CHICAGO (AP / THE BLAZE) — They acknowledge they're nerds and sometimes use words only a nerd at a school known for churning them out would understand, but the students at the University of Chicago — including one who is tired of being looked at as "a human calculator" — now have their own online matchmaking site.
Called UChicago Hookups, the site is advertised as the creation of U of C students to meet the needs of other U of C students who haven't found love in Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry, Eighteenth-Century Aesthetics or any of the courses at a the gray, severe campus that looks like the birthplace of the headache.
Students can register to meet someone who has posted under the headline "Awkward Nerd Looking for Bookish Girl" or "Lets Integrate Our Curves" or even "Aqueous Explorer Looking for an Impromptu Trans-Pacific Adventure."
In the month it has been in operation, UChicago Hookups says it has more than 300 registered users who have sent more than 1,300 messages.
Here is what the homepage of the site looks like:
As might be expected at a school that boasts of Nobel laureates as other schools brag about NFL draft picks, some of the pitches include a willingness to "make some apple tea to calm your nerves" or a "bit of Marxist conversation." One post is titled "Lie Tangent To These Curves," which conceivably is designed to weed out those who don't know what "tangent" means.
But there are also plenty of posts with obscene headlines and even more obscene and crass notes that could have come out of any frat house or junior high locker room, like the one that concludes, "And, of course, don't be fat."
Studious UChicago students are seen in action below:
School officials, who are more than happy to find experts on what is happening in Japan, Libya or any Supreme Court brief a reporter can think of, refuse to talk about the site.
"No comment," university spokesman Jeremy Manier said.
But the creators have plenty to say about why they did what they did. And much of it came back to the school's reputation — cemented in the 1990s when Inside Edge magazine ranked it 300th out of 300 colleges and universities for having a good time — the place where "where fun comes to die."
The site's introduction includes the motto, "Where Fun Comes to Thrive."
"We're trying to change the ages-old stereotype that UChicago students are severely sexually deprived," it says, a sentiment echoed by someone who responded to an e-mail sent to the site but identified himself only as an undergraduate named Steve.
Perhaps not surprising given the academic demands of a school like the University of Chicago, most of the posts are from people looking for a way to relieve stress. What they aren't looking for is a long term commitment. Posts are littered with phrases like "no strings attached' and "after-finals fun."
One notable exception was "Awkward Nerd," who said that if he finds the right "Bookish Girl" he's confident the two will "turn out to be soul mates."
Some of the comments don't sound worthy of students at one of the most prestigious universities in the United States, raising suspicions among a few students about the hundreds of registered users the site says it has.
"That doesn't seem like University of Chicago students," Lucas Loots, a 20-year-old philosophy student, said of the raunchier entries.
But others disagree, saying the site reveals something they have known about the school for a while: College kids are college kids wherever you go.
"Some of the stuff you can tell is some frat boys making up stories," said Katherine Futrell, a 22-year-old psychology major.