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By Jonathan Tomlin
By Matt Stokes
Singletons of Oxford, help is at hand: a dating site aimed exclusively at Oxford University students has just re-launched.
Oxfordromance.org, which was founded over a decade ago, re-launched on 27th May and describes itself as “a free chat and romance site set up specifically for students of Oxford University”.
The site is open only to students and academics.
The website claims to be “the most popular student web site in Oxford by some margin, getting around 15,000 page-views per day”, and claims to have been instrumental in at least 11 marriages.
Andrew Miles, a fourth-year student at Exeter, said that the website “used to be really popular. Everyone used to use it a couple of years ago.”
But now it only has 69 active members who have logged on in the past 16 weeks, 57 of whom are male.
The Oxford-centred nature of the site becomes clear when users create a profile and are asked to choose from headlines including “Amo, Amas, Amat: When in Rome, do as the Romans…”, “Dinner for two and wine? The economics are straightforward”, “The joy of 1/cos(x)” and “Messing about in boats is delightful”.
The website was born out of a similar project in Cambridge, and in keeping with the Oxbridge theme the site offers the opportunity for members to arrange dates for May and Commemoration Balls.
The LoveWeb, a “centralised flirt register of who fancies whom”, allows people to hook up without even having to give their name.
The site is also full of tips for those seeking partners, advising them: “If you have a sense of humour , demonstrate it! […] Also, use Smileys if you like to convey expression.” It warns students: “If what you say is tongue-in-cheek or ironic, it is usually a good idea to telegraph this fact with a smiley. Otherwise, people may read it literally.”
But Oxford lads may be disappointed to find out the site is not a free-for-all sex site. The moderators make it clear that “it is not acceptable to make random offers of sex, not even polite ones, unless the recipient’s profile makes it clear that they would appreciate such a message”.
In words that could easily spark off another Facebook flame war, the FAQs also advise users: “Be careful when flirting. Sweeping generalisations notwithstanding, it’s frequently the case that a woman writes something flirtatious (not expecting to be taken seriously); the man reads it literally (and takes it at face value). When he responds to what she said, she is upset, because he couldn’t telepathically infer what she meant!”
For those students who are lucky in their pursuits, however, there is also a tool if they receive “more messages than [they] can cope with”. And, warning that “OxfordRomance.org.uk does have a tendency to become somewhat addictive”, there is a “Parking Meter” tool to limit sessions to 30 minutes.
Finalists will also be glad to know that there is a “Degree Rescue” mode which “allows you to block youself [sic] from logging in again until a certain date of your choice, eg. the day after your finals”.