Love Bites

Couples subject themselves to speed, pressure, public exposure--and enjoy it

Donnelly-Harveston remains an upbeat advocate of the lunch date, in part because she runs a dating service but also because she first met her husband at a noontime rendezvous. To make a lunch date work, Donnelly-Harveston recommends a few hard rules and a lot of flexibility. "Have good manners, don't order spaghetti or ribs, don't talk about past relationships, be genuinely interested, ask them about themselves, ask them right then for another date," she says. "Most of all keep an open mind. You never know who they know." A lunch date, in other words, may generate business leads.

As Groucho Marx once said, if you can fake sincerity, you've got it made. And if you consider a lunch date as a networking opportunity, well, you can probably expense the whole thing.

Lunch dates are not for the timid, despite Raymond's initial proclamation. They exist in a high-pressure milieu, pressed for time, intruded upon, escapable and overshadowed by work. Or, as Raymond points out, "How can you enjoy yourself when you have to rush back to the office?"

Mark Andresen

Sometimes, however, they work. "I always say lunch is a better first date," claims Donnelly-Harveston. "Besides, if things work out, you can always go to dinner that night."

And if you make it that far, can instant gratification be far behind?

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