Walking into the venue and spotting the slightly condescending expressions of the bar staff, all I could think was, "Has it really come to this?"
When my buddy at a magazine asked me if I wanted to be involved in an article on speed dating, he said it would cater to my two great weaknesses - women and attention.
Entering the bar and taking in the vista of awkward women who'd gathered, I thought, "Oh well, one out of two ain't bad."
As you know, I'm no Brad Pitt, but I haven't got a problem approaching a wanna-be Angelina Jolie at my local. Rejection is part of the dating game. You win some, you lose others and sometimes you're a legend.
Speed dating seems designed to remove the pain of rejection, so you're not left holding your schooner like a life preserver after Angelina's turned her back on you at the bar.
If you listened to the hype surrounding the concept, you'd think it was tailor-made for visiting supermodels and over-worked young execs who don't have time to get among it and crack on.
From a male perspective, I don't know many guys who can't make time for carousing. From a female perspective ... well, if I could understand the female perspective, I probably wouldn't be a single father.
Nonetheless, if my mind wasn't completely open to speed dating, it was ajar and, after two hours talking to strange women, it creaked open a little further.
The 11 women I met seemed genuine in their desire to meet a man. I felt weirdly privileged to step into their lives and hear their dreams, even it was for just eight minutes.
But as one of my mates said when I told him about the experience, "Why do you need eight minutes? Thirty seconds is enough."
That's the thing with dating in the real world - you only approach people you're attracted to, and that can be sussed in seconds.
Speed dating removes this choice. You arrive and you're limited to the women on offer. And if you're not attracted to any of them, it's really just going through the motions.
Admittedly, we've all met partners where the initial attraction was low-key and love's grown out of conversation and shared interests – but really, is there any substitute for that I-wanna-chew-your-undies-off-passion?
Speed dating works for people who are shy, socially reserved or whose circle of single friends has been contracted by marriages and children. If it brings the hope of companionship and love into their lives, I'm all for it.
For me, however, approaching someone you're wildly attracted to is a heart-pumping business, and to have it packaged and controlled is like fishing in an artificial lake.
I prefer hunting in the wild.