Now that people are beginning to get vaccinated, things in the dating world are changing yet again. At the beginning of the pandemic, it got easier to have real conversations with matches, and a lot of folx started taking their time to get to know potential dates they met on apps before meeting in person. On the flip side, antibody bros — people who recovered from COVID-19 — appear a little too confident for my comfort; they could, in fact, be the new fuck bois. Vaccination selfies are becoming the latest dating app flex, but will getting vaccinated actually help you get laid or is this trend just another desperate attempt to make ourselves seem more attractive?
Because the coronavirus vaccine is new, there’s not a lot of data on how vaccine status is truly affecting dating habits yet, but perusing the apps gives a lot of insight. OKCupid recently added a question that asks "Will you get the Covid-19 vaccine?" Users can answer, "yes," "no," "I'm not sure," or "I already have,” or they can opt out of answering the question altogether. A full 72% said they'd take the vaccine and 3% already have, Vice reported. And on Scruff and Grindr, a lot of new usernames are popping up that refer to vaccination — “Vaccinated Top” is my favorite because it answers so many compatibility questions in just two words.
If nothing else, the vaccination flex on dating profiles is a way of vetting out anti-vaxxers, and posting vaccine selfies could be a way to show potential dates that you’re invested in public health. It’s worth mentioning that while posting personal health details may seem radical to the mainstream, most queers already know how devastating communicable diseases can be and we’ve been publicly proclaiming our STI stats since the 80s, so we’re actually kind of used to it.
Also, being responsible and community oriented is a strong aphrodisiac, according to the millennials and Gen-Zs I spoke to for this story. “My new fetish is folks who are doing everything they can to get vaccinated,” Nicole Garneau, an activist and performance artist in Kentucky, tells me. “My new buzzkill is folks who express even a whiff of anti-vaxx sentiment,” she says. Garneau says she would definitely be more likely to swipe right on a vaccinated person.
“Sex. I just want to have it,” says Meghan Johnson, a massage therapist in New Orleans. A fair claim, but it comes with layers: She says she’s not sure if she’d be more likely to match with a vaccinated person, but that she would definitely not match with an anti-vaxxer. Johnson says that she gives more leniency to vaccine hesitancy when it comes to people who have historically been victimized by the medical industrial complex. “I have more compassion for BIPOC anti-vaxx sentiments because of how much experimenting has been done on them in the medical world,” Johnson says. On the other hand, Johnson says she finds white anti-vaxxers to be pretty entitled and disillusioned. No lie.
Some people are pretty neutral on the issue. “If someone catches my eye, I’m going to swipe right whether they’ve been vaccinated or not,” Mike Miller, an editor in Wyoming, tells me. But, Miller says, for practical reasons, vaccination might tip a potential’s odds slightly towards the right. “There are a few people in my family who are in a high-risk category, so I try to be as careful as possible,” Miller says. “If I can spend time with someone knowing that there isn’t any risk involved, that would obviously be great.”
And then there’s the dating subset that is absolutely cringing at the influx of what has been dubbed the “vaccine bros.” “If you’re flaunting the vax on your profile I would probably think you’re a dick,” Sierra, an international development consultant in Brooklyn, told GQ in a piece about vaccines and dating apps. “So few people have it and it’s a lame thing to brag about.” Hard agree with Sierra on this one. “I’ve been vaccinated,” stickers much like, “I voted,” stickers don’t really give me enough information about a person to warrant a right swipe. My vagina does not accept vague virtue signals as currency.
In my opinion, if you’re not part of a disproportionately affected community, a front line worker, in prison, or in a nursing home, you really just need to wait your turn. Also, being vaccinated doesn’t prevent people from spreading, which is kind of a big deal. In some ways, people who brag about having been vaxxed on dating apps are just telling you that they can’t get sick. Basically, if you’re vaccinated but out there acting a fool, I definitely do not want to date you, but if you’re a caring and community-minded vaccinated top, you definitely deserve a super like.