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 in-depth prompts like ideal types, if they like to talk during movies and who is willing to kill bugs. Read about the other date here.
Before April 14, Catherine, a senior music composition major, hadn’t gone on a date since her previous long-term relationship ended a year ago.
“I'm not super confident when it comes to socializing in general,” Catherine said. “I kind of just stick to the same people that I've known for a while, so I feel like it was good for me to be put into a situation where I had to spend time with someone who I didn't know at all.”
When Catherine applied to be a part of “Miami … Merged,” she wrote that she was looking for someone “really nice.” She considered an unwillingness to trust others to be a significant red flag.
Hannah, a junior sports communication major, saw the “Miami … Merged” form on Instagram. She said it seemed like a cool opportunity, but she didn’t think she would be selected.
When asked about her personal red flags, Hannah wrote, “I’m very stubborn, I also un-ironically like Nickelback.”
Hannah has had some dating experience and wasn’t too worried about the outcome of the date. Still, she expected some level of awkwardness. It didn’t bother her too much, though — she just wanted to have a laugh or two and try something new.
“[I thought that] we wouldn't necessarily hit it off, and it would be a good day but nothing more,” Hannah said.
When asked about her ideal type on the application for the project, she wasn’t picky.
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“I can pretty much convince myself that anyone is attractive if I like their personality,” Hannah said.
Catherine and Hannah met for the first time at You’re Fired, an Uptown pottery-painting studio.
When it came to first impressions, Hannah was surprised by Catherine’s bright yellow hair.
“I didn't know what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting her,” Hannah said. “I think I would have felt that way with anyone, though.”
The date started silently, with uncertainty hanging in the air. They shuffled around the empty studio trying to decide which pottery pieces to paint. When they sat down and started to talk, the conversation began to flow.
“The first thing that she picked out to paint was a dog,” Catherine said later. “And that really stood out to me … because I am a huge fan of animals.”
Catherine thought it was cute that she decided to paint polka dots on it too.
As the date progressed, the participants got more comfortable with each other. They discovered they’re both out-of-state students, are interested in animals and enjoy music — though they have different tastes. Hannah is a fan of Elton John; Catherine loves Paramore, Beyoncé and Jack White.
Catherine said she let Hannah take the reins on their activities because she was afraid of coming off as pushy. She worries that this might have made her seem uninterested.
As the date drew to a close, the awkward pauses took over, and the conversation started to die down. They parted ways without exchanging contact information and haven’t spoken since.
Catherine may not have gotten a relationship, but she said her confidence has started to build. She went on a date with someone else a few days later.
“I had a good time talking to Hannah,” Catherine said. “And you know, even though it didn't really seem like it was going anywhere beyond that date, it was a good experience.”
Hannah echoed those sentiments.
“I enjoyed it, even if it wasn’t the most date-like thing,” she said.
Even though they weren’t future Miami Mergers, it seems like Hannah and Catherine both got something out of their date — whether it was a new outlook on the Oxford dating scene or just some cool pottery.
Participants rate the date:
Editor’s Note: You’re Fired waived the studio fees for the participants.