For some, it was an opportunity to make a new friend, someone to get together with now and then.For others, the goal was for a more serious relationship, maybe even marriage someday.Any outcome is possible with speed dating, said Marcia Winter, the coordinator for Pre-Dating Events in Gainesville and Ocala.The nationwide speed dating service had its first session in Ocala Monday.One of the most common remarks is that people are impressed with the caliber of folks that sign up. With some, you'd like to see it be 60 minutes." Speed dating started about five years ago in Los Angeles, when a Jewish rabbi wanted to encourage relationships among single members of his faith.They basically are educated professionals who don't have time for other types of search, Winter said. It makes me feel like I'm a great conversationalist, like I can talk to anybody." Bob Spiegel, of Sparr, spends a lot of time in volunteer work and doesn't get the opportunity to meet women his age. "It surprised me that most of the women I talked to here tonight like jazz. It's not the bar scene, not meeting in a grocery store. The concept spread across the nation and caught the interest of Vince Gelormine, a Fort Lauderdale resident who was not Jewish.
"Even if people haven't met the perfect match, they still have fun," Winter said."In the Gainesville group, we have one couple that met and are still dating." Winter said survey cards following an event generally show people were pleased.Today, Pre-Dating Events are held in 63 cities throughout the nation.It's the largest speed dating service in the world, Gelormine said. They are generally held in a private area of a restaurant.
Each male spent six minutes talking to each female. Such was the case Monday evening, when 10 women and seven men got together for a speed dating session at Tony's Sushi Restaurant in Ocala.