The High Cost of Cupid

The old way to meet potential partners was to hang out in bars and nightclubs and in the 1980’s many a happy marriage began at the disco. Personal ads in newspapers also gained popularity and created acronyms such as SWF (single white female) or AJP (American Jewish Princess). But the new wave of personal introductions is through the internet or professional matchmakers.

For well-heeled boomer women, companies like Hearts, RomancePros, Divine Intervention, JustLunch and hundreds of others, contract to introduce upscale sophisticates to charming, intelligent, eligible bachelors. For a price, of course.

Reality TV has also jumped on the bandwagon with Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker and VH1’s Tough Love.

But how successful are these matchmakers? Try as I might I have been unable to find any credible research or data on whether true love is actually realized as a result of these attempts at professional coupling. But anecdotally I can say that I am aware of dating disasters, hurt feelings and allegations of deceit involving companies who promise much, but deliver little.

Cases in point:

A beautiful, outgoing 45-year-old client of mine with professional business credentials paid $3,500.00 to a dating agency who asked her what her criteria for a match would be. She was not picky, open to either a blue-collar or white-collar worker but the candidate had to be at least 5’7″.

She was promised six dates over a twelve month period. Each of her first three dates were with gentleman who were under the height requirement. One was only 5’5″.

She complained to the agency but it seemed they were unperturbed, after all they already had her money. She declined the last three dates.

A second friend, a smart ex-beauty queen in her 50’s paid $2000.00. She carefully described her ideal mate. Her only non-starter was he had to be man of Christian faith. Her first two dates had never been inside a church, synagogue or mosque. Her last date was a non-practicing Jew. Over lunch she described the men she had met and to my surprise she had been lined up with a man named Doug who was dating another client of mine, at the same time!

She called a second dating agency and asked whether they had Christian men on their roster. This firm was honest and said no. She now wants her money back because she believes that the agency that took her money knew they had no candidates that met her requirements.

Case # 3 is the worst of all. This woman was introduced to the man of her dreams and fell madly in love with him. What she didn’t know was that he was a pathological liar and serial philanderer who had dated almost every eligible woman in his hometown, usually four or five at the same time, declaring undying love to each. Apparently, the dating agency kept him on their list and operated as a pimp, supplying women to him year after year. My friend spent several years under the illusion that this was forever-love.

When she discovered the truth she had a nervous breakdown, having spent several years as
his partner, lover, chef, interior designer, travel agent and therapist, abandoning her career, friends and family.

Should professional matchmakers be worried about lawsuits? I think they should. New York lawyer John Friedland, 51, recently sued Manhattan matchmaker Amy Laurent for $100,000.00 when her agency failed to provide him with suitable dates. After dropping $10,000.00 the disappointed lawyer found that the women introduced to him were already seeing other men, did not meet his criteria or had personal backgrounds that were less than stellar.

At hearing of the lawsuit Ms. Laurent callously quipped that she was a matchmaker, not a therapist. Later she backtracked and advised the media that she had no idea that Mr. Friedland was unhappy and she would be working this out with him. She purports to have a near-perfect track record of matches.

You say all is fair in love and war? I say men and women longing for a life partner deserve honesty and respect.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

3 thoughts on “The High Cost of Cupid

  1. I couldn’t agree with your final statement more Georgia Lee! But just as bars and other scenes served to bring people together for a variety of reasons, so has the internet and matchmakers.

    The question is what expectation rests on these agencies to truly “know” the people they’re contractually obliged to. Everything relied upon in these businesses is contingent upon what information people give to get what they want. We all know how important it is to project something desirable when entering the dating arena. Can an agency then be expected to investigate it’s own clients to ensure the matches they’re making are on the up and up. I think not.

    Further, it brings home the point of what the real interest of these agencies is? Money or Love?

    Another interesting case in point in Canada is the Agency known as Entres Nous. An introduction service for Gay men.

    It’s a statement of fact in this country that gay Men make more money than straight men. Gay men also have more disposable income and more than any other community the gay bar has been the very centre of Gay Culture for decades. What stems from it is a high population of people looking at alternative ways to meet where bars have failed them and people starting companies where they know people are looking for services they project and offer. A need and demand.

    In the personal cases of friends and other litigants I’m aware of, the figures you speak of are not at all unheard of. Sadly, just as some sat in the barstool approaching closing time, waiting for Mr. Right, they now sit in the merrygoround of wholy unsuitable suitors that rarely spark an inital attraction upon meeting.

    Brings new meaning to Caveat Emptor!

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