Ivy Pride: The Next Trend in Meeting Your Mate

Ivy Pride: The Next Trend in Meeting Your Mate?

In a world where online match-making, Facebook flirting and speed dating collide, is there any room for fate?

Maybe. But can fate strike in a narrow elite educational pool?

Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me a Match

That's what a group of Washington, D.C., residents, many looking for love, were testing Friday night at the inaugural meeting here of the Ivy League Plus Society.

Requirements for membership in TIPS are strict. Attendees must have attended one of the eight Ivy League schools or a handful of other TIPS-approved institutions. The University of Chicago and the Naval Academy qualify for the list.

If you were a graduate University of Virginia School of Law graduate, OK, you can attend. But, if you studied at UVA only as an undergraduate, sorry. UVA doesn't make the grade.

"You can only be so superficial for so long," said one young college graduate at Friday night's event, who preferred to remain anonymous. He said he's tired of trying to meet potential mates at general admission bars and parties. "I would like to find people of equivalent educational background -- too dicey to go to a bar and find that. It's nice to know, generally, people are going to be closer to your intellectual range."

But Sam Yagan, co-founder and CEO of OKCupid.com, one of the largest free online dating sites in the United States, is skeptical about how effective a community like TIPS is for finding love.

"What school you went to is just not a great predictor of compatibility, according to our analysis," said Yagan, who was a math major at Harvard. Incidentally, the website's three other founders also attended Harvard.

Yale graduate Jennifer Wilde Anderson, the founder and chairwoman of TIPS, insists there is some flexibility in her social networking club.

"You know some people have e-mailed me and said, I can't find my diploma. Can I still come?"

Anderson, who also has a day job as a real estate development attorney, said the answer is most likely yes.

"If you hear about this party of Harvard, Yale, University of Chicago and MIT alums getting together, and you say that sounds like a lot of fun, and I could use a little smart, sexy fun in my life, I would venture to guess that you'd be a dynamic, engaged, fun person who would add to the party," said Anderson. "We just ask them to send us a quick e-mail, and I'm sure we'll welcome you."

TIPS is already thriving in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. At this week's launch party for the new Washington, D.C., chapter, some 450 college graduates in their 20s, 30s and 40s gathered at a nightclub in the area.

The strict rules weren't openly enforced at Friday's D.C. gathering at Lux Lounge.

"It's an interesting concept to bring people together that have a certain intellectual background," said Liz, who whispered that she went to Holly Cross -- not an Ivy. "I'm a Sagittarian, and I like to try something new."

Social Profiling

All attendees were asked to wear a name tag bearing their first name and the college they attended.

"Why a name tag?" asks a sign at the entrance. "To make it easier for all the lovely, brilliant people to chat with you of course!"

While Anderson said she does not market the organization as a dating service, she does acknowledge its match-making potential, adding that probably 80 percent of the crowd is single.

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