The dating game

Conventional wisdom says of U of C dating, “The odds are good, but the goods are odd.” The adage bore fruit in two recent campus events, timed in confluence with Chicago’s budding spring, which is driving the quirky student body outdoors and, perhaps, into one another’s arms.

One celebration of Chicago-style mating debuted last Wednesday in Max Palevsky Theater. A collaboration between Fire Escape Films and the Order of the C, the student-produced film Eliminate Your Date spoofed popular reality-dating show Elimidate, featuring undergraduate encounters staged at local hangouts, where contestants chose one lucky suitor after whittling down a field of four or five. While the raucous audience settled in, some eliciting giggles by shouting “penis” and others bemoaning the scene as “high school revisited,” the box office declared the show—executive produced by Clair Baldwin, ’04—sold out, even as the line snaked its way out Ida Noyes’s west entrance. Once the film rolled, the crowd watched four vignettes of self-conscious students flirting and fawning for the camera, inducing roars of laughter and the occasional “boo.” But while the unlucky inevitably were “elimidated,” all seemed to have a good time, some jokingly pursuing show host William Connors, ’04. Looking on as Connors attempted to disengage his fans, one contestant declared, arms wrapped around his own chosen lady, “I guess everybody’s a winner.”

Upping the odds of success two days later, about 80 graduate and College students took advantage of Speed Dating, which promised 20 five-minute “dates” along with pizza and beverages in Ida Noyes’s Cloister Club. Organized by Remedy Cuba, a medical-school group raising funds to distribute pharmaceuticals in Cuba, the event drew students who described the standard U of C social scene as “introverted” and “desolate.” As Nelly’s Hot in Herre thrummed through the awkward pre-event mingling, one student worried that he “might be losing the ability to chase ladies; I study too hard.” But when the round robin began, chitchat swelled and few participants had trouble filling five minutes, no matter how odd their partner.


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Photos (from left to right): Speed dating students get five minutes to chat. The right look can go a long way in five minutes. Helpful students point out empty seats at the sold-out Eliminate Your Date showing.

April 21, 2004