Oz Myerson discusses the dating event taking Oxford by storm this week
The Oxford Marriage Pact is back, fuelling discussion, debate, and hope among a large proportion of Oxford students this week. In the run up to Valentine’s day, it has been easy to spot many events geared towards hopeful lovers – The Oxford Marriage Pact sits comfortably amongst RAG Blind Dates, the Freud’s Jazz society Valentine’s evening, and the recent Magdalen x St. Hilda’s take-me- out event.
The questionnaire feels more like a buzz-feed quiz than a ‘dating app’.
Yet The Oxford Marriage Pact promises anything but love: with a tone somewhere between cynical and self-deprecating, it claims to offer a ‘back-up plan’, borrowing the concept of a marriage pact – an agreement to marry someone like-minded if you are both still single at a certain age – from Friends. In reality, of course, marriage between Marriage Pact matches is far from the expected result, lending itself instead to some awkward Facebook messaging, and perhaps a date.
Last year, The Marriage Pact attracted over 2,000 students.
Nonetheless, the theory behind The Oxford Marriage Pact is robust, as it promises to match people based on their responses to a series of value-based questions (think: how sporty you are, what you think of abortion, and whether the Oxford Union is a worthwhile institution). With these divisive questions, the Pact ensures that you and your match are aligned on some basic issues – making you a compatible family unit, at least in theory.
This format is perhaps at the core of its popularity, as the questionnaire feels more like a buzz-feed quiz than a “dating app.” The Pact asks you to consider a range of sometimes-deep, sometimes-silly questions, making it an enjoyable experience in itself, with the promised match acting as a nice bonus at the end. It’s also a great conversation starter, as friendship groups who fill in the questionnaire together are prompted to discover new things about each other.
The Oxford Marriage Pact promises anything but love: it claims to offer a ‘back up plan.’
Last year, The Marriage Pact attracted over 2,000 students, and as of the writing of this article, it appears that this year’s iteration will overtake that number. The Oxford Marriage Pact promises that ‘the bigger the pool, the better your match,’ and it seems that many have taken the message to heart and encouraged their friends to complete the questionnaire, some even taking to Oxlove 3: Electric Troogaloo.
The questionnaire is out now (bit.ly/TheOxfordMarriagePact), but only for a limited time, closing at the end of 4th week. While you may want to put it off, many learned that the early bird gets the worm last year, when some participants ended up on a waiting list because they signed up too late, and were faced with a gender imbalance.
Image credit: Facebook, Oxlove 3: electric troogaloo