Hayley O'Brien | Arts & Culture Editor
Every Wednesday at 9 p.m. the Whitworth.fm radio booth transforms into a romantic first date destination for “Steve Dating,” Whitworth’s “The Bachelor”-esque dating show. The show is equipped with everything one would expect from a first date: mood lighting, romantic music, a single rose, chocolates… and a few dozen listeners at home.
The bachelor, Steven, a senior bioinformatics and biochemistry major, asked The Whitworthian to omit his last name in order to maintain the integrity of the radio show which calls for neither person to know the other one before the date starts.
“I want them to be totally blind dates,” Steven said.
In order for Steven to remain anonymous, senior Elizabeth Jacobs selects the women who will appear on the show each week. The contestant then meets Steven for the first time in the radio booth right before the show starts.
To set the scene, the only lighting in the booth is a string of white Christmas lights. Music plays in the background to “keep the mood tense and romantic” and a single rose sits between the two of them throughout the date, teasing the question of whether or not she will be going home with it, Steven said.
In the T.V. show, getting a rose means the contestant is still in the running to become the bachelor’s wife. In “Steve Dating” it means there’s a possibility of a second date.
“I was proud of myself for getting the rose but I think he had to give it to me,” said sophomore Izzy Broussard, the first woman to be on the show. “He’s getting the show started. He can’t come off as a jerk on the radio.”
So far on this season of “Steve Dating” four roses have been given away and one woman has gone home empty handed.
“Hopefully the feelings don’t get too hurt,” Steven said. “I probably won’t give them a rose based on our interests or something like that. Nothing directly personal.”
Each show follows roughly the same format. First, Steven provides some sort of snack such as his award-winning pineapple cupcakes and a non-alcoholic beverage such as last week’s choice of tea. Then, the couple takes turns choosing music while answering classic first-date questions.
“I loved being in the radio booth,” Broussard said. “All those Christmas lights in there and hearing your voice in the headphones, deciding what music to play—it’s kinda fun.”
The show is expected to evolve over the course of the semester. Steven has been toying with the idea of playing short board games during the show or taking a walk and calling into the booth so the listeners can hear what is said live, he said.
“I wanted a hot tub brought into the booth but I don’t think that can happen which I was disappointed to hear,” Steven said.
Last week Steven hosted his first two-on-one date with friends junior Norma Heredia and senior Roxanne Miniuk.
Halfway through the date Heredia was given the rose during a formal rose ceremony where Steven talked about how the date had gone so far and played the song “Turning Pages” from one of his favorite movies, “Twilight.” After the ceremony Miniuk left and the date continued between Steven and Heredia.
“We talked before that whoever got the rose, it wouldn’t get between our friendship,” Heredia said.
The idea for “Steve Dating” came from his friend senior Tyler Kesterson while they were at the plug-in picnic, Steven said.
Steven and Kesterson met during their freshman year in Baldwin-Jenkins because their roommates liked each other. The relationship didn’t work out for the roommates but Steven and Kesterson have been friends ever since.
“Steven himself is an enigma. He’s kinda different from other guys,” Kesterson said. “He’s into ‘The Bachelor.’ He seems like the kind of guy who would be on ‘The Bachelor.’ He’s weird but he’s also attractive enough to make it on television.”
Steven first got into “The Bachelor” his freshman year. Now, his house has viewing parties when the newest episodes come out, he said. Pair his love of “The Bachelor” with the fact that he hasn’t dated anyone since his freshman year and the idea of a radio dating show isn’t so far-fetched, Kesterson said.
“I totally hope Steven finds a lady that gets his ecclectiveness,” Kesterson said. “I do want him to be happy.”
The last show of the season will be a second date with the woman he went on the best first date with, Steven said.
“There’s a saying on “The Bachelor”: Are you here for fun or to commit?” Steven said. “I’m here for both. I’m straight down the middle.”
Contact Hayley O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.