Guidelines on speed dating

At a conference in Los Angeles earlier this year, Tinder CEO Sean Rad told press that the app now matches 10 million people every day.

Speed-daters, by contrast, have on any given night around 10 potential matches.

I elect for the high-five, but others get more creative.

A tall, bearded man across the room is hugging anyone who comes near him, while lots of others go for fist-bumps or little dances. Within moments, laughter begins rippling around the room and the initial awkwardness disappears. After that is a role-playing game, in which each pair acts out trying to get served in a busy bar.

“The problem is the busier we get, the less we have proximity to people naturally.” She also referred to “the epidemic of busyness” that seems to hit cities like DC especially hard.

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As the name suggests, it’s just like normal speed dating but with a twist: you can’t say a word to your partners.

Then the daters arrive, in ones and twos, slowly filling the bar.

They stand for the next 15 minutes nervously twiddling straws and re-tucking shirts. Since the advent of Tinder, Grindr, Tingle, and numerous other dating apps, the attention span of the dating world has shrunk.

A few minutes later, we have to gaze at the person standing opposite for over a minute. The room explodes into noise as couples begin laughing again, relaxing after the intensity of the eye-gazing game.

It’s a line I repeated to myself, a line I almost blurted out loud, at a “friend speed dating” event I attended in Washington, DC, earlier this year.