The Origins of Speed Dating

Speed Dating
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A recent article in The New York Times interviewed Rabbi Yaacov Deyo, whose name is not well-known in the dating world. But it should be.

Back in 1998, Rabbi Deyo was brainstorming with some friends in his L.A. living room about how he could best serve the local Jewish community. This group included many entertainment industry execs, including game show producers. When the subject of love and how to meet romantic partners came up, the concept for speed dating was born.

A few weeks later, the rabbi was at a local Coffee Bean blowing a whistle as couples table-hopped one to the next, spending ten minutes at a time talking to each person. Little did he know the impact it would have in the dating world.

Soon, speed dating started popping up everywhere. It was no longer just the rabbi's idea - others had taken hold of it and used it in their local towns and communities. Speed dating was even featured in an episode of Sex and the City, where it was exposed to millions of people who were interested in trying it.

Since then, speed dating companies have expanded around the world. While the popularity of speed dating has waned in recent years, it is still a concept that many people find intriguing, if fewer are willing to try.

As a former speed dating host, I saw my fair share of awkward first dates and conversations that were stilted. They informed me of how to be a more engaging date. I was also inspired by the many people who put themselves out there to find love.

Speed dating is an interesting way for single people to meet. Some think it works best to introduce people who come from a similar culture, background, profession, etc., who would find it otherwise hard to meet people of their same faith or occupation but who have something in common. It gets a little more complicated when an event is open to the public. There isn't much filtering that can be done at events, other than by age or location. So, you really don't have much control over the types of people you're meeting.

While this can be frustrating, it can also be liberating. You could meet someone that you'd never choose on an online dating site, but in person you hit it off. Also, it forces you to engage with people who aren't necessarily your type. Speed dating is a great way to get past all those hang-ups we have about who we "should" date. It shows you that there are many kinds of people in the dating world, and some of them may surprise you.