Aya Burton ’22 and Sarah Nunez-Lafontaine ’22
I’m lonely. The kind of lonely that involves Buzzfeed quizzes and copious amounts of ice cream. I regularly check my horoscope for love predictions. I ask friends to set me up. And for the briefest moment, I learned to swipe on Tinder. So when the flier outside my door advertised love, who was I to object?
This Valentine’s season, the free matchmaking service Datamatch came to the Claremont Colleges to spice things up for those riding solo (either by choice or not) through the hell that is cuffing season. Teaming up with the Harvard Computer Society, The Golden Antlers launched the survey on Feb. 6, giving participants until Feb. 13 to answer 20 questions that supposedly would “match you with the love of your life.” Interested students simply had to sign up and complete the survey made by The Golden Antler’s team in order to receive their matches on Valentine’s Day.
On their Facebook page, The Golden Antlers claimed that “despite our tomfoolery in the past, we are excited to bring DataMatch to the 5Cs and help bridge connections across the campuses.”
The creators of the algorithm repeated this sentiment, Supreme Cupid (and yes, that is how he wanted to be titled) Russell Pekala (Harvard ‘19), described how the purpose of the service is to help students make connections and to have a good time. Although Datamatch provides a list of like-minded individuals with whom one might be compatible, it’s ultimately up to the survey-taker to reach out for a date or conversation over brunch. One could even make an event of it, setting up “a group meeting with all your matches to figure out who is best for you.”
For many, Datamatch was a perfect alternative to Tinder. Those hesitant to enter the world of online dating said Datamatch seemed a less intense version of other dating platforms since only 5C students could participate. Others completed the survey as more of a joke, enjoying the absurd questions asking whether they were more likely to be found blacked out at “the Hoch salad bar line” or the “10K massage chair in student health.”
As first years, I and many of my friends had difficulty answering certain questions which required niche knowledge of 5C customs and culture. For instance, those who haven’t been on campus long might not perceive the nuanced differences between 5C parties, from “getting squirted in the eye with paint at Mudd” to “walking to a Pomona party and leaving after a couple minutes.” Freshmen experienced similar troubles recognizing the 5Cs’ most iconic art pieces, such as the “Johnny Sins” statue, characterized as “hot and unbothered,” or “The CMC Pregnancy Test: white, lanky, and proud.”
When it comes down to it, the beauty of Datamatch is that it can be whatever you want it to be– an entertaining quiz used to pass the time, a legitimate way to meet potential romantic partners, or simply something to strike up a conversation about during Valentine’s season. At the very least, one’s sure to get a laugh out of the silly, 5C-specialized questions and maybe undergo some self-reflection as they consider whether they most value “a gentle countenance reminiscent of Karl Rove” or a “Flex balance > $32” in a romantic interest.
So I, a member of the perpetually-single club, took a shot in the dark and took the quiz. And lo-and-behold, on the dreaded day of roses and chocolates, I logged into my account and found my matches. Sadly, none of my matches and I ended up meeting. We will continue to exist as strangers, perhaps reminiscing about what might have been.
However, this entire experience has, in a rather odd way, given me hope of finding love. Because if thousands of people were willing to take a ridiculous survey in the hopes of finding a connection, one of those people is bound to be the one for me.