A new dating trend, “Fauci-ing” — named after Dr. Anthony Fauci, the popular medical commentator and White House coronavirus advisor — has singles dumping partners and potential partners who refuse to take COVID-19 mitigation seriously.
The trend, identified by the dating website, Plenty of Fish, has been “making waves” on the internet, the New York Post reports, is expected to be a primary issue for singles in 2021.
In an interview with Fauci himself, “AXIOS on HBO” defined the practice as “cutting off a relationship if you don’t think that that other person is serious enough about social distancing and taking the pandemic seriously” (Fauci said he’d never heard of the trend because he’s been married since 1985).
“The term, and its definition, were coined by dating app Plenty of Fish, which included Fauci-ing in its annual list of the top dating trends to expect in the new year,” the Post notes. “The list, released in November, also warned singles to watch out for ‘maskerading,’ where a potential partner only pretends to care about wearing masks and COVID-19 for the sole purpose of dating you, and ‘apocalypsing,’ where you treat every relationship like it’s your last and get too serious too quick.”
The trend emerged, apparently, as part of the new pandemic dating landscape, which has seen an explosion of online relationship aids — big business for online dating apps. Although most health agencies recommend calling a halt to canoodling, unless it’s with a committed partner, Fortune reports that relationship software, online dating programs, and matchmaking services are seeing a major boom as people struggle with the single life in quarantine.
“In March 2020, Tinder recorded its highest number of swipes on a single day: 3 billion. From March to May 2020, OkCupid saw a 700% increase in dates. And over on Bumble, video calls increased by 70%. Seems that even a pandemic can’t stop the search for love,” Fortune reported last year.
“A recent study showed Match Group, which controls more than 60% of the dating app market and owns popular apps like Tinder, Hinge, Match OK Cupid, and Plenty of Fish, saw a 15% jump in new subscribers in its second-quarter” of 2020, according to NBC News.
Dr. Fauci himself has suggested that people continue to date, despite coronavirus lockdowns and regulations.
“It would be really frustrating to essentially semi-isolate yourself at a time when you’re trying to explore social interactions with people,” Fauci said in an interview, per the Post. “That leads to a considerable amount of stress and maybe even depression on the part of some people.”
But while the options have expanded, pandemic dating is still difficult, the Post notes, particularly if potential partners don’t see eye-to-eye on the seriousness of the coronavirus threat.
Health agencies have tried to provide guidelines to individuals who insist on going out and hooking up amid the COVID-19 threat, often with uncomfortable results. New York City’s health department suggested, for example, that partners have sex only in well-ventilated spaces and pack extra hand sanitizer.