So many people got engaged during COVID. So many. They either got engaged or broke up. All power to those who cut their losses—you stand at the dawn of a buffet of smells and sights, nipples and neck sweat, tongue tricks and positions never before imagined in polite society. We’re talking page 86 of the kamasutra handbook. Nobody makes it to page 86. Heck, nobody makes it past page 3.
The prevailing reason I hear for why couples got engaged during COVID is, “If we can make it through this, we can make it through anything.”
WE. ARE. LAUGHING.
This?! You think THIS was a test for couples? COVID removed temptation! It was the nuclear bomb that eradicated side pieces from the face of the earth. Took them off the menu!! Like Thanos snapping his fingers and disappearing every unassigned penis and vagina. Poof!
You were shackled to each other, indoors, for a few weeks (Florida) to a decade (New York). COVID made flying to Salt Lake City for a “tech conference,” aka to turn your ex-ex-boyfriend’s face into a bidet, an impossibility. Board games and cod recipes took the place of mass deleting your Instagram DM inbox, changing your phone password each week, and wondering if “Dan, my friend from work” was also “Ethan, my friend from high school” was also “Mark, the guy who bent me over in an aquarium.”
There was peace that came with that, of course. In the absence of temptation, suspicion disappeared and trust blossomed. It was a strange, resentful trust though—a trust by default. I trust you because I can see you, at all times, including when you don’t wring out the sponge after washing your oatmeal bowl, which causes the sponge to deteriorate far faster, thus sending our sponge budget skyrocketing.
These were the squabbles, the chirps, the silent treatment-inducing exchanges which galvanized so many young men to take a knee and propose a lifetime together. For if we can endure the gauntlet of wet sponge fights, surely we can get through anything.
Stupid. Being able to brush off sponge fights is a prerequisite to marriage. That’s the baseline, the bare minimum. Harder by far is brushing off the sultry winks of toned men and women in cities like Rochester, San Diego, Lincoln, and Orlando. Wherever the winds of your industry blow you, you must not be blown. And COVID hushed those winds to silence.
As the world reopens, so too will the legs of enticement. Nobody is ready. I expect wedding cancellation emails to flood my inbox like Hogwarts acceptance letters bombarding the Dursley’s home at 4 Privet Drive. No explanation, just some vague allusion to “going our separate ways” and a thin apology for the booking headaches.