The long awaited series featuring Mason’s most well-known iconic duos is finally back. This week’s Iconic Duo is particularly unique, as it involves an international companionship between Matthew Lyng and Chinese Exchange student Merlin Xu. If you believe that you are a member of an iconic duo or know of one, please email

Matthew and Merlin’s relationship is a fresh one- three weeks old to be exact, since the Chinese exchange students arrived in Falls Church. They come from two different worlds, but their obsessed fashion sense and apathetic humor brings them together as friends, and shows that time and distance is nothing to a true bromance.

On how they met:

Matthew: We had to fill out a survey and we took a personality test, including our hobbies and favorite classes. It placed us like similar people.

(Merlin whispers to Matthew, asking for help with translation)

Merlin: I put that I liked basketball and fashion.

Matthew: I talked to him for a couple of days (once they were matched online) and told him ‘Do you want to go to this concert,” and he was like ‘Yeah that’s my favorite band in the world,’ and that’s how you knew it would blossom into a lifelong friendship.

Merlin: (nods) Oh yes, High Brothers.

Merlin (left) and Matthew (right) pose for a photo on their first day together to show the shocking resemblance in their clothing. Matthew’s mom insisted on taking the photo, Matthew said, to show how they dressed. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Lyng).


On their fashion sense:

Matthew: I would describe Merlin’s fashion as hypebeast, flashy, with lots of Supreme. Our fashion is similar but I really dislike Supreme but that none of my business…

Merlin: I look for something cool and something that can make everyone to look at me.  Not everyone has it. Everyone likes it, but can’t get it.

Matthew: You’re the fundamental Chinese guy. He’s the epitome of every Chinese college student ever.

Merlin: (laughs) I looked at his WeChat and knew that he dressed well.

Matthew: We’re similar but were distinct. That’s what makes our friendship run. We bring our own flavor to the idea.


On their experiences together:

Matthew: We looked around D.C. and went to rec basketball games. He went to one of my hockey games, too.

Merlin: And we stayed up all night texting our girlfriends.

Matthew: Oh yes. We also went ice-skating. That was a new experience for Merlin.

Merlin: Yes, it hurt me.


On impressions of Falls Church:

Merlin: Falls Church is interesting…

Matthew: I took him around Falls Church and he was like, “Wow this is kinda boring,” and I agreed so we went out and it was great.


On learning new things:

Merlin: I learned to wash my hands before eating. Matthew’s mom tells me to do it every night before dinner.

(Matthew shakes his head)

Matthew: He also knows the word Chipotle now.

(I asked what he liked about Chipotle)

Merlin: Well, he ordered for me.


Merlin returned to China during the last week of February. In addition to visiting Washington D.C., Merlin and his classmates went to Boston and New York City where they visited New York University, Harvard University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Merlin and Matthew will meet again in the Summer, when GM students volunteer to teach English to the aboriginal group of children in the DougAou Village of Taiwan.

“I’m going to travel there just to see him,” Merlin said.


Laura Whitaker

Laura Whitaker

Laura writes about sports and current issues at GMHS. She is very enthusiastic for lame puns and caveman food.

(GMHS Class of '18; Lasso Staff 2014-18)
Laura Whitaker

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