Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

Singles connect on Tinder to fight quarantine blues 

Orla Bordeaux has used Tinder to match with people all of the world during quarantine.

Orla Bordeaux had another match, this time with Metin from Turkey. His profile said he was 19 and 5,265 miles away from her dorm room in Greenwich Village. There was nothing in his bio except for his Instagram and Snapchat handles.

Within minutes of matching, 19-year-old Bordeaux got a message from Metin. It was a GIF of a tiny white dog with the word “hi” in black letters in the right corner.

“Hey!” replied Bordeaux.

Bordeaux has been matching with people from all over the globe since Tinder made its Passport feature free last month to help singles combat loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic.

The feature allows users to connect with anyone anywhere in the world instead of limiting matches to people in their vicinity.

“Our hope is that you use the Passport feature to virtually transport yourself out of self-quarantine to anywhere in the world,” Tinder said in a statement. “You can check in on folks in their hometown, college town, or sister city, and find those across the world who are going through the same things. If nothing else, you can learn how to say “hey” in another language.”

But Bordeaux never learned how to say “hey” in Turkish.

“My experience was — well, he was sort of clingy,” said Bordeaux, who ultimately ended up blocking her potential beau.

With the stay-at-home mandates all over the world,, some dating apps have seen serious spikes in activity.

The volume of direct messages on Tinder has increased by 10 to 15 percent each day, according to Mother Jones. The dating app  also reported that conversations tend to carry on longer than they did before the lockdown.

“It’s nice conversation but it’s different to how it was before because everything before was like you know we talk for a bit and then I’d see the person within two weeks,” said Chelsea du Toit, 20, who lives in  Cape Town, South Africa.

Du Toit had not activated the Passport feature — but she figured others were using it when she started seeing people from the US, Germany and the UK show up in her profile.

“It kind of irritated me at first,” she said. “I guess, this will make me sound ridiculous, I didn’t really want to talk to people or match with people if I won’t potentially meet them in real life. That just kind of feels like a waste of time.”

She started using Tinder when quarantine first went into effect, and had expected to meet up with her matches fairly soon — but that changed once it became clear the lockdown would last much longer.

“Initially South Africa had a lockdown that was only meant to last three weeks,” said Du Toit. “So a lot of the conversations were with the idea that we’re possibly seeing each other within like a month.”

“Now it’s very much like, we’re getting to know each other and speaking to each other but we don’t know when we’re going to see each other,” she added. .

As quarantine begins to lift in some places, some wonder if they will finally get to meet their matches — and if the flirtatious banter that grew stale online will be better in person. .

“I’m planning to meet up with [one of my matches] after the crisis,” said Du Toit. “When everyone gets a better idea [of when] we’re going to be able to see each other, conversations will probably pick up again.”

Bordeaux said she also plans to meet one of her matches after the quarantine.

“There’s one person who I’ve stayed in contact with. Possibly two,” she  said.

“I’m a little nervous to [meet up] cause all of our relationship and our talking has been texting and I’ve also never met up with someone from Tinder before,” said Bordeaux. “But I would like to meet up with him.”

Yaroslava Bondar is an NYU undergraduate journalism student.


Other Stories in Special Report: Shutdown: The Coronavirus

A tribute to the mask pioneers

Bohao Liu July 11, 2020

Air pollution in China rebounds to pre-COVID level

Hannah Zhang July 11, 2020

ICE takes aim at international students

Maria Abreu July 10, 2020

Chinese students trapped by new ICE policy

Zishu Sherry Qin July 10, 2020

New ICE policy adds more turmoil to the lives of international students

Shiyu Xu July 10, 2020

Lawsuits follow ICE policy barring international students who are taking online classes

Joanna Lin Su July 10, 2020

Economists say the US needs a bold, generous fiscal response. Congress is likely to disappoint. 

Ahmed Mohamed July 9, 2020

Overseas Singaporeans have pandemic obstacles to voting

Yifan Yu July 9, 2020

Proximity sensors and hygiene stations are the “new normal”

Joanna Lin Su July 9, 2020

 Tour ticket vendors miss the hustle and bustle of Times Square

Narkwor Kwabla July 8, 2020

Dengue outbreak could be a greater threat than covid in Singapore

Yifan Yu July 8, 2020

Corporate bankruptcy: ‘A story that’s not going away’

Gaurav Sharma July 7, 2020

Beijing reopens as the second wave of coronavirus dies down

Hannah Zhang July 6, 2020

Masks or no masks?

Bohao Liu July 5, 2020

Varsity Flu

Madeline Gunderson July 3, 2020

Rail travel in China is popular during the pandemic and filled with safety measures

Bohao Liu July 3, 2020

Brazilian international student caught in US travel ban.

Marina Guimaraes July 3, 2020

MTA faces crisis following COVID shutdown

Daniel Girma July 2, 2020

Easter Market goes back to its roots

Kyla Milberger July 2, 2020

China’s Airline Industry Aims to Lure Back Passengers with Unlimited Flight Pass

Zishu Sherry Qin July 1, 2020

US corporate debt soars during coronavirus outbreak

Gaurav Sharma June 30, 2020

In Singapore, gay pride goes online

Yifan Yu June 29, 2020

The Hair Room reopens

Shiyu Xu June 29, 2020

A second wave of the coronavirus creates travel woes in Beijing

Hannah Zhang June 29, 2020

Despite a few bumps, NYC is social distancing more than not

Joanna Lin Su June 29, 2020

Backyard music lessons

Madeline Gunderson June 28, 2020

Experts say ISIS exploits chaos of global pandemic to rebuild

Marina Guimaraes June 26, 2020

Cutting through COVID

Thomas Hengge June 26, 2020

Venezuelan government leaves residents stranded in U.S. during pandemic

Maria Abreu June 23, 2020

Vulnerable communities fear eviction as COVID-19 rent morotorium comes to an end

Jonathan Sarabia June 22, 2020

Beijing is China’s new epicenter for the coronavirus

Hannah Zhang June 22, 2020

Clock is ticking for NYC restaurants even as outdoor dining resumes  

Gaurav Sharma June 20, 2020

Michigan hair salons are back in business

Kyla Milberger June 17, 2020

Seafood markets in China lose business over new COVID-19 scare

Bohao Liu June 17, 2020

China resorts to street vending to revive its economy

Hannah Zhang June 16, 2020

The East Village is open! Well, sort of

Thomas Hengge June 15, 2020

My trip home during the pandemic

Zishu Sherry Qin June 15, 2020

Popular India Square “won’t be the same again” 

Gaurav Sharma June 13, 2020

Feds will not raise its key interest rate until 2022 and project slow recovery

Zishu Sherry Qin June 11, 2020

Despite pandemic, thousands of Syrians protest against government as economy collapses

Marina Guimaraes June 10, 2020

On the frontline of two deadly viruses

Narkwor Kwabla June 10, 2020

Bronx fish market struggles to stay afloat during pandemic

Daniel Girma June 9, 2020

Venezuelans leave behind a country in crisis only to encounter a new crisis in New York

Maria Abreu June 8, 2020

China promotes street vendors to reboot the economy

Bohao Liu June 8, 2020

For the developmentally disabled, COVID-19 brings new challenges

Kyla Milberger June 7, 2020

Giving food to Staten island vulnerable communities during the lockdown

Alpha Kamara June 6, 2020

Hong Kongers gather despite COVID-19 ban on Tiananmen vigil

Yifan Yu June 4, 2020

Army returns home after completing COVID-19 mission in New York 

Maria Abreu June 4, 2020

Ailana’s life in quarantine

Talgat Almanov June 3, 2020

Venezuela has another obstacle: the pandemic

Marina Guimaraes June 3, 2020