Date: 6th Nov 03
Single people in Swindon have been rushing to take part in the best American import since Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Speed dating reached British shores two years ago and has spread rapidly across the country.
This week Swindon’s first speed dating event was held at the Fusion bar in Old Town. Fourteen boys and 14 girls aged 23 to 39 were set up on a series of four-minute dates. Once the time was up a hooter was sounded, and the couples rotated.
Afterwards everyone filled in a form indicating who they wanted to see again, and matching couples were later put in touch.
Ditch or Date Director Karen, who met her own partner at a similar event about four months ago, said the event was a success. “People are still nervous about it and they don’t know what to expect, but afterwards everyone said it was fun,” she said.
Karen predicted speed dating would continue to grow through word of mouth, as increasing numbers of people decided life’s far too short to wait for Cupid and his dodgy quiver of arrows to find a target.
“People who tried internet dating said they had spent weeks emailing people only to find there was no spark at all when they met. This way it’s almost foolproof. You get to see them, hear them and talk to them and you know straight away if there’s any attraction."
“Four minutes is not long enough to get to know someone, but it’s long enough to decide whether you would like to get to know them.”
In fact, a recent survey claimed we make decisions about the attractiveness of people we meet in the space of 150 milliseconds, so four minutes was relatively an age.
After totting up the figures for the Swindon event Karen reported more than 40 matches had been made in total, including 10 “hot matches,” where both halves expressed a keen interest to meet one another again. Karen admitted there was still some stigma attached to dating events, and some who attended had been careful about who they told. But this was becoming less of an issue, particularly as more people went to events and found out what they were like for themselves.
The next speed dating session in Swindon is for singletons aged 30 to 45, on Tuesday December 9 at Rudi’s Bar in Regent Circus.