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The Curious Tale of Love in Lockdown

Jen Lewandowski with Tom Gidley. Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian

I am sure all of us have daydreamed about the “what if” we agreed to go into lockdown with the last person we went out on a date with, or that new person we are chatting and Zooming with now that we’ve been in quarantine for what is nearing four months.

The Guardian interviewed a number of couples who did just that. A few didn’t work out, but there’s a charming tale of a middle aged couple that decided to shack up after a handful of dates (so it was kind of an endless date) and are emerging from British quarantine with plans to marry. It’s kind of a Hallmark love story with sex.

After four dates, Tom Gidley, 51, said to Jen Lewandowski, 41, ‘Look, why don’t you just come down here? Everything’s getting a bit strange.” She agreed, and Gidley picked her up on his motorcycle. Since that moment, their relationship has barely slowed down. They have spent the entire lockdown together and said, “I love you” to each other within days of moving in.

They say they are horribly in love. “Isn’t it wild?” Lewandowski asks. “It is quite whirlwind, but it feels right, and we’re going with it.” She added. “I’ve never felt so close to anyone this quickly.”

Lewandowski compares the heady excitement of her lockdown romance to the shotgun weddings of WWII. “There’s something old-fashioned about it,” she said. “We haven’t met any of each other’s friends or families. It reminds me of those old movies where the soldier coming back from the war hops off a train with his new bride.”

And like in an old movie, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the Kent Downs a few weeks ago, Gidley asked Lewandowski to marry him. “I said yes,” Lewandowski said, “and we had a lovely kiss. Just as we did, the wind picked up! It went: whoosh. It was very romantic.” Lewandowski laughed. “It’s a good job we’re in lockdown because if people could see us, they would puke!”

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