Love In The Time Of Corona

Why can’t I find a man like Dale McLaughlan?

Love has always been a fickle thing. But love in a time of swipe-for-someone-better, ghost-me-if-you-don’t-like-me, deliveroo-style dating is especially feeble. Dating apps play with our little monkey brains, reminding us that there’s always someone newer, better, fresher around the corner. It’s no wonder that so many of us are commitment-phobes.

I have always been a bit of a hopeless romantic, though my faith in Disney movie-style love has perhaps waned in recent times. While I can’t condone actions that put our island in danger, my faith in love and romance has been renewed by the actions of recently banged-up Dale McLaughlan.

The love story of Dale and his girlfriend is one for the ages. They met at 1886 in September, proving Rihanna was right when she said love can be found in a hopeless place. Dale was a key-worker from Scotland, meaning that once his key-work had been completed, he was sent back to Scotland. For most men, the romp on island would remain simply that, but Dale, our heroic romantic, kept up the relationship. He applied for two exception certificates to see his love, but was rejected for both.

Many men wouldn’t have got that far. Many men, on being told they could not legally see their girlfriend, would end up sending a text “babe, it’s not you, it’s the border policy”. But Dale decided that laws, borders and Covid be damned, he’d get to see his girl.

Dale saved up and bought a jet ski, and then set off on his Odyssey. He towed the jet ski 70 miles from his home to the Isle of Whithorn. From there, he set off into the perilous sea for four and a half hours in bad weather- having expected the journey to have only taken 40 minutes. He then walked from Ramsey to Douglas, which is absolutely incredible, considering the fact that I swipe left on anyone outside of the metropolis (I will consider people from Onchan if they are exceptionally fit). 

Dale is the modern Odysseus, taking on a dangerous journey to see the one he loved.  While Odysseus might have slaughtered a bunch of suitors on returning to his bird, Dale did something equally dangerous (and potentially violent): went on a night out in Douglas. Now- this was particularly dangerous: bumping and grinding with the Manx public could have easily resulted in a public health crisis (in both normal times, but particularly in Covid times), but it’s impressive that he was raring to go on a night-out a day after his big adventure. With stamina like that, his girlfriend truly is a lucky girl. 

Dale risked his life, jail, and the health of a whole nation for his bird. It was, undoubtedly, stupid and reckless and – this must be stressed- should never be repeated, but the great romantic acts often are bloody dumb. Remember Romeo and Juliet, lads? Love is not always sensible.  

Dale has now been banged up. His defence advocate argued that Dale must have been mental to have behaved in that way. The Deputy High Bailiff rejected this, arguing that the defendant had no defined mental health condition other than severe depression resulting from being separated from his girlfriend. I certainly don’t want to trivilase depression, but if you’re going to have it, is there any sweeter reason than missing your girlfriend? I find it quite astonishing that it could be a cause, when, truthfully, the men I’ve been with have been depressed because they’ve been around me.

The case of Dale and the jet-ski is an unusual one, and there’s a lot of questions that still remain unanswered. However, my main ones are to his girlfriend: can you give me some tips on how to get a man that’d cross a sea for me?