PreDating: Match made in minutes
Staff Writer

Hate the downtown bar scene?
Want to go?
To attend Greensboro’s PreDating event, you must first register at the Web site (

Events frequently sell out and PreDating discourages people from showing up at the door because that can throw off the balance of men and women attending.
After you register, the event location will be sent to you by e-mail. Here are the dates and times.

* July 26: 6:20 p.m. (ages 35-45) and 8:30 p.m. (ages 27-37)

* Aug. 23: 6:20 p.m. (for women ages 35-47 and men 37-49) and 8:30 p.m. (for women ages 25-35 and men 27-37)

Tired of spending your lonely Saturday nights watching VH1 countdown shows?

Then a new business could help find your perfect mate in — get this — six minutes.

Yes, six.

It’s called PreDating, and it’s the latest incarnation of speed dating, a rapid-fire technique for people who don’t want to waste time on dates they can’t stand after five minutes.

Or for those who have exhausted other romantic alternatives. Such as meeting some nice fella at church.

Greensboro resident Daniel Richardson, a single man, is playing Cupid as the local event coordinator.

“I want to make this a better town for young, single people,” he said.

If dating 10 to 12 people without dropping tons of cash appeals to your inner Casanova, here’s what to expect.

Singles of similar ages meet at a bar or restaurant. Women sit at their own table, and men rotate around the room, spending six minutes with each woman. (Coordinators assure us you won’t feel like herded cattle.)

After each switch, participants circle “yes” or “no” next to the name of the date.

But there’s no sting of rejection. At least not right away.

You don’t find out anything that night, but within a day people with mutual matches (both circled “yes”) receive an e-mail with contact information.

The service is limited to heterosexual singles, but Richardson says he might expand to include gay and lesbian singles, as well as more specific interest groups such as single parents and tall singles.

Unconventional, yes.

But speed dating has led some couples to platinum rings and Caribbean honeymoons.

Carrie Long, an operations coordinator at Northrop Grumman in Virginia Beach, met her husband, Jim, at a PreDating event in 2003.

“I’d never heard of anybody doing this before,” she said. “A girlfriend signed us up, but she had to back out because she couldn’t find a baby sitter, so I went alone.”

Long made three matches that night, but after taking in a baseball game with her future husband, they began to date exclusively.

“It’s funny because when I got there that night, I sat in the parking lot and almost drove away,” she said.

“I heard my mom’s voice the whole time saying it made me look desperate.”

That night was the first time either Long or her husband tried speed dating.

“Sometimes six minutes can feel like 30 seconds, or sometimes it can feel like 15 minutes,” she said. “It just depends on who you’re talking to.”

If the worst happens and no one thinks you’re worthy of a traditional date, PreDating helps you lick your wounds by waiving the $35 registration fee next time around.

But don’t worry, Richardson says, most people get at least one match.

Jordan Schwartz, a Seattle resident who works at Microsoft, tried speed dating the first time three years ago but didn’t find a soul mate.

“If you go in thinking 'I’m about to meet my life mate,’ you’re setting yourself up for disaster,” he said.

“If you go in thinking, 'Best case I meet someone wonderful, worst case, I have a funny story to tell my friends,’ you’re going to have a fun evening.”

Contact Katie Reetz at 691-5091 or

We've had to postpone our plans to allow readers to append comments to individual articles until we can put additional safeguards in place, and we apologize for the delay. Until we are able to present that feature to you, please visit our existing reader forums feature to discuss this or any article.