interview with a former professional matchmaker

Recently I discovered that a commenter here, Lauren, used to work as a professional matchmaker, and you can’t reveal that kind of info to me without me insisting on knowing more. Luckily, she graciously agreed to be interviewed, and here’s our Q&A.

How did you end up in this job? And how long were you there?

I actually applied to this position as a little joke to myself. I had quit a job the week prior with nothing lined up, and in the midst of all my serious job applications, I saw this one. Figuring it would be fun or funny to be a matchmaker (and figuring that I needed to start receiving a paycheck ASAP), I applied and got called in later that day or the next day to interview. I was there for 8 months before I left to take a job that was more in line with my career goals.

Tell us a bit about how it worked.

Potential clients would schedule an appointment with one of our Directors, who would conduct an intake interview to find out more about the client, what s/he was looking for in a match, and then determine if we had the right database of members to suit that potential client’s needs. If so, the Director would offer a membership package which was a set number of months or a set number of dates, whichever happened last, for a set fee.

As a client, your experience was different depending on whether or you were a woman or a man (we served only heterosexual clients). If you were a man, you were assigned a Coordinator (me or two of my other colleagues) and that person was your main point of contact for the duration of your membership. As a woman, we all worked together on your profile. Our goal as Coordinators was to meet a quota that all members had to go out every three weeks. So, each week, we had a list of members who were due for a date and it was imperative that we set them up and send them out.

Each morning, the Directors would sit down with the Coordinators and we’d go over the list of clients who were due for dates and discuss who would be a good match for them. Once all the matches were made, the Coordinators would take any matches that impacted the men they were assigned to and begin calling each client to give them a brief rundown about who we’d planned for them to meet, and then to find a mutually agreeable time for the date to take place.

Each afternoon, we would call the restaurants where that night’s dates were scheduled to let the hosts know to expect our clients. We developed great relationships with a handful of restaurants around the city, so the hosts or bartenders would all be familiar with the process and help facilitate the introduction. After the date, each client was expected to call us back to let us know how it went, and we’d use that feedback in making their next match.

Of course, this didn’t always work well. Our client database was heavily skewed towards women, and people could be very specific in what they were looking for to the point where we just couldn’t help them based on our clientele. Sometimes our focus on meeting our weekly quota caused us to make matches that we knew wouldn’t be great (though, sometimes these bad matches ended up going well — we even had a couple get married, even though we dreaded matching them up originally!). We had favorites and we had people whose calls we’d ignore for as long as possible. For the most part, we really wanted to do our jobs well and make our clients happy, but a lot of the process is luck and numbers and unpredictable chemistry, which we had no control over.

Why were the male clients handled differently (assigned a single coordinator) than the female clients?

Stereotypically, men have a hard time discussing personal things like feelings on dating to a wide circle. Women, again stereotypically, don’t have difficulty with this. For that reason, the men were given a specific point of contact so they felt that they were only confiding in one person who was their “champion” of sorts, and with whom they could develop a strong client relationship.

We also had three or four times the number of women in the service than men, so it was easier to keep tabs on everyone if Coordinators were responsible for tracking their assigned male clients and whichever women they were matched up with that particular week.

Fascinating. What kind of training did you get? Or were basically just expected to use the same skills that you’d use to match up your own friends?

There was no training. One of the steps in the application process was to take a test that gave the business owner (my boss) a sense of your aptitude and abilities in customer service and ability to think both logically and creatively. This test wasn’t really a good measure for any of those things, but my boss weighed it heavily and I think he felt that if you had the aptitude for those things, then you could figure the job out. The training was mostly by doing, and by following the examples set by my coworkers.

Did you think that getting no training was weird? (I can totally imagine myself at 23 not questioning that at all, and thinking that of course I was equipped to be professionally matchmaking.)

I didn’t think it was weird, and not because I thought I was already well-equipped to be a matchmaker, but because I assumed it was the type of role that was best learned by doing. I also had just left a job that was a managerial role that included no training, so I sort of felt like it was par for the course.

Did you ever find yourself setting up a match less because you thought it was a great match and more just because you had to meet that’s week’s quota?

All the time. In fact, sometimes our boss encouraged this. He was a numbers guy, and I don’t think he decided to buy a matchmaking franchise because he’s a sucker for love. He saw the profit in the business and focused on that. There was a lot of pressure on the staff to meet our numbers, sometimes at the expense of our clients’ experiences.

We did try to exhaust all possible good matches before resorting to a quota-driven match. The staff was committed to creating great matches when possible, especially because the clients were people that we developed relationships with over the course of their membership. We didn’t want them to hate our service or hate our work (or hate us personally!). But sometimes, it was inevitable.

Do you remember if any of the “quota-driven” matches worked out?

Yes! One of my favorite stories is about a client (I’ll call her Beth) who was very difficult to match. She was an older client (in her 60s) who didn’t mind being matched with older men, so long as they “didn’t look old.” We went through all of our older men who didn’t look old and then ran out of people to pair her with. There was only one man left to match her with (I’ll call him Sam) and while he was a lovely person, he definitely looked his age or older.

Inevitably, Beth came up on our list of clients who had to be matched in order for us to hit our quota, and we all got very nervous about setting her up with Sam, but we did it because we had to. Fast forward eight months later when Beth and Sam got married!

Did you ever end up doing any “coaching” for the clients — like advising them to ease up on a certain behavior, or not be such a stickler about a particular requirement in potential dates?

There were a few times when we had to have these kinds of difficult conversations regarding behavior. I remember one client who had a reputation of being very “handsy” on his dates, so my coworker had to call him up and explain that this behavior wasn’t acceptable and was partly the reason he wasn’t getting second dates with his matches.

We constantly had to have conversations about criteria for matches. This was probably the most frustrating part of the job. Clients wanted matches who were fewer than X miles from downtown, or who only liked rock-climbing, or who were fifteen years younger than them. And then they would get angry with us that we didn’t have this mythical person in our pool of clients. We had to have a lot of conversations with clients that consisted of, “What you find attractive and what I find attractive may differ, so no, there’s no way that I can only set you up with ‘hot’ people.”

With the client who had to be told to stop being so handsy with his dates, was he receptive to hearing that? Did he get better after that?

He got pretty defensive, as you might imagine. After our conversation, his behavior never improved and we actually had to ban him from the service.

Did you start to feel personally invested in your clients’ lives? I can imagine it would be easy to fall into feeling responsible for whether a match did or didn’t work out, or starting to become worried that someone was having a string of bad dates.

Oh, absolutely. With some clients, the rapport we developed was such that we started to get to know them beyond their preference for dates, and so we’d be really invested in them because we knew them as people and not just clients. We all had favorite clients and pet projects, and were particularly invested in their success.

What surprised you the most from doing this work?

I was amazed at how much confidence the clients would put in a bunch of 23-year-old women to help them find love. Some of our clients were really high-profile people, and I almost felt like I was doing a disservice to them by being their matchmaker. What did I know at 23 that these people didn’t know at 45? (The answer: Nothing. I just had access to people that they didn’t yet know.)

Did you draw any conclusions about dating that you’ve carried with you since leaving the job?

One of the things we told our clients all the time, especially when we were matching them with someone who didn’t meet their on-paper criteria, was that dating was a numbers game and that chemistry doesn’t pay attention to whether your match likes rock climbing or not. We would tell them this so that they’d just agree to suck it up and accept the match and go on the date. It turns out this is true! You can want to meet someone two years older than you, with a Master’s degree, who’s never been married before and have no kids. But you can end up falling in love with a young divorcee who has a child from a previous marriage and never went to grad school. You just have to be open to everything.

Previous interviews:
interview with an incredibly diplomatic person
interview with a lab worker at the Arctic Circle
interview with a former receptionist at a legal brothel

{ 216 comments… read them below }

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Agggh. If anyone gets ads you shouldn’t be getting, would you email me the URL that the ad clicks through to? (This requires clicking on it to find the URL, which I apologize for.) That’s the fastest way for me to get them removed from the ad network. Thank you!

      1. The Cosmic Avenger

        You may be able to right-click and choose “Copy link address” (or whatever your browser calls it) without actually following the link. However, depending on how they are coded this might not always work.

      2. "Tonight we're going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man."

        Are you also interested in knowing what kind of browser it is (Safari, Firefox, etc) on what platform? (Windows 7, OSX, iPad, etc)?

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          If it’s just an obnoxious ad, I only need the URL. But if the site itself is displaying in some problematic way for you, then yes, that info is also very useful!

      3. Bekx

        Hi Alison,

        I emailed you about the stupid fashion theater ad the other day. Unfortunately it is not clickable, just constantly auto-replays over and over. Ugh. Sorry I can’t get you the URL…as there is none!

  1. Adam

    This was a fun and fascinating interview. Having said that, and with absolute no offense intended to the interviewee, as I was reading this I felt like I could have sworn this job was the premise of a TV sitcom I’ve seen before. If it hasn’t been, which I’d be surprised at, it seems like it’d be a story gold mine.

      1. Adam

        Now I’m curious what were the most “out there” standards you encountered at this job.
        -Must only drink green tea
        -Must be able to recite Star Wars: Episode IV by heart

        1. Matchmaker OP

          I never sat in on the intake interviews, so I have no idea what crazy criteria clients would come in with, but if it was anything like you listed, we would have flat-out told them that this was in no way feasible. We did have one guy who lived about 40 minutes outside the city and only wanted to date people who also lived 40 minutes outside the city. Since we were based in the city and that’s where most of our clients lived/worked, we had a really hard time matching him up.

          1. De Minimis

            What if they were 40 minutes outside the city but in a different direction?

            What if they were an hour outside the city? I picture him saying, “FORTY minutes! No more, no less…”

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      There was a short-lived reality show about a matchmaking agency, maybe on Bravo (but not Millionaire Matchmaker). I remember watching a few episodes. And yes, totally staffed by very young women.

        1. Sharon

          Next time you fly on travel, take a look at the airline magazine that’s often in the seat back pockets. There are almost always one or three advertisements for these “exclusive” match-making services. It’s a real thing!

          1. Adam

            I did see something like that in a Skymall once with three young women pictured as the professional matchmakers. I think it had one of those cutesy names like “It’s just lunch” or something.

            1. John

              My friend did that for a while and the dates were disastrous. She would sit there asking her dates about themselves then would wait for them to ask about her. Eventually, she would have to just launch off on a monologue: “So, anyway, I worked at Teapots R Us and I’ve lived in the area since I was a kid and blah blah blah…”

              She is such a easy and fun person to be with that it boggles the mind that these folks couldn’t rap with her.

      1. LizNYC

        I remember there was one that ran for, like, 2 episodes and it was a husband and wife team (I think they later divorced).

          1. spocklady

            We loved Millionaire Matchmaker, but also that one that was only on for probably a few episodes called I Want To Be A Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.

            Oh man that show was amazing.

      2. fposte

        I watched “Confessions of a Matchmaker,” the one set in Buffalo, a few times. I remember her explaining to a lively older woman the acronym “GILF.” It was pretty funny :-).

        1. fposte

          Oh, and now I’m tangentially recalling Logo’s wonderful “Can’t Get a Date?” show. Not matchmaking per se, but it was such a *nice* show.

        2. peanut butter kisses

          I loved that one. I was able to take away a lot of great advice. It actually improved my dating life.

    2. Josine

      Are you thinking of Miss Match, the tv show with Alicia Silverstone?

      Is anyone else getting ads for online casinos and dishwasher soap in the sidebars?

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        The ads in the sidebar will rotate and may be for a wide variety of things (including dish soap, I guess)! But if any of them misbehave (auto-play sound, take over your screen, or other offensive behavior), that’s where I’m hoping you’ll send me the URL they link to so I can have that fixed!

  2. Sabrina

    This is fascinating. I love hearing about weird jobs, or even hobbies. Maybe we could have a thread where we all talk about the weird jobs we’ve had. :)

    1. spocklady

      Yes! I have a weird one! I feel like I never have a good weird one when weird _____ work situations come up and now I’m irrationally excited!

  3. E.R

    Very interesting. I’m interested what year this was (that she worked here) and how the proliferation of online dating is affecting this business model.

    1. Matchmaker OP

      This was in 2007, and the business was geared towards people who were “too busy” to conduct their own dating research. So, this was for people who didn’t want to spend time scrolling through OKCupid or Match.com profiles. (Or didn’t know how to.) I think that’s still how the company brands itself.

  4. Former Diet Coke Addict

    This is utterly fascinating. Hey OP, was your service a more marriage-oriented thing or just a more curated dating service? And do you know anything about how other matchmaking services operate–whether they’re more involved in training people or anything?

    1. Anonsie

      That’s a good question– I do see stuff like this touting how many marriages come out, and that metric always strikes me as a bad advertisement. I feel like if you throw enough people looking specifically for marriage, of course you’re gonna get that out of it. I would rather go out with the guy who’s interested in having some fun dates than the guy who is here because he feels like his clock is ticking, know what I mean?

    2. Matchmaker OP

      I think it depended on who you asked :) The women in our service definitely saw it as a road to marriage, but most of the men in our service saw it as a vehicle to go on lots of dates with lots of different women.

      I sadly don’t have any answers to your second questions.

  5. HR Manager

    Wow, if I had hit that half a billion lottery last night (breaking news: wasn’t me), I would quit my job and work as a matchmaker. I think it would be fascinating.

  6. Allison

    Wow, I had no idea matchmakers were even still around, since online dating has taken off and people don’t feel as much pressure to marry young as they used to. OP, what age range would you say you mostly catered to? And why did they choose more traditional matchmaking over online dating? Was it the personal touch? Aversion to meeting people over the internet?

    1. Matchmaker OP

      I would saw we saw a lot of upper-30s to upper-40s, though our client base spanned from 24 to 70. I think I answered upthread somewhere that this was definitely geared for people who didn’t have time to scroll through the hundreds of profiles online and really felt like we were taking some of the legwork out of it. As we got to know our clients, it started to feel to them like they were being set up with someone by a mutual friend.

    2. Adam

      While I’ve never used a matchmaking service, I can see people using one because to me online dating sites can feel a bit strange. I’m sure it’s just my personal hangup, but spending time coasting through online profiles judging potential dates based on whatever information they provide has always felt odd to me.

      Also I bet it streamlines the process. I’ve read that in online dating sites women generally get 10 times or more the amount of initial contacts that men do. Having a middleman/woman to mediate that would probably feel like a relief.

          1. Katie the Fed

            What is it that they think is going to happen? “Wow, thank you for such a sincere compliment! I’d love to meet for coffee and consider sleeping with and spending my life with you!”

            1. Stephanie

              Last month, I read Dataclysm by Christian Rudder (one of the OkCupid founders) where he talks about trends he’s seen from the data on the site. He mentioned the “sup” messages and figured guys (and it was mostly guys doing that) did that out of efficiency, figuring that pasting and copying “hi” dozens of times would increase their success rate.

            2. fposte

              In the “how hiring and dating are similar,” this is the person who’ll mass-blast a generic resume rather than carefully crafting a cover letter.

              1. Adam

                Just like a hiring manager can tell when someone is looking for just any job, a potential suitor can tell when someone is just plain desperate to find a mate. Little wonder that it rarely works in either case.

                1. Stephanie

                  The book I just mentioned had an amusing example of this one guy who had a very specific introduction he mass-messaged. He was looking for artsy smokers and had some message like “Hi. I really like Kandisky’s late paintings. Still trying to get into modern art. Love going to First Fridays. I smoke sometimes, but am trying to cut back” (example in the book was way longer).

                  Apparently, he had a high success rate with that message. I suppose that’s the equivalent of writing a detailed cover letter for teapot thermal analyst roles and using the same letter for all the the teapot companies that do thermal analyses.

                2. Adam

                  Seems like it. It’s just specific enough, and as Alison has said when it looks like you put effort into a cover letter it stands out alone by virtue of the fact that so rarely do people do that.

        1. Natalie

          Yeah, I suspect if you filter out all of the asinine opening messages, women and men probably trend about equally.

        2. AdAgencyChick

          I believe it was the comments in another AAM post that introduced me to Bye Felipe, of which I am instantly reminded.

        3. Karowen

          And all of those are better (and yet simultaneously worse than) the guy that wrote me a lovely note that talked about fondling each others’ naughty parts, inducing orgasm, dry humping, uncharted sexual positions where he assert pure dominance and establishing a realm of absolute sovereignty in my my nether regions. I wish I was kidding.

          1. Elizabeth West

            I got one on Match.com that addressed every single thing in my profile that could possibly be considered nerdy–it was a desperate soup of LOTR, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek, and whatever else I managed to reference (or any nerd ever had). It’s like he skimmed my profile, thought, “NERD!” and just threw everything in there hoping I’d bite on something. It put me in mind of a cover letter in which a person would just give back the job description, or a term paper that quoted the text extensively.

            I wish I’d saved it; it was the worst thing ever. I could probably reactivate my profile and retrieve it, if they haven’t deleted it, but I really don’t want to waste my money again.

          2. Jen

            I vow that I will somehow work “a realm of absolute sovereignty in my nether regions” into my husband’s Valentines card this year.

          3. Lyndsie

            What!? A friend of mine just posted a screenshot of that exact message from some weirdo on Facebook. Creeps can’t even be original!.

      1. Allison

        I can see that. I’ve heard tons of horror stories involving creepy messages and outright tantrums from guys who can’t take rejection gracefully. Working with a matchmaker sounds a lot safer, although I wonder if the coordinators still have to deal with the occasional hissy fit.

        1. Stephanie

          If you’re on Instagram and want to laugh/weep for humanity/consider becoming a nun, follow @byefelipe. It’s screeshots of creepy pickup lines and rejections.

          1. Katie the Fed

            What a depressing blog. I think my biggest fear in becoming a parent is raising a little douchebag like those guys.

            1. Vancouver Reader

              Unless you’re planning on leaving most of the child rearing to a bunch of sociopaths, I can’t see you having a child who’d turn out to be a complete dick. Most kids tend to follow their parents’ lead and you seem like a really lovely person.

              1. asteramella

                Not to be a downer, but plenty of crappy entitled dudes had fine parents and turned out crappy and entitled because patriarchy conditions men to think of women as objects.

                1. hermit crab

                  Yeah, but then plenty of people are bad parents and their kids turn out fine, and I think it more than evens out. So the odds are still in Katie’s favor. :)

    3. ism

      I kind of like this idea and wish I had access to such a service sometimes. My experience with online dating is that a lot of men (particularly young ones who’ve grown up with online dating) have some kind of aversion to hashing out the details of a date: When should we schedule it? Where is a nice place to go? Will I need a reservation? …and so on. Maybe it’s because many online daters have no patience to converse online “at length.”

      I like that a matchmaking service will pretty much take off that pressure and let a person/people get straight to the face to face meet n’ greet, without all the stewing over online dating replies.

      1. Allison

        Even without online dating, I’ve definitely dated guys who couldn’t plan dates to save their lives, and relied on me to pick the restaurants, and figure out timing and logistics. It’s always nice when a guy occasionally tells me where he wants to eat, or at least gives his input when we plan dinner dates.

          1. Allison

            Decisive, but also willing to work with me rather than making me do all the thinking for both of us. I could never tell if guys honestly thought they were doing me a favor by letting me make all the decisions (because I’m a feminist) or if they were just being lazy and just disguising it as chivalry. I don’t want a traditional relationship where one person is in control or “wears the pants,” I want a real partnership with the person I’m dating. Sometimes that seems like too much to ask.

            1. Natalie

              FWIW, I used to hang out at subreddit devoted to online dating and this behavior is fairly common among women, too. There’s just a lot of indecisive people out in the world. Plus the segment of people who are just there to chat and not actually going to set up a date.

              1. Allison

                Ahh, fair. I’ve heard of women not knowing where they want to eat, but either way it’s annoying when you’re trying to make a plan with your SO and trying to get any input from them feels like pulling teeth.

                1. Natalie

                  Definitely. That was one of our bits of common advice: when you plan a date, include a day, time, and location. You don’t have a date until you have those 3 things.

            2. Katie the Fed

              Oh definitely. But for a first date I like a guy to actually decide where to take me. It shows a good level of effort/interest.

            3. Snargulfuss

              I once had a boyfriend who thought he was being easy-going and doing me a favor by asking me to choose activities for dates. I am a quite opinionated, decisive person who loves to plan things, so I see where he got the idea that this would be appealing to me. I had to tell him several times that what I wanted was to NOT have to make a decision, or at least to have him narrow down a couple of options and then let me decide. When it was my turn to plan a date, I loved to plan all of the details, but when it was his turn I wanted him to have a real plan.

    4. MaryMary

      This whole post makes me think about seriously looking into a matchmaking service. It sounds better than sorting through thousands of profiles online and getting creepy/pervy messages from men I’ve never met.

      1. Pneia

        I can only speak to my own experience. Yes, I used one of these services. A number of nice dates with nice guys. One long relationship with a guy who turned out to be not as interested in a relationship as I was. And the last guy I had a date with through the service is now my fiance.

        I had tried the online sites and….ugh. Met some nice guys, but it seemed you had to have the best pics and the wittiest profile to even get a look. Then there were too many guys who reacted badly to being turned down. The dating service, though much more expensive, handled the time consuming search and the planning of the first date, so you at least saved time. I would recommend at least looking into it.

        1. Karowen

          I think it depends – I met my fiance through OK Cupid. You have to both be willing to reach out to people. And for the most part it was a lot easier to just ignore the creepy guys rather than shutting them down.

          1. Pneia

            Actually the ugh part was for the hours I would spend going through profiles and reaching out to guys. There just seemed to be too many guys out there looking for easy dates and not relationships. By the time I went to the matchmakers I had been on Match, Chemistry, and OK Cupid, and even looked into eHarmony (but didn’t finish because the questionnaire was too annoying long to finish). It also doesn’t help that I live in a part of the country good for families and rotten for singles who are past the go-out-clubbing age.

      2. Elizabeth West

        I thought about it too, but they’re expensive. Because I already tried online dating including a paid service and found nothing in my area, I just don’t want to spend the money on it. Besides, I want to get out of this place eventually, not marry some guy who actually likes it here.

        1. Jean

          Would you be interested in doing online dating with the goal of meeting someone in the place(s?) to which you want to move? Or would you rather wait until you have more concrete plans about moving to the next place? Sorry if I’m barging in!

          1. Jennifer

            Hah, I thought the same thing. The problem with dating people in your location is that odds are they want to STAY there. I used to know a girl who was from Berkeley and she said she wanted to move back there to settle down and get married, but she was going to live in LA for a few years…Eventually she moved to Portland and last I heard, got engaged to someone there. So much for the Berkeley plan, but Portland’s what, the slightly chillier version of there anyway?

            Either way, I tend to think it’d work better to move there and then find someone rather than find someone where you are who wants to move.

  7. Anonsie

    Here’s what I’m curious about now: Would you recommend a matchmaking service to a friend, or would you ever sign up for one yourself? Who are these actually well suited for?

    I’m also kind of intrigued that they didn’t take non-heterosexual clients. Was that mostly for simplicity’s sake?

    1. Matchmaker OP

      It’s funny. At the time, I’d give a resounding NO to your first question. But seeing how hard it is to meet people as you get older, I totally understand the impulse and benefit to signing up for one of these services. I would have a hard time justifying the cost to myself, but I could totally see why someone would do it rather than using online dating sites.

      Regarding the client base: I do think it was for simplicity’s sake. Matching would have gotten really, really complicated and taken a lot longer.

      1. Katie the Fed

        I think it definitely is harder to meet people as you get older – at least viable candidates. For women especially – a lot of the guys their age are looking for younger women. And I feel like in some places, like DC, it’s even harder.

        A male friend of mine was doing online dating the sametime I was. He’s a great guy – 43, never married, perfectly normal, has a cat, steadily employed, educated, etc. We were out at the bar and he was getting messages from new 40-something women, like, every 5 minutes. It was incredible. There’s apparently a huge demand for marriageable men in that age range.

          1. Katie the Fed

            Ha, I thought that as I was typing this! He actually got it with an ex girlfriend and kept the cat when they broke up. I think it goes in the “plus” column as it shows some level of committment to another creature. Now, 3+ cats? That would be weird.

            1. Us, Too

              Ha ha, OMG. My husband had FOUR cats when we first started dating. And I am SO not a cat person. In fact, I’m allergic to cats!

              We joke that our first date was all that stood between him and a lifetime of living alone as the “crazy cat lady” down the street. :)

              Love knows no (achoo!) boundaries.

            2. Jipsy's Mom

              Woah, woah, woah… normal person with 3 cats here. :) In my defense, we had 2 already when our (rather horrible) neighbors moved in the dead of night and left their sweet cat behind. In December. Right before Christmas. So yeah, my husband and I took him in. There are many good reasons why a perfectly sane person might have three cats, thanks very much!

              1. Us, Too

                I can testify that there are no reasons that a perfectly sane person might have four cats, however. That was CRAZY times. :P

                (One of the four cats was a foster who, after six months, went to her forever home. We now have 3 cats which is still a lot of cats, but not QUITE “crazy”)

                1. Karowen

                  I had a friend (who may opt to out herself) who had 2 cats. Then they adopted 2 more. Then decided they were a 2 cat family and wouldn’t get more cats until they were down to 1 (or 0). Then they adopted 2 more. Then they adopted 2 more.

                  That’s right, 8 cats. A few were elderly so they’re no longer with us and at least 1 is mostly outdoor, but those were a crazy few years at their house :) Almost all sweet cats, too.

                2. Kyrielle

                  At one point when I was growing up, we had 48 cats. They were not, as you might imagine, house cats. (Okay, one or two were.) But “had” is a weak term here – “were feeding” is more accurate.

                  We lived way out in the country, and people* would dump their unwanted cats and kittens to live “free in the countryside” (never mind the relative lack of food, lack of hunting skills for most of them, occasional coyote, etc.).

                  We fed them and let them shelter in our barn, caught and spayed/neutered as many as we could, etc.

                  * I’m not completely sure the use of this term here is precisely appropriate.

        1. voluptuousfire

          Before OKC put together that book mentioned above, they had blogs which talked about how older men were messaging younger women and the average age of that younger woman was 16. Twenty six. Oy.

          1. Snargulfuss

            Ugh. When I get messaged by much older men I want to write back, You’re practically old enough to be my father! There are plenty of smart, attractive women your own age, talk to them instead of me.

  8. Persephone Mulberry

    So after the first date, were your clients on their own for repeat dates with a particular match, or did you coordinate those, too? Did people ever request (partial) refunds after meeting “The One” on an early setup?

    1. Matchmaker OP

      They were responsible for scheduling their second date. We would just keep matching them up on first dates until they told us they wanted to put their membership on hold…which leads me to your next question. If someone met a great match they wanted to pursue, they would just pause their membership. If it didn’t work out, they could come back and use up their remaining matches. This helped us avoid a lot of conversations involving partial refunds (which we’d never grant).

      1. Katie the Fed

        did both women and men pay? Because I know with some services only the men pay and there’s a, um, “stable” of women on the roster for the matchmakers to call.

          1. AdAgencyChick

            Huh, interesting. I would have guessed the reason there were so many more women is that they were incentivized with a free or low-cost membership. Fascinating!

            Thanks for letting Alison interview you!

            1. JayDee

              I would imagine this service would attract more women, who would prefer to have someone sort of pre-screen their dates so they avoid all the awful interactions that can come with online dating.

          2. "Tonight we're going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man."

            Okay – I’m really curious: I believe you mentioned that you had several times as many women in your DB as men. How did that come to be?

        1. The IT Manager

          My female friend did “It’s Just Lunch” and she paid for the service too which was aimed at professionals.

  9. Katie the Fed

    I love this interview, and I really think I would love this job :) I love anything that involves trying to figure people out – and I really love when I get it right. Sounds like so much fun!

    OP, if you’re around – was this before or after the era of internet dating? Do you think there’s any benefit to a service vs. trying it on your own?

    Now, about that playing the numbers thing – when I decided a few years ago I wanted to get back out dating, I did so much research. I decided to sign up for 6 month membership on an online dating service and I scheduled myself for events, even speed dating.

    With further research I learned that internet dating is hell for shorter guys, because a lot of women only want tall guys. Being a vertically challenged woman myself, and not someone who cares about height at all, I set my search parameters for 5’8″ and under, figuring I would target a relatively neglected demographic of the online dating community.

    Of course after all this I met my husband three weeks into the service, on my first internet-found date and didn’t end up needing the 6 month membership or events. But I do like to think that if he were two inches taller I wouldn’t have ever found him :)

    1. Katie the Fed

      I’m sorry – you already answered the question about whether it was before or after internet dating.

      1. Matchmaker OP

        Your comment about height made me chuckle because height was probably the biggest thing we had to argue with our clients about. Most of the women in our service refused to date men who weren’t 6″ talller than they were. Most of the men in our service couldn’t have cared less.

        1. Katie the Fed

          Yeah, it struck me as a strange reason to throw out a perfectly great segment of the population. Then again, as a slightly overweight woman the odds aren’t exactly in my favor online either. :/

          1. Stephanie

            Yuuuup, same here (the overweight thing). I think that’s why I’ve never bothered too much with online dating.

            I’ve also never really thought about the height thing, but perhaps that’s because I’m average (maybe slightly below average) height and a lot of guys are my height or taller.

          2. MaryMary

            My college roommate is 4’11, and she always dated guys who were at least a foot taller than she was (her husband is 6 feet tall). I used to scold her to date the poor guys under 5’6, because taller girls (I’m 5’9) generally avoided them. She said marrying a tall guy was the only way she could give her kids a chance of being average height.

            1. Adam

              I have a friend whose family exemplifies this. The dad is at least 6’3″, maybe taller, and super athletic while the mother definitely was no taller than 5’6″ and skinny pretty much by nature as she is definitely not the sporty kind.

              All the kids (1 girl, 2 boys) pretty much evened out around 5’9″ to 6″ with the boys being also super athletic and the girl being coordinated just enough to do cross country and ultimate Frisbee .

            2. Katie the Fed

              But…but…if you’re close to the same height nobody ever has to strain their neck for a kiss!

              1. AdAgencyChick

                THIS!

                (a tall gal who gets indignant on behalf of her sisters in height when short women take tall men out of circulation)

              2. Jean

                Sometimes it just happens this way. My husband is a nice guy who happens to be a lot taller than I am. (Was my previous sentence grammatically correct? I sometimes get confuzzled about proper use of direct & indirect objects. or pronouns. whatever.)

              3. ECH

                @Katie the Fed: A college friend of mine married a much taller man and someone gave her a “kissing stool” as a wedding gift.

            3. shep

              Too funny! This is so me, too. I’m 4’11” and I readily admit to only dating tall men–mainly because all the men I’ve been attracted to have been tall, but also because BOTH the maternal and paternal sides of my family have been getting smaller, and I know there’s a certain element of adorableness to short folk, but come on. I’ve got to give my kiddos a fighting chance.

            4. Kerry (Like The County In Ireland)

              Ha! In my family the ongoing joke is that we’re trying to breed out the tiny Irish redhead genes (the women are all under 5’2″ and the men 5’6″) and pale skin.

            5. Elizabeth West

              I’m a tall woman (5’11”) and I can’t find any tall guys because they always date the 4’11” women. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT
              Even my brother (6′) married a little short girl!

              1. Anon just once

                I have a gorgeous 6’3″ friend who once said to me, “I never liked short girls. They never seemed fully grown to me.”

                WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I WAS SINGLE, MATE?

            6. Lady Bug

              That might not work, I’m 5’6″, my daughter’s father was 6′ and my daughter ended up 5’3″!

              1. Melissa

                Yeah, I feel like height genes sometimes skip a generation…my mom is short (5’2″ and my dad is average (5’9″). I’m short (5’2″), my sister is slightly below average (around 5’3″ or 5’4″) and my brother is pretty tall (5’11” to 6’0″). My mom’s dad was pretty tall, so we’re thinking it came from him – makes sense, because my brother looks exactly like my grandfather looked at his age.

            7. "Tonight we're going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man."

              My sister – who is 5’11” tall – was cold-blooded about the height thing all the way through college. She had no shortage of guys asking her out – but if you weren’t at least 6′ tall – let’s just say she was quite blunt.

              On the other hand – after I was divorced, I dated a woman who was almost as tall as me – I’m 6’2″, she was 6′ even – and the height thing was definitely something I liked a lot. Kissing was much fun, and we looked great together. Alas, it was not to be …

          3. Karowen

            I’m in the same boat on weight, but at 5’9ish I had to limit myself to guys who are about my height or taller (though I didn’t bother to account for when I wear heels). Sometimes I feel like a linebacker just because of how generally big I am and nothing intensifies that more for me than being around a petite dude. If nothing else, the dates wouldn’t have gone well because I would’ve been so focused on how awkward I felt.

        2. Natalie

          Fun fact: On their great (sadly defunct blog) OKTrends, the OK Cupid people ran numbers on the biggest lies people tell in online dating, and for men it’s height. The heights listed on men’s profiles exactly match the distribution of male height in the US, but shifted 2″ taller.

          1. Artemesia

            Back in college 50 years ago there would be mixers on fridays where they would match up men and women for the evening and it would be done based on height. I am tallish for a woman of that era and I very often got men shorter than me because they lied about their height. Always seemed weird as height is one of those things that is so obvious when you meet. I like tall in a man — but my husband is just slightly taller than I am, because ultimately I like him in a man more than tall.

            1. Natalie

              True, but I would bet that most people can’t eyeball the difference between 6’2″ and 6’4″, for example, without a reference to compare to. I’m nearly a foot shorter than my boyfriend and when we first met all I would have been able to tell you is that he’s really tall. (We met online but I hadn’t looked at his height on the sidebar, and didn’t notice it until he stood up.) And you might easily write off a difference of an inch or two on shoes or posture.

              1. fposte

                Heh. I think of everybody taller than me as tall. I’m barely 5’2″. It confuses the heck out of people when I’m describing somebody, because 5’5″ gets you a “he’s tall.”

                1. louise

                  My husband has the opposite problem — he’s 6’5″ and anyone under 6′ he’ll say “is about your height” when he mentions them to me. I’m 5’6″ but he’ll say that to me about anyone from 5′ to 6′. Perception is everything!

            2. AdAgencyChick

              I have a feeling it’s not based in “I can fool her!” but rather in “I won’t show up in enough search results otherwise; once I meet her, I’m so awesome that she won’t care how short I am.”

          2. Nerd Girl

            This whole conversation about height made me laugh because of a conversation I had with my husband of 12 years this week. We were getting into jammies and my son came into the room and asked us how tall we were. My husband answered “I’m 5’10” and mom is 5’11” ”
            This is a complete and utter lie!
            I am 5’9″ and my husband is 5’8″.
            Growing up I dreamed of a tall, athletic man with a head full of hair and a charming smile as my husband. I got a man of average height with a bit of pudge around the middle. He’s balding, he’s funny, and he’s perfect for me! And he still lies about his height! LOL!

            1. Karowen

              My fiance also lies to himself about his height, though in a different way! He is convinced that 5’8 is the average height for white men in America – it’s actually 5’10 but he can’t really deal with the fact that he is below average in height.

              1. Melissa

                Mm, most of the sources I’m looking up says the average American white male is 5’9″ to 5’9.5″…I would think that 5’8″ is close enough to the average-ish range that I would regard that as average. My brother is like 5’11” or 6’0″ and I consider him tall. Then again, I’m 5’2″, so anyone taller than 5’6″ feels tall to me lol

            2. peanut butter kisses

              I used to take checks at an old job and we would have to ask for a drivers license. I am 5’10 and I was always amazed at how many men I would be visibly taller than and see that they listed their height as 6 foot on the license. I had previously thought that the DPS would verify the information on the licenses but apparently not.

          3. The Other Katie

            This is so true! I met my husband online, and he lied about his height. He said he was 6′ and if anything he is 5’9″ on a good day. When we met for our first date, I almost didn’t recognize him because I thought he was taller. I still pick on him to this day about it.

        3. Arjay

          I love tall guys. And if you asked me my preference, I’d tell you that. But I wouldn’t refuse to date short guys. It turns out my husband and I are almost exactly the same height. He’s cute. :)

          1. Kelly L.

            Yup. I’m 5’6″. I prefer a guy to be at least a few inches taller than me, and I find guys over about 6’3″ really striking. My BF is 6’0″ and well within my preferences. But I once made a complete fool of myself over a guy who was 5’1″. Love is not known for making sense. ;)

        4. Kyrielle

          …I boggle. I can kind of see (society being what it is) wanting a guy at least as tall as you, but taller? Even allowing for heels just 1-2″ would do for most people. 6″ taller as a requirement would’ve kept me from marrying my husband, who is awesome, and whose awesomeness does not depend on his height. Sheesh.

          1. Natalie

            Any sort of hard limit on physical traits seems weird to me. It’s one thing to notice “hmm, I tend to like tall men” or whatever, but to automatically reject someone you otherwise find attractive because they’re 5’11” and not 6′ seems to be mostly missing the point.

    2. Miss Chanandler Bong

      I find the height thing really interesting. I’m under 5′, and I tend to date shorter guys. I used to get a crick in my neck making out with the really tall ones. My current boyfriend is about 5’7″, but the rest of his family are giants, so it may still work out for our kids. On the other hand, my dad is the tallest in my immediate family & he’s 5’5″, so maybe not.

      Also, my mom’s roommate in college was 4’10” and married a 6’+ guy. They have a daughter who is 5’11” and a son who is 5’5″.

    3. Anonsie

      I’m quite short so I always date short guys– if I were taller I would totally be into dating shorter men, but with my current size no shorter males could be older than 10 years so that’s not exactly an option.

      So here’s a weird thing, though: I always wanted guys to be similar in size to me, and not necessarily larger, so I always date pretty small dudes. A lot of my exes were petite enough to wear my clothing comfortably, and I like it that way. I find big size differences awkward. BUT. The more people I hear rail against short men or drool over tall ones, the more I start to go for taller guys myself. Like some part of my brain started recognizing the height as a commodity that other women would desire in my men, so I wanted it purely out of competition or market scarcity or something.

    4. Miss Chanandler Bong

      Interestingly, one of my best friends is nearly 6′, and she always ends up dating shorter/smaller guys (not super tiny, but like, 5’10.5). She doesn’t really care, but every single one of them has had a huge issue with it, doing things like claiming they are taller than her when they are very clearly not.

      1. Natalie

        I have noticed something similar in a shorter-than-average male acquaintance. The only person who seems to take issue with his height is him.

    5. I'm a Little Teapot

      I honestly don’t understand the ew-short-guys thing. I’ve always liked short guys myself. I’m 5’3″, but I’d feel like a child next to someone really tall.

  10. Dean

    Just by reading the piece, I know exactly which company the LW worked for. I interviewed for a coordinator position with the same company, and didn’t get the job. I later found out that the EEOC sued the company because they wouldn’t hire men into that role, and the company settled.

    I’ve always wondered if only hiring women as coordinators affected their success rate. Sometimes men and women think very differently about dating, so I wonder if having same- or opposite-gender coordinators for clients might be helpful in difficult cases. Only having women available makes that impossible.

    1. Matchmaker OP

      I always wondered if it was specific to the particular office where I worked, or if it was a company-wide problem. Very interesting.

  11. Mallory Janis Ian

    Did any of the men ever end up with any of the coordinators? Because I was thinking, if the man is working so closely with the coordinator, maybe they would fall for each other eventually. Or maybe that would just make a good (or bad, depending on one’s view of such things) rom-com.

    1. Erin

      If you are at all fond of (funny) romance novels, there’s a good one with exactly that premise: “Match Me if You Can,” by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. If I remember right, the heroine inherits her eccentric grandmother’s matchmaking business.

  12. Stephanie

    Fascinating! So was there a particular demographic? I’d imagine it to be more affluent (and perhaps whiter). Speaking of race, was there pushback to interracial matching?

    1. Matchmaker OP

      I would definitely say the majority of clients were affluent and white. Race was one of the criteria that clients could specify, and we’d keep to their preferences. We had plenty of clients who were open to interracial matches, but if someone had a specific preference, we’d stick to that. (On occasion, if there was a GREAT match that wasn’t within their racial preference, we’d propose the match. Some people ended up being open to it; others weren’t.)

      1. Katie the Fed

        That’s so weird to me. I can’t imagine admitting to another human being that I had a race restriction. That seems like the kind of thing you should keep to yourself, but what do I know.

        1. ism

          It’s pretty common in online dating. You can disclose on your profile whether you prefer to date within your own race. But I haven’t run across a site that actually lets you filter people for race the same way you can filter for smokers (maybe there is one, but I don’t personally use that kind of search filter.)

          1. Katie the Fed

            Yeah, that’s true- I ignored anyone who had a race restriction, even if we were the same race. Especially the white guys who only wanted to date whites and asians. Eww. I was just thinking it’s even weirder to say it to an actual human.

            1. Adam

              I’ve always found it weird that they offer the option to specify things like that. Everyone has preferences, we can admit that, but some of them don’t need to be said out loud. And the benefit of the online component is that if someone isn’t matching up to your personal checklist you don’t have to make it awkward by letting things go any further than that.

              1. Anonsie

                I like that people can enter all their weird preferences because then I can filter people out for that. Like Katie said above, I filtered out anyone who had a solid racial preference even if I was within their guidelines because no thank you, sir.

        2. Anonsie

          You may or may not be surprised how open people are to belting out their racial dating preferences. I’m on the receiving end of this a lot since my partner is not the same race as me. I’ll meet people for the first time and they’ll be like “Oh so you’re x and your boyfriend is y? That’s interesting. I would never date a y man” or even stranger “That’s interesting. I only date men of my race.” Good for you?

          1. Former Diet Coke Addict

            I think we’ve talked about this before! It happens A LOT. it’s shockingly common for people to say “oh, your husband is X? I would never date an X, they’re just not attractive to me!” Uh, thanks?

            1. Anonsie

              Oh yeah we definitely have! And re: Judy below, yes, it is the worst with Asian men. People are really really eager to tell you how much they don’t find Asian men attractive and wouldn’t date one. They seem to have no concept that someone may find such a statement, you know, objectionable in any way.

              1. I'm a Little Teapot

                Huh. I used to know a young white woman who wouldn’t date any guy who *wasn’t* Asian.

          2. Judy

            My first long term relationship out of college was with an Asian guy. It was amazing how many folks gave opinions on that one. I’m northern European heritage. I did end up marrying someone with European heritage but not from the same region.

  13. No to Stella and Dot

    The “handsy” guy sounds just like a guy I dated several years ago – several years older than me, wealthy, and I know for a fact he used a matchmaker at one point. Knowing what I know now, I can totally see him getting banned.

    Matchmaker OP – do you mind revealing the (general) location of this service?

  14. JoAnna

    Fascinating discussion, even though I now have the Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack running through my head. (I don’t really mind because I love it so much.)

      1. the gold digger

        Watch “Meet the Patels” – it’s a hilarious documentary about this Indian-American guy whose immigrant parents want to arrange a marriage for him. There is this whole Indian/Patel network in the US!

        (All I could think while I was watching it was the time my grandmother, who was very concerned that I was then unmarried, asked if I had considered marrying “a widower who needs help raising his young children.” She went on to say that a friend of my mom’s had done that. She (the friend) was very tall.

        Nope. I didn’t understand the height connection, either.)

        1. De Minimis

          Had a coworker at a former job whose marriage had been arranged [they were Indian-American.] She said it really wasn’t any different than online dating, I guess it just had more family involvement.

  15. Rindle

    Great interview! OP, if you’re still around, would you say most men specified that they wouldn’t date an overweight woman? I have a long-running debate with one of my friends over this issue. I’m convinced that the main reason I got significantly less interest than she did when we both signed up for Match is because I’m overweight. She was always trying to “tweak” my profile, but my feeling was that most men have an automatic “reject” mentality for overweight women. Thoughts? And did your company ever refuse to take on a client because of her weight? Thank you!

    1. Matchmaker OP

      We absolutely would not have rejected clients based on weight. And if a member said s/he wouldn’t date someone overweight, we would tell them that we don’t base matches on physical appearance. (I realize this is in contrast with what I said earlier about racial preferences.)

      1. Nichole

        I can see how the policy for race vs. physical appearance would be different. Many people attach a lot of information about a person to their race. It’s not necessarily a physical preference but the perception that they are more likely to have cultural similarities and shared values and experiences by dating within certain races. As the child of an interracial couple and half of an interracial couple myself, I would argue against that rationale, but I can also see good arguments for it. The experience of being a POC is something my partner will never understand fully. That being said, I’m guessing plenty if not most people who listed a preference used the ability to specify race to narrow matches by a physical preference rather than for primarily cultural reasons.

        1. Vancouver Reader

          That was our mother’s rationale for wanting us to find mates who were of the same race, so that we’d be culturally compatible. Which really meant our spouses would be culturally compatible with our parents. My argument was that I was not a product of the culture in which I was born, but of the one I was raised in, which would be Canadian.

          1. Chriama

            In interesting contrast, I’m an immigrant child of immigrant parents, but we moved to Canada when I was about 3. A friend she grew up with has been mentioning he’s got a son of marrying age. When I asked her why she didn’t seem enthusiastic about introducing us, she said she thinks that someone who was raised in my home country will be too traditionalist (in terms of things like gender roles and cultural expectations) and there might be family baggage (e.g. problems within our marriage would spread to the extended family too quickly). So cultural compatibility is definitely a mixed bag.

      2. Wanderer

        Weird decision. One of the most problematic thing i encountered about finding someone on the internet are all those obese people (women generally)who call themselves curvy…

        1. Rindle

          Welp, sometimes you aren’t given a choice. Match, for example, has (or did have) you pick a body type from a list that includes “a few extra pounds” and “curvy.” There’s no “overweight” option, so you have to choose which offensive euphemism you’re going to use to label yourself. Considering “curvy” has become a euphemism for “overweight” (and “obese”), that’s probably a more honest choice than “a few extra pounds.” And considering you’ve clearly picked up on the euphemistic use of “curvy,” I feel like your comment is a bit gratuitous.

          1. Wanderer

            Its not gratuitous, because yes i have picked up the trend,but its a trend, not a sure thing. Curvy has not really become a euphemism for obese. A lot of curvy women call themselves just that while obese women do too. And its not always easy to determine that, especially with just a photo.

            Having several date with different women who have no chance in hell of interesting me for a relationship is a waste of time and energy, which is one of the reason why you pay matrimonial services in the first place.

            I just don’t understand how a matrimonial service would base matches on physical appearance when its one very important facet of attraction between two people.

  16. Ed

    Very interesting. As a never married person in his early 40’s, I can relate to much of what Lauren said about her clients. I try to remind myself that I would have no idea if the woman I bumped into in the grocery store liked rock climbing so why would I insist on that with online dating? As a matter of fact, it would never even cross my mind to ask if she liked rock climbing before the first date so why is that even on my online list at all?

    Also, I forgot about the imbalance of men to women with traditional dating services. I have read about that before in a blog by an ex-matchmaker (that was short-lived and has been gone for a really long time). She said it was especially tough sponsoring events like dances because it would end up being 75% women which then made all of the women unhappy. As a man, I would have zero interest in attending any sort of formal event so I have no trouble believing it. I remember she said they had to sometimes turn away new female clients over 40 because they couldn’t possibly match them. Considering the ratio of men to women, a dating service might be a smart move for a man. There are considerably more men than women dating online but, from my experience, the numbers are pretty close to 50/50 around age 40.

    1. Dynamic Beige

      I once did a speed dating event and every man was from a city at least a half hour drive away, not one was from my city. I later found out that this company had policies where men were either free to attend these events or deeply discounted and when they had an event coming up and men weren’t signing up, they would cast the net wide to get the required attendance… otherwise they would have to refund, which they didn’t want to do. I don’t think they’re in business any more.

    2. Mander

      I’ve always found the laundry list approach a bit peculiar. Way back in the early days of such things I tried a few online dating services but I never matched with anyone, even when I lied about my weight as an experiment. I assume that’s because the criteria on both sides were far too restrictive.

      My husband and I would never have been matched up through such a service. He’s nearly 6 years younger than me, has different taste in music (one of my main interests!), a totally different physical type than what I was always attracted to, etc. Our compatibility is down to a similar approach to the world and that ever-elusive chemistry. But on the other hand, I might have at least had a less miserable time in my 20s if I had been able to afford such a service. I’m sure that there would have been at least a few men who would overlook my size for the possibility of a fun night out.

    3. Fucshia

      You are right about the grocery store example. But then you also get the benefits of seeing physical attributes and mannerisms. You can walk right past the other hundred people in the store who do not appeal to you. Then when you go on a date with the one you physically like, you find out if you mesh in other ways too.

      Online dating is opposite. People are matching the other ways first and then seeing the physical. Pictures can lie and you can’t meet everyone in your area for a date, so you need to narrow things down somehow.

    4. Jayhawker

      I have the pleasure of dating a woman who worked for a matchmaking company for 2+ years and only recently quit due to better prospects. This comment is hammer on nail about the male/female ratio and problem with the service she worked for. She was always asking me if I had any single male friends (of any age) that they would gladly set him up with the service for free (Value in the $3-10,000 range) due to the lack of men.

      I found the interview extremely entertaining as I heard many a story about men that just didn’t understand dating and women who were overly picky. I actually would be very interested to see Allison interview her as a follow up but I don’t know that anything new would be said.

  17. Chriama

    So what criteria did you use to make the matches? I saw you mention age, education and hobbies. Did clients just write a wish list of their ideal partner and you trawled through your client database to find someone who seemed to fit the bill? Did you do that manually, or was there a computer program that helped you filter by certain criteria, or even an algorithm that gave you a list you could then manually sift through?

    1. Matchmaker OP

      We used things like age, education level, and marital status (never married, separated, divorced) to start with and then moved onto common interests. The Director who had met the clients (and any Coordinator who had interacted with them over the phone) could vouch for personality compatibility. It was all done by hand. We had only one computer in the office, and it was used to pull our quota reports. Everything was done on paper and over the telephone. It required us to memorize out entire active client base.

      1. Chriama

        That’s pretty amazing. How many active clients did you have at once? And what was your day to day like? Just trying to match up your clients and then organizing the dates? Also, what kind of dates did you set up? Just typical dinners, or stuff like rock climbing for the unique clients? I just have so many questions!

        1. Matchmaker OP

          I think we had maybe 300 or 400 active clients at any given time.

          Our day-to-day had a pretty set schedule: From 9am to probably 3pm: Check voicemails, gather together to create matches, call our assigned men to tell them about their matches, call the corresponding women to tell them about their matches, return voicemails, answer incoming calls with feedback from previous night’s date. From 3pm-6pm: Call restaurants to alert the hosts to any incoming dates for that night, answer phones, return voicemails, make any calls to clients that specifically asked us to call later in the day.

          We only set people up for drinks or lunch dates. Many of the drinks dates turned into dinner dates, but we only organized the drinks. The hosts at the restaurant/bar would help facilitate the two individuals meeting each other on-site.

  18. ZSD

    Out of curiosity, did your company have some sort of guidelines regarding who was supposed to pay on the first date? Were couples expected to go Dutch, or since the parties involved were both old-fashioned enough to use a matchmaker, were they expected to also be old-fashioned enough for the man to pay on the first date?
    I’m just asking because having a set expectation going into first dates could have saved me a fair amount of awkward wondering or negotiation in the past.

    1. Matchmaker OP

      We encouraged people to go Dutch, but it wasn’t a set policy and I have no idea how often it played out that way.

  19. Matchmaker OP

    Alison, thanks so much for this! I had such a great time sharing my story, and appreciate all the comments. I loved answering everyone’s questions!

      1. Matchmaker OP

        Haha sadly, yes. Which always made me laugh because they never met me in person! They were hitting on my phone voice.

  20. Blue Anne

    This post has taught me that it is possible to be hit, completely unexpectedly, with absolute love for… a blog post. :)

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