I think it’s safe to say that at this point we’ve all got our stock answer to the question, “Why did you choose Yale?” Some might say it was the allure of the residential college system. Others might wax probiotic about New Haven’s handful of frozen yogurt enterprises. A lucky special few will inhale, stare blankly for a moment, and simply say, “DS.” Today, the day before Valentine’s Day, I offer my own reason for matriculating: The New York Times wedding announcement.
If you’re at all familiar with the paper of record, you know that the Times style section is home to the coveted “Weddings & Celebrations” desk, wherein newly wedded couples are profiled mere days after they say “I do,” for all the world to glower enviously at their luck in finding one another. Like getting into a David Brooks seminar, The New York Times announcement is a coveted feat, since around 200 couples apply for only 40 spots every week.
But thankfully, the Grey Lady has our backs. Your chances of getting a spot will be significantly higher if you’ve attended an elite university. That’s right, Yale. Congratulations. Your degree is a golden ticket into an issue of The New York Freaking Times. I cannot wait for my wedding to be fit to print.
But here lies the rub. How am I supposed to get a wedding announcement without a wedding? Without a ring by spring? Without a significant other? Sure, I chose Yale to get the wedding announcement, but while Yale is necessary, it isn’t sufficient. I can’t marry Harkness Tower or the Nathan Hale statue. I need another person to acquire true love, and I haven’t found one yet. Is that the fault of my own, or is Yale to blame?
I posit that Yale is, indeed, to blame. The current dating infrastructure is lacking. Tinder and its various cousins are too impersonal and creepy. Not enough Yale students use Twitter to “slide into one’s Direct Messages,” as it were, and a Facebook message soliciting any romantic social encounter is decidedly lame. I once tried speed dating here, but no one took interest in me and everyone kept calling our dates “rush meals.” (Semantically, I guess it made sense, but I still find “speed” a little less evasive than “rush.”) And the only number I’ve ever exchanged was with someone while in line for coffee — that classic rom-com cruising spot — when I corrected a barista in saying I wanted three vanilla bean scones as opposed to just one. Yale needs someone who can do all of this busy work for me. Rather, for us.
Like most complex problems at Yale, there are a few simple policies that could be easily implemented in the short term to adorn the collective naked ring finger of Yale’s undergraduate population, at least until the administration can pursue more systemic changes. Yale needs a professional matchmaker, and pronto. Dean Holloway is down with gender-neutral housing for sophomores, so I don’t see why he wouldn’t be down for my eternally blissful domestic partnership.
Further, I would argue that Yale could probably benefit from having its name in the Times every so often for reasons better than the ones that have spurred recent coverage of the University. I’m sure U.S. News and World Report factors in that kind of thing when they’re crunching their numbers. And think of the children of these Y-sweater-clad couples. Can you say “double legacy?”
Cue a matchmaker. Matchmaking as an art has been around for hundreds of years, just like Yale, so it’s brand-consistent. Present in numerous cultures, spanning from the Hindu astrologist to the Jewish shadchan, I see no reason our very own “yenta” couldn’t preside over Yale’s storied hookup culture.
If you’ve ever seen Mulan, Bravo TV or Fiddler on the Roof, you’re familiar with the character. I can see it now: a mystical figure, maybe wearing lots of rings, in a cubicle in the Office of Career Strategy, conducting interviews and matching students as if their last names were McKinsey or Bain. What if we used Symplicity to court each other? I have a hunch that a page-long cover letter could be a lot more informative than an unsatisfyingly brief Tinder description. This is as much a part of my post-grad plan as securing a nice career — just because “Loving Husband” isn’t something I can put on my CV doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be of Yale’s concern.
Yale is always wondering how she can better advise her students, and I think romance is a worthy next frontier. Find me a find, catch me a catch. Hire a matchmaker, and make this company of scholars a company of spouses. And let’s get my wedding in The New York Times.
Austin Bryniarski is a junior in Calhoun College. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.