Bars closed.

Restaurants closed their dining rooms and bought truckloads of takeout containers.

Concerts went to livestreaming, and house parties? Thanks to COVID-19, they were verboten, too.

What was a young single on the dating market to do?

Some local singles told us they put Tinder on pause.

“I uninstalled Tinder and eharmony,” Corinth resident Cora Richards said. “What’s the use of matching with people if it’s not safe to meet in person? And where are you going to meet, anyway? My church wasn’t even open most of last year. It just didn’t seem worth it.”

Pamela Sanders shared the fate of so many others during the pandemic lockdown: She was home, on her own.

“Being single during COVID is hard,” Denton resident Sanders said. “No one to quarantine with in your home. So, I tried The Plenty of Fish dating site. What a bust! Met two scammers who said they loved me only to eventually ask for money.”

Sanders didn’t succumb to the cons. But she did invest some time.

“The convoluted lies they told!’ she said. “We texted and FaceTimed for months. I think technology-focused dating makes it easier for scammers to operate. So now, I’m back with my number one guy — my cat.”

A local man, who asked not to be identified, kept on dating through the pandemic. He uses dating apps and weeded out dates who didn’t want to meet in person. He got together with dates at parks or got drinks on first dates. He didn’t do Zoom dates or spend time on Google Meet.

“I don’t use them,” he said. “I will not bother with ‘virtual’ dates. Waste of time. I will only focus on women that want to meet in person.”

Denton resident Sam Pitts said he enjoyed a stroke of really good luck during COVID-19. He matched with Fort Worth resident Maria Ferraro on Bumble. He likes dating apps, he said because it gives you a chance to match with more people.

“I guess I prefer the apps, because you can narrow down all the parameters and match with people who sort of line up with them,” he said. “You might have a couple of people who were similar to you but you couldn’t meet because of the pandemic, but it didn’t really change what I was doing really.”

Ferraro said she’s a bit of a homebody, and prefers to have dating profiles on apps “that are for people who are maybe more serious about looking for a longer term relationship. I don’t think COVID had that much of a change in my dating life. I was always picky about who I wanted to meet, anyway. Any first dates would be outdoors with masks.”

Ferraro and Pitts said they connected through the app, then texted one another and swapped phone calls. COVID-19 did change some things, though.

“Besides the first one or two dates we had outside, I invited him over to my apartment much sooner than I would have,” she said. “Usually, I’d be wanting to go get a drink but we couldn’t. That was different for me. It had to move into our homes a lot sooner than it normally would. I didn’t want tell my coworkers anything, either, because I didn’t want them to think I was going on a bunch of dates.”

Pitts said he felt like he was quarantining properly, himself. He works at a bank in personal finance, and the pandemic forces his company to have workers come into the office two weeks a month. Pitts said every other week he was at his apartment near the downtown Denton Square except for essential trips to the store or to pick up takeout.

Now that he and Ferraro are a couple, he said, they’ve settled into a shared life without much trouble.

“It turned really into pick up some takeout,” he said. “We’d go to my parents’ [house]. We’d sometimes house sit, and they have a bigger space with a pool and dogs. We definitely weren’t going to any bars.”

Ferraro agreed, saying that it was strange to skip the nights out at bars, restaurants, movies or concerts. Sports arenas weren’t operating at capacity, either. Streaming media delivered by Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime saw a surge in consumption as people locked down. Disney+ became a player, too, serving daters with children and singles who love Star Wars spinoffs.

“I did think it was funny that we canceled out those typical things and settled into a comfortable routine,” she said. “We really did settle into a couple routine because there’s really nothing else to do but that.”

LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877 and via Twitter at @LBreedingDRC.

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