So Many Shallow People, So Little Time

By William Thomas


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With so few marriages today outlasting the warranty of the wedding gifts, I don’t know why I was surprised to learn about speed dating. Speed dating is one of the latest trends among “power daters” - singles in their late 20s looking for long-term mates in beat-the-clock board game style.

Renting trendy clubs in 22 cities around the world, dating services are offering singles evenings in which a client can date seven people in 90 minutes. And that includes the time it takes for the guys to get up after a seven-minute date at a table for two and move on to another woman. It’s like the lonely hearts club on amphetamines - courting on anabolic steroids.

So, in today’s world of dating, when bells go off, it’s not love. That’s actually the signal that all “dates” have ended and you must rotate to spend seven minutes trying to select the candidate who will someday bear your children.

I’m thinking the café set-up is costing these daters valuable time. The walking to and from tables, the distraction of music and drinks – it’s archaic.

Why not rent your local Tim Hortons’ donut shop for an hour every Saturday and speed date at the drive-thru window?

And if everything went really well in the first five minutes, you could get the Tim Hortons’ manager to marry you in a pre-packaged but lovely ceremony that would not exceed your remaining two minutes. Your new bride climbs through the window into your car, you drive to the nearest motel for the honeymoon, grab a fast beer and minute steak on the way and, before you know it, you’ve got two girls and two boys incubated on a “48 Hour Special” at InvitroWorld. They’ll start school Monday morning at the Grade 7 level in an accelerated math program.

By Wednesday, you could be in marriage counselling, by Thursday divorced and, after an appropriate healing period of, say, Friday, you wouldn’t even lose your spot at Tim Hortons’ drive-thru for “Speed Dating - The Second Attempt,” the following Saturday night. Perfect.

Sorry, but as baby boomers, we took dating seriously. We respected dating as a foundation for a solid and lasting relationship. And we took our time - as much time as we needed - to chill a bottle of Mateus Rosé, borrow a joint and put on a Doobie Brothers album.

We didn’t get to know each other. Hell, half the time we couldn’t remember we’d even met. And that made it even more special because your date always seemed new and interesting, and you could use the same lines repeatedly.

Today, well, it’s different. I have a friend who’s been on so many blind dates, one more and he wins a seeing-eye dog.

Though faster may well spell disaster, the rules of courtship and engagement have not changed. Here’s a few dating rules, one a minute if you’re still on the clock.

First, confirm that your prospective date is in fact someone of the opposite sex.

Second, do not be misled by heavy make-up or false eyelashes. With the media spotlight now off him, Bill Clinton could be dating again.

Third, remember the strongest sense of all - smell. Women are attracted by the scent of money, while a guy prefers a perfume that gives off the aroma of the interior of a new car.

Fourth, never underestimate the power of a good opening line like: “I know what you’re thinking but, as a matter of fact, I am the last man on earth. Can I pick you up at eight?”

Fifth, a date is like a job interview. And if you don’t believe that a date is a face-to-face application for a position of hard work, with long hours and little reward - go ahead, get married already.

 

FEBRUARY 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER AND LOWER MAINLAND

 

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