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What’s Speed Dating, Where Did It Come From, and What’s It Like?

What’s speed dating and where did it come from?

Speed dating is definitely the runaway hit of the dating scene these days. Over just the past couple of weeks that I have been watching, I’ve seen articles on speed dating in India, England(big hit there), Australia, New Mexico, at basketball games (not too successful), and for Rock ‘n Roll fans in Boston. A Google search on “speed dating” brings up 114,000 listings. The UK and Australia seem particularly well-represented.

Speed dating was “invented” in 1999 by Rabbi Yaacov Deyo in southern California as a way “to directly facilitate Jewish continuity by helping Jews meet Jews.” As we know, online dating took a huge jump up in activity after 9/11, when suddenly, being public about looking for love was okay. Old fashioned dating services and matchmakers suddenly became in vogue again too, and the market was ripe for the Next New Idea. Enter speed dating. Speed dating quickly moved out of Jewish circles, into the mainstream, and around the world. Entrepreneurs moved into the lucrative singles market with this new and enticing way of facilitating match-ups, and singles equally quickly snapped up the new bait.

What’s a speed dating event like?

Businesses have sprung up (HurryDate, 8MinuteDating, or BlinkDating, for instance) that plan and organize speed dating events for a fee, usually around $30 or $35. Folks who register meet at a specific place and time, often a bar or restaurant. Usually the format is for women to sit at tables and the men move from one table to another at a signal. I’ve seen the number of potential dates as anything between 8 and 25. The two new acquaintances talk for 3 to 10 minutes, depending on what the structure allows, then at the signal, men move to the next candidate.

After each contact, both people rate or score the person they have just met, checking something like “Interested,” “Maybe,” or “Not interested.” The scores are tabulated later, and if a match has occurred (both indicate “Interested” or “Maybe”), then the parties are notified, given contact information, and then the individuals take it from there.

A new slant on speed dating is getting going in India, via the British Asian singles market, where individuals can buy cheaper tickets to watch and not participate. I can see it now: stadiums full of people watching the action. Well, why not a reality show? Sounds like a match made in heaven.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord



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