Thirteen

Lawyer, 44

His profile is well written and witty. His pictures are cute, he has bright blue eyes, and he seems switched on. We chat on the app for a week or so. He asks for my phone number — I use Hushed — and we chat there for a while, every other day or so. He’s a little saucy. I like to save that stuff for after we’ve met, but everyone’s pent up so I feel more forgiving. Once, when he goes a too far, he checks himself saying, “I’m sorry, that was lewd.”

“That’s such an old fashioned word,” I say.

“It’s a legal term.”

He’s a classically trained musician, French horn. When I tell him I’m going to visit my mom, he texts while I’m away to ask me how the drive went and how my mom is doing. He seems like he might be… nice?

After three weeks of this, I think, “Why haven’t we met in person?”

So I ask him.

“Hey, I’ve been chatting with this cute lawyer, he seems great, he’s funny and easy to talk to. But I can’t figure out if this is it or we’re going to meet in person or what.”

“I’m sorry,” he says, “I live in a multi-generational household and my dad is immunocompromised. I’m nervous. If I gave him Corona, I’d never forgive myself. If things start to feel safer later this summer, for sure.”

This is a decent reason to avoid meeting people. And by decent, I don’t mean adequate. I mean decent as in respectable and moral.

It’s also an easy out.

“I get it.” I take a minute before saying, “It occurs to me this is a handy excuse, too.” I say things out loud. Why not, right? What have I got to lose?

“Oh, I know. But it’s a legit concern.”

There are ways to meet in person, of course — safe distancing, masks, outside. But also, there’s a convenience + risk + reward equation for everything right now. If the object of your interest isn’t chomping at the bit to take a walk around you in 3D, there is no point in even doing the math.