Sunday, September 26, 2010

From 1965: Wesleyan Finds Romance goes Whrrr, Bleep, Click

This article is from exactly 45 years ago today, published in the Hartford Courant of September 26, 1965. It was written by Robert H. Boone. I've left original typos and occasional word gaps intact.

All the images are from a delightful article about computer dating in the February, 1966 Look Magazine.
Computerized romance has hit the Wesleyan University campus here with a vengeance.

The campus was blanketed this week with flyers proposing a “computer matched date” pool covering the “thousands of students at the leading New England colleges.”

The ad is from a Boston-based operation which bills itself as CONTACT.

The ad goes on to explain: “You describe yourself, your personality, and the qualities you like in a date by answering the CONTACT questionnaire.”
After submitting the questionnaire, “your answers are ... computer matched with the replies of thousands of other New England area college students and the names of ALL your most compatible dates are mailed to you.”
CONTACT promises to deliver ‘at least four’ compatible dates. And tht cost? Four dollars.

For girls there is this come on: “You learn immediately the names, schools, class year, etc. of all your dates, but you never even have to call them because they have your name and will contact you.”

The 100-part questionnaire is divided into six main sections: “Perequisites, interests, correlations, compatibility, opinions and values.”

“Perequisites deal with height, age, race, college class and religion.

Who is behind CONTACT?

“A machine,” suggested one Wesleyan Student.

What are the chances of CONTACT’S success in plans to to a pool compatible form dates from New Enland campuses?

The firm claims that its system “works,” but doesn’t explain the basis for its claim.

“Do you think it really works?” asked one student at all-male Wesleyan in a tone of mingled hope and doubt.

Random checks at other Connecticut campuses--Yale, Trinity, the University of Connecticut and Connecticut College for Women--failed to indicate that CONTACT had yet made its appearance there.

But a Wesleyan CONTACT’s appeal to “simplify the FUN of calling or being called by someone whom some giant bundle of wires says you would enjoy dating” was being widely read.

And a few students could be seen furtively fingering pencils ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the Eye for posting this article. Really fascinating how the same stigma of "virtual dating" still has some skeptics 45 years later.