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Council-Induced Coupling

By Corinne E. Funk

It's that time of the year again. Signs of romance are everywhere--theme cookies in the dining halls, Coop displays of fine chocolates and Superintendents' Offices filled with flower deliveries. Most importantly, on the eve of the most romantic holiday of the year, just one day remains until I find my soulmate at Harvard. Tomorrow, I will march to the Undergraduate Council, crisp dollar bill in hand, and discover whom they've chosen as my valentine.

Of all of the council's activities, the Valentine's Day Datamatch has got to be the best. All over campus, couples will be formed by pairing people whose answers to 35 revealing questions match most closely. My simple dollar will buy the most precious knowledge of all--the name of that man, and nine others like him, who has been pining away for me, his missing half. Will he have the boyish charm of Hugh Grant, the rhythm of the artist formerly known as Prince and the body of a Baldwin brother?

Given that the council's questionnaire doesn't put too much emphasis on looks, most likely I will instead be matched with a man who checks his e-mail hundreds of times a day, considers his bed his favorite place in his dorm room and who believes he has a Winthropian personality.

Tomorrow night I could be gazing over a candlelit meal at Loker at the one man on campus who, like me, favors the John Harvard statue to the stacks, patterned boxers to plaid and Ec 10 to Sex. There we would sit, marveling at our common fantasy to be the fire-eater in the circus, and at our shared instinct that we would both play dumb if approached by a mugger--facts that would never have come to light if it had not been for Datamatch. Another success story for the cupids on the council.

In spite of my elaborate fantasies, however, I will be spending Valentine's night on a long-distance phone call, not a Datamatch date. No doubt to the great chagrin of the ten men out there on whose lists my name appears, I did my own unofficial data match about this time last year, and got pretty good results. Of course, the council would probably not find me compatible with my sweetheart--he likes "Beavis and Butthead" while I prefer "Singled Out," and I'd choose Pearl Jam over Megadeth any day--but I think I'll keep him, rather than succumbing to the temptation of Datamatch.

Nevertheless, I must admit that the twenty minutes I spent laboring over my answers at the Datamatch web site were quite entertaining. After years of living vicariously through the lucky bachelorette on the "Dating Game," I'm actually half-curious to see who my matches turn out to be. While I'm sure all the Harvard Computer Society members who tabulate the surveys will have used their positions to ensure first dibs on all the eligibles, I hope there might still be a few candidates left over for me.

Whether we participate in the Datamatch survey just for the amusement value, or for the glimmer of hope of finding the perfect match, there is something exciting about the silliness of filling out a quick little survey and offering yourself up to fate. On a campus that is known to be less than conducive to coupling, let's thank the council for helping us to cherish the one week of the year when we won't need to wait for Thursday night at the Grille to exalt in random romance.

So, if you're a Datamatch participant, don't forget to pay your dollar and get the names of your matches. Once you have the print-out, don't let it get lost among all the countless important documents on your desk. Follow the spirit of the holiday and call one of the people on the list. The survey is sure to bring out some common interests, no matter how trivial, that can certainly lead to a friendship, even if not marriage. I commend the council for setting aside talk of randomization and the Core and making fun a priority, even if only once a year.

Corinne E. Funk's column appears on alternate Tuesdays.

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