Virtual dating has become the new reality. Tara Murray finds out why more and more people are logging on for love.
AS they enter the room they wait nervously. Given a name tag, followed by a glass of champagne to calm the nerves, they find a seat among the 20 or so other people.
For some it’s their first time, others are old hands.
But each are there for the same reason, to find love.
Lucy is among the crowd at this Fast Impressions speed dating event.
‘‘I’ve done it a couple of times before,’’ she says.
‘‘It took a long time for me to commit to actually go and do it and the first one was absolutely terrifying.
‘‘It’s a bit of fun and it’s interesting to look at yourself in a different perspective which you don’t get to do in a bar.’’ Lucy decided to try speed dating, as it fitted in with her schedule.
‘‘I’m busy with work and have a lot of personal commitments, so it’s quiet difficult to find time to come out and meet people.
‘‘This is an opportunity to meet people, instead of meeting people who are normally hanging out at a bar. I’m not in my 20s anymore.
‘‘I like to go to bars, but I’m not there to pick up people.’’
Lucy is part of a growing trend of singles turning their attention away from searching for love in pubs and through random encounters.
Instead, they hope love will find them, via online dating, dating agencies and speed dating.
While such ways of finding love have been around for the past 20 years, online dating no longer has the stigma it once had or is seen as a last resort.
For many, it’s the first place they turn to as the more conventional means to meet their match.
Online dating is still firing cupid’s sharpest arrows, with Australia’s first online dating site RSVP having recently celebrated its 15th birthday.
RSVP spokeswoman Melanie Dudgeon says Australians have embraced online dating sites as a conventional way to meet someone. ‘‘In the last five years Australia has been one of the biggest growth nations of people using online dating.’’