It’s easier than catching the bartender’s eye at Rick’s on Friday night and faster than the line outside of The Necto. All year, especially come Valentine’s Day, many singles find themselves at a lass for a great date or a fun weekend night. Tom Jaffee, founder of 8minuteDating, has an exciting and fast approach to the chaotic dating scene.
Eight dates, each lasting eight minutes, are on the agenda for event. Typically held at bars or clubs, the events provide an atmosphere ripe for meeting and mingling, costing at most $45, depending on the food and entertainment.
Tonight, 8minuteDating will host it’s annual cupidParty at Studio 4 at 314 S. Fourth Ave.
The party begins at 7 p.m. with two separate events that split up participants by age group — 21 to 29 and 30 to 40. Participants will receive a complimentary DVD of the British comedy “Coupling,” free appetizers and other surprise giveaways. There is also a cash bar at this $35 event.
The Arena sports bar at 203 E. Washington St. will also be hosting an 8minuteDating party on March 9.
“We’re primarily a sports bar, so it’s a different venue than a club setting. Our suggested age group for the event is between 20-30, although probably 21-30 would be better since there will be drinking available,” said Arena manager Justin Hakala.
To ensure safety and security, only first names and a number are used for identification. Participants arrive and are assigned to a table, where the first date begins. After eight minutes, a bell sounds and participants move to their next assigned table.
There is a 20-minute intermission after the first four dates, where participants are encouraged to mix, talk to people they found interesting, order drinks at a cash bar or eat appetizer-style food. Another four dates follow intermission, as well as a post-event party. Events typically last two and a half hours.
Participants keep a card over the course of the night to write down names and identification numbers of those they found interesting, attractive or would like to date again. At home, they send the information to 8minuteDating’s website; if two people have selected each other as a match, the site will send contact information to each party.
8minuteDating is so confident of its effectiveness, it offers a guarantee: if you don’t meet someone you’d like to see again, the next event is free (although you may not be eligible for give-aways at the free event).
Events host anywhere from 20-100 participants, always with even numbers of males and females. Participants are guaranteed eight dates, assuming that all registered guests show. There are also events geared toward same-sex daters. Event organizers plan evenings aimed at groups with specific interests (e.g. dancing) and age (e.g. 20-30-year-olds).
According to the website, more than 97 percent of attendees say that they enjoy the events, and over 90 percent meet someone that they would like to see again. Speed dating doesn’t have to be awkward or embarrassing, as proven by the hundreds who return to the events. Attendees say the best success tips are to go in with an open attitude and to have thought about interesting things to say about yourself.
Pre-registering for an event is not a required, but is highly recommended. If the idea of attending an event alone is less appealing than going on one more blind date, you can register with a friend.
Event Organizers will ensure that if you come with an opposite-sex friend, you will have an eight-minute date with him/her. There are events in almost every state, including several in Ann Arbor.
To register for an event or find out more about 8minuteDating, visit www.8minutedating.com.
Event Organizers in Ann Arbor are also available by phone or e-mail; information is provided on the website.
8minuteDating around town
-Tonight, 7 p.m.: 8minuteDating’s annual cupidParty, hosted by Studio 4 at 314 Forest Ave. Cover is $35 for eight eight-minute-long “dates.” Participents will receive a free DVD of “Coupling,” the British comedy.
-Wednesday, March 9, 7 p.m.: The Arena bar on 203 E. Washington St. hosts 8minuteDating. Participants are automatically registered for $20 Arena gift certificates. Cover is $35.