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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

Is the Marriage Pact a fraud or am I just ugly?

To preface, both options are correct.

It is said, “The worst she can say is ‘No.’” No, I argue that there are far worse things. Perhaps she could simply lie to you about her busy schedule and subsequently ignore your text messages (letting you down easy, as it were). Perhaps she could contract one of her accomplices to engage you in catfish-esque text messages with no possibility of ever meeting in person again (Manti Te’o style). Perhaps she could collaborate with her many confidants to post a caustic, humiliating denouncement of your moral character on YikYak based solely on the assumptions gathered from your social media. 

It is obvious to say: the dating scene at Notre Dame is complicated. This is partially true based on the prospective responses one might receive to a date request, but there is more to it. I believe there is a wide spectrum of romantics, spanning from those who fear eternal damnation for hand-holding to those who are serial daters. With this wide range of experience comes a variety of expectations. Some view dating with marriage always in mind, hoping to find his or her spouse within four years. Others view dating as an ego boost, something to fuel and validate their rank selfishness and unbearable pride. Dating at Notre Dame is essentially a marketplace of diverse buyers and sellers, both of whom rarely settle on a common price and frequently ghost one another. However, it is within this chaos that the Marriage Pact enters so that whosoever believes in its magical algorithm should not lose hope of a relationship but have an eternal marriage. 

It should be considered this way. The Marriage Pact is the omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent matchmaking entity that swallows up the data of a few thousand romantics, mixes them around with its algorithm and spits them out two-by-two into awkward dining hall dates. I should also add that a large proportion of participants already have significant others and use the Marriage Pact as a means of acquiring another human being to be the object of their joint derision. An even greater proportion of participants neglect to contact their match on account of unsavory shared histories, disinterest from unattractiveness or apathy from … nothing really. An even greater proportion than the previous greater proportion never contact one another after a first dining hall date that was anything but absolutely stellar. 

I argue that the Marriage Pact’s intentions — to find the best romantic backup in case of unfortunate circumstances — are good, noble at that, but its remedy to the lack of romantic relationships is one of the main contributors to this plight. Essentially, the Marriage Pact attempts to use a man-made device, that is, technology, to solve a natural, human longing for intimate connection, which has been perverted by technology. It is not surprising that human hubris tends to champion that which is “allegedly” created by his own merit. As for the former technology, I am wholly unconvinced that an algorithm — no matter how hyper-refined the process of gathering and sorting through information is — will consistently provide knowledge that can then accurately decide what a human wants, on a large scale. Moreover, with respect to the latter technology, I harken back to my previous references to social media apps, which have exacerbated a superficial culture, where an entire human being is reduced to the photos, videos and text on a screen. It is through these interchanges of technologies that the objective of the Marriage Pact will never be achieved. The Marriage Pact is but a mere bandaid placed on a gaping gash on the misguided culture of dating. 

What then is the solution to the dating crisis? It begins with acknowledging that any technology to assist your dating endeavors is a fraud. Ditch the dating apps. Yes, that includes the Marriage Pact, a glorified dating app. Return to the basics, characterized by in-person interactions, pursuit with clear intentions and authenticity. Realize that the struggle of finding the “right one” is often not your fault. The difficulty of finding and maintaining lasting relationships is rooted in the moral decay of the character of the youth, one that increasingly relies on pride, a propensity to worship oneself, to rely on oneself to his or her folly. You cannot do much to fix this progression substantially, but you can certainly change your practices in a bold, individual demonstration of counterculturalism. 

There is hope yet for us ugly people amid a sea of attractive people. Perhaps, attractive people might read this article and purport that they are allegedly above the conditions of the plebeians. They will chuckle and resume their blessed days. And in that case, this article is not for you. I speak to the uglies, from me to you. Perhaps, a fellow ugly might read this article and understand the circumstances he or she faces. The ugly should internalize the message and reform their practices with the clear aim of finding the “one.” It may take longer. You may feel discouraged, on the verge of tears. You may fail date after date after date. But know this. It will eventually work out. As they say, “Deformes fortuna juvat.” Fortune favors the ugly. 

Jonah Tran is a sophomore at Notre Dame double majoring in finance and classics with a minor in Constitutional studies. He prides himself on sarcasm and his home — the free state of Florida. You can contact Jonah by email at

Jonah Tran

Jonah Tran is a sophomore at Notre Dame studying finance, classics and constitutional studies. He prides himself on sarcasm and his home — the free state of Florida. You can contact Jonah at

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.