New podcast on dating during COVID-19 includes queer experiences

Andrea Gunning

In this era of physical distancing, social and emotional connection is key. Many single people are still trying to navigate the world of remote dating, even if they can’t necessarily meet their date for a drink at a bar, or for a casual hook-up. Local production company Glass Entertainment Group (GEG) rolled out a new podcast called “Dating Diaries: Quarantine Confessions,” which consists of personal stories from young adults across the country who are trying to forge romantic connections from the comfort of their own homes. The podcast premiered on April 22, and new episodes come out on Wednesdays.

Andrea Gunning, GEG executive in charge of production, and Ben Fetterman, director of business and development, co-host the podcast and provide their own insight into the dating lives of each episode’s multiple guests. Founded by award-winning journalist and TV host Nancy Glass, GEG is responsible for producing TV series and podcasts for networks including CNN, Nat Geo Wild, A&E, The Food Network and others.  

Ben Fetterman

In episode 2, Gunning and Fetterman spoke with Josh R., a gay man who lives in South Jersey. 

“The foundation of this show is about connection, and it was important for us to explore how this was impacting every community –– period,” Gunning said. “[Josh] was one of the first people who was truly vulnerable with us. Not just from a relationship perspective but from a personal perspective.”

Josh has been using dating apps to meet new people during the pandemic, but it has come with some challenges, he told PGN. 

“I’m such a forward person and I say what I mean, [but] I’ve encountered the fact that a lot of people aren’t that way,” he said. “I’ve learned to pick up on nonverbal communication really well. The fact that I’m speaking to people virtually through these apps, and I’m not getting a chance to physically be with them, there’s a whole level of communication that’s missing. It’s kind of hard to push anything forward or question, ‘Do I really like this person?’ ‘Are we compatible?’”

Josh opened up to Gunning and Fetterman about how the loss of his job has been affecting his life, the hosts told PGN.  

“One thing we talked about in episode 2 as we’re meeting Josh is, we can really wrap our identities up in what we do every day,” Fetterman said. “When that gets lost, on top of everything that we’re dealing with, we can’t express our identities in other ways because we’re unnaturally trapped in our own homes; it can be really debilitating.”  

“Dating Diaries” arose from Gunning’s and Fetterman’s personal experiences with dating and relationships. Gunning is single and Fetterman is married. 

“I think for a lot of people, they don’t understand how difficult it can be meeting new people, especially when people are prioritizing their jobs and their friends and their family,” Gunning said. 

In the first episode of the podcast, “Ground Rules,” three guests talk about their dating and hookup experiences now that the general rules and pacing surrounding dating have changed. 

Despite the existence of hookup culture, Josh said that he’s found that most people with whom he has been communicating on dating apps have been abiding by physical distancing measures.   

“They’re saying, ‘We can talk, but let’s resume this after quarantine has ended,’ which I think is a great way to whittle people away,” Josh opined. “If it’s real, they will wait, and you’ll have that built-up anticipation.” 

Josh also provided some advice for other young people who may be trying to date right now, when dating and getting to know new people manifests very differently right now. 

“Know yourself. If you don’t know what you want out of a relationship, start talking to people and gain experience,” he said. “I think this is a good time to do that because it’s very low risk. Learn things about [people] and flirt with them and try different approaches with different people.”

Going forward, Gunning and Fetterman are still looking for new stories and would like to see more user engagement and may add a segment of audience questions in the future. 

“We want to promote this idea of — how do you show up best for yourself and show up well for another human being,” Gunning said. “Even if you just meet them for one night, even if it’s over Facetime?”

If you want to be featured on the podcast, email [email protected]. Listen to “Dating Diaries” via Apple Podcasts and other online podcast platforms:

Ask questions, get answers about COVID-19

Newsletter Sign-up