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Matchmaker shares experience with Love Connection

A behind the scenes look at helping students find love

<p>Eric Dotterer, former Love Connection writer, reveals his matchmaking secrets.</p>

Eric Dotterer, former Love Connection writer, reveals his matchmaking secrets.

One of The Cavalier Daily’s most unique sections is Love Connection. Students fill out a questionnaire detailing what they’d like to see in a partner, both aesthetically and personality-wise, then describe themselves. After submitting the questionnaire through Google forms, they send in an email with their photo attached and wait to be matched.

“When I first started we didn’t have that many people to choose from,” Eric Dotterer, a fourth-year College major and former Love Connection writer, said. “Then [The Cavalier Daily] did a marketing push this fall and dozens of people signed up, so there’s a large influx of people to choose from.”

Matchmaking successfully remains challenging no matter how big the pool of applicants is, in large part because of the many different attributes people have and are attracted to. In order to streamline the process slightly, Dotterer focused on specific facets of people to match them up.

“I didn’t necessarily go off of physical traits as much as like personality and trying to match up the years they are. The people who have already declared their majors probably have a lot more to talk about in terms of interests,” Dotterer said. “But sometimes it’s fun to set people up who have nothing in common just to see what could happen and usually that does turn out pretty positively.”

While most of the dates are fairly similar in format — the participants meet somewhere on Grounds, get dinner and part ways afterwards — every now and then they take unexpected turns.

“[In] my last Love Connection I did before stopping, [the couple] cooked eggs in his Lawn room which is really cool and built a fire, which I thought was very peculiar,” Dotterer said. “Other than that one, all of them had gone to a restaurant and like immediately started eating.”

Whether or not the date is amusing for the participants, it ends up entertaining readers of Love Connection.

“It’s always really fun to hear about people’s love lives — that’s the appeal of The Bachelor, right?” first-year Engineering student Rojeen Kamali said. “I think it seems like a really good way to meet people, but I think you have to be pretty brave to have your answers published in a school wide paper.”

The public nature of the experience can act as a deterrent for some people.

“There’s not a lot of LGBTQ people who apply, I think maybe there’s some sort of stigma for them to not want to, but it’s something that’s encouraged,” Dotterer said. “The reason we haven’t really set up non-heterosexual couples in the past is because the [LGBTQ] pool is so small and you don’t want to just force people together if you don’t think they’ll hit it off. Literally anyone from any walks of life around the University — regardless of gender, religion, race, sexuality — can sign up, it’s a great way to meet people.”

In addition to being a way to meet people of all different years and backgrounds at the University, Love Connection also offers those who apply the chance to scratch an item off of their list of things to do before graduating — going on a blind date in Charlottesville.

“All my friends who have done it have had a great time,” Dotterer said. “I think it’s a cool experience and I hope it continues for a while.”

Interested participants can fill out a form on The Cavalier Daily’s website