The latest in foreplay: A rapid test for COVID-19.
When a guy Mindie Kaplan was seeing offered to pay for her rapid test for their second date, dinner at his place, she was a little bit taken aback.
“I wondered if this was the new ‘buy you dinner equals stay over,’” said Kaplan, who lives in Chelsea and is a social-media marketer and the founder of MaleRoom, a podcast and video series that gets inside the minds of men.
The two agreed to meet at a rapid testing facility on the Upper West Side. While they waited for their results, they went for a drink nearby.
That’s when Kaplan started feeling more of a friend vibe than a romantic one.
“I had that pit in my stomach of, ‘How am I going to play this?’” said Kaplan, who declined to give her age. “He was like, ‘Check your phone. Any results yet?’”
When her date got his negative test back, Kaplan needed to come up with a strategy to back out.
“I said there was a malfunction in the app and told him that my results were delayed,” she said. With that, the evening came to an end.
Some New Yorkers will do whatever it takes to hook up, including coordinating rapid testing ahead of Valentine’s Day, which can cost up to $129 depending on your insurance. But experts warn that the tests only work if done correctly.
That means a by-the-book quarantine has to take place first, said Dara Kass, an emergency medicine physician at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.
“If you’re going on a first date for Valentine’s Day, what are the chances the other person has quarantined from all friends, family, the workplace?” Kass said. “That’s what it would take to say these tests will provide the confidence that the person isn’t infected.”
Pre-date rapid testing may feel more clinical than conjugal, but many daters feel like it’s the only way to play the field.
Jonah Feingold was buying popcorn and snacks for a first date he was hosting at his place when he started to panic.
“My brain started spiraling about the virus variant,” said Feingold, 30, who lives alone in Greenpoint. “I realized I should talk about getting tested with this woman who was coming over to my apartment that night to watch a movie with me.”
He called his date, a kindergarten teacher who lives in Manhattan with her parents, and she immediately suggested that they should both get rapid tests before meeting up.
“We both wanted to get tested so we wouldn’t worry the entire time and could enjoy being inside together,” said Feingold, a filmmaker and co-host of Seeing Other People, a podcast hosted by a pair of exes that dissects dating and relationships.
While neither one shared their physical results, Feingold said they felt confident as they had been texting all day about the adventure, including sending each other selfies while on line for testing.
They eventually dug into the same bowl of popcorn and, yes, there was some kissing involved — all maskless.
Still, Feingold acknowledges the whole thing was risky.
“I think you have to consider to what extent you are going to go to live your romantic life— even with all the things you’re doing to stay safe,” he said.
Feingold did go out on a second date with the teacher — with one safety caveat.
“We met up outside instead,” he said.