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The center, which caters to seniors, offers several singles groups, but Senior Speed Dating, which began in March, has become one of its most popular activities.
For $1 admission, which covers coffee and cookies, participants meet 10 members of the opposite sex.
Pairs chat for seven minutes before coordinator Sherry Bernstein, a volunteer, rings a bell and asks the men to move on to the next conversation.
Speed dating, invented by a Los Angeles rabbi who sought to match Jews for marriage, has been targeted to niche groups since shortly after it became popular in the late 1990s.
There are meet-ups for gay men and women, religious denominations and single parents.
But Bernstein has found that the elderly men of South Florida have been reluctant to participate, for an assortment of reasons, including the pressures of forced conversation and having to ask for phone numbers. South Florida's senior communities are famous for their unbalanced ratios of women to men and the butt of jokes about newly arrived or newly widowed men being pounced upon by lonely women. The problem of male participation in senior singles programs is complex, said Glenda Connolly, a licensed clinical social worker at the Green Memory and Wellness Center at Florida Atlantic University.
The average American man lives to about age 76, while women live to 81, the U. After the death of their wives, men often are deluged with social invitations.
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"They dragged me in here with a chain," joked Len Rosendahl, 74, of Delray Beach.
There are hundreds of single women of a certain age waiting to meet eligible elderly gentlemen, if only they would show up for Senior Speed Dating, a weekly event at the Weisman Delray Community Center, west of Delray Beach. But there's no waiting list for men, who often are recruited from the center's hallways at the last minute.