Claire Mutchnik

Are you sick of mediocre man sex? In love with your econ TF? Worried corona has killed your love life? You’re in luck! WKND’s own anonymous love guru is here with a new biweekly column to answer your questions about all things sex, romance, and relationships at Yale. Whether you’re pining over your ex or fed up with a clingy FWB, she’s probably been in your shoes before and is ready to help. Don’t be shy: submit your questions here.

“How do you think Ms. Rona is going to affect cuffing season?”

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought I’d answer this question since we’re nearing the end of cuffing season. If you’re not celebrating this year with the partner of your dreams, don’t worry — you’re not alone. We’re all bored and lonely and horny and if you say you’re not, you’re either lying or you got back together with your FroCo group ex during the pandemic. COVID hasn’t been kind to our love lives, mine included.

I love watching people interact through the gates of the residential colleges. Sometimes a generous person brings their quarantined friend a coffee or Snackpass order. Once I saw someone roll a bottle of liquor under the gate. What I want to see most, though, is a couple kiss through the gate.

Last week, in a moment of desperation, I considered doing this myself. Someone I was talking to on a dating app suggested that we meet up in person. “Of course,” I thought! Please! After two months of break in the sexless confines of my childhood bedroom, I was desperate for any drama even if it took the form of a socially distanced walk. “What do you have in mind?” I asked him. Dear reader, his response shocked me: “I’m still quarantining on campus.”

What! First off, a senior living on campus right now was a huge red flag. And in case you missed Marvin’s last email, people living in the colleges aren’t supposed to interact with off-campus students until March 1. Admittedly, I was disappointed — I needed sex ASAP and I’ve had an on-and-off crush on this man for a while. Considering the possibility of dragging out a Tinder conversation for four weeks, I decided I’d rather continue my streak of celibacy than wait to meet up with this man in person. But then en route to my biweekly COVID test, I saw another pair of friends giggling together at a college gate. They looked so innocent, so happy to see each other. What if Mr. Senior and I did the same? What if we could kiss… through a metal gate? (God, the pandemic is really getting to me.)

I’ll be the zillionth person to complain: Dating during a pandemic is hard!!! Over winter break, I found myself in the most awful of predicaments. I was horny. So horny. Not the kind of horny that goes away with a little love from my best friend (my vibrator). No, the kind of horny that is so intense and irritating that I couldn’t get through the line at Trader Joe’s, let alone Christmas Eve dinner with my family, without thinking about the last time I’d had sex. The horny that made me consider booty calling my ex from sophomore year (of high school) when I just couldn’t take it anymore. I started watching Bridgerton, the latest hot new show on Netflix, to try distracting myself, but sadly, as anyone who’s watched episode six knows, that only made my situation worse.

By January, when I returned to Yale, it had been a whopping 10 months since I’d last had sex. (If I’d known that would’ve been my last, I would’ve kept him around for a second round instead of responsibly calling it a night since I had a midterm to study for the next morning. A midterm! My priorities back then were laughable.) As soon as I set my suitcase down, I knew what I had to do. That’s when I re-downloaded my good friend Tinder.

Ever since I became single my freshman year, I’ve had an on-and-off-again relationship with Yale Tinder. It’s a dreadful place at a small school like Yale where it’s impossible to avoid your unfortunate hookups and unreciprocated crushes — you might run into them at brunch on a Saturday morning. A refreshing upside to the pandemic is that it’s much rarer to unexpectedly encounter someone you’d like to avoid. Sure, they might pop up in a discussion section or club meeting, but that’s why Zoom has a handy “Hide Video” button. If you have the misfortune of running into them at a COVID testing site, just hide in the booth until they’re gone. Pretend you’re having trouble unscrewing the cap on the vial or you need to blow your nose one last time. The staff will think you’re an idiot, but at least you’ll spare your dignity. 

I’ll admit: Seeing “6’2 if that matters” now replaced with “vaccinated if that matters” in bios was tempting. What is more desirable right now than a COVID-safe hookup? As I began making plans for a date that week, the unique horrors of pandemic dating in the winter began to dawn on me. Gone were the days of sunset picnics, outdoor dining and evening drinks at a comfortable 6-feet distance. Pandemic dating always sucks, but at least we had warm weather to nurse our problems back in the fall. Now, I was confronted with a new dilemma: Was any man worth freezing my ass off for?

Frankly, nothing seemed unsexier to me than bundling up in thermals, gloves, a parka, snow boots and a hat, all for a 30-minute coffee date (probably less, if the date was from California). When I realized I left my hat at home, I decided I needed to restrategize. With negative test results in my inbox and no roommates, I decided to be a little irresponsible. I invited the guy over.

In the giddy anticipation of my first date in months, I shaved my legs and even blow-dried my hair. It was clear I was out of practice when I made the rookie mistake of pregaming a little too hard before he arrived. How can you blame me, when, the last time I’d been railed, the coronavirus was still an oddity isolated to Wuhan and a cruise ship on the other side of the country? It felt like it’d been decades.

The date was fine, if not a little underwhelming. Men at Yale are mediocre at sex — always have been, always will be. It was comforting, almost, how that’s remained the same during this period of extreme change. Throughout the lackluster date, I kept thinking, over and over again: wow dating in a pandemic is really strange. When your date mentions a kind-of-COVID-unsafe thing that he and his friends did a few weeks ago, do you laugh uncomfortably along or call him out? When your date mentions a girl he was casually seeing last semester, do you awkwardly ask if they’re still hooking up — not because you care, but because you don’t want her added to your pod? Where do you put your mask???

There’s no doubt dating at Yale is hard for those of us trying to take COVID seriously. My advice to you:

  • Rekindle old flames, especially the responsible ones who you know probably don’t go to hockey parties
  • Buy a vibrator (or a new one)
  • Become exclusive with the first tolerable person you find. Lower your standards. We’re in a pandemic.
  • Spice up your sex life. If you miss going on fun adventures with your boo, try something new. Rumor has it some sophomores have been getting freaky in the Davenport testing center… maybe that could be you?

Sex on the WKND is a biweekly column dedicated to answering your questions about all things sex, love and relationships at Yale. Submit your juicy questions here and I’ll answer them next time 😉

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