The Stanford Dating Experiment: Pilot

Jan. 15, 2016, 1:15 a.m.

Editor’s Note: Simone and Austin were among the first to sign up for the Stanford Dating Experiment and both seemed like creative, outgoing people with a lot of charisma and energy based on their answers to our application. Based on our compatibility metrics, we felt that they would be a perfect couple with whom to kick off The Stanford Dating Experiment, and we sent them to La Strada in Palo Alto on Wednesday for our first installment of the series.

Simone: I showed up to the restaurant two minutes early. I was like, “This is weird, but I think I have a reservation for seven o’clock, but I don’t know the name because I’ve been set up on a blind date.”

Austin: Let the record show I was on time.

Simone: It was like, “Oh, are you… The Stanford Dating Experiment?” There wasn’t a, “I’m standing off to one side and he’s standing off to the other side and we’re not making eye contact” thing.

Austin: As much as [the blind date] was a gimmick, it was, “I actually have to talk to this girl.” It very quickly became a real date.

Simone: It was really nice to go on a date and be like, you’re going to do date-type things, because I feel like people just don’t do that very often.

Austin: [When] I told my friends, they thought it was pretty hilarious. They were curious to know who it was.

Simone: People kept asking me about it. I had a guy in my house offer to review my outfit before the date. I told him I didn’t want him to do that, so…

Austin: We talked about a lot of stuff. I guess the easy way [to find things to talk about] was the Dating Experiment itself, what we wrote on the questionnaire.

Simone: We couldn’t find anything in our responses that was related other than I thought we both had good answers for what we would do for our tree stunt.

Editor’s note: Simone’s response was “I would make one of the carrying platform things you see in Game of Thrones or ancient Egypt, and have shirtless members of the men’s football team carry me around campus on it all week.” Austin’s was “Paddle out at Maverick’s in the tree costume. Potentially get rescued by the Coast Guard. Followed up by a skydive entry into White Plaza and a swift getaway on horseback.”

Austin: We figured maybe [we got matched] because we weren’t friends on Facebook, and we thought maybe rowing [Austin used to row], but I don’t know how you’d figure that out from the questionnaire. Conversation was flowing, though.

Simone: Yeah, we were talking. It feels like the whole point when you’re going on a date is you’re talking, whereas when you go out to dinner with your friends, there are periods of time where you’re focusing on your food and you don’t have to think about carrying a conversation.

Austin: It would be so cool if someone ended up in a serious relationship out of this.

Simone: We ended up going to CREAM after the restaurant and he bought my ice cream because that’s what you do on a date, which is what he said, too. He even opened a door for me!

Austin: We were debating getting dessert at La Strada, but I brought up that I loved CREAM. I’m a huge CREAM fan.

Simone: Well, this is kind of funny, and I kind of got made fun of for this, but I Ubered there. Austin was like, “Oh, where’s your car parked?” And I had to be like, “Here’s the situation… If you drove here, can I please have a ride home?”

Austin: I thought it was cool how at this point in my Stanford career, I thought I more or less knew everyone, so I thought it was really cool that someone that I got matched with was a senior, was on the rowing team, someone that I had a lot of mutual friends with but I really didn’t know.

Simone: [Austin was] not necessarily the first person I would imagine signing up.

Austin: I don’t think there is much of a culture here about dating, exploring your options. I think that plays into it. I don’t know, maybe because there’s a connotation of dating being kind of serious.

Simone: I mean, we were talking about dating at Stanford, and I started thinking, I mean, how many real dates have I been on since I’ve been here? And this has been the most date-like date I’ve ever been on, because it was established as a blind date from the start, which is pretty different.

How would you rate your experience?

Simone: I would totally do it again, I had a really good time. Yeah, I would go on another date with Austin! Going on a “date date” is really fun. 10 out of 10 — great experience.

Austin: I’d go again [with Simone]. I don’t have much [dating experience] to base this on, but I’d give it a strong 8.5. It was a good date.

Keep an eye out next Friday for our next installment of The Stanford Dating Experiment! You can still sign up to be a part of the experiment here — it’s not too late!

The Stanford Dating Experiment is run by Sam Girvin, Nitish Kulkarni and Do-Hyoung Park, who are editors at The Daily. 

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