I went on a virtual date with a guy from every college, so you don’t have to

Which is the most romantic college? The search is over…

Valentine’s Day is looming, and soon all the couples will be displaying their love on social media while the rest of us singletons celebrate another year without romance. Lockdown has made it intrinsically difficult to meet people, making it almost impossible to begin a relationship. At the same time, we can’t go out on dates and have to resort to scrolling aimlessly through dating apps and battling cringe-worthy chat-up lines.

Having only ever been on one date before, pre-covid, it is somewhat ironic that I decided to go on a virtual date with a guy from every college. Might as well test out the waters to see how each college acts on a first date. After finding each suitor, I sent out my Zoom links and prayed that the student wifi didn’t disconnect.

“I sound like a basic white man”

First up, we have Pendle. I have never met a man from Pendle before, so I went into this date not knowing what to expect. From the moment we started talking, the conversation flowed really well, and we ended up talking for an hour about anything and everything, from the fact we both are from Cheshire to what’s on our bucket lists.

When discussing our hobbies, he told me that his life is football and loves working out at the gym. He said it himself that “I sound like a basic white man”, but he revealed a softer side and said that he’d watched the whole of Gossip Girl twice as well as Pretty Little Liars. Who doesn’t like a guy who isn’t ashamed to admit to being a bit feminine?

He also told me that he loves horror films and we had a full-blown discussion about how Hereditary is both a comedy and probably the scariest movie I’ve ever watched. When he asked me my opinion on tattoos, I knew where this was going, but I admitted that I would probably never get one, then he showed me that he had two sleeves.

All in all, this was a definite success, and he even complimented my fringe at the end. No complaints, an excellent start to my virtual dating experience.

“Will Smith has nothing on me”

Next up, we have Grizedale. We soon established that we both liked to write, and he told me about his experience as a writer from a young age. We soon moved the topic onto high school and everything we miss about “the good old days”, which really is anything before Covid struck.

He told me a hilarious story about his experiences at a boarding school in Kenya, where we couldn’t stop laughing. The highlight of the story was when he told me that he bought an Armani suit which he wore to a school celebration evening and he told me “Will Smith had nothing on me”.

This date was filled with nostalgic moments; however, I felt like he had done all the talking, I found out so much about his life in Kenya, I never got to say anything about myself. Pretty sure the only things he knows about me are my uni course and that I like to read.

About Time is the best rom-com”

Going on a date in joggers is one of the best things about virtual dating.

The next virtual date I had was with a guy from Furness. Being from Furness myself, I wondered if we would have a lot in common. He was warm and welcoming; it turns out we had similar opinions on films, as he told me that he loves a romantic comedy and that “About Time is the best rom-com”. It turns out that he loves any film with Rachel McAdam in, apart from Mean Girls, so we discussed our celebrity crushes.

There was no problem trying to find topics to talk about. When the conversation moved onto music, he quickly told me that his favourite band was The Smiths.

“I’m known for my optimism”

My fourth virtual date was with a first year from Bowland who didn’t really know the colleges’ ethos and didn’t know whether he was a fair representation of the whole college. We soon found out that we both study creative writing where we shared stories, and as a second year I was able to give him some advice.

There didn’t seem to be any romantic connections. However, it was nice to talk about how we both have ambitions of becoming best-selling authors. However, he was somewhat sarcastic about his optimism about achieving these goals, and it became a running joke.

I was intrigued about how he was living on campus as a first year, and most of the conversation was me asking about how he’s finding uni so far.

“I would like to 100 per cent clear up now that I’m not a Tory”

Next on the list is County. While I associate this college with rugby lads, my County virtual date was far from this stereotype, which I was pleased about. While on Messenger, he joked about wearing a suit, I wasn’t disappointed when I logged into Zoom and saw that he was actually dressed to impress.

The conversation began like any other, asking what we studied at uni. He studies drama, and soon he was showing me the different accents he can do. Even though he said he’s from Yorkshire, he had a very posh voice and said that people often say he sounds Southern. The stories he told didn’t help his case where he had to state that he wasn’t a Tory.

He told me that for Halloween this year him and his flatmates dressed up as Mario characters. From a lucky dip, he ended up getting Princess Peach and bought a Toad teddy which he displayed in the centre of his room. It seemed as if we’d been talking for ages. It turned out I’d lost track of time, and we’d been talking for half an hour more than planned.

“If you’re gonna bring a car to Lancs, you’ll need 10 grand”

Now we have Lonsdale. I think we spoke about car parking tickets over 70 per cent of the time, to be honest. He told me about his experience with not buying a car permit in Lancs and getting tickets he didn’t want to pay, understandably. Then the conversation shifted to uni life before covid and reminiscing about going to the pub and Sugar.

We also talked about the inter-college rivalry within sports, like Patriots and Founders. I don’t think we spoke about anything outside of uni and plans for the future.

“Fylde is like a romantic Russian roulette”

Moving onto Fylde: I don’t think I’ve laughed this much in a long time. He was a poetic romantic, speaking in rhyme and serenading me with improvised performance poetry. His lyrical charm was very entertaining. As creative writing students, we discussed our creative work and inspirations. Some moments got very philosophical, but is it really a date if you don’t talk about deep subject matters which make you question reality? I don’t think so. Once we discovered that we were both Pisces, everything made sense.

This date was definitely up there in the top three of my virtual dating experience. By the end of the hour, he had read out a poem he’d written about the Greggs on campus, told me that we were going to raise a child together in France called Bernard, and rhymed my name Victoria with euphoria.

“You’ll always meet someone who knows Ed Sheeran”

Last but not least, my final virtual date was with a guy from Cartmel. Being in Furness, Cartmel is our rival, so I was curious to see how this date would pan out. As the last date of the week, my wifi was just as exhausted as I was and kept disconnecting – the joys of virtual dating.

He told me that he had been voted Maddest Fresher and all the reasons for that. We definitely sensed the awkwardness, and he stated that it felt like an interview as we asked each other questions about what we were planning to do after uni. Then we moved on to talking about our home towns in which he said that he lives near to Ed Sheeran and he knows many people who know or have bumped into Ed at the pub.

On reflection of my virtual dating experience, I found it insightful, looking into each college’s romantic ethos and discovered that Zoom dates could be just as awkward as in-person dates used to be. Would I recommend dating a guy from each college? Let’s just say; some were better than others.

As for Grad college, let’s just say I think they may be too old for me.

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