Dating Commentary – Why Speed Dating Doesn’t Work in 2015
I have done A LOT of speed dating!
When you write a dating blog, speed dating is part of the territory. And so for the last 2 years, I’ve attended more speed dating events than I can count. You name it, I’ve done it! ‘Elite’ speed dating, silent speed dating, blind speed dating, paper bag speed dating, cycle speed dating, literary speed dating … The list continues.
But no matter the gimmick, it always seems to come down to the same brutal truth. Speed Dating doesn’t work in 2015.
Speed dating originated in 1998, and was set up by an American rabbi, as a way for young, single Jewish people to meet one another. Back in the naughties, when the idea was novel, speed dating events attracted large diverse crowds. Up for a laugh, people embraced the novelty, and tried it. But as the years have gone on, the popularity of speed dating has dwindled … leading to very different audiences.
Unfortunately, the reality of modern-day speed dating, is that whilst most of the events take place in bars, the general crowd, particularly the men, are not people who are comfortable in bars. The very nature of speed dating means you have a captive audience. A member of the opposite sex has to talk to you for at least four minutes, and so this encourages the most nervous types of daters. People who wouldn’t normally approach the opposite sex in the real world.
If you’re nervous this can be a good thing. But the problem with speed dating, is that often the women who are attracted to speed dating events are VERY different to the men. In general, women will turn up in groups, and be more relaxed and confident about the affair. Whilst sociable women might see Speed Dating as an opportunity to broaden their pool of options, attractive, sociable men very rarely consider speed dating an option (unless they’ve been dragged along by a friend). And so you often end up with a load of attractive, sociable women, talking to more awkward, a-sociable men, who they would never normally speak to. This isn’t a recipe for success, for either party. The guys (who most often turn up awkwardly on their own) are out of their depth, and the women end up disappointed.
I’ve seen women walk out of speed dating events before they even start. I’ve even seen a woman raise her score sheet above her head at the end of the night, and demonstratively rip it to shreds … yes, honestly! I’ve seen men break down in tears, struggle to find conversation topics to last 4 minutes, and most recently one guy admitted he came regularly to speed dating events because it’s the only time women will talk to him!
Even if you aren’t the most socially confident person, speed dating can be more of a bane, because the nature of it – a short 4 or 5 minute judgment, sitting face on with a stranger in a forced environment – can make it feel like an interview, and make you even more nervous and awkward.
The unfortunate reality of singles events (and this applies all over the world) is that women will always attend. Guys are the hardest ones to attract, and confident, attractive guys are the hardest to attract, because normally those guys can walk into bars any night of the week and chat to women.
The key to a good singles event is organising something which men WANT to go to. And that is not being sat in a crappy bar, on the quietest night of the week, being forced to talk to 20 women. And organising something that doesn’t feel like an interview – an activity where you engage with others more naturally. Ice-breakers are useful, but you want to be sideways on and doing something which you can chat about, not forced to sit face to face in clinical booths, literally judging each other on a slip of paper.
Whenever singles ask me which dating sites to use, I always say you need to think about the men or women you’re attracted to. Which sites appeal to them? Which sites attract the most people you’re attracted to? Use those sites. The same applies to singles events. If you have a certain ‘type’, then look at your friends, and find the friend who most resembles that type of person. Where would he or she go? Would he or she go speed dating? If not, then don’t go – go to something he or she finds fun instead.
Yes, speed dating can work – but only if you’re the type of person who NEEDS a bell and a tick sheet to talk to a stranger for 4 minutes (but won’t get intimidated by the situation). If you’re not that kind of person, or not attracted to that kind of person, then don’t bother with speed dating, because you’ll only be disappointed.
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx
Wow this is eerily accurate. I found the same thing when I tried speed dating: http://laraloveless.com/2015/01/04/original-dating-review/
If I can offer a man’s perspective on this, you say that confident attractive men can walk into bars any night of the week and chat someone up. The opposite side of this is that attractive women can walk into bars and they will be chatted up. This applies to all of the models who appear in the stock photographs which accompany this article
The reason I’ve occasionally tried dating events is that while I am comfortable going into bars I don’t really know how to approach someone I’ve never been introduced to, particularly if she’s in an all female or mixed group and I’m on my own. Maybe this sounds really arrogant but at the dating events however I’ve found the women there have rather less attractive than the clientele of the bars I like to go to in South Kensington, and there’s been no one there I’ve really wanted to talk to. I’ve always had the impression that most of the industry operates on the assumption that women are particular and men aren’t
First off – apologies for the stock photos, but as I was saying I don’t like Speed Dating, I figured it wouldn’t be ethical to use photos from actual speed dating events in the article (not just because it would probably piss off the companies, but also because the people in the photos probably wouldn’t be too happy with me!)
Yes, attractive women may well be able to walk into bars and be chatted up, but very few normal women think like that. Whilst I have male friends who actively go out, and confidently ‘on the pull’, even my most attractive female friends would rarely ever go out looking for guys, and in my experience when women do focus on finding a man, they tend to overthink it, and almost end up driving people away, because it’s so obvious they are looking for someone.
Singles events are there for a reason – as an icebreaker. However unfortunately different events attract different types of people – and in my experience, modern day speed dating attracts under confident men, but doesn’t attracted shier women – so you end up with a mis-match.
In my experience I think the dating industry is quite the opposite – women tend to be the easier customer – that’s why most paid online dating sites have more female members than men. Yes, men will swipe right more on Tinder … but when you come to paid products and services, men are a lot harder to attract – for whatever reason.
Thanks for your comment
” but when you come to paid products and services, men are a lot harder to attract – for whatever reason.”
Porn Charly, porn.
BTW, a great article – as a guy who has gone to way too many sd events in Scottsdale, AZ I can say your right on the money.
Thanks for your comment 🙂
I’ve only been to one speed dating event, and it was a total bust. Some of the men were outwardly awkward, but most of them were just plain dull. I didn’t think to check out the women at the event to get an idea of the other side of the audience. Now I want to go to another one and observe both sides!
Thanks for your comment Misty 🙂
Just went with a friend to our first (and possibly only) speed dating event. This article described our experience perfectly: the guys were almost all unattractive, socially awkward, and dull. Many of them were fairly recent immigrants with very thick accents (lots of software engineers and computer programmers!). One of them (the most awkward conversation I’ve ever had in my life) obviously had Aspergers or some other form of autism. Only a few could hold an engaging conversation.
While in the bathroom, I overheard some women complaining about the event, how all the women were hot, and none of the men were even remotely dateable. Sadly, I think speed dating will be on its way out if the women who try it are only going to be one-time customers.
The reason good men are harder to attract to these events, at least to the ones where everyone is over 35 is because the good ones have mostly been taken. It gets worse for women once they are in their 40’s as the pool of men has shrunk even more. The divorced ones are in no mood to have the other half of their stuff taken and there are plenty of single never married women with which to meet, not to mention the scores of divorced women to choose from. Men are in higher demand as there are fewer of them. The really attractive and in shape guys these women 38 and up want are not dating women their age as they can still date with ease women in their late 20′ to early 30’s who have all original parts and are not constantly going to the doctor for women’s issues that seem to come on strong around 40 for most women. As harsh as this may seem it is what’s happening.
I’m a 42 year-old male in Phoenix, AZ.
Up until about a year ago I went to Scottsdale speed dating events about 1-2 / month. I think your article is pretty close to the truth except the ones I went to did include there fair share of not so attractive women and fuglies. You’re right they always come in groups. It’s also rare like you say to see men there that are not the stereotypical Asperger nerd which I could be classified as one but I have done the inner work to make myself much more attractive. I remember seeing at least one PUA/physically attractive guy (more than me) at these things and my guess is that they clean up.
But a funny/awesome thing napped about 14 months. Don’t know what caused it – probably turning solid in the 40’s and diminishing of my libido (although my free testosterone is strong) to the point where I am extremely happy being single and am happy / very content too with never having even a third date with any woman. And I am a good looking tall guy too. I’m also a very strong INTJ.
I’ve been to too many to count singles events from 36-40-41 and have exactly zero luck at even getting a date, even after my ‘transformation’. Am I bitter – hell no. It’s only been in the past 14-ish months that I have come to know who I really am. And if I had dated or God forbid knocked up or cohabited or married a women I would now to be dead. – enough said.
Instead I have lots of cash in the bank, a paid for condo in a nice part of Phoenix (cash for nickles on the dollar during he crash), Zero debt, no kids, no GF, no wife and a 867sq ft 2-bedroom 1-bath place all to myself 100% of the time and have a big bed all to myself is heaven.
Yes, I’m very, very, very, very different than the vast, vast, vast majority of men out there.
When I get the urge my EROEI for the way I empty my balls is through the freaking roof!
When I tried to do it the normal way my EROEI goes from 0.000000000000001 to 9999999999999999999 and then I usually have to rake care of myself anyway.
Don’t forget speed/online dating is a business – to make money for the owner not for you to find love!
Ok, what do you experienced speed daters think of this speed dating alternative?. I own a pretty cool mini golf course in downtown Chicago. In a popular park surrounded by the city. I want to do singles nights late in the evenings during the summer. It would work like this. There are 4 people per hole, 2 guys, 2 girls. They can be friends who signed up together or not but you will stay with your “wingman” the whole night. Each hole takes 5 minutes to play. You talk among your foursome so it isn’t quite as awkward as one on one and you have an activity. You mark your “scoresheet” and then the girls move forward one hole on the course and the boys move backward one hole on the course. You play a hole with the new group, etc. With an adjustment halfway through, you and your wingman end up playing with 36 members of the opposite sex.
At the end , everyone who has a “match” (you rate them highly, they rate you highly) ends up with a coupon for a free round of mini golf on another day with that person, (maybe mutliple matches) The coupon has the names of the 2 people on it. So it is an easy way to make that first date. 90 minute event.
With a permit we may be able to add wine or beer to the event. Yeah, mini golf can be cheesy but it is fun. What do you think of this version of speed dating? Does this address some of the negatives?
Hi Eric, sorry, only just seen your comment. Have seen mini golf work well as a singles event in the UK, though I don’t know what the singles scene is like in Chicago … in New York singles events in general seem a bit outdated?