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Behind the scenes of Cherpse

Life editors Michaela Esau and Katerina Lygaki spill their matchmaking secrets.

Cupid here, your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Oxford’s sleep-deprived and somewhat crazed students… And who am I? That’s one secret I’ll never tell. You know you love me.

Things are bleak in the Oxford dating scene…I have seen it all. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Well, let’s be honest, mostly the ugly. Even though I delude myself into thinking that I am as cool as my Gossip Girl counterpart, here at Oxford, there can be no fun without some administrative process adding spice and getting in the way.  

For you to understand my pain, you have to understand the intricate world of Cherpse. At the beginning of each term, I buckle down to business and try to think of the best questions to ask the people in order to work my magic. Distributing the form and getting people involved is easy enough – it is extremely slim pickings out there and my services have eons of experience to back them. The same goes for my match-making skills. Drinking a glass of Tesco’s own ‘Juicy Rosé’ and consoling my holy book, ‘Cosmopolitan’, picking people that sound compatible is always a good time. Having made my couples, I then shoot out my arrows with an invitation for a coffee date at ‘The Missing Bean’, and life seems good. I have my act together, I know what I am doing, and I am excited for our 0th week edition to come out. And then disaster strikes.

To bring my dear readers all the details of every awkward date and love-at-first-sight meeting, I require one simple thing – that my daters fill out a form on how their meeting went. It’s little to ask after I brought them their soulmate. Some people completely air me; others keep on getting my hopes up with sweet nothings like “I will get the form back to you tomorrow” when tomorrow never comes;  and others straight up refuse to answer my questions. But that doesn’t mean that I am also not part of the problem – trust me, I am.

Sometimes, the love match I so carefully crafted gets a little lost in the Facebook Messenger translation. When the Cherpse deadline looms, I occasionally have to redirect my arrow to a heart that’s more…responsive. When two of my daters backed out, instead of telling their matches that the date was off, I sent the remaining partners on a date together. After all, it’s a blind date. Who’s to know if the person they meet at OXO Bar or Uni Parks isn’t the same person I originally carefully selected for them? That was my thinking until I received a message, asking whether or not I had set up the date as a joke. They were such an incompatible match that my daters believed I had put them together as a prank. Turns out humans aren’t interchangeable – who would’ve thought? – and when someone requests ‘no Tories’, you shouldn’t go ahead and pair them with an OUCA member. 

Another one of my incredible shortcomings in the dating world happened last term, when I managed to spark a connection in the wrong couple. During the date that I had so carefully set up for a coffee, one person on the date seemed to enjoy themselves whilst the other person seemed to…well, not agree. Instead of finding a connection with their Cherpse date, the former left the date deciding to reconnect with an old flame. I would be embarrassed at my match-making skills, but technically I managed to get a couple together so I will not dwell on the whos and hows. 

If my matches were always this cursed, I’d have to retire my bow and reluctantly go join the herd of Tinder users. But, dear Cherwell readers, don’t fear – I’ve had my fair share of successes. I even matched two Cherwell editors together and sparked a Choffice romance. Even when I don’t manage to orchestrate a love connection, I’ve helped people discover new friendships, bars, and that Missing Bean gives out free pastries at closing time. I can’t promise that filling out the Cherpse survey and going on a blind date will lead to happily ever after, but it’s sure to lead to a fun story. And, if this glimpse into my process made you doubt my abilities, the good news is that a new Cupid will be flying into Oxford with a fresh bag of golden arrows at the start of Michaelmas. With that, I will leave you, wishing you the best of luck on all your dates, both those that end up printed in the newspaper and those that only get published in your group chats. XOXO, Cupid.

Image credit: Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.

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