Speed dating is back – after lockdown, is it any wonder?

Get your little notebook ready (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

For years now, online dating has been at the absolute forefront of romance.

But, now that we’ve experienced a pandemic and multiple lockdowns in which dating through a screen was the only option, it seems more and more people are turning to an old-school, once derided type of IRL event in which the whole point is to get face-time with as many people as possible.

That’s right, speed dating is back.

Eventbrite has twice as many speed dating events listed on its books now than before the pandemic. From naked speed dating and drunk Jenga to tantra and single Black professionals speed dating, the event management and ticketing website has seemingly seen it all.

Eventbrite’s Sebastian Boppert said: ‘The figures are pretty clear – speed dating is back, and it’s more popular than ever.

‘There’s a place for online dating, sure, but after being stuck in our houses and glued to our screens for so long, we now notice a seemingly insatiable demand for exciting human connection in real life.

‘And this new breed of fun dating events we see on Eventbrite is the perfect way to have some in-real-life fun getting to know someone special.’

In a recent survey by the website, when asked about their thoughts on online dating, half of those questioned said there were too many fake profiles on the internet while 49% said there were too many people looking for one-night stands.

Meanwhile, 32% said they felt safer meeting someone in person compared to meeting them online, a quarter thought it was more honest than online dating because what you see is what you get, and almost one in five preferred events because they can attend with friends.

Happy young mixed race girl attending speed dating.‘People are just getting sick and tired of d*ck pics and players’ (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Dr Laura Vowels, principal researcher and sex therapist at sex therapy app Blueheart, tells us she thinks the reason speed dating getting more popular is because people want to seize the day post-lockdown(s).

She explains: ‘People are excited about socialising away from their screens. This is particularly the case for single people, who’ve spent nearly two years swiping through dating apps and embarking on virtual first dates during lockdown.

‘Rather than meeting a potential love interest through an algorithm, people are more interested in meeting others through more organic and social environments – particularly larger, in-person events – which could be why more people are turning to speed dating.’

Robert Ryall from Date In a Dash said the company’s speed dating events see attendees meeting 20 people in one hour. Sounds ideal for the post-lockdown(s) single looking to seize that day.

He said: ‘The general feeling I get is that people are just getting sick and tired of d*ck pics and players.

‘IRL events are much better, not just for finding “the one” but because it’s just a fun night out with your friends, a few drinks and meeting people.’

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Honestly, it makes a lot of sense.

Life is short – living through something like a pandemic can really drive that home. Stuff like time and being in rooms full of people no longer feel like things to take for granted.

‘As we move into our first summer months without Covid restrictions,’ adds Dr Laura, ‘lots of people will want to create fun memories with new people.

‘This latest dating trend is known as “oystering“, and it’s helping single people to go after what they want and without any hesitations – effectively treating the world as their oyster.’

If part of oystering for you means meeting as many people in one night as you can, then speed dating could be just what you’re after.

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