Speed Dating Puts Relationships on Fast Track

By Matthew J. Gill
GateHouse News Service

Posted Apr 17, 2009 @ 12:26 PM

There was a good-looking gentleman chatting away with Gina.

Gina, of course, was even more attractive than he. This was all well and good, but the trouble was the gentleman’s time was up. The buzzer had gone off. People at surrounding tables were saying “nice to meet you” to each other, and moving on. Chairs were being pushed out, and then pulled back in by new occupants.
And yet he lingered.

You couldn’t blame him, of course. Gina was cute. View the scenario from my point of view – the next in line, that is – and I think you’ll understand how I felt.
Impatient.

With time being of the essence – this was Speed Dating after all – I waited a gentlemanly 10 seconds or so for this sailor to ship off. Then, in a friendly, fraternal gesture, one that was simultaneously understanding and yet firm, akin to Wayne’s daily dealings with Fred Savage’s character of Kevin on “The Wonder Years,” I put my hand on the gentleman’s shoulder, and asked him to continue his search, at least for the next several minutes,

He did, and for the next 7-1/2 minutes or so, Gina and I spoke about how the event was going, what we do for fun, what we do for work, our beliefs, and pretty much whatever else came to mind.

I have speed dated, my friends, and I have lived to write about it.

In February, WATD radio hosts Candita Mamet and Dr. Julie Johnson co-hosted a night of Speed Dating at Hanabi Restaurant in Marshfield. They held another in March, and a third this past week.

 “People are just having fun meeting new people,” Mamet, who hosts Sunday evening’s “Healthy Living” on WATD, said. “We want to match people in a healthy, safe way, where they could find true love.”

Married and the mother of three, Mamet said both she and Johnson – who’s show “Sex on the South Shore” airs Sunday nights as well – are often asked by callers where good people and good relationships can be found on the South Shore.

“I don’t think there’s really anything out there that helps people find healthy relationships,” Mamet said.
Through their Speed Dating events, Mamet and Johnson hope to create an atmosphere where locals can participate in “a dose of healthy dating.”

“Whether you’re looking for someone special or just want to broaden your circle of friends, speed dating is the best and most exciting way to meet new people,” Mamet said. “We promise you a fun night out in a cool venue.”

“It only takes one connection,” Johnson added, “to find true love.”
 
Eight-minute memories

Speed dating — whether of the five, seven or eight-minute variety — is a pretty simple concept.
The toughest part is actually getting yourself to the event, and I don’t mean transportation-wise.

Once inside, realizing that everyone’s there for more or less the same reason – to meet some sweet someone – the butterflies fade away.

Again, the rules are simple. The rest is up to the participants.

At the event I attended, the women sat at numbered tables in the restaurant’s bar area. When the games commenced, the men sat down across from the woman at a particular number table. As the night went on, the guys would move to the table with the next highest number.

At the end of the night, the participants turned in a list of names of those they might like to see again. And after gathering them all, the organizers sent e-mails to the participants, with the phone number of the people they “matched” up with.

While there was some disorganization the first night, Mamet and Johnson have been perfecting the program as they go.

Mamet said she’s heard back from a number of participants, and some have reported they found a match at the event. One couple – a plumber and a beautician – are now dating exclusively, she added.

Mamet and Johnson are currently planning additional Speed Dating events in June and July at CROMA restaurant in Plymouth. The cost to speed date is $10, and those who’d like to participate are encouraged to register online at www.healthylivingvideo.com.

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