For roughly at many events, you gain the power to decide within minutes if the person sitting across from you is worthy of your time, money and energy. The upside: No waiting to lock eyes at a bar, no accepting a guy's card so he'll go away, and no, "Hey, baby, wanna dance? And a night of speed dating is cheaper than most of the dining-club organizations, where singles meet anywhere from 2 to 6 people at a time over dinner.
"I did (a dining club) a couple of times," said 45-year-old named Steve, who manages collision repair shops in the East Bay.
To lead you to the promised land, the former marketing executive crunches the numbers for his new First Impressions Dating service, one of the latest entries into the look-'em-over quick, toss-'em-back quicker world of what's become commonly known as speed dating. Figure you'll score face time there with 15 potential dates - for 9 minutes at a time - and, as Fisher said, "You're looking at spending about a buck a head." Nobody said speed dating was pretty. Created in Los Angeles two years ago by a Los Angeles rabbi interested in elevating the dating process beyond bars and clubs, its original intent was to preserve Jewish culture by stemming the tide of interfaith marriages.
Yet with everybody from accountants in Los Altos to HIV-positive men in the Castro trying it now, there is a growing concern that the concept isn't quite what it started out to be: Serious.
He stressed that the JCC also offers onetime follow-up seminars on how to behave on a date. Our goal is not to see these people again." Questions exchanged at JCC events reflect that sobriety: What do you expect to be doing in three years?
"Right now, speed dating is the pet rock of the industry," said Rich Gosse, who has paired couples for 23 years as publisher of Possibilities magazine and chairman of the San Rafael-based American Singles.
After seeing everything from the human potential movement to Internet dating over the years, Gosse said, "People like (speed dating) because it's a numbers game out there.
Speed dating is for people who are picky." Yet that makes some speed-dating purists uncomfortable.
"Sure, these other places will get you dates," said Yossi Offenberg, who has coordinated speed dating at the nonprofit Jewish Community Center in San Francisco since February 2000. Dating is a means to an end, not an end to the means.
After two hours of this, the participants would jot down names of the people they wanted to hear from again. The same thing has been happening in large cities around the country.
If that person also wanted to hear from them, then a matchmaker would tell both parties about their love connection, just like in "Fiddler on the Roof." If both parties knew that there was a mutual interest, then one of them would be bound to call . Alternatively known as express dating, or by the trademarked Speed Dating, it's the quickest way to dump a loser short of dropping "cold sore" into casual conversation. Fans say that unlike trolling for matches on the Internet, you know that the person you're talking to isn't a 14-year-old - or hiding behind a 14-year- old photo.