The Woman: Female, 49, an author in Portland, Ore.
Why did you decide to pay for a matchmaker?
Because online dating through dating sites just wasn’t working for me. I had lots of first dates and had a fine time on them, but it was hard to find the right person, and there are so many men and women to choose from that I kept going back online to see if there was someone better.
That sounds really … overwhelming?
So overwhelming! It was very time consuming and nothing worked out. Online dating worked for lots of my friends, but I wanted to try something different. I needed to try something that was more one-on-one.
How did you find a matchmaker?
I asked a few friends, and heard about someone in my area who could help me. It felt a lot safer. My matchmaker had met the person I would be set up with, interviewed him to make sure we had things in common, and I thought it was worth it to have someone do that legwork for me.
Speaking of which, how much did you have to pay?
Somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500 for up to 15 setups. And the good thing was that I could stop the process at any time and get some money back if it wasn’t working out.
What did you like about using a matchmaker?
The men were nicer, and it felt more real to me. When I was using online dating sites, people would put up these really great photos of themselves, and I’d think, “wow.” And then I’d meet them in person and feel really down about what I actually saw.
What did you have to do to get started?
I filled out a form answering some personal questions about myself, and then they talked to me personally to get to know me better, see how I acted, and also sell you on what their services are. And then they take your picture, and introduce you to other people who give you advice on how to be more attractive and personable, because men want to feel attracted to you when they first meet you, or else they lose interest.
Hmm. Well, I would think that they should match you up with someone who will like you for who you are.
Well, they just want you to put your best foot forward. You’re still you, but more confident.
And then you just go home and wait for them to tell you they found someone for you?
They call you, and they say they’ve got somebody for you, and then they give you a description of the person. Then they determine where you will meet your date. They make the restaurant reservations, and all you have to do is show up.
Did the matchmaker make you go on a fake date with someone before to help prepare you?
Hah. I’m a professional dater and know what I’m doing. None of that came up.
What happens after the date?
Part of the process is that you check back in with your matchmaker, and they ask what you like and what you didn’t. And then they adjust accordingly for the next date.
So. Did you find your person yet?
There was one guy. We dated for a couple of months, and then I called it off. I went on three more dates and then decided to stop doing this for a while. I feel like I need a break from dating. Maybe I’ll try tennis lessons for a while instead.
Maybe you’ll end up with your tennis instructor! So, one last thing. Would you recommend using a matchmaker to other people?
It was fine. You have to have the right attitude about it. You can try meeting people in real life. I’m not a going-to-the-bar sort of girl, and can’t meet people that way. I don’t like the big crowds. If you enjoy that, do that. When you start getting older, you try other alternatives, and this was my alternative. My ultimate goal is to find love and marriage. I feel like traditionally, human beings aren’t meant to be alone.
That’s a sort of dark place to end! I can’t end with that. Something else, please.
Keep an open mind. Passion can grow over time. You don’t have to be head over heels with someone the first time you go out on a date. Things might just suddenly click on the third date.