Well, three minutes to be precise, but who’s counting, when all it takes is a moment to fall in love. Speed dating moved to London from the USA 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 in London and other forms of non-traditional dating have become so mainstream that it has become the norm for many people in the UK 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 in London 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 6 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, as well as being more or less ‘in your circle’. 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.
The way that a speed dating event works is that an equal number of men and women, who have been screened first by the organisers, meet in a central location, usually in a relatively public space. The evening begins with an explanation of the rules and being given a ‘score card’, which is used to indicate your choices throughout the evening. Each person is given three minutes to chat to another person in an ordered fashion. If you feel that you have an attraction to the person you are talking to then you can mark your scorecard with a ‘yes’. At the end of the evening, the organisers will look through all of the scorecards and if your ‘yes’ matches another person’s ‘yes’ then they will exchange contact details between the couple and the rest is up to you.
While it does not guarantee that you will find your perfect match, it does take away a lot of the trepidation and uncertainty of meeting people in a more traditional sense. Matchmakers have been used in different cultures around the world for hundreds of years. Why should it not work now? The fantastic thing about signing up for a speed dating agency is that they are quite stringent about the sorts of people that they allow on their books. The owners of the speed dating websites and companies take their jobs very seriously and the reputation of speed dating is one of care and professionalism.
Speed dating is a warm and friendly way of getting to know people in a relaxed and convivial setting, without feeling any pressure or personal risk. Thousands of people have found love using speed dating services, and have started their lives together dancing the (three) ‘minute waltz’.
Due to the variety of niche speed dating websites in London, we don’t have a special recommendation for our readers. A quick search will do wonders and you can find speed dating groups in London based on your religion, type of job, interests and hobbies.
It can be intimidating moving to London alone as a ‘singleton’. It’s a busy city and a large one. The best way to meet people is to get involved, get out and get dating!