Recently, a Singaporean couple who just returned from China got married in a rather distinctive style. For starters, the bride and groom were missing from the ceremony, only to make their toasts and speeches entirely over a video call, much to the amusement of their guests seated in the wedding hall.
With the Coronavirus scare gripping the world over and health experts recommending people reduce unnecessary physical contact with others (heck! Even the French have recommended no cheek kissing!) there certainly seems to be a change in the language of love like never before. The virus is known to travel in human saliva, which should make kissing on the lips off limits. And why wouldn’t it? Physical touch is a crucial aspect of romancing and love. So what is love going to be like with the virus playing truant?
Closer home, renowned comedienne Neeti Palta, who believes that eye contact is crucial in love, believes Corona maybe a blessing in disguise. “Corona virus is here to do away with frivolous relationships and make way for true love. Firstly, with everyone wearing masks people are rediscovering the concept of looking into another’s eyes,” says Neeti. “They are no longer falling in love with ‘just a pretty face’. Secondly, with rules such as no cuddling, kissing or holding hands, this virus is preparing young couples for what lies in the future of all long term relationships. If they already start off on that foot then there will be no disappointments in the future. In fact, when they finally do kiss many years down the line, they can say, “aap pehle jaise nahin rahe”. This is bound to happen in any long-term relationship. Partners stop hugging, touching or kissing each other,” she quips with a chuckle.
Corona has nothing on true love
COVID-19 has not yet been completely successful in stopping couples around the world, armed with facemasks as they are, declaring their love in mass weddings across South Korea and the Philippines.
According to Mallika Reddy, the founder of sustainable fashion brand Cancelled, the human race, which has been through lot worse such as war and plague, will come out of this because in the end, love always wins. “Cuddling is only one expression of love. If people cannot cuddle, they’ll find another way to express love. Everything, including the economy, will be affected for a short while but things will fall back in place soon enough. We are resilient and have the strength to rise beyond it all. Love will not end due to a virus,” says Mallika.
Are partners reducing or stopping physical contact because of the virus situation? Relationship expert Dr Nisha Khanna feels that during this period, one can work at understanding the fears of one’s partner and how he/she handles panic or emergencies such as the Coronavirus scare. “Love is not only about passion, but also about caring, trust, understanding and respecting each other. Couples do not need to avoid dating, but yes they can definitely reduce their physical contact and try to connect more on intellectual and emotional levels,” reasons Dr Nisha. “We can even take this time to spend more time on compatibility aspects and can make a checklist of what we expect from our partner in the long run, even as you try to learn each other’s fears etc.”
The viral fear
The virus will inevitably spread though we don’t know how common or how serious it will be. No matter what, awareness and not giving in to panic might be the mantra to address the disease, which WHO recently designated as a pandemic.
“Corona is a huge problem, no doubt about it, but the fear and furore surrounding it is much worse. Bandaid and blanket advices such as ‘avoid handshakes or kissing’ can do more harm than good. I would say, practise safety in a manner that’s most scientific and comforting to you, and personalise the solution to yourself. The fear of the disease is deadlier than the disease itself,” advises medical practitioner Dr Sofiya Sujad.
On a lighter note, given how corona compels people to swap kisses with elbow bumps and dinner dates with phone dates, Dr Nisha believes Coronavirus can also prove to be a double-edged sword for long-term relationships. “If a relationship, such as extramarital affair, is based on physical touch there are a lot of chances for it to fizzle out owing to lack of contact,” adds Dr Nisha as she signs out.