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Miami … Merged: ‘How should I go about this?’

Olivia and Cole had their first date at TOUS les JOURS.
Olivia and Cole had their first date at TOUS les JOURS.

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 dates here and here.

The two dates took place between Laura and Bronwynn and Olivia and Cole. Their love stories may not be long, but each gained different lessons from this experience.

The participants

Olivia wouldn’t be here without blind dates. The first-year primary education major signed up because that’s how her parents met. However, history doesn't always repeat itself.

“I would like to meet someone, but it’s cool to get the experience and try something new,” Olivia said.

Cole, a first-year computer science major, has also never been on a blind date. His friends found the application on Snapchat and pressured him to sign up.

“I’m a little bit [nervous and excited],” Cole said. “I'm a weird mix of extroverted and introverted, so once I get comfortable around someone I can truly be myself, but at first the meeting someone and doing all the small talk can be difficult.”

When it comes to “icks” or dealbreakers, Olivia said she doesn’t believe in them, but a major red flag in a partner for her is bad hygiene. Similar to her, Cole was wary of those who have broken up with their significant other within a couple months, as well as those who only talk about themselves.

Photo by Sarah Frosch | The Miami Student
The pair picked out six French pastries and chatted for more than four hours over their treats.

When applying for Miami … Merged, Olivia wrote that she was looking for someone respectful, funny and easy to talk to. In terms of what qualities he looked for in a partner, Cole also prioritized a sense of humor similar to his own.

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“I'm looking for a best friend,” Cole said. “I firmly believe that to be in a long term relationship, that person has to be your best friend.”

The date

At 11 a.m. on Sunday, Olivia and Cole met at Tous Les Jours, a Korean-French café and bakery in Uptown Oxford.

While enjoying a variety of pastries, an iced vanilla latte (Olivia) and a cold brew with skim milk (Cole), they spoke about everything from favorite video games and celebrity crushes to their past relationships and their careers and future plans.

“My first impression was that I thought he was cute,” Olivia said while laughing, “he was really nice and really polite.”

After a few moments, Cole realized that he had forgotten Olivia’s name.

“I was really nervous, and I was like ‘I don’t remember your name, can you please tell me again?’” he chuckled, recounting the event.

The participants realized they had a lot in common, from favorite movies like “La La Land” and “Marriage Story” to their taste in musical artists.

“His Taylor Swift knowledge really stood out … I was so shocked by that,” Olivia said.

Cole said that he learned through this experience how much he appreciated witty, light-hearted banter.

“I feel like I need someone to banter off of in a relationship, because when I reference something and no one gets it, I’m just like ‘okay, whatever,’” he said. “That’s something I really need in a relationship.”

Around 3:10 p.m., the date wrapped up after more than four hours.

“We probably could have stayed another three or four hours, but I had cybersecurity stuff to do,” Cole said.

Photo by Sarah Frosch | The Miami Student
Both Olivia and Cole said they learned more about themselves through this experience.

Cole walked Olivia back to her dorm, even though it was on the other side of campus from where he was headed. They exchanged contact information and made plans to see each other again.

A few hours later, Olivia received a message from Cole. He told her that he realized he’d rather remain friends with Olivia than pursue a relationship.

“I feel kind of bad because I wasn’t really attracted to her physically,” he said “… I told her this after the date and I talked to some of my female friends, like, ‘How should I go about this?’”

Olivia was disappointed that Cole had changed his mind, but she still spoke positively about the overall experience.

“I’m glad I did it, just because it was something different to do, and the date was fun. It just kinda sucks what happened after,” she said. “I would make my friends do it, if I could.”

Participants rate the date:

Olivia: 8.5/10

Cole: 8.5/10