Julia Hyde: first-year College student
The hornet that stung my little brother at a golf course that one time
Plant/animal you’d identify as:
According to Buzzfeed, I am an Epipremnum aureum (Devil's Ivy)
Ian Baumer: second-year College student
Attorney or professor of philosophy
Plant/animal you’d identify as:
A robust, aged redwood tree
Julia and Ian met around 2:30 p.m. on Zoom
Julia: We basically met Friday afternoon. I felt awful because I was almost late to [the date] because I was setting up my fridge in my room. So, I hopped on the Zoom and I was just tinkering in the corner of my room, and I felt awful because I felt distracted … He was really nice about it and really chill about it and then we just kind of hopped into it.
Ian: It was funny because when I popped in the call, her camera was on and she was trying to install a mini fridge. She shared a mini fridge with her roommate, and you know, [the] roommate’s moving out [so the] mini fridge goes with her. So, yeah, it was chaotic, but I thought it was pretty funny.
Julia: He came to the Zoom call with some ideas in mind for things to do, which I was really happy about because I didn't really think of anything. So basically we did this Harry Potter escape room that he found that was done through a Google form. We kind of made fun of it as we did it, but it was fun, and it kept the conversation moving.
Ian: So basically what we did first was I found this Harry Potter escape room on the internet … It was like a Google form, and it was fun to do. And there [were] definitely times where we got distracted or were just talking to each other, instead of doing the escape form. But you know, the escape form, for being a Harry Potter escape room, really had a lot of muggle objects and muggle places in it. But that's neither here nor there.
Julia: We did have some good conversations and we looked a little bit at some National Museum of Natural History virtual tour. But mainly those were kind of just launching pads for other conversations we had, just kind of getting to know each other and our likes and dislikes. We did part of the Egypt section. And then we saw the mummy, and then we were like, ‘Oh, facial reconstruction software for mummies is crazy,’ so then we just googled facial reconstruction software for other things.
Ian: I actually did show her a virtual tour of what's behind me, the Smithsonian National History Museum. I just didn't change my [Zoom] background because this is my original background.
Julia: He actually had the Natural History Museum as a Zoom background so I didn't know where he was, but we both heard the testing of the siren system at the same time, so I think we were both in our dorms.
Ian: We mostly [talked about] our interests. She's thinking of being an English major, which is cool. Obviously, not an English major myself, but I feel like there are definitely a lot of points of intersection between my majors [of philosophy and history] and her prospective major. In both of my disciplines, for the most part, and especially when it comes to philosophy of language, there's a lot of debate on grammar. So it was just fun to sort of talk about grammar for a second and hear an English major's thoughts on grammar.
Julia: We kind of bonded over those nerdy conversation topics because I think he said he's gonna be a history and philosophy major, or something like that, so he was kind of like in his element with the Natural History Museum stuff. I've always been interested in that. I'm not going to major in it, but we found that that was a common interest we both had so that was fun to talk about.
Ian: Honestly, I don't think I've ever been more nervous for a date just because it was virtual. I mean that's a completely novel idea to me. And the thing is, you know, you could just literally get a coffee and talk to somebody for like 40 minutes in person physically, and that'd be a good game. But we've been on Zoom for so many different functions for such a long time that people are starting to hate it — hate it a lot. It's onerous to be on Zoom so you have to be creative if you want to have a good Zoom date. So that's what I tried to do. But every platform has its limitations, and as much as I enjoyed that Zoom date, obviously an in-person date beats it every day of the week in every possible world. So that's what I have to say about Zoom dates. We're doing the best with what we can, but it's not optimal.
Julia: Well for me [a Zoom date was] probably the same amount of nerve racking [as a regular date]. I do consider myself an extrovert. I like talking to new people, and I like meeting new people or getting new experiences and that's kind of something that's been lacking in the COVID era. But I was still nervous, especially in that, you know, “blind date” context, but it was pretty cool actually ... It was a lot of fun because I am the … only single person in my friend group right now, so I was kind of just told to do this as a dare or a “why not do it, Julia?” And I'm going to keep it honest — I didn't really take a ton of the questions on the survey seriously.
Ian: I saw [Love Connection] on my Instagram stories. And I figured, you know, I'm 90 percent extroverted. I'm an extremely extroverted person. I don't know if you can tell, but it's hard to make connections during a pandemic. And that's connections of any kind — romantic, friendship business. It's difficult. So I decided, you know, why not put myself out there? I think it's definitely a good idea to have those sorts of services available, and I just decided why not take it.
Julia: I think we're going to keep hanging out. I think we agreed that, even if it might not seem like we'll continue to pursue it romantically, we both seem really chill with each other. We have a lot of similar interests so we might just try to become friends, because especially even making friends right now is difficult, particularly for me as a first year and for him as an RA.
Ian: I'm not sure if she’s exactly interested in a romantic relationship, but I would totally hang out with her again.
Julia: [In regards to] the format, whenever you're meeting someone new, especially just as a woman in general, blind dates are a little scary because there's that element of the unknown. But on the Zoom, I was just in my dorm in a safe space, just talking to someone like it was a conference call, and not a date. So that merging of worlds is interesting, but it was just a new element of safety, I guess. It was just an open conversation.
Ian: If two consenting adults decide to go on a date, that sort of respect that is afforded to each person matters more than anything else. And so, you know, I was just trying to be respectful and polite, and I think I did a good job.