2021: The Year of Kissing Complete Strangers in Overcrowded Bars (Hopefully)

2021: The Year of Kissing Complete Strangers in Overcrowded Bars (Hopefully)
Photo: Adobe. Design: Cierra Miller/STYLECASTER.

Now that the Pfizer vaccine is being distributed in the United States, it looks like there’s finally a light at the end of the quarantine tunnel…and for me, that light looks a lot like a dimly-lit dive bar. The bar-hopping population is not first in line for the vaccine, of course—that spot rightfully belongs to healthcare professionals, high-risk citizens and essential workers—but the vaccinations are still a sign that the end of the pandemic may be near. And with it, the end of pandemic dating struggles.

Although dating after the pandemic might sound like an isolation-induced daydream right now, I’m entering the new year with high hopes and low standards—an unstoppable combination, if you ask me. In fact, I’m manifesting it now: 2021 is the year we bring back *safely* kissing complete strangers in overcrowded bars. One can only hope!

Thanks to the vaccine, my prediction just might come true. I mean, really, what could be a better way to celebrate successful herd immunity than a round of shots followed by a drunken make-out sesh with a cute rando? One, of course, who took pandemic precautions seriously all 2020 long, wearing a mask, helping others and being an all-around great person worthy of a post-quarantine hookup.

My standards for 2021 can be summed up with one question: Are you vaccinated?

As soon as it’s safe to socialize, I’m heading to the bars. OK, I’ll probably go to see my grandparents first (I’m not a total monster!) but I’m definitely hitting the bar soon after. The more crowded, the better! I can almost taste my over-priced, watered-down vodka cranberry now.

If we play our cards right—a.k.a. actually get vaccinated and follow medical advice—2021 could be the year we say goodbye to pointless dating app convos and dreaded FaceTime dates once and for all and start meeting up IRL again. Granted, at this point we still have more questions than answers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hypothesize.

And TBH, I have nothing better to do besides listen to Evermore again, but since I haven’t gotten to go out and date this year, I don’t even have a recent breakup to relate it to. 2021 needs to give me something to work with!

STYLECASTER | dating in 2021

Adobe.

Let’s be honest: 2020 has been heavy for everyone, and there’s no way it won’t affect next year’s dating scene. Although Corona Cuffing Szn might’ve decreased the options in the dating pool (just ask everyone from my high school who spontaneously got engaged!) for those of us who are ready to put the seriousness of 2020 behind us, there’s really only one thing left to do: embrace something fun and casual, DFMOs (Dance Floor Make-Outs, duh) and all.

The way I see it, 2021 is the new turning 21: A year filled with overcrowded bars, overpriced drinks, inattentive bartenders and, most importantly, plenty of drunken make-outs. Of course, bars are going to look a little different over the next 12 months, but I have high hopes that by the middle or end of the year, we’ll be free to roam in tipsy peace.

Still, you’ll want to update your classic going-out essentials checklist from “phone, wallet, ID, keys” to include sanitizer, a just-in-case mask and your vaccination card. Think of that card the way you thought of your fake ID in college—guard it with your life.

I’m also anticipating much lower standards in the new year…so yeah, it’ll be exactly like turning 21 again. In fact, my standards for 2021 can be summed up with one question: Are you vaccinated? The flirty follow-up: Moderna or Pfizer? If he’s cute, I might even ask about his favorite phase of quarantine (the correct answer is the banana bread phase, obvi).

The way I see it, 2021 is the new turning 21.

But enough about me: Should your standards join mine on the floor? I vote yes, because it sounds way more fun and we can always re-evaluate in 2022. I can’t promise that the rando you choose for a good old-fashioned DFMO will be your soulmate—in fact, I’m about 90% sure they won’t be—but it’s still better than spending another night in your parent’s living room pretending to enjoy a Zoom happy hour.

Although you might not be able to ring in 2021 with a New Year’s kiss at an overcrowded bar (please don’t, we’re not quite there yet), that doesn’t mean the rest of the year is doomed to be just as dull. If we’re smart, 2021 could be the year we get back to kissing strangers in bars without causing a threat to public health and safety—just our dignity and self-respect.

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