Virtual Speed Dating Service Aims to Let San Antonians Connect During Social Distancing

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Dating's gotten more difficult in a socially distant world. Sure, restaurants — one of the most common locations for first dates — have reopened, but there are still be a capacity limits, and many people still don't feel safe venturing out.

One local speed-dating service sees that as opportunity and is offering folks a way to mingle in a safe environment: on the web.

Speed San Antonio Dating is taking the traditional quick meet-and-greet model many are familiar with from movies and TV and taking it online. It hosts a series of online dating nights for people ages 25-39.

The Virtual Speed Dating Events require a mobile phone, a tablet or computer with camera and microphone. After checking in, attendees wait in a virtual lobby as the other online daters arrive. A host will pair them off in private rooms to get to know each other. After each seven- to eight-minute date, users will be rotated into a different room to meet a new person.

Throughout the night, daters make notes about whom they wish to see again, and send those choices to the host. If their selections reciprocate, a match notification will go out via e-mail later the same evening.

Speed dating has come a long way since the late 1990s. Even so, studies suggest it's got an imperfect record in building love connections. One study conducted by a pair of UK universities discovered that for every selection a woman makes, there's roughly a 50% chance the man will see her again while for men there's only a one-in-five chance that the woman will want to reunite.

However, the pandemic has forced people to get creative with things that would normally require meeting in public places, whether for work, school or, yes, dating.

The San Antonio Virtual Speed Dating event series will run May 16-28. Information on reservations, available dates, times and pricing is available online.

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