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 men and 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 Fox’s recent offering, The Choice.
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 several business degrees 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, while he slept around with other women.
Should professional matchmakers be worried about lawsuits? I think they should. Take, for example, 60-year-old Anne Majerik, a widow from Pennsylvania who approached Los Angeles matchmaker Orly Hadida, who specializes in upscale introductions for the more mature, ages 50 to 70. Anne paid her $125,000 on the promise she would be introduced to a billionaire. He date turned out to be a local retired firefighter, so Anne sued her and obtained a judgment of over $2 million dollars.
Ms. Hadida is no stranger to lawsuits. Last fall she sued Oprah Winfrey’s best friend, Gayle King, for allegedly availing herself of potential mates in exchange for a promise that Gayle King would arrange for her appearance on Oprah. She also alleged that she waived her $500,000 fee. It didn’t go too well for Ms. Hadid as the lawsuit was thrown out of court this year. A rookie mistake: she didn’t get it in writing.
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