Pandemic has made either romantic fools, cynical shut-ins, or both of us socially distant singles. Left in our homes for hours on end, we swipe and scroll through faces on dating apps in full knowledge that the act is very much like looking at the prohibitively expensive furniture in an Anthropologie catalog—an exercise in feeling, taste, and judgment that is largely hypothetical as nearly all the images are inaccessible due to factors outside our control.
Perhaps inspired by the legions of people browsing their mating options whilst effectively trapped, a Taiwanese airline has added a “speed dating” option to its “flights to nowhere,” three-hour aerial tours of the country that land exactly where they started. Now, for just $295, on Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day, 20 male and 20 female singles can pay to be matched up with a seatmate by luck of the draw in order to, hopefully, chance upon love:
“‘Because of COVID-19, EVA Air has been organizing ‘faux travel’ experiences to fulfill people’s desire for travel. When single men and women travel, apart from enjoying the fun in travel, they may wish to meet someone — like a scene in a romantic movie,’ Chiang Tsung-Wei, the spokesperson for Mobius’ speed-dating arm You and Me, told CNN Travel.”
The 40 singles on each flight are also invited to mingle among other rows while eating snacks prepared by Michelin-starred chef Motokazu Nakamura. If they meet someone who tickles their fancy, an additional two hours to get to know one another is available after the flight. But much like a season of the Bachelor or an actual Hollywood rom-com, the men can be ages 28-38 while women must be between 24 and 35. All must be university graduates and Taiwanese citizens.
As a simultaneous cynic and romantic I can both believe the person whose dating app profile I’m looking at shouldn’t have answered the “I’ll fall for you if” prompt with “You trip me” yet also imagine they could be the person with whom I finally purchase a chartreuse velvet Anthropologie bed. Similarly, the speed dating flight sounds like an awkward exercise in almost certain rejection even as I genuinely want each and every one of these people to find love with the older or younger person of their choosing. Furthermore, I sincerely hope Netflix will be filming this for both my cynical and romantical amusement.