Speed dating! If you think it’s a relic of the go-go late ‘90s — guys in fleecewear chatting up these ladies — or a mating practice of the hopelessly superficial and fidgety, you may want to try “deep dating,” like UK Guardian journalist Christine Ottery.
Whoa, slow down there, vivid imagination! The practices themselves amount to some G-rated physical affection and soulful eye contact, but it sounds like the attitude behind them is pretty solid: instead of mindlessly chattering away, potential partners get to connect on a slightly more “real” (and even spiritual) level than on a typical coffee date.
As Ottery writes:
Most of the sessions involve long periods of eye contact. Terrifying and liberating all at once, this is like skinny-dipping in someone’s irises, flinging off societal mores as you go.
Of course, eye contact is a big part of courtship whether you’re deep dating or not. Scientists have found that men gaze into the eyes of women they find attractive for twice as long as those they don’t. The researchers also said that women don’t use come-on eyes as much at first – and interpret this as a mixture of mistrust and the fear of ending up a single parent. I take it as a good sign, then, when I can stare somebody square in the peepers after just having met them.
Apart from the extended eyeballing and some pretty innocent body contact, not having to chat someone up is a sweet relief and makes for a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere. And once each individual mini-ritual is over, partners talk to each other, trading a mash-up of insights and giggles. Hawken tells me this can reveal, in a short space of time, the things you need to know about your suitor: “Can they listen? Are they sensitive to who you are? Are they able to talk about their feelings?”
Although Tantric dating hasn’t made a big splash in the States yet, I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time. In the meantime, we’ve still got that relic of the no-go ’00s—the cuddle party.