As the world was going mad with the coronavirus pandemic and I had just entered my 29th year of being single (and that’s my whole life), I found something I neither expected to find nor was actively looking for.
A funny, thoughtless tweet on my part turned into a back and forth discussion with one of my Twitter followers whom I now, two months later, call my boyfriend.
I was not looking for anything. Quite the opposite, I was at a period when I was actively engaged on Twitter for two reasons. One is that I was going a bit mad from the lockdown (I already worked from home for 54 days at that point). The second reason is that growing my Twitter audience is something I am trying to do for career reasons. So, getting a boyfriend was not on my agenda.
But a conversation ensued based on almost nothing other than me posting a ridiculous video of myself dancing to Savage by Megan Thee Stallion. You know, those kinds of dance videos at least several of your friends attempted to do during the lockdown, even if they never danced before. Except mine was really quite ridiculous and I did not intend to post it anywhere at first.
But, you know, we were in lockdown and silly things were forgivable. So, the “damage” was done, and I embarrassed myself to my Twitter audience. And one of those audience members was Jez.
Jez believes that the connection was natural (and, therefore, inevitable), but I would argue that it was only given a space to grow and progress in because I went on a staycation just days after starting to talk to him. You may find it easier to believe if I explain that normally my every minute is allocated to doing something. If I’m not doing my main job, I’m working on my side job. If I’m not earning, I’m doing a psychology course or reading. If I’m not learning (but who am I kidding? I’m always learning), I’m running or blogging. And so on. So, normally, I don’t like being distracted from my clearly spelled out and structured plan.
But these were also exactly the reasons I needed the staycation at my family country house, two hours away from where I live. I was so over-exhausted from “doing things” all the time, and it was a particularly difficult time at work, too.
The break was very welcome. And the break also meant I had more free time to talk to people I would normally deprive of attention. Jez, had he messaged me more days before the staycation, would have been one of them. But I was on the edge and, therefore, happy to get a bit of a distraction. And then, knowing that I was about to have a one-week break, I promised him that I’d be able to chat a lot more in the coming days. He said he was happy to.
It was all just chatting at that point without a romantic context. I’m interested in psychology, as you might have picked up from two paragraphs earlier, and, therefore, talking to people is something I find exciting — provided that the right circumstances exist for it. I also do not like meaninglessly talking to people, so that’s why I attempted to organize a video chat with Jez almost straight away. So that I don’t emit short answers for the sake of it, but engage in a chat where I can fully and wholeheartedly be myself. Or, at least, try to — as we both later remarked that I was quite tense during the first chat.
Our second chat was much better. It was lockdown (again) and I was on a staycation, so I just chatted away for hours with him, which flowed into me brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed because it was getting so late.
From there, it just escalated and got a little bit of a romantic twist, too. Days later, we had our first “date” — it’s only “date,” in quotation marks because it was done over Zoom. He’s in Manchester, United Kingdom, and I was back in Kyiv, Ukraine at the time (and back from the staycation). If it wasn’t for the online factor, it actually would be quite a real date. I wore a knee-length dress and makeup (and mind you, I only wear makeup when I’m on camera for my journalistic work) and he wore a tuxedo. And, again, we chatted away for hours.
It was strange how easy chatting with Jez turned out to be. And how he was actually listening to what I say and giving his own comments. Quite a difference to some other guys I met before him who would just be awkwardly silent, choose a different subject or pretend to be interested with the intention of getting me to sleep with them. Being a psychologist really helps to feel where people are at in their lives at any given moment. For the first time in a long time — or maybe ever — I could truly connect with a man.
Online chatting, however, felt strange, even considering the fact we had several video chats. Online romance — even weirder. I refused to officially admit anything was going on between us until we physically met.
Fast forward to today, it’s July 17 and, officially, two weeks since I flew to Manchester to see him. I did not believe the flight would happen until the last minute. And it probably shouldn’t have, if you look soberly at all the facts. Both Ukraine and the United Kingdom are quite heavily affected by the coronavirus. Ukrainians could only fly to 23 countries for tourist reasons — and the UK just happened to be one of them. And I just happened to be able to come and visit him for our first in-person chats.
In, also, exactly two weeks he will fly here to see me. And we will spend more days together.
Getting a boyfriend was not something I planned on doing. But a worldwide pandemic was not something the world planned on getting. The coronavirus quarantine slows us all down. And maybe — and, in my case, definitely — it’s what we need.