Morpheus on… Speed-Dating

Elsewhere in these ramblings, I’ve computed the odds on finding the most important thing this life has to offer – the perfect life-partner – from any single encounter, at one in seven hundred and fifty.

This was based on the The Chemistry Of Love – one in fifty – multiplied by the odds on it being mutual – two in three – multiplied again by the odds on the couple having enough compatibility to enable the relationship to prosper (compatibility having ZIP to do with said Chemistry).

Thus to be assured of finding the right person, one needs to encounter seven hundred and fifty potential life-partners. Try telling THAT to a dating agency!

However, some bright spark came up with a logical answer. “Speed-Dating”. It’s a cross between a convention and a Paul Jones.

For the benefit of people under EIGHTY, I should explain what a Paul Jones is – or rather, was. It was a dance-hall (where most unions started in days of yore) ice-breaker, popular in the Thirties and Forties, where the band would play a link-tune (usually a two-step like “Here We Go Gathering Nuts In May”) which would alternate with a series of one-minute dance tunes: a foxtrot, a waltz, a Charleston, etc.

When the link-tune was played, everyone had to leave their partners and quickly form two concentric circles – girls inside, facing outwards – boys outside, facing inwards. The two circles would then rotate in opposite directions, so when the link-tune ended, everyone would find themselves opposite a new partner.

The new couples would then dance to the next piece, until the next link-tune. How do I know this, when I wasn’t born until 1952? I know everything.

So with Speed-Dating, someone hires a hall, does some advertising and brings name-tags, scrap-pads, pencils and a bell. Easy (and lucrative).

Then tables are arranged – in a circle if the venue is big enough – with a chair on each side. Everyone gets a name-tag, scrap-pad and pencil. Then, every three minutes, the bell is rung and all of the destiny-dicers play musical chairs.

By the end of the evening, everybody has met everybody – for just three minutes. What happens next depends on the organisers. Some just leave it up to the people to swop phone numbers. But others tell everyone to write down their names, with the names of those they liked. Then at the end, the organisers place all of the pieces of paper in front of them – and try to work out who should get who.

Of course, this second method can be VERY dodgy. When the organisers pick the matches, there’s bound to be some loser NOBODY liked, which means they may have to match them with the person THEY liked – who will very likely be the hunk/babe half the HALL liked.

And while they’re busy playing God, they may well inadvertently stamp out the perfect match, while creating several nightmares – thus it’s probably best to just let the people swop numbers.

Plus there are other pitfalls – like the numbers of men and women must be the same, or they’ll have people left over (not a problem with the gay version).

Whichever, it’s still a good idea. I mean, seven hundred and fifty dates? Even if a person COULD arrange that number – anyone normal would be burned out after the first twenty. And the TIME it would take to do it at a SANE speed would exceed most people’s LIFE-TIMES – never mind the five (ten at the outside) years that society gives us to find our Soul-Mate.

But given 30, 40 encounters in ONE NIGHT – if one travelled around, at one Speed-Dating session a week, one could reach 750 in just SIX MONTHS.

Which just leaves the short time spent with each encounter. But that too is okay. The Chemistry Of Love happens IMMEDIATELY. Three minutes is all you NEED. It took me FIFTEEN YEARS of active searching, to find my perfect life-partner. But if Speed-Dating had been around then, I would have saved myself MUCH grief.

Instead, I wasted YEARS dating ALL the wrong people (granted I nailed over a hundred of them, but let’s GROW UP – notches on the bed-post are no substitute for Love).

Incidentally, when you DO meet someone at one of these dos, forget about comparing compatibilities. Try asking this question: A bedouin is riding a three-legged camel across the desert – how many legs do they have between them?

Obviously, the answer is five, but the way a person answers this question may reveal much about them in a very short space of time. Like…

(Brightly) “Five.” Smart, trusting, eager to please.

(Slowly) “Well, if it’s not a trick question, five.” Intelligent, but cautious.

“What sort of question is that?” Stroppy.

“Wot’s a bedooin?” A moron.

And so on. Of course, while you are discussing limb-numbers, all of the usual visual and telepathic signals can go back and forth unhindered by mundane crap like, “Wot’s your sign?”

I’m long OUT of “Dating Hell”, but if you’re not – check out the small-ads for Speed-Dating sessions and GO for it. Good luck!


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