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A Brief History of Speed Dating: An interview with the man who brought the new dating craze to LI

LongIsland.com

Ok, ladies and gents, you asked for it! Well, not really but I'm giving it to you anyway - the scoop on Speed Dating straight from the mouth of a real pro, Long Island Speed ...

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Ok, ladies and gents, you asked for it! Well, not really but I'm giving it to you anyway - the scoop on Speed Dating straight from the mouth of a real pro, Long Island Speed Dating founder, Jay Rosensweig. Thanks to Jay, singles on the Isle now have another dating option, one that adds some sizzle to the weekends. According to the 34,000 hits that LongIslandSpeeddating.com has received up to this date, weekend Speed Dating has sparked a big interest. Read on to find out why.

L: Tell me a little about your background.

J: I am 32 years old and live in Bayside, Queens. I work as a manager for a Corporate Investigations company in Midtown Manhattan.

L: What gave you the idea to start a speed dating service?

I was tired of staying home on the weekends. I'm at the age where most of my friends are either married or engaged and noone was around to go out with on the weekends. I am not a big club or bar person to begin with so one of the reasons I started Long Island Speed Dating was to expand my social circle and make some new friends.

I had attended a competitor's speed dating event about a year or so ago and met a lot of great people. One of the things I didn't like about the event was that it was on a Wednesday night and that it was in Manhattan. I had work early the next morning and didn't feel I could really enjoy myself fully.

I tried to find other speed dating services that had weekend events, but none existed. I said, Wow, this doesn't have to be done during the week, If nobody else will have weekend events, then I will offer it myself. I also preferred to go to Long Island rather than Manhattan, but at the time, there were no services offering Speed Dating in Long Island. A friend owned a bar in Long Island and I convinced him to allow me host a few events.

L: What has the response been since you established your service, and why did you decide to bring it to Long Island?

J: The response has been GREAT and very surprising. When I initially thought of starting LongIslandSpeedDating.com I was really only targeting those in the 25-35 age range. I was pleasantly surprised when I started getting numerous emails from people in the 30-40 age range saying "What about us?" Soon after I started offering parties for this age range. Well it didnt stop there. Emails continued for people in the mid 40's range asking again "What about us?" The people spoke and I listened. I started having parties for men ages 40-53 and women ages 38-50 and that has turned out to be one of the MOST popular events.

I decided to bring the service to Long Island for three reasons. The first being that the New York City market was already saturated. Secondly is the proximity of Queens to Long Island. And last but not least is that I am always up for a challange. I would monitor other companies who would try to offer services in Long Island and would always find that events were being cancelled due to low turnout. I believed in the concept of speed dating because I know how hard it can to meet people nowadays and wanted to succeed in areas where others have struggled.

L: What does your service have to offer singles on the Island and how is it different from other dating services?

J: LongIslandSpeedDating.com offers singles the opportunity to have up to twenty dates in one night on the WEEKEND (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday). Each date lasts 4 or 5 minutes. There are a few other companies now offering Speed Dating in Long Island, but nobody else currently offers it on the Weekend. Other companies give people 8 dates and 8 minutes for each date. I think that doesnt allow you to meet enough people and those dates last too long. I mean, if you like the person, then eight minutes is fine and you would want more, but if there is no chemistry, than eight minutes is entirely too long.

I also adhere to the age categories for the events and ask people to show proper ID before participating. I dont think it is fare to advertise one thing and give people another. This results frequently in turning away people who are outside the age category, but want to participate. Other companies address this issue by actually saying on there website "If you dont tell, we wont tell." Personally I dont think that philosophy is fair to paying customers.

Unlike dating services that can cost thousands of dollars, our events are reasonably priced from $25-$35.

I also come from a very customer service oriented background and believe in going the extra mile and giving personal service to win a customers business. This has resulted in an unexpected semi therapist role where some of my participants have called me to discuss there dates and life stories. I will admit that its kind of fun.

L: Are there any safety concerns regarding speed dating, like there may be via Internet dating? For example, how much personal information is given out?

J: There sure are!That's why at my events I only provide someone's first name and email address if there is a match. Other companies also provide the persons telephone number, but I will not do that under any circumstances. There is a lot more you can do with a phone number than an email address. If people feel comfortable giving out there phone numbers themselves, then thats fine with me. But that decision has to come from them, not me. This has also lead to another benefit of speed dating. I get a lot of people calling me who say they dont have access to the internet. I encourage them to go to the local library and set up a free email account and thus they learn computer skills.

L: Where is speed dating held and what is the atmosphere like? Are food or beverages served?

J: Our events are held primarily at Bar/Restaurants. Events are planned for about 7:30 or 8:00 PM and the event runs until 9 to 10PM. The locations we select typically start getting busy at around 10PM and have a dj, band, or dancing, so many people stay at the venue and make a night of it. Food and Beverages are served, but are not included in the cost. We try to work out an arrangement with the venues where people coming for the Speed Dating event get a 10-20% discount on a meal.

L: What is the benefit of having brief "dates"? How much do you learn about the other person, and what have people said is a deciding factor in why they choose one person over another?

J: Brief dates are great because it gives you the chance to rule out anyone that you ABSOLUTELY have no interest in. A brief date doesnt give you a lot of time to get to know a lot about the person, so if you have some interest, or are not sure, thats what next time is for, and people are encouraged to circle yes for anyone who is a maybe. The brief dates just weed out the 100% No's. People also have the chance to socialize further after the events.

L: How much is the cost and what is the committment, if any?

J: The cost runs anywhere from $25-$35 depending on when the person registers and the specific event. Refunds are given (less a $4.50 fee) for anyone who gives at least 7 days notice.

L: How many events are there a month held on Long Island and what are the age groups?

We currently hold 3-4 parites per month on Long Island. Age groups are Women ages 21-35, Men ages 25-35; Women ages 28-40, Men ages 30-43; Women ages 30-45 and men ages 35-46, and Women ages 38-50, Men ages 40-53. We would also like to do a 50+ party and have had an overwhelming response from women, but only a limited response from men.

L: Are you single? If so, have you personally tried speed dating and was it ever successful for you?

J: Yes, I am single, and have participated in Speed Dating myself. I believe it is necessary to stay close to the mindset of the customer. I dated someone for a few months that I met at one of my events, but for now we are just friends. I have also made some other new friends that I never would have met if not for Speed Dating.

Check out LongIslandSpeeddating.com for more information, and to find a speed dating site near you!

Have you tried a new or unusual dating scene or do you have an inspiring story of love and dating that you'd like to share with LongIsland.com readers? If so, let me know...

As always, remember it's a jungle out there singles! Swing wisely.