The dos and don’ts of meeting a first date in 2021 with award-winning author and sex educator Gigi Engle

By Alma Fabiani

Published Mar 18, 2021 at 02:55 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes

So you’re done chatting with your new crush through texts and video calls on Hily—you’re ready to meet them, there’s just one catch: we’re in the middle of a pandemic, in case you somehow forgot about it. How do you greet them? Where do you go on your first real date? Should you ask them for a negative PCR test beforehand or is that a bit over the top?

These are all justified questions, ones that need answers. In order to help you, Hily and Screen Shot asked certified clinical sexologist, writer for Cosmopolitan, Refinery29, Glamour, Teen Vogue, and author of All The F*cking Mistakes: a Guide to Sex, Love and Life Gigi Engle to share with you her top dos and don’ts of meeting a first date in 2021. It’s time to get back on the horse! 

Speaking about what dating in the new norm means exactly, Engle shared her thoughts: “It means taking your body safety into account when making plans for a date. Asking for proof of vaccination (once we can all have them) will become as common as asking for an STI test.”

Of course, the pandemic has affected people immensely, but Engle recommends focusing on the positives, “People are going on a lot of virtual dates, which gives them more opportunities to vet someone and decide if they have chemistry. Because the stakes are so much higher than they were previously, we need to be even more prepared. Getting ready for a date is a commitment so knowing for sure if it’s something worth washing your hair for is great!”

But before we get into the nitty-gritty of meeting your date in real life, let’s look at some of the steps Engle advises you to go through when meeting someone on a video call. First, “make sure your lighting looks good. No one looks sexy in fluorescent light.” Sounds obvious, but there’s a reason Kim Kardashian once said “Lighting is everything.”

Once you’ve picked a nice corner of your flat with (hopefully) some natural light coming in, it’s time to consider your outfit options. “Wear something that makes you feel sexy—not lingerie per se, but it’s nice to dress up a little and look cute for a date, virtual or not.”

Now, here comes the actual important question: what are the dos and don’ts of meeting a first date in real life in 2021? Here’s what Engle recommends:


“Meet in a public place—safety is important. Tell your friends where you’re going and drop a pin,” says Engle, and for good reasons. When it comes to other dating apps, the possibility that your first date might not be who they say they are is always one to consider.

However, Hily’s own AI is built to remedy this problem all while optimising your search for the perfect partner. With its ID verification system, the dating app ensures safety for its users, meaning you don’t have to worry about catfishes leading you on.

“Stay socially distanced. I always suggest going for a walk. It’s a good way to avoid awkward silences and get to know someone,” adds Engle to her list of dos.

“Ask for a PCR test if you want to meet in person. Ask if they are in contact with vulnerable people because that will influence your ability to make physical contact. Sit outside of a bar, if possible. If you’re going to eat together, don’t sit inside a crowded restaurant where you can risk exposure.”


“Hug or kiss someone who has not been self-isolating or is vulnerable to getting COVID. Don’t go to their apartment without finding out who they live with, their isolation methods, and whether they have recently taken a PCR test.”

Once you’ve gone through all the precautionary measures you feel like you need to go through, remember one last thing: have fun! You’re meeting someone new who you’ve probably been chatting with for a while now, and who knows, things could end up going really smoothly between the two of you—or you could soon be having some mindblowing sex!

And if this specific first date doesn’t end up being what you had hoped for, on to the next one. Look at it from Engle’s point of view, “As far as dating goes, virtual dating is less of a time commitment. You can set up 3 or 4 dates in one day. That’ll kill the time.” What about the mindblowing sex, you ask? “Masturbate,” shared Engle. “Get sex toys and build your sex life with yourself. You do not need another person to have a flourishing sex life.”

Gigi Engle is a certified clinical sexologist and author of ‘All The F*cking Mistakes: a Guide to Sex, Love and Life’.

Keep On Reading

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Lana Del Rey’s now working where…? Watch the viral video of musician’s bizarre new job

By Charlie Sawyer

Hair today, bare tomorrow: Nudist barbershops are trending in Brazil

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Plane forced to turn back after horse breaks lose on board

By Robyn Quick

Bottoms: How queer cinema has gone from tragedy porn to teehee jokes

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

High-profile BBC presenter suspended over allegations of paying teen for explicit pictures

By Mason Berlinka

Italian man accused of groping teenager acquitted for crime because it didn’t last 10 full seconds

By Charlie Sawyer

Did the US government just confirm that aliens exist?

By Jennifer Raymont

Zendaya’s Challengers is making tenniscore the trend of the summer, get us to Wimbledon now

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Gen Z on TikTok are quitting vaping in solidarity with Congo

By Charlie Sawyer

Deepfake video of Bella Hadid stating her support for Israel goes viral

By Alma Fabiani

Got painful periods? This virtual clinic for period pain is here to help

By Charlie Sawyer

M&S pulls Christmas advert post of burning hats after being called out by pro-Palestine supporters

By Abby Amoakuh

Kim Kardashian shows up with cameras for jury duty in gang murder case

By Abby Amoakuh

Watch this video of pro-Palestinian protesters raiding an airport in search of Israelis

By Alma Fabiani

The Summer I Turned Pretty season 2 finale: Is a bonus episode or part 2 on the way?

By Bianca Borissova

Explaining the absurdity of gatekeeping in TikTok’s viral Slavic Girl trend

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Daredevil skyscraper climber Remi Lucidi dies in 712 ft plunge in Hong Kong

By Jennifer Raymont

Second hand and sexy: Here’s how gen Z are going to transform the fashion at Glastonbury 2023

By Abby Amoakuh

Your friends can now help you choose your next boo on Tinder through the new Matchmaker feature

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

French riots following fatal police shooting of Nahel Merzouk tear both his family and country apart