W&L Marriage Pact brings awkwardness

Every year, W&L students eagerly attempt to find their soulmates with the marriage pact

Meaghan Endres, Staff Writer

Now that the leaves have fallen and midterms have passed, it’s the time of year for yet another Washington and Lee tradition: the marriage pact. 

For those who aren’t familiar, the marriage pact is a matchmaking survey promising that those who answer the fifty questions on love, relationships, morals, and other personal preferences will be “matched” with their perfect and most compatible partner on campus. 

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, the reality of the marriage pact is not quite so glamorous, and can lead to some uncomfortable, awkward and oftentimes laughable situations. While the idea of being matched with a random stranger who might ask you on an impromptu date or, more likely, approach you while at a party is romantic and fun to imagine, the harsh reality is that your pact is usually someone you already know. 

The tight-knit community and intimate class sizes make a small school like Washington and Lee attractive to its students, but its size also betrays its students in instances like the marriage pact. I have borne witness to a fair amount of embarrassing marriage pact matches and encounters (none of them my own, luckily), and have seen first hand how the small-scale of our school makes it nearly impossible to steer clear of specific people. 

In the case of one first-year, avoiding her marriage pact match is simply not an option. She had the lovely privilege of discovering that it is, in fact, possible to get your resident advisor as your perfect match. How fun to know that the person you’re most compatible with is also your pseudo-parent. Not only do they have to live together, but it is prohibited for an RA to pursue a relationship with a resident, which defeats the purpose of the match. 

Marriage pact discomfort made its way to every part of campus, including my own hall. Two friends on the floor were informed of their match’s initials a few hours before the actual names were sent out, and quickly realized that the initials looked familiar. After a quick look at the student directory and some logistical thinking, they deduced that they did, in fact, receive each other as their marriage pacts. 

Not only did they match with each other, but they also had a 99.99% compatibility rating. It made for an uncomfortable “what a coincidence” conversation in the common room for everyone to painfully watch. 

Ultimately, the marriage pact is a fun way to expand your dating pool, make new friends or find a new campus crush, despite its tendency to create stilted conversations and awkward encounters throughout campus. Though it doesn’t create a fruitful love match for most participants, including myself, it does add some much-needed entertainment during times of stress.