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Miami … Merged: ‘It’s hard for me to open up my heart’

Tommy and Gina shared crab rangoons and talked about their passions.
Tommy and Gina shared crab rangoons and talked about their passions.


The dating culture at Miami hasn’t been kind to Gina. She decided to sign up for “Miami … Merged” because she hadn’t dated anyone before and wanted to take a chance.

“[I thought,] let me take this opportunity that’s given because sometimes it's hard to find a single guy that aligns with your interests and your passions,” the sophomore finance and accounting major said.

When Gina signed up for the project, she was excited but also on the fence about it, even though she had done something similar with another organization she’s involved in, Cru. She explained that they hosted a matchmaking event for members who wanted to go on double dates.

Unlike Gina, junior computer engineering major Tommy had not done something like this before. He saw the “Miami … Merged” application on Snapchat and was interested in trying something new after recently ending a long-term relationship.

“I'm a person that's open to a lot of things,” Tommy said. “I have a mindset of just like, try new things all the time, and I either like it or don't like it. I'll never know until I try.”

When asked about their ideal types, Gina said she wants someone funny and Christian who doesn't talk about himself the whole time.

Tommy said he’s very self-sufficient and independent, so having a girl reflect that drive and motivation is important to him. He said he enjoys working out, cooking and taking care of himself.

“I definitely want someone that has a goal or purpose other than the relationship,” Tommy said.

The date

Tommy and Gina went on their first date at MImian, a Chinese restaurant Uptown. The couple met outside the restaurant and then went inside for their date.

After he held the door open for her, Gina noticed Tommy’s chivalry and manners.

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“He was really polite, really friendly, really approachable ... Going into it I didn’t know if it was going to be awkward or not, but he was very conversational,” Gina said.

Gina also mentioned that Tommy ordered for the couple, pulled out her chair for her and got a box for her food at the end of the date.

For about two hours, they talked about a variety of subjects, including their family and siblings, their Christian faith and their life goals. Gina ordered shrimp chow mein, Tommy ordered a chicken and rice dish, and they shared an order of crab rangoons.

Tommy also had a good impression of Gina.

“[She is] very pretty, truly kind. She knows what she wants. She's driven. She's passionate about the things that she talks about,” Tommy said. “She's family oriented, which is huge for me.”

Gina was glad that she decided to participate in “Miami… Merged.”

“It definitely allowed me to open up more and get out of my shell,” she said. “I haven’t been on a date in a while, but it was good to get back out there and get vulnerable again … It’s hard for me to open up my heart.”

Similarly, Tommy got more out of the project than he was expecting.

“I came in with an open mind, and I left pretty happy with how everything ended. I’m good. It was a fun experience,” he said.

Participants rate the date:

Gina: 7/10

Tommy: 8.5/10

Gina and Tommy planned to go on a second date, though it had not occurred by the end of the project.