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I've never tried speed, but...

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...now I've tried speed-dating -- or HurryDate, as this particular service is called. It's like Match.com with previews. You can go online and meet people, but if you want to get a look at them before you have to go on a real date, nothing beats a quick four-minute conversation at a speed-dating party.

So fellow LAist contributor Lindsay Watts and I infiltrated a HurryDate "Party" to see how this whole thing goes. The set-up struck me as very awkward when we first arrived at the bar. I felt like everyone was sizing up the potential dates -- or actually I knew they were, because I was doing it too. That might be how it is at normal bars too, but it seemed a bit more pronounced at our little party. I guess I had the same reaction I think a lot of people have at dating services -- I wanted to know what kind of people are also there.

We got name tags with numbers and cards to take notes about our dates. We grabbed a couple drinks and a few minutes later got to it.

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In a little more than an hour I had met an engineer, a lawyer, a graphic designer, a nurse, a teacher and a bunch of other professions I can't remember or never found out. There were 12 guys in all, ranging wildly in height, sense of humor, ethnicity and even native language.

The thing was, they all seemed very nice, but the "what do you do for fun?" and "where are you from?" questions got very old very fast. I felt like I was interviewed a dozen times, although I can't deny it was a good way to get to know a little bit about a lot of people in a short period of time. At the end there was no pressure to stay and talk and no need to drag out our small talk, which made the whole experience relatively painless.

After the party we're supposed to go home and fill out forms online to say "yes" or "no" to each person we met. I am having a hard time keeping all these guys straight.

A few people we met there said they'd done it before, and I guess it would be worth doing several times to meet as many people as possible, but once was enough for me. I'm glad I had the experience and I've been telling all my friends to give it a try if they're curious.

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And if you are interested but aren't ready for a full-on commitment, there is a free 30-day trial available right now. HurryDate says they are "giving away a FREE 30 day subscription to HurryDate Online. And as always, you get 25% off all events while you are subscribed."

To take advantage, simply click here before Sunday, July 22nd, choose the one month subscription package, and enter the code SummerFun when prompted to pay. This offer expires on Sunday, July 22nd. You will be asked to enter a credit card to redeem your free month so that we may provide you with uninterrupted service after the first month is up. You may, however, cancel at any time prior to that so as not to be charged.

As for the guys, one did let me take a look at his card right before I left. The weirdest thing on it? He had written "eye" next to one girl's name. I asked why and he said it was because she had a glass eye. I warned him the karmic retribution would be fierce.

All photos by Jessica Roberts for LAist