Love in the Time of Corona: Part IV

“Let’s Fucking Date” Contestant Ben Maurey Tells All (Plus Quarantine Dating DO’s and DON’Ts!)

October 01, 2020

Photo: Ben Maurey

While we know it’s incredibly empowering (not to mention cost-effective and fun) to host your own dating show, what is it like to be a contestant on Serena Kerrigan’s Let’s Fucking Date (LFD)? Modern society is no stranger to dating on television, but those contestants are physically together on the show (well, for the most part). As Jonah Feingold said, “it’s all about the ‘cuddle chemical’” when dating. Sure, Zooming is cool, but it “lacks the true “X factor” of chemistry that meeting someone in real life is able to offer.” So, how authentic can you really be if you’re experiencing your first date with a stranger in front of a live audience, and how well can you really get to know your date? Naturally, I took to Instagram and DM’ed a few of LFD’s Season 1 contestants to find out (are you sensing a pattern here?). Here’s what I found out.

LFD Season 1 contestant, Ben Maurey, stood out to me because he publicly fell out of favor with Serena’s fans during his second date. 

When he first appeared on the show, Ben dazzled the LFD audience with his intelligence (a neuroscientist!) and approachable, boy-next-door vibe. However, when he returned to the show for a DIY-sushi date, the live-stream comments were less than complimentary and the date essentially tanked before it could really get underway. What happened? 

Well, for starters, Ben had little say in what their date was going to be. 

“You can’t cook and film, so finding an activity that allows you to cook, chat and still remain watchable for an audience was a real challenge. Every date idea I had, they said no to” Ben told me over FaceTime. “The sushi date was a horrible idea for the platform, but a great idea for in person. It was meant to keep us sitting still, but [Serena] kept moving around and the whole thing was a mess.” Aside from the poorly executed activity, the conversation between Ben and Serena was noticeably stiled when compared to their first date. When I asked Ben how the first date went, he said that the conversation flowed normally once it got going, but he had been quite nervous beforehand. 

Nevertheless, he asserted that he doesn’t think he got a good glimpse into Serena’s true self. 

“By nature, it’s a show that’s meant to entertain,” he said. “The questions were designed around that [on the first date].” Yet, on the second date, Ben found that the questions were geared more toward his personal life and dating history. “I tried to open up and be myself, but it was just a show — it was hard to be honest and not be met with the same level of vulnerability.” When I asked Ben whether or not he regretted the date, he shook his head. “Was it embarrassing? Yes, but I wouldn’t take back the experience. I’ve learned that this method of virtual dating didn’t get my personality across, but I also learned [by reading the comments] that people are so quick to polarize and operate from snap judgements formulated on little information — especially information that is cultivated for a ‘show’ environment.”

So, what will finding love in the time of Corona look like for Ben now? 

Ben chuckled a little when I asked him this question, stating matter of factly that the encounter has actually made other dates much easier for him. In his opinion, “I’m glad for the experience because there are some things I need to work on but I’m also glad there are certain things I don’t like [in a potential partner]. Because the date went as poorly as it did, I’ve started acting on red flags that I see in people. In other words, there are a lot of people that I go on first dates with, but not a lot of people that I go on third or fourth dates with.” 

Ben’s DO’s and DON’Ts for Quarantine Dating:

  1. DO try dates that are more exciting than dinner and drinks, but allow you to stay six feet apart and/or masked (e.g., kayaking, mini-golfing, cooking on your rooftop). If you think outside of the box then you’re guaranteed to have more genuine conversations.
  2. DO FaceTime your date beforehand. There’s no harm in testing out compatibility before meeting, especially if you don’t think you communicate yourself well over text. 
  3. DO ask your date questions about what they do and don’t like. Planning a good quarantine date is a team effort!
  4. DON’T be fake in your profile. Now is the time to be as authentic and transparent as possible. You two are waging a little risk in meeting, so why waste your time being someone you’re not? 
  5. DO push yourself out of your date comfort zone. Ben tried LFD and learned a lot — what new experiences can you try (while remaining COVID-safe)?