Nine Minutes! That's all you get. Take a good look; write down her name and maybe a little note. Something like (the hot blonde girl), or (30-year old blabber mouth). That's what I had to do to remember whom I did and didn't like. But then I've always been bad about remembering people's names. It's good that we each had nametags, but still I had to make my glance towards their breasts (where they always seem to put those darn things) nonchalant enough for them not to notice. And if they did, I had to make it blatantly obvious that I was looking at their nametags and not their boobs.

Speed dating is the newest form of efficiently finding "the one." You get twelve dates, nine minutes each and here's how it works: youre given a sheet of paper to write your date's name and if you want to see them again. If you both circle yes after the time's up, it's a match. That's about all there is to it. A simple concept evolved from the idea that efficiency in the dating world is an untapped market. The chivalry of asking a woman out is dead. The hand-written letter was quickly replaced by e-mail, which evolved the Internet dating scene. And now the efficiency of Internet dating can be brought back into the real world.

There's just one problem though; many of us still don't like the idea of paying someone to get a date. In essence, you're paying a company to pimp you out in order to avoid rejection. On the other hand, you might get more than one date out of the whole deal, but is it really worth the bother?

Let's break it down: out of twelve dates, chances are pretty high that at least one of them will be interested in you. It's all about efficiency here. So go ahead, pay thirty-some dollars to have twelve blind dates in a row, but don't blame them if you forget how to ask someone out. Where's the thrill? The excitement of nervous smiles, the sweaty palms and racing hearts? Go ahead, have a million speed dates, but numbers won't replace that feeling of excitement when you first realize that she or he likes you back.

It's a good money making concept, it really is. Unfortunately though, my speed dating experience was spread a little thin because I was cheated out of 4 of my dates. I only met eight women due to the high turnover of men that showed up. Most of them bore the fresh glaze in their eyes from staring at a computer screen all day. You know the look: kind of droopy eyelids, slightly open mouth, the kind of look that says: "Hi, my name is, uh, is there a keyboard around here somewhere?" We've become so dependent on our virtual environment, on our emoticons and instant messages, we've forgotten how to do it in the real world.

The result: an eclectic group of 23-35 year-olds ready for a no-holds-barred two-hour-long dating competition. Thirty bucks and a couple of martinis later, most got right to talking. I still was searching for my table. People were everywhere. Apparently, they chose to meet in this secluded upstairs section of the bar the same night that the producers for the television show "Elimidate" was being filmed. Ironically enough, seeing the show filmed was a bit of a reality check. Sure someone wins the date at the end of the episode, but they don't actually go on a date after the show. Evidently, the Playboy Playmate that was starring on this episode of Elimidate took more of a liking to one of the speed dating guys that night. This is proof once again that all it really takes to get a date is to get out of the house and away from the computer.

The bottom line though, is that if you're looking to get some dates with a fast turnaround time, then this really does work. I'd say it takes about 30 seconds to decide if you'd sleep with someone, probably less for some. For most of my dates I knew exactly how I felt about them in the first ten seconds. Here's how it went down:

Date 1: Too old, talks too much, it took a lot out of me to keep the conversation going.

Date 2: Wow, she's cute. Hope she picks me.

Date 3: Yuck!

Date 4: Hey, how'd my mom get in this thing? (Just kidding.)

Date 5: Girl from Kentucky, really, really nice. In fact, everyone from Kentucky is nice.

--- Break ---

Date 6: In the Coast Guard, a little rough. The type of girl that would beat me up.

Date 7: Also in the Coast Guard. Now I wish I had a keyboard too.

Date 8: Drunk, ugly, lasted about 2 minutes.

Ok, so one out of eight isn't bad. I still say that if you want to meet a quality woman, you need to get your butt to the library. That's where the real women are. In the meantime, if you're thinking about jumping on the bandwagon with Speed Dating, I suggest you do your research first. There are quite a few services out there. The way I see it, as long as it's getting you out of the house and away from the computer, it's a good thing. Now get out there and go embarrass the heck out of yourself in front of some hot babes - just try and make it last a little longer than nine minutes. -
By Josh Edelson, San Diego Correspondent.