Date: 13th Aug 03
You can't hurry love, at least that's what the songwriters say. Well some people want to disagree. For them there's the new phenomenon of speed dating.
If your quest for love has so far proved fruitless and you feel that time is running out - how about spending a night speed dating? You could meet a dozen potential matches and still get home in time to peruse the personals before bed.
The clock is ticking. Speed dating means you only spend a few minutes with each of your dates, so every second counts.
It works like this: an equal number of men and women meet at a café, pair up and chat for a predetermined number of minutes, then when a bell rings it's time to move on to your next mini-date.
A grown up version of musical chairs? Well speed daters say it saves time and provides a safer way to meet - no more waiting for the evening to end when you've worked out in the first couple of minutes that your date's a dud.
After you've speed-dated everyone in the room it's time to come up with your wish-list. You write down who's hot and who's not and if your top picks feel the same about you then the organisers will pass on contact details.
Rate your date! If it goes well for both of you romance could be round the corner Speed dating, unsurprisingly, comes from the States. It started in January 1999 as a scheme for L.A. Jewish singles to meet. It quickly broke out of that community and has become the hippest way to look for love.
The appeal is that you can meet a lot of people very quickly, which traditionally could have meant months of dating. It is also in some ways less demoralising than regularly trawling singles columns or dating websites.
David, a speed dater from the South East, says, "I think it's for those people who are cash rich time poor. It's a very good way of meeting a large number of the opposite sex in a fun environment and in a condensed period of time. I would definitely do it again and encourage a friend of either sex to come along and give it a whirl".
Luci, another speed dater, says, "It's a great way to meet new people but a gamble as to whether you're going to meet anyone".
However efficiency isn't everything. If your life means that you find it difficult to devote time to finding love, will you have enough time to nurture love if you find it?
SPEED DATING RULES
If speed dating represents the modern solution for the "cash rich; time poor" to find love, does it also mark the death of romance, or just another evolutionary step in human courtship? Speed dating may be the new way to meet, but after that first date it's down to more traditional methods of dating to ensure love blossoms. Then it comes down to care, consideration and time. The challenge is whether speed daters can find time for another in their busy schedules. Perhaps there will be a growth in speed relationships where you don't ever to have to spend more than a few minutes at a time with your "partner".
In the mean time your three minutes start now - Good luck, find your dreams!