Dreams Realized and Dates Realigned

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Stories of the dramatic Datamatch results.

Valentine’s Day 2016. For some, it passed uneventfully – one Sunday among many that ended too soon and left us with those debilitating Sunday night blues. For others, it was a day spent cherishing a loved one and sharing chocolates. For a few, it was simply the day before the long-awaited celebration of our nation’s leaders. For many, here at Harvard, the day was filled with bursts of hope followed by a terrible anguish. A free Zinnekin’s waffle loomed on the horizon of this bleakest of months – and that gave us hope. Alas, that hope was tested again and again by the continued delay of Datamatch results! It was a trying evening, I’m sure, for those who waited all weekend and placed their burdened dreams and expectations into that one little survey. Finally, the cold spell broke, the results were revealed and matches were made.

In an ideal world, one would find a soulmate within the datamatch results. A few clicks, a quick Facebook search, and a meeting at Pinkberry later, and there is a happily ever after provided by Harvard’s own Computing Society. Though Harvard students may be criticized for a high opinion of our competence, none would lay claim to divine match-making powers. Therefore, one pragmatic student of Adams House went so far as to decry the recent romanticizing of Datamatch – “Whom are we kidding? Datamatch dates are nothing more than a mutual agreement to pursue and obtain free food.”

Though there might be a kernel of truth in that statement, other stories tell of more optimistic attitudes. One of these stories, tell of a girl desperately seeking a Clover breakfast sandwich, and a boy finally able to match that deepest of desires. It all started with an email sent late on the evening of February 14th. What followed was a tortuous email exchange illustrating their mutual abundance of want but scarcity of time. Our heroes, it seems, may be thwarted by the simple but daunting obstacle of conflicting class schedules. I still see a Clover breakfast sandwich in their fatalistically intertwined futures, but now it only must be wedged between a humanities seminar and a chemistry lab sometime next week (star-crossed lovers, to say the least).

While we praise those Clover-loving passions, what happens to the rest of us if one’s top match is not one made in heaven? What is the next step? Is it acceptable to reach out to a match down the list with an honest “You are my seventh match but, based on your Facebook profile, my third choice…want to get lunch sometime?” That approach may seem a bit insensitive and surely too frank. Perhaps one should try bonding over a shared subject matter – politics, for instance! One PfoHo resident was asked out with these words, “I’m pretty sure my top match is a Republican …want to grab coffee?” Bold move though it may be, presumption is not usually all that appealing. There is no need to add to the divisive nature of this turbulent political atmosphere.

In love, as in Datamatch, one is encouraged to not sweat the small stuff. Hence my advice to one acquaintance: “Just because he went ahead and chose the restaurant without consulting you, does not mean that you should not go! Maybe it was simply a poor attempt at chivalry?” …To which I was presented with the most pointed of eye rolls.

A Currier house resident, found herself in a situation one may argue is not “small stuff”. Whether by mistake or otherwise, she was matched with a list of graduate students, alumni, and professors. This student’s top match, in fact, is a young MIT professor. Currently caught in a crossfire of counsel and guidance, she continues to ponder the possibility of taking such a leader of academia to Pinkberry. Hers is certainly a more nuanced match list than a pair of Harvard twins, who found it both hilarious and simplifying to match and grab frozen yogurt with a blood relative. To all, we wish the best of luck in love and mutual sweet teeth.

In the midst of this frenzied February, Datamatch results have proven to be as dramatic as ever. Homeric, it is not, but for cooped up college students dreaming of spring, it is soul fuel.

 

Caroline Cronin ’18 ([email protected]) is fueled by waffles alone.