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   Inside Out - South East: Monday 24th February, 2003

SPEED DATING

a couple in a restaurant
DRESSED TO IMPRESS | You have three minutes to meet the love of your life

You can't hurry love, at least that's what the songwriters say. Well some people want to disagree. For them there's the new phenomenon of speed dating.

If your quest for love has so far proved fruitless and you feel that time is running out - how about spending a night speed dating? You could meet a dozen potential matches and still get home in time to peruse the personals before bed.

An alarm clock
The clock is ticking. Speed dating means you only spend a few minutes with each of your dates, so every second counts

It works like this: an equal number of men and women meet at a café, pair up and chat for a predetermined number of minutes, then when a bell rings it's time to move on to your next mini-date.

A grown up version of musical chairs? Well speed daters say it saves time and provides a safer way to meet - no more waiting for the evening to end when you've worked out in the first couple of minutes that your date's a dud.

After you've speed-dated everyone in the room it's time to come up with your wish-list. You write down who's hot and who's not and if your top picks feel the same about you then the organisers will pass on contact details.

a couple cahtting
Rate your date! If it goes well for both of you romance could be round the corner

Speed dating, unsurprisingly, comes from the States. It started in January 1999 as a scheme for L.A. Jewish singles to meet. It quickly broke out of that community and has become the hippest way to look for love.

The appeal is that you can meet a lot of people very quickly, which traditionally could have meant months of dating. It is also in some ways less demoralising than regularly trawling singles columns or dating websites.

David, a speed dater from the South East, says, "I think it's for those people who are cash rich time poor. It's a very good way of meeting a large number of the opposite sex in a fun environment and in a condensed period of time. I would definitely do it again and encourage a friend of either sex to come along and give it a whirl".

Luci, another speed dater, says, "It's a great way to meet new people but a gamble as to whether you're going to meet anyone".

However efficiency isn't everything. If your life means that you find it difficult to devote time to finding love, will you have enough time to nurture love if you find it?

Speed Dating - The Rules

Respect the bell - when it's time to move on, move on.

Be polite.

Don't ask judgmental questions about age, occupation or where your date lives.

Don't exchange phone numbers.

Meet everyone - No ducking out to avoid an unlikely prospect.

If speed dating represents the modern solution for the "cash rich; time poor" to find love, does it also mark the death of romance, or just another evolutionary step in human courtship?

Speed dating may be the new way to meet, but after that first date it's down to more traditional methods of dating to ensure love blossoms.

Then it comes down to care, consideration and time. The challenge is whether speed daters can find time for another in their busy schedules.

Perhaps there will be a growth in speed relationships where you don't ever to have to spend more than a few minutes at a time with your "partner".

In the mean time your three minutes start now - Good luck, find your dreams!

See also ...

On bbc.co.uk
You CAN hurry love (News)
Would Like To Meet
Going Solo - Survey into Single Living
Derby - Speed Dating

On the rest of the web
Speed Dating (GMTV)
Clocking Off (Guardian Unlimited)
I had only three minutes to get to know the love of my life (Guardian Unlimited)

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Readers' Comments

We are not adding any new comments to this page but you can still read some of the comments previously submitted by readers.

Gill Sims
Do you know of any speed dating agencies in nottm/leics area? I cant find one but the idea is great. I work full time and live in a very small village so no opportunity to meet anyone. Speed dating would suit me.

If you know a speed dating agency in Gill's area, let her know by filling in the comment form above.

John Horne
I wouldn't try Speed Dating or even Dating Agency's, If I couldn't find the love of my life, which at the moment is none existant, then I would just stay single.

Most of the young ladies are taken who like the average man, so as a man in his 30's, I just carry on with my life being single.

I have to say, if you have Family, Friends, then you don't need to have that certain women, but then yes of course I do miss that certain women in my life, but I just get on with life without one.



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