The concept of speed-dating originated in Los Angeles, California
in 1999. It was invented by a rabbi to help singles in the Jewish
community find a partner. Originally singles were given eight
minutes together, to make an impression before moving on to
the next potential partner. At the end of the rotation they wrote
down who was hot and who was not, and in the case of a good
match contact details were exchanged.
The concept was soon exported, and took off in London in 2000.
The craze soon spread all over the UK, and spawned Speed
Dating Agencies and an Internet Site for finding Mr. or Ms right.
The eight minute limit is supposedly based on science. It is the
time required for our hormones to tell us whether the person
opposite us is a potential mate. In our increasingly busy lives,
where traditional courtship rituals are disappearing this time
limit has now been further reduced to only three minutes, about
the same time it takes us to brush our teeth.