How the Vaccine Line Became the Latest Place to Hook Up
At injection sites across the country from New York City to Wake Forest, North Carolina, to Madison, Wisconsin, people are crushing on their fellow vaccine-receivers—hard.
Last week Christine White, a 25-year-old motion designer who lives in Brooklyn, tried her luck with the walk-in vaccine line at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center.
When the coronavirus ravaged the city last year, the hospital was an early epicenter of the pandemic. (One of its veteran nurses, Amy O’Sullivan, was picked as one of Time’s persons of year for 2020). But as access to the shot grows, Wyckoff Heights bustles with a brighter kind of energy.
It was around 6:30 in the morning. While White waited her turn, she noticed a man who she calls “Cute Beanie Boy” queued up behind her. He had dark curly hair and glasses—a “little nerdy,” White says.
Once they both got their shots, White and Cute Beanie Boy sat down next to each other for their 15-minute waiting periods. “We chatted about being nervous about the Johnson & Johnson side effects,” White told The Daily Beast. “He mentioned that he had to work in a few hours, so I asked what he did. He mentioned he had a 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. video shoot. We were both just cracking jokes together. It was refreshing to meet someone I found fun and attractive after so long in my little social bubble.”
And there was something about the vaccine waiting line, no matter how sterile or clinical, that screamed romance. “For so long I’ve stood in lines waiting to get COVID tests, and in this case it felt like the first sign of freedom or hope that we’ve had in over a year,” White explained. “The bonding nature of the experience was so easy.”
It was the perfect meet cute: as they walked out of the hospital together, Cute Beanie Boy got stuck in a revolving door. All very charming, Nora Ephron-esque stuff. Once they finally got out on the street, he threw his hands up and said: “We did it!”
But when it came time to suggest exchanging numbers, White says she “chickened out.” She acknowledges that the past year has made her feel more shy. One year of social distancing and no bars or parties will do that to you.
Still, White says, “I was just so happy to flirt and chat. The sense of relief made me giddy and excited about meeting people again, and not just through apps.”
White posted a Missed Connection on Craigslist appealing to the “cute boy in the Wyckoff vaccine line Friday,” but has so far received no response.
She will be on the lookout in her neighborhood: “He seemed so fun and quirky, and I’d like to actually get to know him. Also it’s nice that he’s geographically convenient to my apartment.”
She’s not alone. At injection sites across the country from Wake Forest, North Carolina, to Madison, Wisconsin, people are crushing on their fellow vaxxers—hard.
“We waited in line beside each other for covid vaccine Tuesday,” reads one Craiglist Missed Connections post from Charlotte, North Carolina. “Dude you are so handsome! I admit my mouth was watering as I stood behind you in line. Then once we checked in I got back in line in front of you so I could turn around and see the front. I bet you are so hot naked… I wanted to talk to you but just got too nervous to say anything. Doubt you’ll see this but I would absolutely do whatever to hang out with you.”
Another one, from the Rockaway Mall Vaccination Center in New Jersey: “I noticed you… of course, everyone was wearing masks, couldn’t see your face—you could be in your 20’s or 30’s—and I could NOT take my eyes off of you!! Every time I walked [or] passed you—I wanted to say hi, this your first vaccine, etc..?? However, NOBODY was really speaking with one other...”
Last month, the New York Post reported that “Singles are asking people on dates in the COVID vaccine line.” The story cited a few tweets from different writers and online personalities who “treated their vaccination dates as a schmoozing opportunity with other almost-inoculated folks.” Some shared that they’d been checked out by vaccine staff or volunteers.
One listener called into an Albany-based country radio station dating advice segment to ask, “Is it weird that the vaccination line is where I got a date?”
The woman, named Tori, met a man while waiting for her shot at the capitol’s Times Union Center. The radio show’s host—aka the“Love Cowboy”—gave Tori the go-ahead: “He could be your COVID cutie and you could be his vaccine vixen.”
A spokesperson for New York City’s Department of Health wrote in an email, “Everyone deserves a shot at love and the good news is that our guidance recommends that fully vaccinated people can get together without masks. We know that vaccines will help bring people together and we’re glad our sites do too.”
The spox added that they’ve heard about one budding couple that decided to spend their first date getting the vaccine together.
According to NPR, 76.6 million people—23.1 percent of the total U.S. population—have fully completed their doses. Kaiser Health News reported this week that more women have received the vaccine then men. There is no data, however, on how many of them are single.
Helen Fisher, PhD, is a senior research fellow at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute. As she put it to The Daily Beast, “I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people fell in love in that line.”
Blame it on the brain’s dopamine system, which is responsible for delivering the hormone responsible for feelings of both happiness and romantic love. “If you’re feeling excitement, focus, motivation, energy, and interested in whoever’s in line, that’s because that surge of dopamine makes you more susceptible to romance,” Fisher added.
Plus, people in line getting a vaccine share an immediate commonality—they’re all taking the first step toward ending a brutalizing pandemic.
“We’ve all experienced the same thing, so psychologically you feel like you know something about this person already. You can get to much faster intimacy with them,” Fisher said.
Jacque, a 26-year-old artist who currently works as a “traveling robot dinosaur installer,” for a touring show got her shot at New York’s Javits Center. When Jacque sat down to get her shot, she noticed another person at the other side of the table.
“They had nice tats on their arm, a partial buzz cut, basically my gaydar was screaming,” Jacque said. “We locked eyes and immediately knew. There’s almost an unspoken language, with a nod of the head and an appreciative look in the eyes for being there getting the vaccine. But just as silently and as quickly as sparks flew, we both knew we were tops. Alas.”
Jess, a 34-year-old IT worker who uses they/them pronouns and asked The Daily Beast use a pseudonym, lives in Madison, Wisconsin. On a recent Thursday evening, they nabbed the last dose of the day from a center run by the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corp. (That’s the 6,300-person national reserve of medical professionals deployed to support the fight against the coronavirus.)
“Mr. USPHS Official caught my eye immediately because he was in uniform,” Jess said. “I have a thing for uniforms, and he was in a branch of the military I’d never heard of before. He was tall, jolly, fit, and seemed like a good listener.” They chatted while other workers filled out Jess’ paperwork.
“Mr. USPHS Official” said he’d come from San Diego to help out. Jess joked that it was fitting Wisconsinites were getting their jabs at the drive-up site, which in “normal times” hosts the cows that compete during the annual County Fair.
“Then he turned around and went, ‘Oh jeez, your vaccine is ready! Sorry, I’m just talking your ear off,’ which seemed so cute to me,” Jess said. “We’d only been talking for less than five minutes, but it was so much fun.”
Jess put up a Missed Connections post. Though “Mr. USPHS Official” hasn’t responded, two other men did—and Jess hopes to meet up with them “once our vaccines kick in.”
“I think I’ll always remember the guy who gave me my vaccine, just because it is a nice memory and he was also memorable, Jess added. “I’ll always wonder if he went back to San Diego or went on to another city to continue his important work. I wish him well, wherever he is.”