A young Melbourne woman has been pairing up hundreds of singles in her inner-city suburb to help them find love and connection under Stage 4 lockdown.
Brunswick – or the ‘People’s Republic of Brunswick’ as it is jokingly called – is an inner-northern suburb of Melbourne, home to community gardens, trendy cafes and a long history of leftist politics.
Now, it’s become the centre of a coronavirus match-making experiment.
And it’s all thanks to local love guru Jenna Schroder, 24, known by her online alias, The Melbourne Iso Matchmaker.
“I flagged the idea with my friends during Stage 3 and asked them, ‘Is this crazy, or cute and fun?'” Ms Schroder laughed.
After sharing her idea on the Brunswick Good Karma Network Facebook page, she had her answer.
“It just blew up,” she said.
“People were so excited.”
Ms Schroder said she was hoping for about 50 or 100 applications to her amateur match-making service.
She ended up getting about 420.
“To get such a huge response straight away with everyone jumping on it, I think it showed we’re all trying to find connection through this time,” Ms Schroder told The New Daily.
It’s another example of the Brunswick community coming together, and being interested in these things.
“We really identify as one community and lean into things like this, so for myself personally it made me feel so happy, like ‘Wow, I’m part of this community and I’m doing something that is bringing people joy’.”
As part of the application process, singles must answer dozens of questions about what they’re looking for in a partner, including a description of their ideal date and the first feature they notice in a person they find attractive on the street.
They must also submit several photos of themselves.
“Not everyone wants a romantic relationship,” Ms Schroder said.
“About 50 per cent said they wanted something more long term, then the other 50 per cent was split down the middle into wanting an ‘iso friend’ or to start chatting to someone casual for when this is over.”
Whether applicants wanted a serious romantic relationship or simply a friendship with a local, Ms Schroder said she tried her best to link people to their ideal matches.
“I went down the approach of looking at similarities, core values like ‘What are your thoughts on politics? Your priorities? The lifestyle you want to have? Do you want to own a house or travel?’,” she said.
“I really appreciated people being so genuine and open. I was like ‘Wow, I want to treat this with the sensitivity and respect it deserves’.
“These people have obviously given their time and thought and showed vulnerability to me.”
Although it’s much too early to tell if any of her matches will make it to the altar (or just meeting the parents), Ms Schroder said she was looking forward to hearing stories from the singles she paired up.
“I hope it has been as uplifting and fun and sweet for everyone else as it has been for me,” she said.