Speed Dating – The Minute Waltz

Well, three minutes to be precise, but who’s counting when all it takes is a moment to fall in love? Speed dating is one of the latest exports form America and it has taken Britain by storm. The word speed dating is a bit of a misnomer, when the event is actually quite relaxed and takes place over an entire evening. There is no pressure, or the frenetic activity of meeting people in a bar or club. It’s the perfect choice for busy singles, who don’t have time to spend dating in a traditional setting. Speed dating and other forms of non-traditional dating have become so mainstream that it has become the norm for many people in Britain to use some form of dating service to help them in the search for love.

Speed Dating started in America, in 1998 when Rabbi Yaakov Deyo devised a programme whereby Jewish singles could meet to find compatible partners. As befitting the very nature of speed dating, it was started in Los Angeles and became known as the updated version of the traditional ‘matchmaker’. It took less than a year for this form of organised dating to move out of the Jewish community and sweep across America. Glamorised in television series such as ‘Sex and the City’, it became extremely popular once Hollywood gave it the Silver Screen endorsement. It has taken the risk out of conventional forms of dating and has become a worldwide phenomenon that has grown so large in a few years that it has spawned a number of off shoots that allow people to really target the kinds of people that they would like to meet.

Before speed dating became so popular, it was considered a cop-out to have to rely on a third party to help you find love. There was almost something furtive and desperate about the idea of using a dating service. The idea conjured up thoughts of ‘men in macs’ writing into the personal columns of their local paper looking for love, or at the very least sex. The concept of speed dating has probably done more to change the reputation of using a dating service than any other form of third party dating. It has changed the shape of the social landscape and people who would never have considered using a third party to help them find love and signing up for speed dating in droves.

The aspect that has helped cement the reputation of the speed dating is that it is such fun. You can do it in a group of friends or you can go alone. There is none of the pressure associated with traditional forms of dating. It is all so above-board and transparent say the people who have used speed dating services. Everyone is there for the same reason, which makes a change from trying to find love in a more traditional setting. For single women especially, it has removed the fear of having to go to a bar or a club to try and meet people. These days there is still a stigma attached to finding someone in a bar and there is an obvious and very real risk to personal safety when meeting a stranger in a strange place.

The detractors of speed dating have said that it is a bit impersonal, but really, it is far more personal than meeting a stranger. The reason for this is that everyone is screened before the event, so you know you are meeting people who are there for the same reason that you are. This is quite important to some people who do not want to have to go through the hassle of dating someone, only to find out that they are completely unsuitable in terms of background, education, likes and interests and yes, even earning potential. If this sounds a bit Machiavellian, well it sure beats sitting through a blind date with someone you are never going to see again, who is completely unsuitable for you. With speed dating, you get the chance to meet a person and to establish in the first few minutes whether or not you would like to see them again, or if there is a spark of attraction.

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