Speed dating is a relatively new form of dating where you go to specialized parties where you get to go on anywhere from 8 to 40 "dates" in one night.

It basically works something like this. You are pre-assigned "dates" to talk to, and every few minutes you switch to the next one. You rate each person on a card as either "hit" or "miss", and the dating service provides the contact information to people if they both scored each other as a "hit". You will pay the service somewhere from $25 to $50 for this event.

There are quite a few good things about this setup. The main one is that you will actually be meeting single people that are actually interested in meeting other single people. Not only will you get to meet a whole bunch of people, but you will get to do it without being rejected in person, as you don't find out your results until afterwards. That is certainly a plus. Secondly, the genders will actually be balanced due to the service requiring pre-registration.

But I do see a few problems with this as well. I researched the topic a little bit, and it seems that you are not allowed to ask a person's age or occupation. This looks good at first, as it keeps you from being instantly rejected as "too old" or "too poor". But all it really does is put off those rejections until later.

The next problem I saw is that the whole concept seems flawed in that it is going to favor the people who don't need help in the first place. You usually have about 3 to 8 minutes per person at these events. The tiny timespan means that people are going to end up being judged on how attractive they are, and how good they are at making smalltalk. Correct me if I am wrong, but last time I checked, attractive people who are good at smalltalk seem to have very little problem finding dates.

The next problem certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but it will affect some people enormously. That problem is the fear of rejection. Imagine being able to be rejected by 30 people in one night. The "Facilidate" website has a section where they list people who have gotten engaged to people they met from the service. But what I didn't see was the section that showcased people who got no "matches" and proceeded to kill themselves. I'm not kidding, I could really see that happening.

Someone here had a few good things to say about speed dating, so I figured I would try it anyway. The entire thing sounds like it would be three hours of sheer terror, but at least it wouldn't kill me. My local hip radio station has been running advertisements for "Facilidate" basically non-stop for the past few months. The advertisements told me that they had "Frequent parties for people of all ages". So I checked their website, I guess I have different definitions for "frequent" and "all ages". Their definition for "frequent" is about once every three weeks, while their definition for "all ages" actually means the "mid-20s to mid-30s" age group and the "mid-30s to mid-40s" age group. I am a 25 year old male, which would technically put me at the youngest end of the "mid-20s to mid-30s" agegroup, so I considered going anyway. Well, at least I considered it until I did some math relating to my area's different races, along with some blind guessing about how many women of those 30 would be in the "under 26" category, which is pretty much all I am interested in.

Using Google I found another service in my area that did have better age categories, including the coveted "22 to 27" category, which is what I was looking for. But all their parties are categorized as "Single Professional", and I thought passing myself off as "professional" would be a big lie, since I make $9.80 per hour and live with my mom. Not to mention the fact that the company seems to have gone out of business, as I was reading their website from Google's cache.

So, is speed dating for you? That all depends. It couldn't hurt to try if there is a party in your area that actually has people your own age. But it doesn't look like it is going to be happening for me.

Speed Dating at University

The Premise: Speed dating was introduced to British universities by a group of graduates from Cambridge in June this year. Trading under the name varsitydates.com they offered an evening of meeting 30 other like minded people in a non-academic setting. The idea being that you'll meet at least one person you like, and by 'matching' their yes to you, you get a match - and a 'proper date' in the future!

The reality: 60 young people crammed into a sweaty, but otherwise nice venue, seemed promising. Free drinks got the evening off to a good start and most people seemed to have made an effort: girls wearing pretty clothes, boys wearing aftershave (at least!). Problems didn't occur in the first few 'dates', but when you're part of such a small community, the inevitable questions are asked: I forget how many times I told guys my name, subject and college, in fact at times it felt like a job interview! (groan!) Making an effort's not a problem, but after 10-15 dates, I was not only losing my voice, but will to live... How much longer could it go on for?!

Ultimately, it is an enjoyable experience, but one I'd rather not repeat. Anticipating and receiving my matches was the most exciting bit, although I realised that I couldn't remember one, I had gone-off another, and I was already friends with the 3rd!! (we'd matched each other to avoid not getting a no-match score!). Nothing has come of my speed dating experience- but having said that, I have a friend who is at the beginning of a beautiful relationship with a wonderful guy - and all thanks to speed dating!

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