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Living and dating in the fast lane

“Honey, have you ever heard of speed dating?” I asked husband-head while I was reading the paper and he was, of course, watching a football game on TV.

“Yeah, sure,” he answered without taking his eyes off the tube. “It’s when you take a chick out out to dinner and then try to make it home in time so you can still watch the game.”

Well, maybe for husband-head …



But according to the newspaper story, speed dating has been around for a few years and basically involves a group of men and women who spend between five and eight minutes exchanging questions about each other before moving on to the next “date.”

“Participants are paired up and have five minutes to get to know each other,” the article said. “When the five minutes are up, the men move one table down to talk with the next woman.”



This concept was clearly developed by a man …

At the end of the evening, each person submits a secret list of who they would like to go on a real date with after the event and, if the feelings are mutual, the two are matched up. The cost of a speed dating session ranges from $30-$35.

“We had names for women who dated eight guys in one night back when I was growing up,” I pointed out to husband-head. “Whatever happened to a good old-fashioned date where you had to pretend to be violently ill if it wasn’t going well?”

But husband-head was more interested in the game on TV than discussing speed dating, so I called my best friend Marianne instead, who has three teenage children.

“Hey, have you heard about this speed thing?” I asked her. “I just found out about it.”

“What, are you moonlighting for the DEA now?” Marianne laughed. “I don’t know what rock you just climbed out from under, but speed has been around for a long time.”

I told her I wasn’t talking about drugs and explained the speed dating process.

“How in the world do you get to know somebody in five minutes?” Marianne wondered. “And if you spent that much money for the speed date, you wouldn’t have any money left for a real date afterwards …”

But I was curious as to how one would go about getting to know someone in such a short time to determine if they were worthy of a full-blown date.

“The person could be an axe murderer for all you would know,” I told Marianne. “Do they screen these people at all?”

“I don’t know,” Marianne admitted. “I suppose if you have the money and can maneuver from one table to the other, you’re in.”

I made a mental list of questions I would personally ask someone if I had to evaluate them in just a few moments.

1. Are your fingerprints on file with the local law enforcement agency? If so, why?

2. Do you live with your mother?

3. Boxers or briefs?

4. Do you have any removable body parts?

5. Does your wife know you’re here?

The whole idea sounded weird to me, and did not fit in with the ritual courtship process that humans and even some animals have engaged in for centuries.

“It’s not natural,” I told Marianne. “Everyone should have to kiss the same amount of toads that we did growing up before finding Prince Charming.”

“Then I take it you haven’t heard about ‘friends with benefits,'” she taunted. “You’re going to love THAT one.”

Friends that have health benefits at work? Friends who have a 401K? Friends who have paid vacation time?

“I think most of my friends have benefits,” I said defensively. “I don’t have a problem with that.”

“No, silly,” Marianne admonished. “It’s a bunch of friends who, you know, hook up together but aren’t emotionally attached.”

Great! Friends with STDs!

“Good Lord, what will they come up with next?” I asked Marianne. “Speed SEX?”

Marianne was quite for a moment.

“Ummm, actually that’s been around for a while, too,” Marianne said quietly. “It’s called ‘marriage.'”

Heidi Rice is a Rifle correspondent for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.


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