‘Swipe left for undissolved’: Vaccine status complicates the scene on dating apps

Since the vaccine passport came into force in France, people who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 can no longer meet in bars, restaurants and cinemas – the perfect place for a date. On dating apps, an increasing number of users publish their vaccination status and look for like-minded others. JowharFrench users asked if the pandemic had changed their dating habits.

Love in Covid’s time is a complicated affair. In France, dating became tricky this week after a “vaccine pass” came into force on Monday. The new passport requires people aged 16 and over to show proof of vaccination (ie three doses) to enter public places such as bars, restaurants and cinemas.

When it comes to love and shock, the political for many has become personal. A new dating app in Switzerland, Impffrei: Love (Vaccine-free: Love) now offers unvaccinated singles the opportunity to connect. The website has more than 12,000 users in Europe, especially in Germany.

France does not have a dating app for anti-waxxers – yet. But some of the global dating giants, which are also popular in France, have adapted to cross-border public health requirements.

Since last summer, Tinder – one of the world’s leading online dating apps – has offered users “Vaccinated” or “Vaxxing Soon” interactive stickers for their profiles. In the US, Tinder – along with other apps like Hinge, OKCupid and Match – partnered with the White House last year to raise vaccine awareness by offering features like profile tags, boosts and “superlikes” to users who revealed they were vaccinated. The UK government also teamed up with leading dating brands to provide “in-app bonuses” for vaccinated profiles.

But would public declarations of vaccine status work for the French, the famous connoisseur?

At Meetic, the French dating site giant with more than 10 million visits per month, the jab is now a feature on user profiles. But it is still a “non” for 24-year-old Salomé.

“It’s medical information, I think it’s weird to include it in a dating app,” she says. However, the double-vaccinated and boosted woman admits that the Covid-19 virus has put a damper on her love life.

“Dating is more complicated right now. I trust apps less because I do not know where the guy has been, or if he is the type who takes it lightly and passes the virus on when he is infected.”

Applying for the vaccinated inoculation status is simply not a particularly romantic topic, she says: “Asking about the vaccine – I have to admit, it destroys the charm.” Salomé uses the French app Froots and has just set a date for the coming weekend: “I did not dare ask him”, she admits. “When I date someone, it’s to bring my life to life, not to think about the disease.”

But for Ben Puygrenier, a spokesman for Tinder France, a vaccination sticker “eases some of the weight around this pandemic, which remains oppressive for everyone, especially when editing,” he said in an interview with FRANCE 24.

Tinder offered the vaccination status option because the company’s team found that “many users had already shared their vaccination status in their profiles,” Puygrenier said. The company says that vaccination has become an inevitable topic of discussion among users since December 2020. The use of the term “vaccine” increased by 149 percent in six months (between December 2020 and June 2021), according to company data.

Tinder is not the only platform to observe this phenomenon. At Meetic, an internal study conducted in August 2021 found that 32 percent of registered users had already filled in their vaccination status. In addition, 50 percent of French app users said they expected the vaccine to help them meet someone, compared to just 18 percent in February 2021.

Tinder offers users vaccination status interactive stickers for their profiles. © Tinder Skip restaurants and go straight home When the new “vaccine pass” came into force on Monday, the situation became even more difficult. An earlier “health passport” had allowed people to view other documentation, such as evidence of a negative test, to access public places. The vaccine passport is only available to people who have been inoculated or have a Covid-19 certificate (between 11 weeks and six months of infection).

“No restaurants, bars or cinemas with a non-vaccinated person … dating will be quite limited,” sighs Salomé. “The only option in the middle of winter is to meet in an apartment. To be on the safe side, few girls would want to go to a guy’s place for a first date if they do not know him, and neither would I. This will reduce the number of dates for these unvaccinated men. ”

Adèle, 34, is among the 20 percent of people in France who are not vaccinated. “I’ve never had a setback on dating apps,” says the frequent Tinder and Adopte user. Covid-19 has simply changed the way she approaches dating.

“During the lockdown, apps were the only way to meet someone, while before the pandemic I used to get to know people when I went out dancing once a month or to a friend’s place,” she explained. “Seeing men during the lockdown allowed me to keep the social connection. Since everything was closed, we met at each other’s homes, despite the curfews.”

“Before the pandemic, I went through the initial stages of having a drink or watching a movie with someone. Skipping that step has become normal for me. Since Covid, dating immediately becomes more serious.”

Although Adèle has not had it herself, she says that her perfect match is not necessarily another anti-waxer. “I think the approach of the Swiss app is too segregated. I can discuss with someone who does not share my opinion, it is a shame to stop with that,” she explains.

Adèle has a vaccine pass for the next few months since she received Covid-19 from a man she met on an app. But she wonders about her dating future.

“It will probably be easier to date people who do not have an avaccin pass,” she says. If someone posts a “vaccinated” sticker and I like him, I’ll look at his profile in detail. If I see that he is specifically against non-vaccinated people, I will not continue with that. ”

This article has been translated from the original into French.

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