This article first appeared in the Feb. 1, 2002 issue of Jewish News of Greater Phoenix.

I originally intended to write this column about the Valley premiere of SpeedDating – an evening which introduces seven men to seven women in 90 minutes.

But, due to a lack of participants, it was canceled.

I was intrigued by the idea of SpeedDating – I had heard of its success in Los Angeles and felt proud that the international organization Aish HaTorah had considered bringing it to Phoenix. Our desert city would now join the ranks of cities in 25 other states throughout America, three Canadian provinces and seven other countries, all recognized by Aish HaTorah as viable singles markets.

We were on the map.

But the 14 people between ages 25-35 needed to make the evening happen never materialized.

A few people I spoke to were reluctant to sign up because they assumed they probably wouldn’t meet anyone new – Phoenix tends to be a small singles community and often the same familiar faces show up at the various events. The possibility of spending seven minutes with a previous bad date was just not worth it, they said.

The odd thing was that it was the men who caused the SpeedDating shortage. What were they thinking? Where else can they date seven women in one night for just $35? And that includes cappuccino.

Maybe I’m just more optimistic than most because I reentered the dating world only a couple of years ago after several years of marriage. I haven’t yet reached the level of disappointment others seem to have reached. I’m still enjoying being single and taking part in the various activities, from happy hours and hikes to community-service work and educational programs.

Sure, I want to meet that “special someone” but that is not my raison d’ˆtre right now. I know from experience that marriage is full of compromise and work and frankly, I don’t mind the break.

Since I was married through most of my 20s – a time when so much personal development takes place – I’m finally getting a chance to fill my life with activities and people that I choose myself, without having to consult anybody.

Like any other aspect of life, the status quo can change in a single moment. When you least expect it, you can meet someone and lose the desire to attend any future events. Might as well enjoy singledom while it lasts – appreciate the freedom, relish the experience.

Granted, the whole dating process has changed since I dated in college. People who live across the country from each other develop lasting relationships through the Internet and people living within 25 miles of each other exchange e-mails for weeks without ever meeting.

It’s been interesting trying to adjust to this new way of life, and I’ve met some great people. Haven’t yet had seven dates in one evening, but I’m willing to try it.