While I'm generally open to new experiences, speed dating has never really appealed to me. Having been and gone however, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.
Upon arrival, everyone is given a number and a short debriefing. Each girl is assigned a table to sit at, while the guys are required to move to a new table every four minutes, at the sound of a buzzer. While four minutes may not seem like a long time to get to know anyone, the advantage is that you only have time to focus on asking the character defining questions that are important to you. For me, they were 'if you could have any superpower what would it be?' and 'what is your favourite book, food and movie?' Needless to say, some of the answers I got were very interesting.
The lounge area was appropriately set up to suit the mood, with comfortable chairs and subtle lighting. Personally, I was glad the room was not overly bright – it meant I could hide my nervousness better. Halfway through the event there's a break, where everyone is given a free drink and some finger food. The event takes approximately 2-2.5 hours, including the debriefing and break times.
Before leaving, all participants are asked to hand in a scorecard, where you record each person's name and number, then either tick friend, date or no. The company will look through the girls' and guy's scorecards, and determine which ones are a match. A match is only a match if it is on both sides. If one person has ticked no, then it is not a match. This means that if you don't like someone, tick no, and you'll never see them again.
While I doubt I met 'The One', I had a good time and interestingly, I learnt a lot about myself. As you meet all the guys in the same way, by observing their conversation skills, politeness and confidence (or lack of), you can see what characteristics appeal to you the most. Even though I was parched from all the talking afterwards, it ended up being a night full of fun and laughter. After all, who else can say they managed to go on fifteen dates in one night?