Asking someone to stick something up their nose isn’t usually polite first-, second- or even third-date behavior.
Or is it?
Rapid tests can be hard to find. At about $12 a pop, they’re not cheap. They’re not always accurate. Some singles say they ask their date to get tested only if they’ve traveled recently or have the sniffles; others ask for a test while the relationship is still new. Some daters say they’re saving the free rapid tests distributed by the Biden administration for a romantic rendezvous.
Still, it’s hard to know what to do: The CDC does not specify whether a test is recommended before you swap saliva with a stranger. Clare O’Connor, head of content for the dating app Bumble, says that asking someone the last time they were tested for the coronavirus is similar to asking whether they’ve had a recent STI test. “It’s a precaution you take when you’re considering getting intimate with somebody.”
“Seinfeld” fans are quick to draw a comparison between the scarcity of coronavirus tests and Elaine Benes’s 1995 dilemma when her favorite method of contraception – the Today sponge – was about to be discontinued. She bought out the entire Upper West Side the way someone might’ve ordered 100 Binax kits from Amazon in December 2021. Even with a closet full of contraception, Elaine (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) wondered whether someone was sponge-worthy the way today’s singles might question if a particular date justifies the trouble of locating a precious nose swab. Peter Mehlman, the screenwriter for that “Seinfeld” episode, says that if Elaine were single today, she would not accept a mere screenshot of a negative test. “She would get a certain amount of pleasure out of giving the test herself,” Mehlman said in a phone interview. “These are hard times; you can’t really trust anyone.”