Game over: How COVID ruined this skirt-chasing NYC playboy’s good times

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It’s game over for NYC players.

“Pre-COVID, I had a different date every Thursday night,” said Jack Lemmens, a 25-year-old entrepreneur who lives in Mahopac, NY. “I took girls to Italian joints, seafood restaurants. There were a lot of tacos and tequila, too. I kept it casual, and I had my routine down pat.” 

Now, things are getting more serious, faster. Since the governor and mayor put the kibosh on partying, Lemmens is learning to take things slow. “I would call myself a reformed playboy,” he said. “I’m out here trying to have a connection with somebody and find that special person.”

There’s nothing like a pandemic to make suitors out of skirt-chasers. Data shows that in the last year, there’s been less swiping and more settling down among singles. According to a survey of over 5,700 users of the dating app Hinge, half said they’ve stopped pursuing people who aren’t interested in them, and more than two-thirds said they’re “thinking more about who they’re really looking for.” With video dates as the meet-up du jour and fewer opportunities for an impromptu pickup, the practice of “ghosting” dipped 27% in August compared to the year prior, according to data provided by the company. 

‘I would call myself a reformed playboy.’

Jack Lemmens

“I’m getting inquiries from people who wanted to be single forever and now are fearful of being alone forever,” Long Island-based matchmaker Maureen Tara Nelson told The Post.

One of her clients, a DJ named Phil Vollaro, said COVID-19 threw a wrench in his business — and his love life. “I’d meet women performing all over New York and Long Island,” said the entertainer, 45, who would frequent clubs for business and pleasure. “I’d go on date after date, but now I’m kicking myself for not settling down earlier.”

Others in the love biz are noticing that younger guys who might’ve taken more time to sow their wild oats are looking to lock down the one.

“There are a lot of men who were comfortable dating and enjoying the women and distractions in New York City,” said Greta Tufvesson of matchmaking duo the Bevy. The bulk of her clients used to be older men moving onto their second marriages. But now, a typical client is likely to be a guy in his early to mid-30s looking to leave behind the Lothario lifestyle.

“There’s a pandemic and sex isn’t as accessible because people are afraid of the virus,” said the dating guru, who adds that men are learning to “read between the lines more” when it comes to relationships. She says men are learning to stick around, instead of seeking out the “next best thing.”

Devin Shallop, 30, a real-estate broker and photographer who lives in Hell’s Kitchen admitted to indulging in the endless deluge of dates at party spots such as Le Bain — “I’m guilty of it myself. No one wants to settle in New York City” — but wishes he had met someone with whom he could face the long, cold winter nights. “My single friends and I are like, ‘Are we going to end up marrying each other?’ ” 

Tufvesson, whose high-end services start at $25,000, which includes 18 months of setups, is sending out reformed ladykillers on more low-key dates than they might be used to. “They’re sitting on a park bench getting coffee, or going on a walk along the West Side.” In some instances, they’re even getting to know each other over the phone — a practice “that wouldn’t have happened before,” she said. 

Back in the old days, club promoters would hook up bankers and tech bros with hard-to-get tables to entertain friends and potential flings.

“We went from 21 parties per week to zero,” said a popular promoter who oversaw bottle service and guest lists at scene-y venues like Lavo in Midtown and the now-shuttered Vandal in Nolita. “A lot of guys have gotten a different perspective since the parties are over. They’re working from home and settling down with a girlfriend.”

‘Quarantine has taught me it’s OK to get deep and vulnerable with women.’

Jack Lemmens

Lemmens, who used to party out in Montauk and at downtown Manhattan bars such as Common Ground and Grey Lady, said that these days, he’s more likely to get to know his date before jumping into bed with her.

“There was one girl who I went on a date with. We talked about Greek mythology, and life. There was no sex involved whatsoever,” said Lemmens.

“Quarantine has taught me it’s OK to get deep and vulnerable with women.”

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