The dos and don’ts of meeting a first date in 2021 with award-winning author and sex educator Gigi Engle – Screen Shot
Deep Dives Level Up Newsletters Saved Articles Challenges

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

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’.

5 reasons video call dates are as fun as in-person ones, according to Sheerah Ravindren

It’s 2021, you’ve been chatting with your latest crush on Hily for a few days now, and they finally asked you on a video call date. You’re slightly freaked out—you’ve never been on a virtual date before and aren’t sure what’s expected of you. Don’t worry, the fabulous Sheerah Ravindren has got you covered. In addition to our brand new digital guide to dating in 2021, we asked Ravindren to share her top 5 reasons why video call dates can be just as fun as real-life ones as well as her go-to tips when it comes to getting ready for one. Bonus? You don’t even have to wear trousers if you don’t feel like it!

Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Une publication partagée par Screen Shot media (@screenshothq)

Throughout the past year, our tracksuits, comfy t-shirts and slippers have seen more use than we could ever have imagined. Yes, embracing comfort was fun at first, but as time passed, we all felt the need to get dressed up every once in a while—all we wanted was an actual reason, and if you’re wondering about how to approach your first video call date, then you’ve got a good reason right here.

This brings us to the first crucial step prior to your oh-so-awaited video call with your cute match on Hily: your outfit. If fashion is not your thing in the first place, then look at it from the bright side; meeting someone on a video call will mean that less focus will be placed on what you’re wearing. Don’t let that fool you however, as not being able to interact with someone face to face will also mean that more attention will be drawn to small details such as where you choose to answer the call from and whether you made sure to clean up the room. In other words, make tiny efforts, have a shower beforehand, get out of your favourite hoodie (but don’t throw it on the floor of your bedroom).

Speaking about her first date outfits, Ravindren told Screen Shot, “Currently deciding what I’m gonna do with my hair and my makeup, but before I go into that, what am I going to wear, right? I always happen to pick all the granny vintage shirts, so I guess it’s a granny vintage shirts vibe today—kind of smart casual.” If granny chic is not your style, just go for something cute that you think is a little bit more ‘out there’ than your usual WFH fit. Whatever makes you confident yet still comfortable should be the right choice—if you’re into it, then that’s all that matters! “It is about being comfortable, right?”

In terms of makeup decisions, Ravindren recommends going for a simple look, “When it comes to makeup, I actually like to keep it very simple. I often don’t wear that much makeup or any makeup at all. I like a dewy, natural, very fresh look. I use a serum as the base, and I don’t wear foundation—I just apply makeup on my moisturised face. I add some eye gel, quite a lot of blush and highlighter on, because it blends in afterwards.”


Voir cette publication sur Instagram


Une publication partagée par Sheerah Ravindren•She/They/GOD (@sheerahr)

As she shares herself, Ravindren is no makeup expert, so feel free to do whatever works for you. It’s all about feeling comfortable, remember? Now, what about the real question here: why should you spend some of your precious time getting ready for a video call date? What are the pros of digital dating, according to Ravindren?

“First of all, you’re lucky enough to be in the comfort of your own environment and you’re the one who gets to set the scene in order to make you feel comfortable from the get-go”. While some people are comfortable anywhere, many daters might realise that being able to first meet someone in an environment that is familiar and safe is life-changing.

“Also, it’s cheaper! You don’t have to worry about travel costs,” and we couldn’t agree more. No money? No problem! You don’t have to stress about how expensive the cocktails are in that trendy bar you’ve selected or wonder if both of you are going to split the bill, all you need is your lovely self.

“Video call dates are also so great because they help to further confirm whether you both are going to be a great pairing (be that romantically or even platonically). If the spark isn’t there, then it’s not going to be as awkward if it were in real-life.”

And last but not least, “You don’t have to worry about wearing trousers! It’s only the top half of your body that shows but be careful if you’re getting up—you might end up putting up a show you didn’t plan to reveal so soon!”

Video dates, along with the extra spice they add in 2021’s dating experience, might actually outlive social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic, so why not get involved in the new dating norm now while you have all the hot tips you need from Ravindren? Hily is literally a click away.

Video call dates are a safe, non-stressful vibe check that helps you assess whether there’s any chemistry between you and your potential interest. They’re here to help you decide exactly who you connect with to take on a real-life date; an added ‘test’ that we probably all wish existed sooner.