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Speed dating

Sarah Horrocks
by Sarah Horrocks Published on 27 May 2008

In the past, we had lonely hearts columns, dating agencies, nightclubs, dinner parties, Blind Date and good old chance. Today's singletons have chosen to take control so that they no longer waste their time on tedious dates. Speed dating lets you meet a whole host of singletons in just a few minutes. It's a great laugh, and you never know - you could just meet your soulmate!

In the past, we had lonely hearts columns, dating agencies, nightclubs, dinner parties, Blind Date and good old chance. Today's singletons have chosen to take control so that they no longer waste their time on tedious dates. Speed dating lets you meet a whole host of singletons in just a few minutes. It's a great laugh, and you never know - you could just meet your soulmate!

What is it?
In the 90s an American rabbi organised parties to help Jewish singles meet and marry. SpeedDating® is now a registered trade mark. It became popular partly due to the episode in Sex And The City where Charlotte, who had just converted to Judaism, went along to a speed dating event. The concept was copied and has since spread to other countries and religions. It arrived in the UK in 2002.

How it works
- The new version of speed dating is organised events at which participants have a limited time (usually 7 minutes, which according to specialists is the length of time it takes to find out whether you like someone or not!) to seduce or be seduced by the person in front of them.
- You usually sign up online and the cost can vary depending on the organisation. The price can also include refreshments. The organisers often sort participants into categories according to age, job and interests to produce good matches.
- The men and women sit face to face, often with a drink in hand, and have a set amount of time to work their magic. You introduce yourselves, ask questions and chat BUT you're not allowed to exchange contact details: if you want to see a person again you have to wait!
- At the end of your allotted time, a bell rings to signal that it’s time to move on. The participants (usually the men) change places and sit in front of someone new. It's a bit like Blind Date meets musical chairs! At the end of the night, each person fills in a list of the people they’d like to get in touch with. If you both tick each other's names, your contact details are forwarded on!

For and against speed dating
Advantages
- It’s a quick way to meet other singles that match your interests.
- There’s no ambiguity and everyone knows why they’re there!
- It's done in a fun, friendly atmosphere, you meet new people and discover new places.
- You can experiment and test your flirting skills!
- It’s a good way to learn how to talk about yourself and gain confidence.
Disadvantages
- The production-line side of it doesn’t leave much room for the magic of chance and makes flirting a bit superficial and formatted.
- 7 minutes isn't long enough to get to know someone. Sometimes it’s too short, sometimes it's too long (but at least you don't have to put up with a geek all night!).
- Feeling like a product on a market stall isn't always flattering!
- You can end up gutted if a guy you liked didn't tick you on his list.
- You may come across serial losers, jokers or predators who are only after one thing!

Did you know?
- New innovative and more subtle ways have emerged in recent years:
Wine-dating. In learning the art of wine, singles can get to know each other around a glass of wine.
Cook-dating. While taking cooking lessons you can get closer to a handsome young man who knows how to make mayonnaise!
- Some smart people have used the concept to find suitable flatmates, employers, buyers etc.
- MTV has a show called Next, which is a TV version of speed dating!

Where to register
Search on the Internet and check out each organistion before deciding which one to go with.
For more information, see www.dating-advice.uk.com/speed-dating.shtml

by Sarah Horrocks

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