Speed dating is a formalized matchmaking process or dating system (a variant of a meeting system where the purpose is to enjoy romantic or friendship dates rather than decide anything). It originated in Jewish circles in the United States as a way to ensure that more Jewish singles met each other in large cities where they were outnumbered by non-Jews. It has been made more popular by its use on dating game shows–e.g., The Fifth Wheel–and has recently become popular in the gay community. Supporters argue that speed dating simply saves time, as most people decide if they are romantically compatible very quickly, and first impressions are usually permanent.
In the original idea of speed dating, men and women are rotated to meet each other for only eight minutes each, are forced to the next round no matter how much they are enjoying the interaction (or dread the next one), then submit to the organizers a list of who they would like to see again (a form of approval voting since any number of suitors can be approved). If there is a match, phone numbers are forwarded. They cannot be traded during the initial eight-minute meeting, to reduce pressure (especially on women) to accept or reject a suitor to their face.
Critics of speed dating say it’s shallow and tends to reinforce first impressions, which are often shallow to begin with. A scientific view of speed dating is that eight minutes is more than sufficient to determine if the range of a mate’s hormones, a key indicator of immunities, is complementary (different) from one’s own. This is claimed by some researchers to be the key factor in the so-called “first impression”, and since it is olfactory (smell-based), there is no need for two individuals considering child-raising to spend more time on first impressions, it being more important to “sniff out” other mates.
This view is often rejected by critics as reducing humans to dog-like status, sniffing each other and then running off to sniff others. Another objection is that dating has more purposes than the raising of children, and that the invention of speed dating by a religious minority intent on resisting assimilation (and thus resisting crossbreeding) is a cynical move to increase their own population relative to the majority.
Another criticism of speed dating is that it tends to put less extroverted subjects at a disadvantage, while those with low self-esteem have been known to experience depression or even attempt suicide if their efforts at speed dating are unsuccessful.
None of these views seem to contradict each other, and speed dating grows in popularity perhaps due to the very objections that have been raised to it.
Speed dating is considered, due to its low overhead and flexibility, to be akin to an agile method or open space conference. However, what’s at stake in dating tends to be very different than the matters decided in an engineering or political conference.
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