I dated a boy from every uni in the country so you don’t have to
We should all just be dating boys from Nottingham Uni tbh
In the absence of Love Island, another series of Love is Blind or any decent dating show to get yourself way too invested in this year, I have been feeling thoroughly empty. Truly at a loss as to what to fill my evenings within these dark dark months.
Upon realising that a whole army of students was facing that very same pain, I decided it was time to do my patriotic duty, for Regé Jean-Page and country. I was going to singlehandedly take on the university dating scene, one institution at a time.
In the name of science, disappointed uni girls everywhere and moving the conversation off the dating app, I decided to dedicate two weeks of my life to date as many uni boys as was physically possible to provide the most comprehensive account of what it’s like to date across UK universities. And in this great fishing expedition, I managed to find 25 men in under two weeks. Stealthy, I know.
No true investigation would be complete without its definitive set of rankings. By the time I was finished this would be the Times Higher Education Guide to dating. If anything the finished product will be the most valuable guide to consult before picking your university.
Boys would be ranked in the following categories:
1. Their first date idea
2. Their sense of humour
3. The quality of the conversation
5. These would then be combined to get a total score for the male representative of each university.
So, without further ado, time to meet the lads:
Course: War Studies
We began with my nemesis, King’s. As a UCL girl, there is truly nothing worse than dating a King’s boy – apart from maybe sleeping with an Imperial guy. So, let’s just say I was sceptical going into the date.
Upon introductions Ollie was funny, he introduced himself graciously saying: “I’m so grateful you lowered your standards to accept this date”. I was living for this polite respect I’d not experienced before.
However, that was the tone for the rest of the date. I just feel like Ollie and I didn’t have too much flirty energy and it was more like two academic colleagues talking about their respective research and arranging a drink after work.
Ollie was so sweet and truly the antithesis of what I expected from a King’s boy, however perhaps just a little too sweet for me.
First date idea: Cocktails at the Coral Room: prepare your bank balance, the average cocktail is £15. (7/10)
Humour: Our conversation was a lot more serious so it was hard to gauge humour (5/10)
Quality of the conversation: We covered so much academic material (7/10)
Memorability: The obscure nature of the conversation VERY memorable (8/10)
Thomas was a sweet little country boy studying English. Literally, he was so country he’d never been to London, which was slightly concerning.
However, for romance he got an A for effort because he lit a candle and even prepared for the date with the following chat-up line: “Books aren’t the only thing I’m good at ploughing through”. (SO romantic!)
Thomas was super funny and also had a very laid back vibe which I fully supported. We laughed a lot and it was actually a very enjoyable 15 minutes.
First date idea: Walk up the mount for a picnic – this sounded like a lot of physical exercise but, you know, romantic (6/10)
Humour: Thomas was really funny, he kept cracking me up (9/10)
Quality of the conversation: We talked a weird amount about the countryside (7/10)
Memorability: The romance and the humour won me over (7.5/10)
Imagine the WORST date you’ve ever been on in your life. Now times that by five. That was what my date with Ab was like. He showed up 10 minutes late to a date that was only going to last 15. When he did finally show he was standing outside, on a main road, with some weird serial killer lighting.
I cannot begin to describe how difficult making conversation was. I genuinely would have rather pulled my own teeth out. When asked where we’d go on a first date I got two words: “A café”.
When I asked what he’d drink on a night out he said: “Water”.
I spent most of the time watching the clock waiting for this absolute saga to end. Let’s just say Warwick boys honestly don’t have a clue about how to politely sustain a conversation.
First date idea: A café, that will be no points for inspiration (2/10)
Humour: I mean the date was laughable, but Ab sure wasn’t funny (1/10)
Quality of the conversation: THERE WAS NO CONVERSATION (0/10)
Memorability: Well boy was the date memorable, but not for how successful it was (9/10)
Course: Veterinary Science
Dan had penguins in his dating bio. Immediately I was sold. Then I found out he was a vet which was really cute and caring. Bless.
I was super surprised by how much we had in common considering the polarities of our degrees. He knew a lot about my degree (classics) which was a first.
Dan was so normal and nice and he provided a delightful break from the cocky Londoners I was used to. He also wasn’t as ‘Bristol’ as I imagined. I genuinely was just stunned his whole personality didn’t mimic one of the Skins cast.
First date idea: A pub called the White Bear in Bristol, it looked a bit meh but a pub’s a pub (5/10)
Humour: Dan had a super chill sense of humour that made him easy to get along with (7/10)
Quality of the conversation: Conversation just flowed which was ideal (7/10)
Memorability: Not the most memorable date ever but still really enjoyable (7/10)
Henry was your quintessential Cardiff lad. Nights at the SU pissing off your mates when you get queue jump. Orange VKs, £2.50 doubles. Our date was like a wild ride through the Cardiff clubbing scene. Apparently, you might even bump into Tracy Beaker?
Henry was super jokes but at times just a little bit too laddy for me (we literally only talked about Cardiff nights out for the whole date). However, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t excellent company. We laughed, reminisced on the days when we could be in a room of more than five people and drink VKs until the sun came up.
First date: The Libertine, bougie cocktail bar in Cardiff (8/10)
Humour: Lad humour I have to confess does still make me laugh (7/10)
Quality of the conversation: You can’t beat a convo about which VK flavour is elite (7/10)
Memorability: I will just never forget that Tracy Beaker went clubbing in Cardiff, mental (8/10)
Benji was such a secret romantic. He wore a suit (!) and got some flowers. Well, it was a plant but the sentiment was there. It was delightful.
He was truly such a gentleman and had this super cute laugh that just made you smile. He had an inexplicable love of Red Stripe beer which was… interesting??? I couldn’t relate to anything less but I was still laughing.
Benji had this youthful naivety which whilst adorable did make me feel about 40. However, he was awash with compliments and my self-esteem left the date on cloud nine.
First date: £2.5o doubles in Code. I’ll be honest I’m a bit sceptical about a first date in a club (5/10)
Humour: Benji was just so happy and funny it made you smile (8/10)
Quality of the conversation: We talked future plans and elite beers with a smattering of flirting (8/10)
Memorability: Just flattered that Benji got the suit out for date number one (7/10)
Name(s): Rob & Luke
Course: Flakery Studies
Before embarking on my dating journey I was warned that “No Soton boy will ever be worth dating”. So, banking myself two I was feeling full of optimism to prove everyone wrong.
However, I did not succeed. Southampton boys are NOT worth dating because they all just BAIL at like 30 seconds notice. Sorry babe grow up and find some manners.
Course: French and Russian
Starting my date with Asher I just immediately knew that we were on the same wavelength. He liked astrology, knew the bands of my emo youth and did a languages degree (they are elite).
He won me over with tales of his year abroad in Paris and Moscow and just in case I hadn’t already romanticised it enough in my head, he started telling me about his daily walks down the Seine.
To top it all off, he was a bartender. Asher is experienced in how to make cocktails and all sorts of fancy drinks. I was sold.
Our date overran because we had so much to talk about – it was just that good.
First date: Lost Property, a secret underground bar in Notts. Sounds vibey (9/10)
Humour: Asher had a laid back and natural sense of humour that was easy to get along with (9/10)
Quality of the conversation: Our conversation was the perfect balance of cultured chat and talking about our star signs (8/10)
Memorability: Asher’s chat was so decent I can remember almost everything we talked about (9/10)
Michael totally shattered all my misconceptions of Exetah boys. Like, he wasn’t a wanker?? He didn’t just want to talk about rugby and pints of lager and the family crest that’s branded on his siggy ring. He was an indie boy with a penchant for IPA. Honestly, what a surreal experience.
We talked about our mutual passions for writing and our disillusion with our uni stereotypes. My date with Michael was one of few where I can hand on heart say I felt truly at ease. He was easy to talk to, and we talked about so much random crap.
So much so I forgot to ask him where we’d go on a date, so I did have to message him after (oops). We also massively overran, RIP the 15-minute rule but a clear reflection of how great the chat was.
First date: The Imperial, Exeter Spoons (booo Spoons but this one does look really pretty) (6/10)
Humour: Michael was really funny in an unassuming way which made him even funnier (8/10)
Quality of the conversation: We covered so much ground on our speed date which is always what you want (8/10)
Memorability: He understood my sixth form indie phase so it’s gonna be documented in my head forever (9/10)
Total: 7.75/10 (who would’ve thought Exetah could pull this off??)
Course: Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)
Oh god, not only was I dating a Durham boy (known for being posh) but he did PPE. Hand on heart I can confirm Charlie will make an excellent politician one day because oh boy can he talk. I am a chatty gal but I could barely get a word in edgeways.
Whilst he was desperately trying to prove the Durham stereotype wrong, Charlie is living proof that all Durham boys are the same. Whilst he wasn’t from the home counties, he had home counties energy. Come on, he was doing PPE.
He gave me a really insightful look at Durham culture and had the very smouldering Hugh Grant style “look wistfully into the distance” face.
First date: The Swan and Three Signets, another slightly underwhelming pub (5/10)
Humour: For all Charlie could talk he was very funny (8/10)
Quality of the conversation: It was a one-way conversation so, you know, 50 per cent of it was great (5/10)
Memorability: The bits I managed to take in as I was being overwhelmed with Durham energy were very interesting (7/10)
Course: Politics and Economics
My date with George started well: easy chatting, super friendly and his degree sounded interesting and slightly less overbearing than your standard PPE boy.
THEN, it took a turn for the worst. We were reminiscing about December 2019 and he suddenly slipped out the sentence: “When we won the election”. I was shocked, horrified, unsure of how to react. WE WON THE ELECTION? In my head I was in denial, surely he wasn’t a Tory?? However, George evidently confused by my shock followed this comment up with some giggling and “hahaha yeah, forgot to mention I’m a Tory”.
It was going SO well. Alas, we still continued to have a good old chat but he absolutely peaked when he talked about how he just wanted to return to the Tory countryside to vote Tory.
First date: Pres, Spoons and a night at the Union. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’d ever factored a pres into a date before (6/10)
Humour: George was funny but I then got severe trust issues he might drop a joke about austerity measures (7/10)
Quality of the conversation: The conversation was fantastic until that killer sentence (6/10)
Memorability: I will never get over how much I probably unknowingly insulted someone in the first 10 mins of a date (8/10)
Course: Silence Affairs
We have this big long conversation, we schedule the date. It’s all great. Until 15 minutes before, I check we’re still going ahead. Absolute silence. Where are your manners boy?
In the run-up to my date with Peter, I was slightly concerned by the fact he was a good friend of my ex-boyfriend. You know how it goes, UCL circles are small and I literally couldn’t find a guy I didn’t already vaguely know.
I was apprehensive because Peter is an avid lover of emojis, and that gives me slight trust issues. However, we had a good chat about London and travelling.
We also talked about our shared love of New Zealand wines which brought me great joy. Who doesn’t love a good, affordable sauvignon blanc?
First date: Cloudy Bay restaurant at the V&A. Very fancy, very very fancy (8.5/10)
Humour: Peter has a unique sense of humour you can’t help but laugh (7/10)
Quality of the conversation: We kept talking and talking and talking (7/10)
Memorability: He told me: “I’ve remembered everything you’ve ever told me” so it certainly was not one to forget (7/10)
First off, I want to say that Charles had the most soothing voice. He definitely needs to go into podcasting or reading audiobooks. It was so relaxing to listen to.
His whole energy was cool, chill and posh. Our conversation was about polo, that’s how posh it was. Polo is always one of those things that will make me think of the movie Monte Carlo. However, I’ve since learnt it’s the “best sport ever” according to Charles. He had it as his Zoom background and everything.
Charles gave off big York vibes. It was cultured, civilised and very country.
First date: Coffee by the river followed by a walk into town (8.5/10)
Humour: Charles was too cool and collected to be funny but it worked with his vibe (5/10)
Quality of the conversation: I felt very intellectual during a chat which was a first (7/10)
Memorability: I don’t think I’ll ever meet another boy who’s actually played polo, so it was to be commemorated (7/10)
Course: History and Politics
Jay and I had such a great date. He was funny in a Cambridge way. Basically, there was swathes of intellect to support his jokes.
We ended up running massively over because we were getting on well, and I came away feeling like I’d properly got to know him because he’d been so open with me. The conversation also had this really good balance and pace of discussion which is hard to get right on Zoom.
We covered ground talking about rent strikes, uni papers and voting patterns. All in all, I left feeling like an educated woman as well as someone who had a great time.
First date: Spoons, not again! The correct answer is never Spoons (5/10)
Humour: Jay was a naturally funny person and it radiated out of him (8.5/10)
Quality of the conversation: It was insightful – I learnt so much about Cambridge and it was effortless (8/10)
Memorability: We talked about so much it’s hard to remember it all, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good stuff (8/10)
Course: Ghosting Sciences
Sebastian was promising. We had a great chat online. However, when it came down to it he couldn’t be bothered to take the Zoom call or reply to my message, so for 15 minutes I sat there by myself feeling sad. Like the Soton boys it seems that Manchester boys don’t know how to turn up.
Course: German and Politics
Cam studied German, and like any sensible person I do not trust people who study German because it just sounds ugly. Who voluntarily chooses to study something that ugly? It’s like people who love Brutalism, are you okay?
However, Cam was a really well-travelled guy who was keen to talk about globetrotting so that kept us going for 15 whole mins. Although, the conversation didn’t really make it beyond Ukraine and China. But, that’s okay!
First date: 40p pints in Kyiv (Kiev), I’m here for it (8/10)
Humour: He loved German language so by proxy I had to distrust his sense of humour, it’s just not a good language (5/10)
Quality of the conversation: Nothing better than talking about the Eastern Block for 15 minutes (7/10)
Memorability: Definitely got some travel recommendations I want to keep stored up in my head (7/10)
Course: Biomedical Engineering
Yunes was a smooth talker, the boy had chat and I was here for it. He was clearly well practised in the art of dating – he even planned out date for a Thursday because “Thursday is the ideal date day”. Yunes just got it.
He was ambitious, telling me about all his job plans and ideas. He already had a job lined up for after graduation, so impressive!
We talked about travel, city culture and our mutual distrust of the countryside. Everything you could want to talk about on a date, obviously.
First date: Secret bar where they make unique cocktails for you, certainly intriguing (8/10)
Humour: Smooth-talking flirty humour (7/10)
Quality of the conversation: A brilliant conversation all round (9/10)
Memorability: Yunes has inspired me to go city breaking more often because he just gets the city vibe (8/10)
Course: Ancient History
Jonny was 20 going on 40 but in like the sexy, daddy investment banker kind of way. He could talk the talk and he very much sounded like he had his shit together.
We talked about red wine and coffee machines and craft ale. I was basically in middle-class heaven, feeling like a snob with every sentence I spoke. However, it was just too good to stop talking about.
Jonny was a man of culture with a side of debonair.
First date: Going for a walk at Virginia Water where the trees look like a scene from Twilight, oooh how emo (7/10)
Humour: Imagine super charming yet funny, that’s Jonny (8/10)
Quality of the conversation: It was such a time. I felt like I’d just walked into the IT dinner party of Surrey (7.5/10)
Memorability: I was a fan of how much we had in common, and his acceptance of my questionable taste in wine (8/10)
Course: Data Science
Josh was gamer energy if you ever did see it. We aren’t just talking video games, oh no, we’re talking board games. And, who doesn’t love a good board game?
We had a hearty conversation about Settlers of Catan. We even got onto expansion packs and alternate boards.
Unfortunately, I am scarred by having too many gamer exes and being shushed when they’re playing Call of Duty. So even though Josh was an absolute angel, the gaming had me on edge from the get-go.
First date: Catan, and to be fair Catan is the one game I have all the time in the world for (7.5/10)
Humour: Another laddy sense of humour that does tickle me (6/10)
Quality of the conversation: Just endless Catan chat, it never stopped. Monopoly is out and Catan is in (7/10)
Memorability: I will be honest, meeting someone with that much board game knowledge was an experience (7/10)
Matt was actually the happiest guy ever, especially given his circumstances being stuck at home instead of living the high life at Oxford. He alone managed to restore my faith that we would make it through this pandemic – the good vibes were there.
Even though at times we were talking about fairly depressing subjects he still managed to shed some positive light on it.
However, he did study classics and as a fellow classicist I can confirm it automatically comes with the weird territory because what sane person decides to study Ancient Greek and Latin?
First date: John’s Bar or The Ivy, I was here for the contrast (7/10)
Humour: A typical awkward classical sense of humour that made me feel at home (7/10)
Quality of the conversation: Super easy flowing and natural (7/10)
Memorability: The happiness will live with me forever, I loved it, so many good vibes (7/10)
Course: Forensic Science
Jacques was so cute, you couldn’t not like him. He was happy, smiley and talkative. I loved the fact that he introduced himself with: “People think I’m posh because I’m from Surrey and use a cookbook”.
Jacques and I got on well, and the 15 minutes absolutely flew by. I loved his can-do attitude towards everything because you know, God loves a trier!
Whilst being incredibly cute, I found out Jacques was in his first year which weirdly made me feel so old. However, that didn’t change the fact Jacques deserved an absolute A for effort.
First date: Big walk up to the cathedral and a picnic in the park. A* for romance but C- for physical effort (5/10)
Humour: I love a good old self-deprecating sense of humour so it sat really well with me (8/10)
Quality of the conversation: We flitted all over the place and it was very easy going (7/10)
Memorability: “People think I’m posh because I’m from Surrey and use a cookbook” will live with me always (7/10)
Jonny didn’t show, but rather than just ghosting like his counterparts at Manchester and Liverpool he just made excuse after excuse. Excessively so. I get it babe, you’re too busy to date but I don’t need War and Peace about it.
Course: Natural Sciences
My date with Dan was hands down the one where I laughed the most. I really don’t know why as a large percentage of it was spent talking about nuclear disasters, a classically unfunny topic of conversation. However, he was good company and really great to talk to.
Aside from our Chernobyl chat, we talked about the woes of being from places that nobody’s heard of, when all else fails you just say “yeah I live near London”.
All in all, a great time! Exactly what you want for a first date.
First date: Drinks sitting by the Crescent in the summer. I do love tinnies in a prime location (8/10)
Humour: I laughed SO much and I don’t even think it was intentional (9/10)
Quality of the conversation: Who doesn’t wanna talk about Chernobyl on a date? (8.5/10)
Memorability: I had a great time, genuinely I walked away with my mood lifted (9/10)
Course: English and Art History
What was planned to be my final date of this epic conquest turned into a double date as Callum brought his puppy along. Obviously, I was in love (with Alfie, the puppy) and I had to introduce him to my own dog Luna. Basically, over Zoom, they fell in love and will be getting married next month – whirlwind romance I know.
However, when we weren’t overseeing the puppy love, we talked about poetry and English and lots of intellectual romantic things. Very much An Education style vibes on this date. Super intellectual yet slightly romantic.
Callum was a very outdoorsy sort in love with nature in Scotland (yippee another one who loved hiking).
First date: A romantic dog walk (10/10)
Humour: Whilst the date was more romantic than humorous he still had chat (6/10)
Quality of the conversation: I’ve always wanted a man who can talk about poetry with me (9/10)
Memorability: I mean a double date with puppies and poetry = an ultimate romance (9/10)