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Living large in SoNa (Prague) It is a well known and much lamented fact that as a generation, we have lacked a unifying occasion. ...

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By now, I'm sure you've heard of speed dating. Sex and the City devoted an entire episode to the phenomenon and ever since, absolutely everybody's doing it...

In fact, speed dating has been ‘the latest craze’ for about the past few years. Why? Because it’s fun, fast and… um, economical? 

Here’s how it works: When you enter the venue you are given a paper that has 25 blank lines and one ‘Yes’ and one ‘No’ box next to each.

You are also given a name tag with your name and your assigned number. When the dating begins you sit down and either stay sitting or move from table to table (follow the numbers on the tables).

After each ‘date’ you record the person’s assigned number on one of the blank lines and tick either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ (to signify whether you’d like to exchange emails). There is typically a break (like an intermission) half way through for drinks or the washroom.

Pretty much all of the services gave the same stats as far as average success rates go: About 80% of people have at least one match. The average person checks six YES boxes (for people they would like to see again.) Of that six, about three match up, with the other person also checking YES.

A quick summary of the pros and cons of speed dating:

Pros: 
• If you don’t have a way to meet potential dates, this is a great way to get a very quick overview of 20 or so people who are also looking for a relationship.
• You can ask pretty much whatever you want right away. If you don’t like the answers, you don’t have to waste any more time talking to the person.
• In comparison, with Internet dating a person’s whole identity (not to mention their sex!) could be completely false or fabricated. With speed dating at least you pretty much know that their motives are sincere (not to mention that yes, they are in fact male or female.)

Cons: 
• It can be superficial, as the way someone looks and dresses is a big part of what you’ll have to go on since you’re not going to get an idea of the person’s morals or character in a few minutes of small talk.
• You (or they) may check ‘No’ to the nicest person there, as a good talker and dresser would have more success at these events than someone who may be a bit shy but has integrity.

For research, (oh, the things we journalists have to do in the name of research…) I attended three fun-filled speed dating events. Also in the name of research, I chose three different persona’s for the three different events: Airline Stewardess, Professional Chef, and International Fashion Model. 

I was curious to see if these men were really serious about meeting an intelligent woman for a serious relationship. For the first event I told the men that I was a stewardess and was away for a lot of the time and therefore not looking for anything serious. As a professional chef, I showed my best sophisticated and educated face, and, as a fashion model, I was uncomplicated and bubbly.

Let’s see what the men preferred… 

Stewardess: 11 of the 15 people emailed within the first two days. I got fifteen responses as a stewardess - the average for these events is six YES’s being checked before the matching is done, and three final matches. So at fifteen it looks like the stewardess persona was a hit.

Professional Chef: 9 of the 11 people emailed within the first two days. Not bad - especially since the men were older and some may have thought I was too young for them… One thing I didn’t like is that they made the women switch seats after every date instead of the men. In my humble opinion, the men should be the ones moving because the women have purses, skirts, etc. Not to mention that the men could order food because they stayed at one table and the women couldn’t!

International Fashion Model: 14 of the 18 people emailed within the first two days. Great event and great results - maybe this had something to do with the fact that it was a younger crowd. Also, my fashion model persona was a huge hit (I wonder why?) It’s hard to say why this event was so much better than the others, but if I had to wager on another event, I would go for a younger crowd and choose the venue carefully.

Interested?
If you're in Prague, check out www.easydating.cz for the next event near you, and in Singapore, check out www.clique2click.com.

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