The Seven-Minute Solution: ‘SpeedDating’ Cuts to the Chase


Ever go on date after date and wind up feeling as if you were simply wasting your time? After your fifth blind date with a guy who looked nothing like the picture posted on his JDate profile, you may feel like you've had enough. It's time to try something new. Then you hear through a friend about SpeedDating, an event where you have the opportunity to go on at least seven seven-minute round-robin dates in one night. So, you sign up immediately.

The night of the event, you walk into a dimly lit restaurant. Tea-light candles illuminate the room. When you check in, you get a match card and a name tag with your first name and an ID number on it. After about 15 minutes of mingling near the refreshments, the announcer tells everyone to take a seat.

An attractive man sits across from you, and the conversation begins. Instead of talking about where you live or what you both do for a living (the SpeedDating rules advise against it), you start by chatting about the vacation you just took to California to visit friends. He talks about a trip he took to Australia.

After seven minutes of nonstop talking, the bell rings mid-sentence. Wow! Your first conversation was much better than you expected. The host tells everyone to write down the name and ID number of your first date on your match card. The host tells you to discreetly circle "yes" or "no" to indicate your interest in being in touch. You circle "yes."

The men rotate, and a goofy-looking fellow sits down across from you. He starts by talking about an article he just read in The New Yorker. Turns out you read the same article on your way to work that morning. He makes you laugh for the remaining six minutes. Although on first impression you thought you would not be interested, you circle your second "yes."

The next date is not pleasant. Within the first 30 seconds, you realize this man is not for you. While trying to keep the conversation going, you wish you were still with date No. 2.

After one more date, it's time for a 10-minute break. The host encourages you to meet people you've not dated yet and to write the ID numbers of anyone you might want to date. You write the name of one guy that seems interesting, but spend the rest of your time talking to date No. 2. He continues to make you laugh.

The bell rings; you go back to your table. You go on three more dates, and circle "no" for all of them. The event comes to an end, but since you're age 33, you are eligible to participate in the second group of SpeedDaters. In the course of seven more dates, you write down "yes" to two others.

You turn in your match card with a sense of hope that one of these dates might pan out, and some relief that you didn't end the night saying, "It was really nice to meet you. I'm sorry, but I'm not interested."

The next day, you get an e-mail listing two matches from the first event, and another e-mail listing one match from the second. You matched with date No. 1 and two from the first event, and another from the second event.

Meet Your Match
Sound bizarre?

Maybe so, but you could be one of the hundreds of Jews who have met in this way, according to the SpeedDating Web site. With approximately 15 to 20 marriages made in Philly alone, what do you have to lose by trying it?

Rabbi Yaacov Deyo of Los Angeles established the idea of "round-robin dating" as another way to help Jewish singles meet in a unique and time-saving way. The eventual hope is that such meetings will turn into marriages.

He coined the term "SpeedDating," and it's since become a registered trademark of Aish Hatorah.

In the spirit of SpeedDating, I'm going to include some quotes from those who've participated in Philadelphia in the last five years.

"Even if you don't meet anyone you want to date, at the very least you will meet lots of people, and have interesting stories to tell." — Haziz, 53

"Andy's questions were interesting, not the typical thing. I remember thinking, 'I hope he puts me down, too,' which he did because we went on our first date 11/2 weeks later. We started with drinks, which led into a long dinner. Afterward, we went for coffee and then went to another bar. The conversation flowed so well that I felt like I knew him already." — Trish, 25

(Trish and Andy have been together since a March 2006 SpeedDating event.)

"With [SpeedDating], it's easy to know within seven minutes if you never want to see a person again. It can be harder to know if you might want to see them again. In the world of dating, if you can stand each other for seven minutes, that's a good sign." — Paula, 28

Wouldn't it be nice to get a whole lot of dates out of the way in one night, and for an added bonus meet your perfect match?

Well, nothing is guaranteed, but if you speed by this opportunity, you just might be missing out on your bashert.



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