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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Ready to mingle: Asking COVID-19 vaccination status is part of equation
Is it OK to inquire? Is hesitancy a deal-breaker?
 
Published Wednesday, July 21, 2021 10:30 pm
by Aaliyah Bowden

UNSPLASH PHOTO | J.D. MASON
As people return to pre-pandemic activities, there's a debate whether it's bad form to ask about COVID-19 vaccination status before dating.

Sarah Guidry met her boyfriend online during COVID.


Guidry, who lives in Huntersville, signed up to a dating service through Carolinas Matchmaker and was matched with her boyfriend. At the beginning of the pandemic, she was frustrated with not being able to meet in-person for dates.


“I tried Zoom dates or meeting at a park and socially distancing, and it was just kind of frustrating,” said Guidry, 35. “Honestly, I wanted dating to be fun again, and so [her dating coach at Carolinas Matchmaker] was able to make that happen.”


For Guidry, it was not a deal-breaker if her boyfriend, whom she declined to identify, had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to their first date. She also declined to share their vaccination status.


“No, that was not a requirement for me,” Guidry said. “I felt I don’t have any underlying medical conditions, so I felt comfortable meeting in person.”


The couple met on match.com last year. In December, they went on their first date for drinks and hit it off.


Asking someone if they are vaccinated can be hard.


“When we ask those questions, everybody has their story and their opinion of the vaccination, and it's not for everybody,” said Laurie Berzack, owner and founder of Carolinas Matchmaker.


During the pandemic, it has been hard for some people to cope with not being able to hang out with friends or go out on dates. Last August, 36% of U.S. adults experienced anxiety and depression, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now that nearly half of the adult population is fully vaccinated, more people are resuming activities put on pause early in the pandemic, including going on dates.


But is it polite to ask a friend or a date with if they have been vaccinated?

Dating in new normal
Dating coaches discussed how to pop the question. When asking, the key is not being judgmental.


“People kind of judge you based off of whether or not you've been vaccinated or not,” said Julie Wadley, dating coach and founder of Eli Simone Matchmaking & Coaching, a black-owned matchmaking and coaching service in Charlotte whose clientele is predominantly Black women. “You can ask for sure if they've been vaccinated, but it's really about how you do it. So, my clients usually ask me to do it.”


Wadley suggested a nice way to ask a date about their status.


“Say ‘hey, so I got my vaccines on this date. And what about you?’” she said. “So it's sort of not a judgement type of thing like ‘what are you doing?’ It's more like ‘hey I’m sharing what I’ve done, and I’d like to know what you’ve done.”


Berzack and Wadley said that some of their clients have had concerns about going on dates during the pandemic while others are prepared to take that risk.


“A lot more people have relaxed their – not standards – but really [have] just relaxed in terms of, asking like what their [COVID safety] practices are,” Wadley said.
Even though you may be afraid to ask, relationships are all about hard questions.


“I mean that's what a relationship is all about, in essence, [asking] some of the hard questions and having conversations with some stuff you may not want to know,” Berzack explained. “And then you get to be curious: ‘OK, so you didn't have a [COVID] vaccination. Tell me more. What was your thinking around that? And listen with an open mind and see what they have to say and kind of go from there.”


Berzack and Wadley said some clients prefer to be matched only with people who are vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones.


Asking a friend
Essence Edwards, 22, said most of her friends are vaccinated and some are considering it. She still hangs out with them regardless of their status.


“Sometimes the topic can be a little touchy if you have not gotten your vaccination because there are still some people who are afraid of the side effects,” she said.


Edwards added her and her friends continue to wear masks, wash their hands, and practice social distancing.
If you want to know if a person is vaccinated, just ask.


“If you’re not comfortable dating someone who hasn't been vaccinated, do not do it,” Berzack said. “But be curious, instead of judgmental.”

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