Cellular ‘speed-dating’: new paper in Current Biology, proposing how fission yeast cells pair during mating. We showed that the dynamic exploratory Cdc42-GTP zones present in early mating cells contain pheromone secretion and perception machineries and that these zone lifetimes scale with pheromone concentration. Computational simulations of fluctuating zones stabilized by pheromone lead to efficient pairing, which relies on zone dynamics, local pheromone release, and short decay length. Experimental assays are consistent with this model. We conclude that efficient cell pairing relies on fluctuating local signal emission and perception, which become locked into place through stimulation.