Speed dating is an innovative way to look for a social partner. It usually involves a brief meeting with several prospective dates within a set period of time. In 15 minutes or less, you have the opportunity to decide if the person seated opposite from you is someone you might like to get to know better -- or not. If you are willing to go on a date with any of the participants, phone numbers or email addresses are exchanged. Cards are provided to jot down notes about each person you meet.
In (most places in) North America, a date consists of intention, like art. If your intention is to get to know the other person for a possible romantic partnership, you're on a date. The act of getting to know one another is called dating. Now, there's hooking up, friends with benefits, casual dating, and all manner of other things. Yet none of these are "dating." There's no courtship, there's zero determining if you're compatible romantically or long-term. You're just bumping the naughty bits, and that's why we North Americans have so many, varied terms for what is essentially a no strings attached sexual relationship.
While the term dating has many meanings, the most common refers to a trial period in which two people explore whether to take the relationship further towards a more permanent relationship; in this sense, dating refers to the time when people are physically together in public as opposed to the earlier time period in which people are arranging the date, perhaps by corresponding by email or text or phone. Another meaning of the term dating is to describe a stage in a person's life when he or she is actively pursuing romantic relationships with different people. If two unmarried celebrities are seen in public together, they are often described as "dating" which means they were seen in public together, and it is not clear whether they are merely friends, exploring a more intimate relationship, or are romantically involved. A related sense of the term is when two people have been out in public only a few times but have not yet committed to a relationship; in this sense, dating describes an initial trial period and can be contrasted with "being in a committed relationship".
Video dating systems of the 1980s and 1990s especially, where customers gave a performance on (typically VHS) video, which was viewable by other customers, usually in private, in the same facility. Some services would record and play back videos for men and women on alternate days to minimize the chance that customers would meet each other on the street.
I totally relate to this. Recently, a guy I was regularly going on dates with wanted to make sure my friend knew he and I were “non-exclusively dating”. The weird thing is he was saying it like it’s an actual title. Like a pre-boyfriend maybe? The biggest difference is on our off-nights, I was sitting around waiting for him to call and he was going out with other people. Clarifying what a relationship is becomes pretty important…especially after about date 3.
Generally, during much of recorded history of humans in civilization, and into the Middle Ages in Europe, weddings were seen as business arrangements between families, while romance was something that happened outside of marriage discreetly, such as covert meetings. The 12th-century book The Art of Courtly Love advised that "True love can have no place between husband and wife." According to one view, clandestine meetings between men and women, generally outside of marriage or before marriage, were the precursors to today's dating.