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Miami … Merged: ‘Zero expectations’

Jack and Amanda enjoyed their time Uptown for their date.
Jack and Amanda enjoyed their time Uptown for their date.

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.

The participants

Jack, a junior economics major and business analytics minor who recently transferred from Michigan State University, applied for “Miami … Merged” to get to know Oxford better.

“I’m mainly hoping to get out there in Oxford, meet new people, and get a date under my belt … If it goes somewhere, it goes somewhere,” he said. “I’m mostly focusing on a genuine connection.”

Amanda, a sophomore marketing major, was also excited to take a chance on something new.

“I’m really not good at picking guys for myself,” Amanda said, “and my roommate sent me the link to it and said, ‘You should do this!’”

In terms of what qualities he was looking for in a partner, Jack prioritized personality.

“I would say intelligence is probably the first option, and then probably kindness and genuine character,” he said. “Similar senses of humor are pretty important for conversation and interacting with [a date].”

Amanda was on the same page, describing her ideal type as someone funny who she could also have serious conversations with. She also mentioned that she was more attracted to taller guys — Jack is 6-foot-4.

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The date

At 11 a.m. on a cold, drizzly Saturday morning, Amanda and Jack went on their first date at the Oxford farmers’ market. They spent the morning and early afternoon drinking apple cider and buying stickers and croissants at different booths while walking around.

Jack said when they met, he was initially attracted to Amanda’s fashion sense and blue eyes. Amanda noticed his height and the easy start to their conversation.

“It was kind of funny because I didn’t get to answer or ask some of the questions I expected to because [the conversation] flowed very naturally, so I didn’t have to come up with questions very often,” Jack said.

After sitting and chatting on a wet bench in Uptown Park about bad movies they both enjoyed and her Halloween costume — Cocaine Bear — for more than 45 minutes, they decided to head to their second spot, Kofenya.

“He's a really sweet guy,” Amanda said. “Like, overall, he's so nice. He's smart. I like that he used big words because I like when [men] have a vocabulary.”

Their time at Kofenya was not long due to the noisy atmosphere, crowded room and the fact that Jack doesn’t like caffeine. From there they decided to extend the date, visiting Future Great Comics, the comic book store across the street.

Amanda said the shop first caught her eye because of the 50% off sign, and Jack agreed to go in because of his love for knick-knacks. They each bought two Funko Pops. He got Scar from “The Lion King” and a red stormtrooper, while Amanda got Patrick Bateman for her friend’s birthday and Jack-Jack from “The Incredibles.”

“[That’ll make it] easy for her to remember me,” Jack said.

They finished their date in Graeter’s because she had never been before. Jack liked how she asked for ice cream recommendations from the staff.

Amanda said they had slight differences in spontaneity because he seemed like a play-it-safe type of person. However, she said they had a lot in common, and the date went very well.

“I had zero expectations. Whatever happens, happens,” Amanda said. “And yeah, I think it went as good as I could have imagined.”

Participants rate the date:

Jack: 8.5/10

Amanda: 6.5/10

Amanda and Jack have stayed in touch but have not gone on a second date.