A new study at the University of Aberdeen shows that it took participants at a speed dating event between two and three seconds to realise what a horrendous mistake they had made. ‘The findings came as a big surprise to us,’ commented Prof Stuart Marsh. ‘Previous findings suggested it took a full twenty minutes before the awful truth truly sank in.‘
In earlier research, participants described an initial sense of discomfort after about fifteen minutes of dating, followed by feelings ranging from moderate ennui to all-engulfing depression at between twenty and twenty five minutes. Some participants said that they experienced significant events from their lives flashing before their eyes, upon being asked what they did for a living for the twelfth time.
However, after an in-depth study of subjects’ body language, the Aberdeen researchers noted ‘strong signs of anxiety and distress’ only seconds into the evening. ‘They would scan the tables of participants for suitable mates, and immediately started checking for exits like trapped baby marmosets.’ said Prof Marsh. ‘By this time they had usually been signed-in and handed their personalised name badges, effectively scuppering any chance of escape. They then tended to adopt a posture of resignation and despair, before obsessively checking their haircut and clothing in the mirror tiles.’
However not all participants failed to find a partner, and Professor Marsh followed a number of couples through the weddings, honeymoons and after. ‘Our studies showed that humans take three to four years to realise that marrying someone they met through speed dating is a really bad idea.’