Reading 9: SPEED DATING

Reading Exercise

Read the text and choose the correct answer A, B or C for each question.
Increasingly, these days, people lead busy professional lives in which they have little time for lunch, let alone time to meet the next possible Mr or Ms Right. The emphasis in our lives is on using time we have left outside of work well, spending ‘quality time’ with our family and friends. So, it’s no surprise that speed dating has become so popular. An activity in which busy men and women go to an organized event, have three-minute chats with more eligible members of the opposite sex than they would normally meet in a year, and then decide who might or might not be a potential partner, is a great example of perfect time management.

Speed dating is a relatively new phenomenon. Its first event was staged at Pete’s Café in Beverly Hills California in 1998, and organized by a group of Jewish students who wanted to meet other singles of the same religion. They were sure it was a good idea and expected that large numbers of people would enjoy it, but not immediately. Within a very short time, however, it had spread everywhere, and its popularity was confirmed when a speed dating story line appeared in the hit American comedy series Sex and the City.

It hasn’t taken sociologists very long to take an interest, either. An American study, carried out in 2005, discovered that it took hardly any time at all for men and women to choose who they would like to meet again in the future. Just seconds, in fact. This study would appear to completely undermine the argument of all those romantics who wonder how three minutes can possibly be enough to decide whether somebody might be ‘the one’. It seems that we know instantly. Interestingly, women have a greater instinct for this than men. In a 2006 study, carried out by a Scottish university, over 40 per cent of women, which was twice the percentage figure for men, had made their minds up about the person they were chatting to within thirty seconds.

Other studies have looked into how to increase your chances of success when attending a speed dating event. They have produced some interesting results. For example, what you smell like could be vital. And I’m not talking about remembering to wash before you go. Women are attracted to men with a similar background and interests but a very different scent. There’s no greater turn off than a guy with an identical natural body smell, it would seem. Height, too, seems to be important to attraction, although short men shouldn’t lose all hope. The important thing is to be a few centimetres taller than the woman you’re trying to chat up – being too tall can be just as bad as not being tall enough.

What you talk about can make all the difference, too. You’d think that speaking intelligently about the latest movie or play would impress the girls or the guys, but nothing could be further from the truth. No-one likes someone who’s too clever. According to a recent study, it’s life experiences that attract the opposite sex, so don’t forget to tell them about all those places you’ve been to and things you’ve seen.