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Speed dating

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Funnily enough, Cameron wasn't present.

Funnily enough, Cameron wasn't present.

Walking into the venue and spotting the slightly condescending expressions of the bar staff, all I could think was, "Has it really come to this?"

When my buddy at a magazine asked me if I wanted to be involved in an article on speed dating, he said it would cater to my two great weaknesses - women and attention.

Entering the bar and taking in the vista of awkward women who'd gathered, I thought, "Oh well, one out of two ain't bad."

As you know, I'm no Brad Pitt, but I haven't got a problem approaching a wanna-be Angelina Jolie at my local. Rejection is part of the dating game. You win some, you lose others and sometimes you're a legend.

Speed dating seems designed to remove the pain of rejection, so you're not left holding your schooner like a life preserver after Angelina's turned her back on you at the bar.

If you listened to the hype surrounding the concept, you'd think it was tailor-made for visiting supermodels and over-worked young execs who don't have time to get among it and crack on.

From a male perspective, I don't know many guys who can't make time for carousing. From a female perspective ... well, if I could understand the female perspective, I probably wouldn't be a single father.

Nonetheless, if my mind wasn't completely open to speed dating, it was ajar and, after two hours talking to strange women, it creaked open a little further.

The 11 women I met seemed genuine in their desire to meet a man. I felt weirdly privileged to step into their lives and hear their dreams, even it was for just eight minutes.

But as one of my mates said when I told him about the experience, "Why do you need eight minutes? Thirty seconds is enough."

That's the thing with dating in the real world - you only approach people you're attracted to, and that can be sussed in seconds.

Speed dating removes this choice. You arrive and you're limited to the women on offer. And if you're not attracted to any of them, it's really just going through the motions.

Admittedly, we've all met partners where the initial attraction was low-key and love's grown out of conversation and shared interests – but really, is there any substitute for that I-wanna-chew-your-undies-off-passion?

Speed dating works for people who are shy, socially reserved or whose circle of single friends has been contracted by marriages and children. If it brings the hope of companionship and love into their lives, I'm all for it.

For me, however, approaching someone you're wildly attracted to is a heart-pumping business, and to have it packaged and controlled is like fishing in an artificial lake.

I prefer hunting in the wild.

Sam de Brito's latest novel Hello Darkness is in bookstores now. You can follow him on Twitter here.

59 comments so far

  • It's just another avenue for meeting people who are potentially looking for a relationship. Sure there are no guarantees you're going to meet someone there but it's good for a laugh and you can have some really interesting chats.

    Let's face it. Where else are you going to meet a bunch people who are also relationship/dating minded? In one room. Plus champagne!

    Commenter
    Dramatique
    Date and time
    December 01, 2011, 7:22PM
    • I prefer internet dating to speed dating.

      I'd prefer to decide who to meet up with, rather than walk into a room of around 10 single men, look around and think, 'Oh no, I'm not attracted to any of them. Now, prepare for an hour or two of small talk and repeating myself.'

      Having said that, if speed dating works for you then go for it!

      Commenter
      Lady Contributor
      Date and time
      December 01, 2011, 8:40PM
      • C'mon Sam,

        You're a good looking guy, so don't downplay that. I reckon you would have cleaned up at speed dating.

        I reckon you know within a minute; and half of that minute is working out if you could sleep with the girl.

        Speed dating tends to attract the shorter man and the taller woman for some reason.

        Having said that I know someone who is about to get married, having met at speeddating ... and she's a pretty good sort.

        Commenter
        Arnie
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        December 01, 2011, 9:20PM
        • Oh Sam, next time you are out hunting in the wild, let me know the location cause I'll be there. :))

          Commenter
          Purple Rain
          Date and time
          December 01, 2011, 9:58PM
          • Talking to 11 different people in 2 hours sounds excruciating, especially for the poor buggers who had to talk with me for 8 minutes.

            There is a scene in that movie 'As good as it gets' where Jack Nicholson's character is having dinner with the character played by Helen Hunt, they are making general small talk, engaging in the usual pleasantries, when Jack's character says something like 'this is exhausting'.

            That is what I think speed dating would be like, only 11 times worse if this article is anything to go by.

            Did you not just end up having variations of the same 8 minute conversation 11 times in a row?

            Commenter
            tugdraker
            Date and time
            December 01, 2011, 10:17PM
            • A bit nerve racking speed dating.There are easier ways to meet people I feel.

              Plenty of impressive, single women in Sydney. Just need to find one that doesn't describe herself as 'sassy' or has been affected by advertising, materialism or popular culture.

              Commenter
              kermit the log
              Location
              sydney
              Date and time
              December 02, 2011, 12:17AM
              • Back in '04 you get 5 minutes. And I thought that was long.

                Have you tried Oasis? A friend w/ a 3 year old daughter said he's enjoying it, and making genuine "contacts". He wasn't very descriptive about the quality, but it's FREE.

                The author Tara Moss met her husband through on-line dating.

                Have you tried signing your book at a library ? The library often provide the light refreshments (sometimes w/ house wine & cheese!). You've spent some time in Manly, did you venture out around Ku-ring-gai ?

                Commenter
                Ronaldo
                Location
                Coldest window sill in Sydney
                Date and time
                December 02, 2011, 6:17AM
                • Oh for frack's sake.

                  "we've all met partners where the initial attraction was low-key and love's grown out of conversation and shared interests – but really, is there any substitute for that I-wanna-chew-your-undies-off-passion?"

                  This is, in a nutshell, what I found so frustrating about my past dating life, the expectation that "it's either there or it's not". Chemistry, REAL chemistry as opposed to a mere hormone rush takes, as the name suggests, fermentation time. The relationship that finally got me out of the hell that is 40-something dating in Sydney didn't have "I-wanna-chew-your-undies-off-passion" from the very get go. It took an investment of time and communication and understanding, and that IWCYUO passion evolved quickly enough after that. And, 12 months on, it still has it. Every. Single. Day. I wonder how many "eyes met across a seedy bar" relationships can say the same, once the initial illusion gives way to reality.

                  Commenter
                  Sam Tyler
                  Location
                  Here and now
                  Date and time
                  December 02, 2011, 7:13AM
                  • but really, is there any substitute for that I-wanna-chew-your-undies-off-passion?

                    No, No there is not.

                    Commenter
                    Alix
                    Location
                    Melbourne
                    Date and time
                    December 02, 2011, 7:59AM
                    • On:

                      "Admittedly, we've all met partners where the initial attraction was low-key and love's grown out of conversation and shared interests – but really, is there any substitute for that I-wanna-chew-your-undies-off-passion?"

                      All I can say is that an old girlfriend of mine was amazing on so many levels including between the sheets and it took her two months to convince me because the attraction at first was lower than I thought it needed to be at the time. My last girl was incredibly hot, but we just didn't have the same connection or chemistry. Go figure.

                      Commenter
                      AB
                      Location
                      Melbourne
                      Date and time
                      December 02, 2011, 8:11AM

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