love these days

Are You Planning a Zoom Date?

Photo: Yuri Arcurs/Getty Images

Not being able to be with your partner physically can be taxing. It’s hard to feel close and connected without actually being close and connected. While a date night over video is not exactly the same as a date night in person, it can still be sweet, particularly if you come prepared with a fun idea. Whether you’re in a long-distance relationship, a relationship that is temporarily long distance due to the pandemic, or just starting to chat with someone, we have you covered.

Cook dinner “together.” Decide on a recipe you’d both like to try, prop up your phone or computer in your kitchen, and cook it together. (If you’re competitive, this can, of course, also serve as a type of challenge. Who cooked the more elegant boeuf bourguignonne?)

Watch a movie or binge a TV show. You can either do this with or without the help of Netflix’s “Netflix Party” plug-in. Pick a movie or TV show you want to watch and three, two, one — press play.

Play a game. Maybe something like charades or an online game like Jackbox.

Have a double date. Invite another long-distance couple to a four-person video chat. Have some pasta together. How were their days? How are they coping with the separation? Do they have any gossip?

Paint and drink wine. Choose something you’d both like to paint — be it an object, or maybe a mood? — and drink wine and chat. At the end of your painting session, if you’re clearly the better painter, make sure to console your partner with the knowledge that this wasn’t a contest, luckily for them.

Play “podcast.” There are few things more relaxing than listening to someone you love talk incessantly about something you don’t care about and don’t have to respond to. Maybe it’s basketball, or maybe it’s Vanderpump Rules. One of you picks the topic you want to talk about, as if you are a one-person podcast for an audience of one, and the other just listens.

Have a book-club night or an article-club night. Pick a book to read and discuss or, if pressed for time, a longform article. (Something light. Maybe something from a few years ago.)

Have a dance party. Take turns being the DJ, set up some funky lighting, and dance into each other’s hearts.

Have an arts-and-crafts contest. Who can make the best craft based on the items they have in their apartment or recycling bin? This will be quite a challenge. Maybe you can make a popsicle-stick giraffe or a can-of-beans man.

An evening of pillow talk. Get in your pajamas, set your phone or computer on the pillow next to you, and get comfortable. You can even close your eyes, if you want, and, of course, you can let it turn into something sexual; it’s up to you, my friend.

Play two-person Pictionary. Can they guess what movie you drew? Can you guess what politician they sketched? You get one point for each drawing your partner guesses, and .5 points for each drawing you guess correctly. Will this scoring system work to eventually pick a clear winner? That’s for you to find out!

Have an apartment “show-and-tell.” What’s the most expensive tiny thing your partner has ever purchased? What’s the most visibly worn item of clothing that they still feel comfortable wearing out in public? What’s the object they’ve owned for the longest amount of time? It’s a fun way to get to get to better know your partner and all of the weird stuff they have. (Obviously, you can also make this “show-and-tell” into a sexy version.)

Recount every single thing you did that day from beginning to end. So you got up and what, went to the bathroom? And then what? Took the dog outside? And then what, made coffee? And then what? Sat down? Looked at your computer and then what? I know it sounds boring, but hearing about each dull part of your partner’s day can really help you feel closer. And then you get to tell them about yours!

Learn a dance together. Perhaps a TikTok. 

Have a drawing challenge. Who can draw the better frog? Who can draw the better horse? Who can draw the most accurate football? What you need for this date is a pen, a piece of paper, and the honesty necessary to concede if you did not, for example, draw the better horse.

Write and share a story. Bedtime stories are for children, yes, but it can also be fun to peer into the mind of your loved one and see what sort of fictional tale they might come up with if forced to for a date. Maybe their story will be about a princess, or just some guy. Or maybe it will be about a ghost? There’s only one way to find out.

Read a play together. Assign each other roles, and read a play aloud that neither of you has ever read before. It will be like you’re going out for a night at the theater, except you’re the star! (And you’re on FaceTime.)

Who’s the better mixologist? Find a fancy cocktail recipe online (or mocktail, if you don’t drink), and see who can duplicate its look the best. (This challenge will be based on sight rather than taste, but please do admit if yours tastes very bad.)

Put together a PowerPoint presentation and screen-share it. Maybe you want the presentation to focus on everything you love about your partner, or maybe you want the presentation to be about why you believe in a certain conspiracy theory. It’s up to you. But with the screen-sharing option on Zoom, I believe it will be a very informative date night.

Just have a drink together and relax. Talk, sit. Have a glass of wine or a cup of tea. Enjoy the fact that you have each other, even if you’re apart.

Are You Planning a Zoom Date?