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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Sitting down with the Yentas, Carleton’s new matchmakers

< weeks ago, Carleton students Natalie Jacobson ’18 and Bex Klafter ’18 unveiled a new matchmaking service for other Carls that has since proved tremendously popular.

Jacobson and Klafter are both well-versed in Carleton’s culture. Jacobson recognizes that “it’s hard [to date], especially on a tiny campus like this where circles are always overlapping,” where dating apps are prevalent and where there’s “hookup culture on one end of the spectrum . . . [and] couples that have been together for a really long time” on the other end of the spectrum.

Jacobson and Klafter agree that casual dating is scarce on campus. Jacobson elaborated: “there’s just not enough casual dating at Carleton, like people who are just trying to go on dates with people, so that’s something that we’re trying to ameliorate [through our matchmaking service].” Jacobson and Klafter have been in the matchmaking business since sophomore year. Klafter said “Jacobson was setting up some friends just sort of casually and…together we came to an idea [of a match]…and they dated for a year and a half.”

Klafter remarked that the two “were definitely in love.” Propelled by this success, Jacobson and Klafter worked to formalize their matchmaking service. They took inspiration from Fiddler on the Roof and deemed themselves the Campus Yentas.[1]

Jacobson and Klafter unveiled “Campus Yentas” at a party this year.

The two arrived in matching black outfits with “Campus Yentas” written on their arms, and were received with enthusiasm. Jacobson recalls at least 10 people waiting in line to give their information to her and Klafter. Overwhelmed by the positive response, Jacobson and Klafter wrote down everyone’s information on their hands. Later, they inputted the data into their matchmaking spreadsheet, which has attracted 68 people in just two weeks.

Jacobson and Klafter are working diligently to “Yenta” everyone who signs up for their services. Jacobson said “we’ve been kind of slow about the process, but we’re just doing it at the pace that we can as the full-time college students that we are.”

She explained that matchmaking is a very time intensive process and “it’s hard for us to live our lives and respond to demand.” Regardless, the Yentas are off to a strong start. Jacobson enthused that “we’ve set up 14 pairs so far [since starting Campus Yentas].”

“We started just two weeks ago, and we’ve set up 14 matches, that’s 28 people [matched] so far.” Jacobson and Klafter already have a success story. Klafter said they “matched some people, and almost immediately got a message saying ‘How did you know?’ Sparks are already flying between them!”

The Yentas work hard to make personalized, thoughtful matches. Klafter said that “when people sign up for the program, ideally we’d like them to email us with their name, their year, their pronouns, their preferred genders to be set up with, if they have [preferred class years to be set up with] and anything else we should know.”

Jacobson added that “people tell us all sorts of things [when they submit their information].
“Some people say ‘I’d really prefer to be set up with someone who’s taller than 5’7, or is musical, or is really funny’ and so we try to take those things into consideration as well.”

The Campus Yentas take pride in the personal nature of their service. They value all feedback they receive––it makes the matching process more effective.

This level of communication separates the Yentas from past Carleton matchmaking services.
In effort to connect with each of their clients, the Yentas have strayed from using a general survey which, Klafter said, “maybe would’ve streamlined the process a little bit” but taken away from the individualized attention so intrinsic to their service.”

Klafter emphasized that “there’s something kind of nice in really knowing who you’re working with.”
The Campus Yentas work with a range of Carleton students. Klafter said there’s “a slight underrepresentation of juniors, weirdly enough. But tons of seniors, tons of freshman, a number of sophomores.”

Jacobson elaborated: “I’d say the demographic that we’re having the least of is men who want to be set up on a date with women, which is a bit of a problem, because we have a lot of women who want to be set up with men, so that’s a missing demographic. I mean, we have some, but just not enough . . . [maybe] people are just apprehensive to sign up.”

The Yentas hope to encourage people to sign up, emphasizing that their matches will be more effective if they have a large pool of candidates.

Klafter joked that “the worst thing that can happen is that you go on an awkward date . . . and [using our service] takes the pressure off because you didn’t even arrange it! We arranged it! So if it sucks, you can blame it on us!”

So, do the Yentas actually believe they can help people find love? Klafter replied: “I mean we [already] did. It’s sort of a joke, but rooted in some truth of the people who––our main success story–– who dated for a year and a half who were definitely in love.”

“I think ultimately we’d like some people to find love, but it’s more just about setting things off.” That said, the Yentas are confident in their matching abilities. Jacobson remarked that “if casual dating [amongst matches] turns into love, all the better,” while Klafter exclaimed in response: “So be it! Thank us!”

[1] Note: Klafter and Jacobson would like to add that Yenta is a purposeful misspelling of the Yiddish word Yente, which means gossip and has a bit of a negative connotation.

In misspelling the word, Klafter and Jacobson are making it their own and putting a positive spin on it.
Jacobson added that “yente with the a at the end is how it’s pronounced and we really don’t want to confuse people, so we’re just sticking with the misspelling.”

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