Flirting In Times Of COVID, Or How The Gaze Goes Back To Center Stage

Covid Flirt BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of news.vcu.edu

Having sex has become a far-reaching sport since the pandemic began. In the beginning, we could not see each other physically, we could not stay at the same place, and now, with the shift in the case curve, we have to take all possible precautions by washing our hands and putting on a mask.

From the time we go to the supermarket until we go for a walk in the park, we see and recognize ourselves in this strange world. However, despite the distance, sight has become our allied sense, considering a single look above the mask has become the only way to relate to one another. 

That relationship we establish with the look when we see someone can easily go from judgment to craving.

The mask has accompanied the eyes for more than eight months and has been, so far this year, the most popular item making your face a sweaty entity between nose and mouth. Still, it frames a sort of mysterious look that makes most of the wearers look good and incite doubt, curiosity, and an inexplicable will to conquer that hidden territory. 

Although looking good is not the purpose of a mask, it gives us a sexy air, a touch of inaccessibility equivalent to Tinder’s game of expectations. We flirt with the speculation of what’s behind:  you want to unveil the mystery at the very end, like in a Game of Thrones episode.

There is something attractive in a little mystery, an identity a little obscured by doubt. The masks attract attention because they are very close to our hair and eyes, two parts of the body that communicate two sides of the same coin: desire.

Eye contact is one of the human manifestations studied by the social anthropologist Jean Smith. For the researcher, the duration in the exchange of glances is fundamental; it is the power game that allows us to tell the other person we’re interested and that there is nothing else in your field of vision. Your eyes want to be on top of the person you are attracted to. 

Initially, the person you are flirting with might look away; but maybe they are shy, unaware, or don’t know what to do. Ideally, according to Smith, you should try again, just to be sure, and based on a response in the visual connection, you should repeat the operation at least three more times. 

If your crush looks away every time you make eye contact or does not hold your gaze at all, you know that “sex with the gaze” is not reciprocal, and you should stop before it becomes uncomfortable. In the end, it’s all about consent: the situation can go from a sexy look like the ones JLo gives to the camera in the “El Anillo” video to a harassing look that casts an evil eye and inoculates COVID-19.  

No one advises, under any circumstances, to stare at someone for an extended period because you could end up looking like a serial killer or one of the anti-heroes from the TV series The Boys. The key is to show interest and be brief.

If the answer is reciprocal, smile. If it brings back a smile, it can end up there; leave it and keep it as a souvenir of a pleasant connection during the craziest year of our lives or, better yet, you can change your proximity. Approach your crush without losing your safety distance and just ask: “Would you like to have a coffee?”

Being attracted to someone else is not uncommon; in fact, it is a recurring fantasy. Studies done by the sex toy e-commerce, SexPlace, claim that mask erotica has increased during the pandemic. “Sixty-seven percent of people consulted said they were attracted to the stranger who only lets you see his or her eyes, hiding the rest of the face behind the mask,” the study found.

As we explained before, intrigue is the key, and this fantasy is awakened, especially in women, because it creates a quite recurrent tension in everyday life. 

The study states that three out of five women claim to be attracted to strangers only by their eyes and how they look. The fact of not discovering one’s identity generates an increase in desire, a psychologically proven fact because by fantasizing about the kidnapping, an initiatory ritual myth of our psyche is fulfilled in order to achieve autonomy as women.

Adding momentary seductive looks to your day is safe and fun, real, spontaneous, and necessary to connect with our body in the pandemic. It’s a perfect ritual even if you haven’t showered in two days or have put on lipstick that no one can see under a mask. 

In times like these when we all live in our sweatpants, struggling with anxiety, fear, or uncertainty — sex with a mask, or that “quickie” we do with our gaze, becomes a personal triumph: it helps you feel like a bomb, even if the contact you make with others begins and ends with your eyes. 

Don’t let a pandemic stop you from spreading the love of flirting, even if you meet someone and start a relationship it will be a great story to tell your friends when the virus is gone.