You may not remember, but once upon a time people actually dated in person. Face-to-face, handholding, the whole bit. Thanks to the pandemic, however, date night has morphed into virtual date night for many romantic hopefuls.
On the positive side, connecting virtually through apps like Zoom allows marriage-minded people to still pursue their interests from a precautionary social distance.
It also demonstrates resilience and adaptability, despite the limits imposed by a global pandemic, as well as determination when distance is the limiting factor.
On the flip side, it can also lend itself to people being, shall we say, a bit lazy in how they show up for date night.
If you’re like the majority of people around the globe, “sheltering in place” has written new rules for your daily routine.
Even as things have “opened back up,” most of us are still embracing a stepped-down mentality to how we present ourselves. We’ve gotten comfortable working in sweats, trading shoes for slippers, and skipping the hair-and-makeup routine.
But, if finding true love is one of your resolutions for the New Year, it’s important to think (and dress) outside the pandemic box. First impressions still matter, even if you have to rethink how you make them.
With that in mind, let’s look at 7 tips for looking your best for your next virtual date night.
- Prepare as you would for a date IRL.
Getting ready for a date isn’t a chore when you’re excited about the date. It’s part of the ritual of excitement and anticipation.
You’ll have the opportunity to do the in-person version soon enough. But, in the meantime, your virtual date nights can (and should) be just as exciting and meaningful.
You may find that you come to know more about a potential love interest in this limited format than you would in person. At least in the beginning when you’re focused on learning so many important things about one another.
So set aside the time to do all that date-night prepping and primping. Allow yourself to feel the butterflies of anticipation.
And think of your efforts as something you’re gifting to the person sitting across the screen from you.
- Find the best lighting.
Lighting may not be something you even think about when you’re preparing for a virtual date, but it’s everything.
There’s a reason that photographers and cinematographers plan entire shoots around the golden hour and magic hour. Light is warmer, softer, less harsh.
In the virtual world, you are, in a sense, staging your own photo session. And another person is going to be looking at that moving photo for quite a while.
So strive for natural light.
And, if you don’t have natural light streaming through a window, do the next best thing. Invest in a ring light that can mount on or near your computer.
You’ll be guaranteed soft, dreamy, shadow-less lighting at any time of day or night.
Also, you can add filters on Zoom. (Next to the video camera icon is an up arrow. When you click that, you can change your virtual background or add filters.)
You may want to pick a soft, warm lighting as a filter.
- Think about those camera close-ups.
If your virtual date night were a soap opera, how would you prepare for those tight camera shots?
Keep that in mind when you’re applying make-up, and even when you’re choosing your date-night snacks.
Moisturize your skin to soften lines and dryness. Don’t overdo the makeup, but do highlight your best features and natural beauty.
Brush your teeth and choose food that’s not likely to become part of your smile.
Even jewelry choices matter. One statement piece around your neck will draw attention to your face. But keep the rest simple.
Less is more when it comes to jewelry. You want it to enhance, not distract.
- Style your hair.
Guys, you may be used to wash-and-tossle dry. And you may have let your haircut and shave wait a little too long.
Now is a good time to do some manscaping. You don’t want to give the impression that you just climbed out of a dark man cave.
And gals, that ponytail may be the easiest, mess-free hairstyle for your work-from-home lifestyle. But chances are it’s not the style that most flatters and softens your face.
So drop your locks for virtual date night, just as you would for a night on the town.
- Focus on those eyes.
You’re going to be looking at one another’s head shot for a long time.
You may dream of gazing soulfully into one another’s eyes over a candlelit dinner. But right now you’re doing it across a screen.
Think about what your date will be focused on, and focus on the same.
Ladies, eyeliner and mascara, applied in a natural way, will make your eyes pop and sparkle.
And, for both the ladies and gentlemen, remember that your eyes are a huge part of your communication.
Smile with your eyes. Speak with your eyes. And be mindful not to let those tired computer eyes start to droop.
- Wear a solid color, and skip the black.
Even if you’re sitting a couple feet from your computer, your on-screen image is going to be relatively tight. And you want all of your date’s focus to be on you — not the pattern on your shirt and not your accessories.
Patterns have their place, but solid, bright colors make a better statement for virtual settings. They’re cleaner, less complicated, and less distracting.
And, even if you’re used to wearing a lot of black, a bright color will enhance your mood. It will also enhance your date’s perception of you as a happy, enjoyable person.
- Think about what your date is going to see in the background.
We’ve all seen them. Dating site photos taken in a bathroom mirror with towels and laundry reflected in the background. For-sale items photographed with piles of stuff on them and junk lying on the floor.
It all creates an immediate, subconscious impression.
If you shift your thinking to what you do want your date to see, you‘ll likely create a more conscientious scene.
Think like a photographer or cinematographer. They frame their shots — in their minds, with their hands, and with their cameras. Every inclusion is considered and intentional.
If everything in your staging had to audition for its place in your virtual date night, what would make the cut?
What kind of impression do you want to give your date?
Lit candles can give the impression of warmth and hospitality. A clutter-free room gives the impression of a clutter-free, organized mind. A pet in your lap can speak to your ability to love and care for life outside your own.
And, like it or not, your choices in furniture and decor will give an impression of your thinking, creativity, and lifestyle. Again, what do you want that impression to be?
Looking great on your virtual date night is no different than looking great on an in-person date night. It really comes down to your intention.
Beauty starts on the inside.
And the magic of the moment happens when you share it on the outside.
So smile, smile, smile! And let the magic begin.
Wishing you a happy, love-filled New Year!