In our first two blogs we covered how speed dating works and how it all started, but what about alternative versions of it – or really bizarre versions of it – from around the world?
Has that classic ‘move around the table’ style of good ole’ fashioned speed dating ever been changed or altered to suit fashion, fads or cultural needs?
At Taste Date we’ve added a tapas dinner on top of the classic format, but in some countries it has gone even further, much further. Take Germany for example – singles on a train! In Berlin, in 2008, Deutsche Bahn (the folks who look after the trains in Berlin) decided to put on a ‘Flirt Express’ night for free. The format? Singles of mixed aged arrive at a train platform where a bar has been set up for them – and that’s just beginning of the night.
Then Berlin’s Panorama train (you might remember these in Europe, train carriages outfitted with massive windows that make up most of the ceiling) pulls in. Everyone gets on board and takes their seats. Then it becomes classic ‘move around the table’ speed dating, only the dates were around three minutes long, and the women stay seated in their train seats while the men move around the carriage – and nobody can get off! The train travels around Berlin for two and a half hours.
This free event became so popular (especially on Valentine’s day) that the demand quickly outweighed the amount of space available on the train. It even ended up spreading to other German cities – oh, and did we mention that every female guest got a free red rose and every male got a free pretzel?
There’s something very German and practical about the ‘Flirt express’, but things become more strange when we visit Japan, were a dating service hosts classic speed dating with a twist. Masks. No, not theatre masks, or tribal masks or cosplay masks (although they all sound pretty fun) but surgical masks. Yep, those paper ones often worn in big Asian cities to stop the spread of germs or to filter out smog. Why? The organisation running the event believes that the masks hide enough of the facial features, forcing all of their guests to judge each other on their personality, a focus shifts that makes people judge each other on their character, rather than their looks. Don’t worry we won’t be making anyone wear masks at any of our events!
Would it be hard to believe that there are now speed dating events in Japan that are mitigated by robots? Yep, you guessed it, small robot wingmen who sit on the table and do the talking for the guests – shy guests that is! The robots come loaded with the profiles of each guest based on a survey.
The robots then talk to each other, asking quests and making statements based on this data. The speed daters then simply sit back and watch the robot conversation in front of them. This robot conversation lasts for about three minutes, afterwards, the real life human get to decide if they want to continue on themselves pursue and actual conversation the old fashioned way, once this is done (or not done – awkward!) they males move around the table were another lady – and a another set of talking robots! – is waiting for them.
Join us next week were we once again explore more of the strange alternative versions of speed dating around the world.