again when I have a doubt. In Rhode Island rapid and PCR testing is free and readily available. Yesterday I had a second date. When I woke up with a sore throat, I scheduled a free test to be sure. Within an hour, the results came back negative, so I could meet this guy without fear. Was the date worth it? Happily, yes.

Home tests available at drugstores are a great option if you want to socialize but don’t want to be a superspreader. Home tests give are also great for those iffy situations when you don’t know if it’s a cold or Covid–or you were just exposed to a lot of unmasked people.

Some people say we will just have to live with Covid as the new flu—but the is a deadly flu leaving 23% of people who get it with chronic fatigue-like symptoms. I have already been there, and done that with chronic fatigue. I spent two years of my life unable to exercise, sometimes unable to pull myself off the couch to cook a meal. I don’t want to repeat that experience. Sometimes people look at me and wonder why I am so passionate about not getting Covid. That’s why.

Still, we have to live, right? We have already spent over a year cooped up inside. That’s not good for anyone’s mental or physical health.

What about you? How are you managing the new, new normal?

2 Comments

  1. Chrissy

    Great reflections on life in the next chapter of the pandemic. I think what bummed me out was the new study from Israel that showed that 19% of breakthrough infections led to Long COVID — in other words, about the same percentage as among infected unvaccinated people, suggesting that the vaccine reduces the risk of infection, but once infected you have the same 1-in-5 chance of Long COVID as the unvaccinated. That SUCKS, and that’s why I’m moving toward supporting mandatory vaccination. Getting 80%-90% of the country vaccinated seems like the only way to get delta and long COVID under control so it doesn’t become a mass disabling event.

    Having said all that, I really appreciate your focus on how to live life in this next chapter. I find that I can do lots of stuff while masked, especially with other vaccinated people. Not sure I would do tango because it’s just so intimate, but there are lots of other fun things we can do while masked. The good thing is, the more we collectively share the experience of doing fun stuff while vaccinated and masked, the safer those experiences will be. Whereas if we mask in a sea of unmasked super-spreaders, everything is more dangerous.

    I do think masking should be pegged to a vaccination rate goal: maybe we can unmask when 90% of a state is vaccinated, or some really low level of community spread? England is at 90% vaccinated across the whole country, so why couldn’t we get there?

    Reply
    • Matt Borger

      Great post Sasha! A good read for those who maybe are confused about the current state of COVID-19, you summarize a complicated situation well, and also for all of us quirky alones and everyone else too.

      Reply

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Hi! I’m Sasha

Executive and Life Coach on a mission to help women connect with their bodies to pursue their truest desires in the bedroom and the world.

Author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics (HarperCollins) + To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us (Simon & Schuster).

At work on a memoir called Wet, about adventures in healing through sensuality.

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