Where do you like to eat in town? Do you have any siblings? What kind of activities are you into?
Welcome to the awkward world of speed dating, where an age-old cliche holds true: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That adage rules at Saturday's speed-dating extravaganza, one of fifty such events held across the country by 8MinuteDatingin an attempt to set the Guinness World Records collective speed-dating record.
"Scientists say that first-impression judgments are made in nanoseconds," says Kate Lacroix, organizer of the Denver date-a-thon, which will knock the standard eight-minute sessions down to three minutes in order to accommodate the crowd. "It's going to be a lot more hectic, but I think that three minutes is still definitely enough time to get a feel for someone."
Lacroix expects more than sixty people -- all single heterosexuals between the ages of 23 and 38 -- to participate, with each person going on at least fifteen timed dates. "The first two rounds are a little herky-jerky, but after that, people start to get the hang of it and you really hear that buzz, just like being in a bar," she says. "It's a great way to get your feet wet and meet lots of new people."
With over 100,000 unattached customers, 8MinuteDating claims that over 90 percent of the company's speed-dating participants meet someone they want to see again. And how do they know if they've made a love match? After every get-together, attendees indicate their level of interest in each potential partner: second date, friendship or business. If both people feel the same way, 8MinuteDating's automated matching system shares their contact information by e-mail. "It's very discreet and safe," promises Lacroix. "Only if there is a true match will it be pursued."
While Denver goes for the largest single speed-dating event, 8MinuteDating will also try to establish the largest simultaneous speed-dating record. "As far as we know, there is no record for that, either," says Lacroix. "That's why we want to set the bar -- and we want to set it high."