Dating goes back to the future

Initiating Love organisers (from left) Rebecca Aburn, Jay Chin and Barbara Leef are encouraging...
Initiating Love organisers (from left) Rebecca Aburn, Jay Chin and Barbara Leef are encouraging people to return to face-to-face dating. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
Looking back to the future are a group of local women aiming to reignite face-to-face connections.

Initiating Love owners Rebecca Aburn, Jay Chin and Barbara Leef are looking back to a time before smartphones and social media by organising a series of speed dating events.

Speed dating first emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a popular way to meet potential partners in a short space of time.

More recently apps such as Tinder had become a way to date through smartphones, but online experiences could be pitfalls for those looking for love.

The idea to find an alternative dating option began after Ms Chin had a bad experience using Tinder.

"I was pretty upset about it actually, and I decided there must be another way of meeting people."

After a sleepless night she rang her friend Barbara Leef and said she had an idea to set up speed dating.

They met with another friend, Rebecca Aburn, and the trio decided to team up to launch the venture.

Ms Chin said all three had heard stories about poor online-dating experiences.

"We thought we need to change the dating culture."

Since the Covid-19 pandemic people had become more isolated, but now there was an opportunity to encourage more face-to-face interactions.

"There’s a lot of lonely people out there and there is nowhere for them to go to meet other people, and it is quite sad," Ms Chin said.

Ms Aburn said there had been a huge shift in culture and for some people it had become harder to socialise.

"People are sitting at home conversing with keyboards."

The group have a number of events planned at venues including Emerson’s Brewery, Copper on Highgate and Fugue St Clair.

Different age groups were being trialled, including ages 20-30, 40-60, 25-40 and ages 60-plus.

Nights for the rainbow community will also be part of their offering.

Ms Leef said on the night people were given a scorecard and a number, and had four minutes for their speed date before moving on to the next person.

At the end of the night if there was a mutual match email addresses would be shared for people to make contact if they wanted to follow up.

Ms Chin said there was a 70% match rate for the first event they ran, and a number of couples had shared they had since gone on dates.

"We are not trying to make big money out of it, we just want to to get people out there and socialising."

By Simon Henderson