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HUMOR: NEWSPAPERS: Love on the Run

by STAN SINBERG


Love, on the run - Speed dating can take you from hello to horizontal in minutes
Speed dating. Newest big thing in singledom. Ten men and ten women in a room meet each other one-on-one for eight minutes apiece. Then whistle blows, and rotate. Do this over and over until meet all prospects from opposite sex. Idea is: why waste an evening meeting one person you're not interested in, when you can waste an evening meeting an entire roomful of people you're not interested in. Much more efficient.

Carl, our facilitator, says that regular speed dating is for wusses, because all you do is sit in chairs and talk. Instead, he says, tonight we will do real speed dating.

Date 1: Cindy and I decide to go to the movies. I buy the tickets, she gets the popcorn. We sit through three trailers, and then I nudge her. "It's time to go," I say.

"But we haven't seen the movie yet," she says.

"I know, but our eight minutes are up." We walk out and start arguing about the trailers. She thinks the next Mel Gibson movie looks good. I say it looks like crap. We also disagree on the new Adam Sandler film. I say it looks hysterical. Cindy rolls her eyes. I think this one is not going to work out.

Date 2: Frieda and I go out for dinner. I suggest a fast-food restaurant. Frieda agrees it makes eminent sense. I pull into a Wendy's. "Their chicken is better than McDonald's," I say.

She nods appreciatively. "Listen," I say, "Get whatever you want. Don't worry about the price." She orders the Value Meal, which I think is a nice gesture.

"I would've taken you to 'In 'n Out Burger'," I say, making conversation. "But we don't have enough time." She laughs, in between woofing down her Chicken Sandwich. I think she's a keeper.

Date 3: "Look at you," Helen says. "Your shirt's sticking out, you're wearing a tie that doesn't match, your pants are stained, and you're wearing two different types of shoes."

"Sorry," I say. "I speed-dressed."

"Speed-dressed?"

"Well, you know, I didn't think it really made sense to spend forty-five minutes putting together an outfit for an eight minute date, so I, uh, got dressed in thirty-seven sec-"

Helen turns me around, pushes me out, and slams the door. Geez, if I knew this was going to end so quickly, I could've squeezed in another date..

Date 4: I meet Joanna. The "hellos" are fantastic, the "what do you dos" are incredible, and by the time we get to "where are you from" I want this woman to bear my children. Unfortunately the "where do you see yourself in five years" doesn't go very well, and all hell breaks loose during "what do you like to do for fun?"

"It's over," she says.

"Look, every relationship has ups and downs," I say. "It's normal."

Joanna gets up to leave.

"What," I say. "You're just going to throw out those first four and a half minutes?"

Date 5: Suddenly five dogs are sniffing my crotch.

"Hey, cut it out," I say, pushing the dogs away.

"Oh, you don't like animals," Denice snaps. "Let's go, Bruce, Oreo, Heidi, Mickey, and Shane." Date 6: Sarah says she'd like us to take a "long walk on the beach." Uh-oh, I think. She's one of those. We walk about a block-and-a-half and she says, "Ok, let's turn around."

"We have time to walk a couple more blocks," I say.

She shakes her head. "We have to leave three minutes for cuddling in front of a fireplace."

I have to admit: if you're going to do one of these beach walk/fire cuddling dates, this is the way to do it.

Date 7: Connie and I develop an instant, almost visceral dislike for each other. We exchange all the "vitals" - where we're from, what we're looking for, etc. I look at my watch. Oh God, there's still six minutes and forty seconds left! Speed-dating, my eye! When you're with someone you can't stand, eight minutes is an eternity!

Date 8: "Do you believe in sex on the first speed-date?" Kimmi asks me.

"I think we only have time for a 'quickie,'? I say.

"Duh," Kimmi replies.

Kimmi is incredible. We try seven positions, including three I've never heard of before. I'm barely sleeping forty seconds when Kimmi says, "Ok, we have to go now."

It's the most-amazing 5 Minute Stand I've ever had in my life.

Date 9: "You're late," Mona scolds.

"Only five minutes," I reply.

"Six," she answers. "That leaves us two *&%&*# minutes!"

"Well, you gonna spend the whole date bitching?" I ask.

Date 10: "Are you speed-dating anybody else?" Dolores asks me.

"Uh, only the nine other women in this room," I answer. "But nobody you don't know about."

"I want us to speed-date exclusively," she says.

"We could go out longer next time," I reply.

Dolores says, "I don't do long dates."

"But that's the idea of speed-dating," I say.

"Oh, I must be mistaken," she replies: "I thought this was the dating group for people with ADD."