Virtual dating show gives singles chance to find love in quarantine
Among many other things, quarantine has made dating difficult to pull off. But thanks to social media and creativity, there’s now a virtual dating show helping singles find love.
The show is called “Sheltered in Love,” and the whole thing happens on Instagram.
It was started in late March by Long Island native Tyler Cohen and his coworker James Parenteau.
Here's how it works:
People apply to be on the show through the Sheltered in Love Instagram page.
Each week, Cohen and Parenteau pick a new 'bachelor' or 'bachelorette.' Five contestants then compete to go on a real life date with them. Then, Zoom dates are set up for the bachelor or bachelorette with all their contestants.
After those quick dates, the 'bachelor' or 'bachelorette' choose who they want to go on longer virtual dates with. They make it official with a “roll” ceremony - a ceremony with rolls of toilet paper instead of roses.
The final winner gets crowned "Quaran-king" or "Quaran-queen" by the bachelor or bachelorette.
It’s not just the contestants who are involved.
Parenteau said, "We let our top fans actually join the roll ceremony, and watch it live. We invite our top 30 people who are fans of the page, and comment the most."
The creators say the community they’ve built has been incredibly supportive.
Cohen said, "I just smile when I see like this community interacting with itself, that we put together. It's fun."
They say the final couples from all the seasons they’ve completed are still regularly in touch, and plan to date in person as soon as they can.
The casts for each season are geographically close to each other
Cohen said, "It's been remarkable to see not only the romantic relationships come out of this, but also the friendships."
For Parenteau and Cohen, it’s a testament to how successful virtual relationships can be.
"The two things I've realized are one, virtual dates aren’t that weird," Parenteau said. "Two, building connections during isolation is super important not just for fun, but I think for good mental health."
Their third “season” is airing on Instagram, and casting for their fourth “season” is underway.