In a world of romance novels, reality TV shows and love songs, expectations about college romance are high – only to be met with the dissonance of piles of homework, hook-up culture and Brick Street.
“Miami … Merged” was created out of this imbalance as a chance for Miami University students to meet new people and experience what Oxford has to offer, without the stress of asking someone out or the confusion of dating apps.
Two couples were matched up out of a pool of applicants based on simple questions such as majors, hobbies and interests, to more complex like ideal types, if they like to talk during movies and who is willing to kill bugs. Read about the other date here.
When Lauren’s friend showed her the application for “Miami … Merged,” she knew she had to sign up.
“This kind of thing happens in movies and stuff, but it's always one of those things where I want that to happen where I am,” Lauren, a sophomore psychology and Spanish double major, said.
In her application for the project, Lauren shared that she has 14 tattoos, loves the show “Criminal Minds” and is a fan of the singer Hozier.
Despite her rom-com comparison, she was relaxed about the prospect of going on a blind date with a stranger.
Junior political science major Nazar didn’t have high expectations for romance going into “Miami … Merged,” but he was hopeful about having a positive new experience nonetheless.
“I've always had a love of meeting new people and hearing their stories,” he said.
Nazar had some experience meeting new people through recruitment for his fraternity but was nervous about having someone else judging his story rather than the other way around.
In terms of a potential match, Nazar was looking for someone who was responsible but knew how to relax. Other than that, he was open to anything. The biggest red flag that he wanted to avoid in a partner was simple:
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“When they don’t use the Oxford comma.”
On April 13, Lauren and Nazar went on a classic Oxford first date — the Uptown restaurant Phan Shin. Lauren got there first and waited anxiously for her date to arrive.
As he crossed the street and entered her view, it turned out that they had already met. Nazar said he had seen Lauren around at events for their respective fraternity and sorority, but they hadn’t had a chance to talk before.
After dinner, they got ice cream from Graeter’s (lactose-free cookies and cream for Lauren, black raspberry chocolate chip for Nazar) and chose to walk around Uptown Park and talk. The date lasted about two and a half hours.
“It went pretty well I think,” Nazar said a few days later. “Lauren is super cool, and I would like to hang out again, but we’ll see how that goes.”
But Lauren didn’t reciprocate that attitude.
“He's a really good conversationalist, which sometimes I struggle with,” Lauren said. “But we will not be going on a second date.”
Lauren mentioned that they talked about politics for a considerable portion of the date, which was off-putting to her.
As the date ended, he offered to walk her home. She declined, saying it would be out of his way.
They did exchange Snapchat usernames at the end of the date.
“She left me on delivered,” Nazar said.
It seemed that love wasn’t in the air at Uptown Park that Thursday, but both participants were still glad to have taken a risk on something new.
“Two and a half hours is a lot of time, and it did not feel like it was that long,” Lauren said lightly.
She said that it was a pleasant experience overall.
“I didn't have the best time I’ve ever had, but I'll say definitely not the worst,” Lauren said.
Even though a two-and-a-half-hour dinner, ice cream and walk around Uptown Park could be the start of a love story for some, Lauren and Nazar had different perceptions of how their date went that ultimately kept them from finding a connection.
Participants rate the date: