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.
Three 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 dates here and here.
The three dates took place between Gina and Tommy, Katie and Theo and Amanda and Jack. Their love stories may not be long, but each gained different lessons from this experience.
When Katie, a sophomore nursing major, signed up for “Miami … Merged,” her expectations weren’t high. She just wanted to have fun and meet new people. After not going on a real date since high school, she was ready to get back out there.
“I’m a people person,” Katie said. “[Even if it doesn’t go well], it’s not the end all be all. We can still have a great dinner, make new friends.”
In her application for the project, Katie shared her dating history — nonexistent — and said she wanted someone “with pretty hair, good teeth and a good brain.” When asked about things she considers red flags in a potential partner, she decided not washing their sheets was high on the list.
Theo, a junior international studies major, signed up because his roommate said it would be a good idea. Theo agreed, thinking it sounded like fun.
“I'm always down to try new stuff like this,” Theo said. “And my friends are always trying to get my romantic life kick started — to no avail.”
In the “Miami … Merged'' application when asked about his type, Theo specified he wanted someone shorter than him and that he didn’t believe in “icks.”
“[Icks] tend to just be like moments where people are being themselves from what I've seen,” Theo said. “So I don't think there's anything someone could do that would make me automatically be turned off.”
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Katie and Theo met for brunch at Patterson’s Café on a crisp but rainy fall morning and sat in a cozy window booth for about an hour.
Katie had a hot chocolate, avocado toast and an order of bacon. Theo ordered the “Mike’s Favorite” omelet and an iced coffee.
“It was a little awkward, I think, for the first couple minutes. We both were kind of like, ‘What do we say?’” Theo said afterward.
However, as their food arrived and they started to talk more, Theo seemed to get more comfortable. He and Katie discovered that they both like the Uptown restaurant Fiesta Charra, are extroverts and have older brothers.
“She was very funny. She had a really good sense of humor. Definitely a lot of personality. There were no boring moments … that made it very easy for us to have good conversation,” Theo said.
They exchanged phone numbers while talking outside the restaurant after their meal.
Katie was positive about how well she matched up with Theo.
“If he asked, I’d probably go [on a second date],” she said. “I was surprised by how it went well because obviously it's a new environment, [and] it’s not really common anymore for blind dates to happen.”
Theo was glad that he had participated in the project because he had an opportunity to work on himself during the experience.“I need to do a little more listening when I'm talking to new people,” Theo said. “I think my instinct is to kind of take control of the conversation.”
Katie didn’t seem to notice this and commented on his conversation skills and ability to keep the date flowing.
“He was good at active listening, you know, like following up on something I've said and vice versa,” she said.
Participants rate the date:
Theo and Katie exchanged numbers but have not been in contact.