March 9, 2022

SEX ON THURSDAY | Imperfect Match

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Let me guess, your Perfect Match results weren’t extraordinary this year. You aren’t surprised — it’s not as if the algorithm found you a valentine last year either. If using Tinder, Bumble and Hinge all at once wasn’t working for you, it’s your fault for thinking that some campus computer science club could do the trick. But you had nothing left to lose, so you handed over your recreational drug use patterns, your three words of insincere self-description and your shitty sleep schedule to a student-run AI system — as if it could actually locate your soulmate among the countless other sleep-deprived “formal to-do list” keepers at Cornell sharing your passion for “art.”

When results were finally released, you found yourself looking up one of your matches on LinkedIn, daring to hope that they might have grown more attractive since their singular 2018 Facebook photo. But all you gleaned from their professional headshot was that their hairline has, believe it or not, receded even further since. One of your other matches wasn’t even worth the Facebook search — their self-identification as a stuffed-animal enthusiast had already turned you all the way off. 

Or maybe you were among the unfortunate few who received no matches at all. As if the universe was laughing at your audacity to dream, your final shreds of faith in the possibility of love were plucked right out of your hands — by a team of student engineers no less.

I’m actually a fan of the Perfect Match program, or at least of the concept behind it. As few success stories as I’ve actually heard, there’s no denying that Perfect Match adds a little something special to the air every Valentine’s season. And legend has it that the algorithm does in fact “work” for a number of people each year — people who take the time and energy to meet with their matches and give romance a chance. The algorithm is no miracle worker, as it has demonstrated abundantly enough. It’s a tool, meant to be used in conjunction with honest effort and intention. So don’t let the little things — his anime-themed Facebook profile, or her North Floridian hometown, or their erotic Discord handle — deter you from arranging a meet-up.

For those who haven’t yet heard, Cornell University Marriage Pact — the Cornell-specific branch of a similarly student-run but nationally utilized program called Marriage Pact — has officially opened its questionnaire. Perfect Match may have failed to find you a perfect match (you probably don’t even have one, at least not on this campus of all places) but Marriage Pact has the more achievable aim of finding you someone to be your “perfect backup plan.” 

The difference in underlying objective seems inconsequential, but it wraps Marriage Pact in a more realistic air that, in my experience, made completing the survey feel just slightly more worthwhile. I suppose that might also have been because the questionnaire itself is less time-consuming to fill out than Perfect Match’s, and substantially more aesthetically pleasing. And because I found the questions themselves to be better-suited to the task at hand. So go fill it out. Give the comp-sci kids another shot at matchmaking, and give yourself another chance at algorithmically calculated companionship. 

Brat Baby is a student at Cornell University. Pillow Princess Diaries runs alternate Sex on Thursdays this semester. Sex on Thursday runs every Thursday this semester.