In the pressure cooker of singles dating, trying to appear likable may take a little practice.

Michelle Valentine is dressed in bright red, like her holiday namesake. She is wearing a sleek, hip hugging dress accented with gold jewelry and a large-brim hat. She is a fashion icon for the singles dating scene she has captured all over Florida. She knows that things are really going her way for the evening. This particular highly publicized single mingle has drawn a full house.

Holding “date court”, as it were, at an old-line Italian restaurant, tonight she hopes those that have paid $24 for this get-together will find their own Valentine, or at least someone they can stand being with at some future time.

The idea is as simple as dating itself. For those who do not believe people meeting for the first time get their likes and dislikes of each other in rapid order, Valentine’sThree Minute Matchmaking” concept disproves all their notions. Placing women at tables, the assembled men move to each, one at a time, and have just three tiny minutes to see if the short interaction will result in the makings of a future get together.

When it is all over, and each participant has had the chance to try their best attractive “lines” on each other, their report cards will be collected and if two who sat momentarily together both expressed an interest, they will be notified by email of the others web address to pursue or not, as they choose. To keep it totally oblique, each has a number to display so the others can either “yea” or “nay” them clandestinely

As the sounds of comments such as, “I was married until two years ago“, “I have two kids at home, so I don’t date much“, and “What I do for a living might turn some people off” echoed around the room, some smirked, others frowned, one made a note, perhaps now mentally crossing off a number.

Valentine flitted between tables, making it a point to stop at males who were temporarily in an unattended backwater table for small talk. While some of the women seemed beleaguered by having to deal with so many short conversations, she was an upbeat sparkle in the room, flawlessly juggling the organization of the event while totally at ease.

When the last double pass had been completed, the participants quickly left. Some looked as if they had been though an emotional wringer. Others, likely to go home and stare at their computer screens until the good or bad news popped up, did not seem concerned that they might have a perfect rejection score in the offing.

One, heading for the door summed it up for me. “Hey, I got my three minutes worth. I put down I would like to see them all. Maybe I’ll get lucky. At least I didn’t have to fight off other guys to get their attention.

written by Mike Scott