A normal first date is stressful enough for most people that you'd think cramming 20 of them into a few hours would be too much to handle. Well, that's what speed dating is and it's growing in popularity across the UK.
"Speed dating is a simple way for you to meet other busy singles," says Xdate, a speed dating company accessed through the Internet.
The service claims that the events are perfect for people who are, "fed up of not meeting that right person in clubs and bars, blind dates that don't work and the office romance is frowned upon."
The new practice consists of a series of 3-minute conversations with a collection of potential singles. Can you picture it yet?
Here's how it works, with Xdate: the women sit with a drink and the men travel around the room making stops for a quick chat with each lady. When the bell tolls, you jot a quick note about the person with whom you just conversed and then move on to the next. After the event, you enter your matches online and wait to see who marked you in return.
I was pretty curious about this new quick way to find a date, so with the help of a few drinks and the lucky pal whom I dragged along for the experience, I jetted off to a bar called Attica to get some hands-on experience.
Though extremely nervous at first, the night went by in a flurry of, "where are you from," "what do you do" and most importantly, "why did you come to speed dating." Though a majority of the conversations were fairly commonplace, some of them went in directions that gave me a little more insight into the potential bachelor.
A scholar spent about half of our conversation telling me about a book he was writing - and I will have to look up the published piece to remember his name; David informed me that certain American phrases I had used did not translate the same for Brits - this added to a bit of an awkward rest of the three minutes; and Tim discussed medical school and American traveling spots with me - we had a lovely conversation. The rest of the conversations connected me up with the match through a similar interest - loving Jack Johnson, for example.
Good Looking Results:
The evening was a success for me - I came away with a few matches and another date - and if I had really been interested, I might try it again. Speed dating is a step up from online dating because you are actually able meet a pool of singles and find out not only how they appear in person, but if you would like talking to them again after 3 minutes of face time.
Xdate and similar speed dating services foster a safe environment for singles to meet and talk with others close in proximity or interest. And some of the services get more specific for age, sexuality, religion and other alternative interests.
Not ready for speed dating quite yet? Try LondonNet's online dating service, where you can point and click your way to romance from the comfort of your living room.