This article was written by a student of ENGL 3330: Writing for the News Media, which is taught by Mike Pulley.
An online magazine for Clemson students has officially started a concierge dating service. Except it’s not like Tinder, Bumble, Hitch or any other dating app. Instead, you fill out a Google Form, get set up by the editors, and then after they set up a time and meeting place, you meet your match.
You read that correctly. The blind dating experience you have always secretly wanted. The only catch? You have to give them an exit interview after your date to see how it went.
Clemson Date Lab was created by Elizabeth Nealon, a senior political science major and one of the editors of The Sensible Tiger. The dating service is located in The Sensible Tiger’s Instagram bio or through the publication’s website.
“I got the idea because I always hear people complaining that no one goes on dates here [in Clemson], but people always seem nervous to make the first move, to ask a person on a date,” said Nealon. “So, I thought if we took some of the scariness out of it, people would actually go on dates.”
Nealon credits her inspiration to The Washington Post's Date Lab after a Sensible Tiger Alumni was chosen for their one weekly date.
However, in order to do it on a smaller level, Nealon and Maddy Bauer, co-editor and senior political science major match couples themselves. The dates are also unsponsored due to low club funding, so you have to pay for the date yourself.
“One of my good friends, Jack Wills, who graduated last spring, was selected for The Washington Post’s Date Lab,” said Nealon. “It sort of inspired me to try to start something like their lab, tailored more for a college town.”
Questions on the Google Form include basic information like name, age and gender preference.
Then, the questionnaire goes a little deeper into questions: “Would you rather go to dinner at Calhoun Corners or the Esso for a ‘meat & three?’”; “Do you prefer to chase or be chased?” and “Would you rather go to a Greenville Swamp Rabbits Hockey game or a walk on the Dikes?”
Nealon is very satisfied with the success of the Date Lab. At least 150 people signed up during the first week of operation.
“My roommate actually convinced me to do it as kind of a joke since we are seniors,” said Kayla Causey, senior health science major and Date Lab participant. “It is our last semester and we have nothing to lose. But I was also really excited to meet someone new and have a good time getting to know someone I had never met, especially since Clemson is such a large campus.”
Unfortunately for Causey, her date at Spill the Beans was canceled because her match ended up coming down with a case of the flu and nothing was rescheduled.
However, there were other successes like Alex Aull, senior psychology student, who went on a roller-skating date followed by dinner at Texas Roadhouse. According to The Sensible Tiger, “He [Alex] knew right away he was going to have a good time because she had a lot of energy and was really personable. It wasn’t awkward in the slightest.”
Nealon thinks the success of the Date Lab points to the need for change in the dating world, from just going downtown to actually going on dates in order to know people on a more personal level.
“A lot of people have checked the box on their exit interview that they had a good time,” said Nealon. “Another question asks if people would go on a blind date again, especially since that's something our generation doesn’t do, and people have been saying yes.”
The Clemson Date Lab will remain open because it has been so popular among students.