An online dating website aimed exclusively at Oxford students is set to relaunch this year.
OxfordRomance.org, OxRo, founded in 2008, has been given a new lease of life after four students agreed to relaunch it. In its first incarnation, the site was a huge success, with almost 15,000 dating profiles submitted and in excess of 5 million messages sent by its users.
The site describes itself as “A free chat and romance site set up specifically for students of Oxford University. It’s philanthropic: we do this for the satisfaction of making people happy.”
Though OxRo was highly successful when first active, it was not the first website of its kind. Its Cambridge-based predecessor, Romance.ucam.org (CamRo), enjoyed even greater success.
Site creator Richard Neill, a former undergraduate and current DPhil student at Trinity College, Cambridge, said that OxRo and CamRo provided “a service much lacking”.
“In Cambridge, there was quite a lot of romance and intrigue, a few late-night liaisons and so on, so we decided to establish the site,” he told Cherwell.
He added, “You have to find out if you can make an emotional or at least an intellectual bond with someone before dating them. I think it’s much more likely that you’ll form a lasting relationship in that way rather than with someone you got with in a club.”
Neill noted that both OxRo and CamRo had been victims of their own success, as those who successfully found partners tended to leave the site. Since both halves of successful couples leave the site at the same time in cases like these, the site continues to have an imbalance of men and women, as the former outnumber the latter three to one.
The site, despite these issues, has led to 424 successful relationships, with some users striking even luckier. “We’ve been so successful and made so many people happy,” said Neill. “There have been 13 weddings that I know of and one baby on the way – it’s quite heartwarming.”
Neill added, “I’ve lost about £500 hosting it, mostly on server costs and events. It really is heartwarming, however, to know that I’ve brought people together.”
One second year History student took a negative of the view of the site however, commenting, “The site’s quite in keeping with the general trend of Oxford thinking, as people believe themselves to be superior to others.
“It’s depressing to think that Oxford students feel that they will only find intelligent, suitable partners in Oxford, and through a dating site at that.”
One English student at St Peter’s disagreed, commenting, “As a virile, sexually dominant alpha male I find it increasingly hard to locate women in Oxford with whom I have not slept. This will help.”
A first year psychologist at New College, meanwhile, praised the site’s slogan, “Date someone as smart as you”, blaming past relationships on intellectual disparities.
He said, “When dating in the past, I’ve often struggled with girls’ inabilities to keep up with my intellectual charm and witty references to baroque music. I feel this website will be perfect for finding someone who matches me in sheer calibre.”