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If there’s one thing that the last couple of years have really screwed up, it’s dating. Not being able to get out there and meet people for real got old super quickly. However, limitation breeds creativity and a new kind of dating has arrived, it’s virtual. Before you scoff at the idea, there are a few things you should consider. Virtual dating is generally, quicker, cheaper, and safer than real-life meet-ups. If you’re interested in how to navigate the world of virtual dating, then we have some date ideas to try out, as well as some tips on how to make sure your virtual date runs as smoothly as possible.

Before we get started with date ideas, there are some basics that you’ve just got to get right. Throw yourself back to the days of MySpace and remember all of the grainy, blurry, overly contrasted images that people took from high angles on their webcams. Remember them? These are exactly the reason why investing in a good webcam is the first thing you should do before you consider virtual dating. You don’t need to get the latest all-singing all-dancing version, but a 1080p webcam that’s plugged in via USB will suffice. Anything in the 1080p to 4k range should set you back somewhere between $15 and $30, plus you can use it on your next Zoom meeting, so it’s totally multipurpose.

Once your webcam is up to date, it’s time to make sure that the setting exudes romance, or at the very least, there’s nothing embarrassing in the background. Far too many professionals have been caught with erotic novels, personal items, and even nude family members in the back of zoom meetings, only to find themselves plastered all over the internet for others to giggle about. You don’t want to be one of those people, so do a sweep of the shelves, maybe have a general tidy-up and make the place look presentable. We’re not saying you have to join the hoards who have been purchasing pre-made book collections but it doesn’t hurt to stow away your dirty laundry.

Housekeeping out of the way, it’s time to get onto the fun stuff. If there’s one thing that spending more time at home has done for the world, it’s created endless options for virtual daters. If your date has expressed a love for gaming then you might have taken her to an arcade, or a casino. Now that virtual dating is firmly on the scene there are so many new online casinos that it would be almost rude not to try one out. This site tests them all for safety and security (always nice to know your date isn’t going to get her bank details stolen) and also shows the offers that they have available. So, if you’re feeling like a true gent, take advantage of a deposit match offer and both of you can play for the same price as just you. Nobody, except you and your new casino site, even has to know!

Not everybody is a gamer of course and there are certain activities that will suit different people better. Virtual museum tours are soaring in popularity, so if you’ve got a culture vulture on your hands, take them on a date to The Louvre. Not only will you be able to see the Mona Lisa up really close, you wont have to stand in an hour long queue for the privilege. Similarly, lots of famous tourist sites are also offering virtual experiences. Perhaps your virtual date majored in Egyptology, but never actually got to see the pyramids. Whilst flying them out to Egypt for the weekend would’ve been quite an expensive first date idea, taking them on a virtual tour of the pyramids will set you back a couple of dollars and show that you’re genuinely interested in them.

A weekend in Paris is certainly romantic, but when you can visit the Louvre from your bedroom, why bother?

Whilst some people love the idea of making a virtual date even more, well, virtual, some of us want nothing more than to sit in a restaurant and chat over great food. If this is the case then there are still plenty of good reasons to give virtual dating a try, and one of them is that you can host a cook-a-long. Send your date a list of ingredients before date night and then enjoy a drink and a chat as you guide them through how to cook one of your specialities. Sure, there’s more washing up than in a restaurant, but you’ll get to have a real good laugh and hopefully have something edible to enjoy at the end of it all.