NOTE: A Twitter acquaintance, Tammy, made a special request for a post-apocalyptic dating post. And since I try to accommodate people if and when I can, here’s a post-apocalyptic dating post! (Kids, take note: you get things when you ask nicely.)
Anyway. This particular post is a (slightly revised) combination of two posts that were originally posted on In Case of Survival last year. Enjoy!
Post-apocalypse dating: The species
In the post-apocalypse, relationship rules will change. For one thing, there will likely no longer be online dating sites, since there will likely no longer be an Internet. And then there are all those other considerations: Will you date someone from your band of survivors? Will you date someone from another band of survivors? Did your band of survivors trade you for a week’s supply of food and water? Did you trade yourself for that week’s supply because the other guys have more food, so you’ll be better off with them than with your current group? Will you be dating a human? Is that human alive or (un)dead?
As to who (or what) you could be dating or spending the rest of your life with, here are a few possibilities:
Vampires. They have a certain mystique to them, don’t they? Angsty and broody, they make the perfect “hero,” if you can ignore the fact that they’ll probably try to kill you in the middle of a date. While you’re deciding when to have dessert, they’ll be deciding when to have you for dessert. Unless your vampire is the vegetarian sort and/or sparkles in the sun, they may not be the best of possible mates, unless you like your relationships with a dash or excitement. The life or death kind.
Admittedly with less romantic appeal, zombies are nevertheless a good candidate for a post-apocalyptic “species.” There could be a few of these guys around, if not a few thousand. However, zombies are probably more likely to try to suck your brains out through your nose than they are to settle down into the post-apocalyptic version of happily ever after. Probably best to avoid, unless you can find one who follows the “vegetarian” kind of zombie-ism. Dates would probably be a little stunted anyway, what with a zombie’s reportedly limited vocabulary and one-track thinking. And, you know, the whole rotting flesh thing.
In the event of an alien invasion-induced apocalypse (hey, it could happen), there will definitely be a few aliens to choose from. But who knows if inter-species dating will be frowned upon? It works in Star Trek, though, so it might work here, if the invading alien race happens to be humanoid and fluent in English.
Since aliens would be ruling the planet and all its plebe humans, dating an alien could become a status symbol — or it could paint a target on your back and mark you as a traitor to your species. It’s hard to tell. An alien would undoubtedly have the resources and ability to provide for you and you’d likely live in relative luxury, with food to eat and a roof over your head. A relationship with an alien could give you a fulfilling, long-lasting relationship. Or it could give you a long-lasting case of Stockholm syndrome.
At the risk of sounding discriminatory, it would probably be easiest if you dated/married/etc a human, for all the obvious reasons (like not being eaten). Of course, it doesn’t guarantee that a human won’t want to kill you. After all, there are bound to be conflicts and rivalries between different survivor groups. At the same time, there is definite potential for a tragic love story, a la Romeo and Juliet. But I, for one, am not really into tragic — especially when it has to do with me — so maybe keep the pool of potential mates restricted to survivor groups that aren’t trying to kill your group.
Post-apocalypse dating: The whole sordid process
Generally, falling in love involves meeting people and, you know, dating. So, unless your post-apocalyptic society has decided that arranged marriages are the best thing for love since Cupid invented online dating sites, you’re going to have to enter the dating world.
Unfortunately, there’s a chance the Internet will no longer exist (or will no longer exist in its current form). Either way, those handy online dating sites will likely not be around to help you meet The One. Which means you’ll have to go old school: meeting people and dating in person.
Shocking, I know. Also possibly terrifying. And potentially awkward.
Remember, when meeting a potential mate/spouse/The One, first impressions matter. So make sure to dress nicely, act normally (or, at the very least, don’t act like a psycho, a zombie, or a psycho zombie), and go someplace nice. Well, for the first date, anyway.
Where to meet potential long-term partners
People have been using the Internet as a crutch lately. Through social media or online dating sites (which could be considered a form of social media), a lot of “meeting” and “getting to know you” activities happen online. Maybe because it’s easier to be rejected when you can’t see the person doing the rejecting.
But let’s assume for a moment that the Internet no longer exists, or doesn’t exist in the same way. In other words, you’ll be left meeting people in person.
Scary. Especially when you consider the fact that most people will be part of a survivor camp. If they aren’t, they’re probably trying to get to one. And if they’re not trying to do that, then they may not be the best choice for a long-term partner.
I’d say your best bet for dating possibilities is probably the members of your survivor group. Or, if you’re lucky and your group has allied with others, members of your ally survivor groups. Or, if you’re feeling really lucky, the nearby zombie encampment or alien mothership.
I guess it all depends on how your luck’s been going lately.
What to wear on that all-important first date
Unless your post-apocalyptic society exists a century or so after the apocalypse itself, chances are, there aren’t going to be many opportunities to wear fancy evening clothes. “Dressy” might mean you wear the shirt that has the least number of holes in it.
So, what will you wear to your first date? If you’re female, you could always dress like Resident Evil’s Alice. She tends to show a lot of skin, though, so if for whatever reason you think it’s better for the world if your midriff is neither bare nor on display, she’s probably not be the model to use.
But she’s got all that kickassitude, so I guess it depends on what look you’re trying to convey.
Alternatively, you could wear the best (by “best” I mean “least destroyed”) articles of clothing from your regular wardrobe. After all, there likely won’t be many (if any at all) reasons to get dressed up, so why not wear what you’ve already got? And where are you going to get those fancy designer outfits, anyway?
Personally, I’d go for practical but nice-looking. So, you know, pants and a top with the least number of rips and holes.
How to look your best so you don’t scare off your date
As I said, first impressions matter. They do today, and they still will after the world ends. It’s a good idea to put your best foot forward on that first date. So, you know, wash your hair and brush your teeth.
I really don’t have any specific tips for getting ready for your first date. My basic — and very general — tip is to remember your hygiene. Because hygiene will still be important post apocalypse. So, you know, don’t ignore it.
Safety tip: There’s no need to bathe in perfume, aftershave, or scented soaps/moisturizers. Even though you’re trying to put your best foot forward, remember there are still all sorts of post-apocalyptic baddies out there who won’t hesitate to kill you. And steal your date. Which would put a serious damper on the evening.
And don’t forget your hair. Remember to comb it. I’d imagine salons will be a thing of the past, so you’ll have to manage with what you can make. While there’s no need to get fancy for your date, your hair does have to be clean. And combed. If you don’t have a comb, use your fingers.
Finger-combing might become an important test. If you don’t want to run your fingers through your own hair, I can guarantee you your date won’t want to touch it with a radioactive pole. Which means your hair needs to be cleaner.
As I said earlier, hygiene will still be important post apocalypse. But again, there’s no need to use scented soaps.
Where to go for your first date
This could be trickier. Fancy restaurants and movie theaters probably won’t exist, so you’ll have to get creative. You know, think out of the box and all that.
I suppose you could go on a date during a recon mission or a supply raid. But then you’d run the risk of getting distracted from the mission at hand. And if you get distracted, you could get killed. So could the rest of your survivor group. This would most certainly not make you very popular among your fellow survivors.
I’d say a situation of this type might be better as a “how to meet” scenario.
What about a picnic on some stable ruins? (I say stable because you don’t want it to collapse while you’re on your date. And, you know, sitting on it at the time.) Possibly during sunset (if your post-apocalypse has sunsets). If you do this, you’ll have to be mindful of your daily food ration. You don’t want to take someone else’s food. This would not make you very popular among your fellow survivors.
How about a long walk around your survivor camp perimeter? Maybe on the outside of camp, but it’ll depend on what your post-apocalyptic environment is like. Remember, safety first.
This’ll hopefully give you a head start on your post-apocalyptic romantic possibilities. Now, go forth and date! Er, in the post-apocalypse.