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Some things work just better offline

Tuesday September 10, 2013

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It sounds like a treatment for a reality TV show. Take 40 strangers. Put them in a room. Add a drop of alcohol. Force them to chat to each other for four minutes each. Light the blue touch paper and stand well back. Perhaps not even a reality show, perhaps simply a disaster movie. And yet this is what we do 6 nights a week, 51 weeks of the year. And we've yet to scrape blood off the walls.

Why am I telling you this? Because old myths still abound. While online dating has now reached a level of acceptance - 78% of single Londoners have used an online dating site - there is still some reticence around who goes speed dating and why. It's odd that mass acceptance should be this way round given the online dating industry's propensity to low security, rampant fraud and general dodginess. Even the more reputable sites struggle with the issue of fake profiles.

So I'm here to set the record straight. Think about it. You can come speed dating with friends; You get to meet people face to face - it's very difficult to fake a profile in person; you're not tied in to some monthly payment scheme with your credit card details safely in the hands of a faceless entity; and a company can't fold and disappear mid event.

You also know that the people attending are just like you. Curious, professional, confident and willing to give things a go. You're not trawling through thousands of profiles that could have been written by anyone to then spend days, or perhaps weeks, emailing back and forth only to find the person doesn't really exist or, worse yet, go on a date only to find that 6ft Sven the pilot is really 5ft 2 Kevin the unemployed dungeons and dragons player.

I'm still confused why people prefer to trust other peoples anonymity and all its concomitant risks above a good old fashioned meet up in the safety of a group situation while having fun and getting out of the house.

But look. Don't take my word for it. Sign up to a dating site. Hand over your cash and spend a month trawling the site and taking tentative steps toward maybe meeting up with a total stranger who may or may not be who you think they are. After the month cancel the subscription and check out our events. I guarantee you'll notice the difference within 4 minutes.

And if you can't wait - Check out our forthcoming events right here.

Words by Andrew Summersgill



The beauty of Speed Dating London lies in its no-nonsense approach. You take an equal number of single girls and guys, put them in a room and give them a few minutes to chat with every other member of the opposite sex.

When you get there

Original speed dating events in London normally begin at 7.30pm. You will need to register with our hosts and to begin with they will issue you with a score sheet. This will help you to keep track of the singles that you would like to meet again and perhaps go on a date with. After a short period of mingling, your host for the evening who will run through detailed instructions and give you your starting position if you are a guy or table for the event if you are a girl.

Meet & Mingle

A London speed dating event is split into two halves, each lasting around an hour, there will be an interval at half time of about 15 minutes for speed dating London. You will have between 4 and 5 minutes with each person, after which you need to tick a box on your score sheet - "yes, I would like to meet this person again" or "no. Thanks but no thanks". Or "friend" if you'd like to get to know them platonically. Make sure that you do this after each date to keep track. Afterwards there is an opportunity for everyone to meet and mingle informally - this is often where the real action begins, so make sure you don't disappear too quickly!

Complete your score sheet

After the event you simply tick who you liked on the Original Dating website and the site works about your matches automatically. If the dates you have ticked as a "yes" have reciprocated you have a match. You will be able to view the first names and message them via our site online without revealing your email address until you are ready to. You'll be having proper first dates in no time.