If you’re ready to delete dating apps off your phone after years of disastrous dates, or you’re just thinking of dating after divorce, a breakup, a bad dating experience like getting ghosted from someone you felt a connection with, or long, dry spell, a matchmaker can be a great option. In fact, The Wall Street Journal recently reported is soaring in popularity — especially among professional people serious about finding a meaningful, lasting serious relationship.
Matchmaking, a time-honored dating method still popular in some religious and ethnic groups, is emerging as a niche antidote to the agonies of online dating. …While dating apps create a sense of abundance, matchmakers emphasize the quality of a few connections. And if apps require people to sink hours into swiping and chatting, matchmakers offer an opportunity to outsource the effort.Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2019
Benefits of using a matchmaker include:
- Anonymous. Your picture or any other information is not available online, like in a dating app. This keeps confidential your personal life from clients, colleagues, friends, people you have dated (or were married to!), and your mom :)
- Secure. Quality matchmaking services do background checks on and verify the age and marital status of any potential dates.
- High-quality. Especially in services where both parties pay for the services, matchmaking services tend to date people interested in serious connections and long-term relationships, and also tend to be successful and financially stable (a plus of the high fee).
- Outsource the search. Instead of spending countless hours swiping right and left, being ghosted even before a first date (or worse: after a meaningful first or second date including sex), and spending hours getting through the basics on a first meeting, a matchmaker cuts through many hours of work to present you with a solid profile of a potential match.
What is the best matchmaking service?
There are countless professional matchmakers, from solo matchmakers who connect people locally in their city, to international organizations.
The largest, and one of the oldest matchmaking services is It’s Just Lunch, a service that stands out as one of the most affordable options.
Call It's Just Lunch at 1-800-805-9757 to learn more.
There are many other features that make It's Just Lunch stand out among its competitors:
What is It’s Just Lunch?
It's Just Lunch is a matchmaking service, that is the largest and most affordable of traditional matchmaking services. Here is how it works:
- IJL is established, with 28 years in business, and 3 million first dates set up!
- Guaranteed number of dates. Your It's Just Lunch contract comes with a guaranteed number of dates. (A date is arranged when your matchmaker presents you with people you matched with, and you decide if you would like to pursue a first date.)
- They set up the date. It’s Just Lunch is unique in that the service makes a reservation at a bar, cafe or restaurant for you. You just show up and (hopefully) have a great time.
- You provide feedback after your date — this helps the matchmaker hone her selection of new dates for you, as well as better understand the other party.
- Your full identity, including contact info, is not shared with the other party.
- You can pause your service at any time. So, if you signed on for a 16-month, 12-date membership, and decide to be exclusive with match #4 on month 5 (or otherwise want to take a break from dating), you can pause your engagement with It’s Just Lunch, and pick up again later.
- Each membership includes two, free one-on-one dating coaching sessions.
- All the interactions with It's Just Lunch are personal, one-on-one, and offline: From the initial consultation, to the interview and onboarding, to the first date — it all is handled by a human invested in your dating success.
- Your matchmaker pulls from a vast database of potential matches — 100% of whom are from the It’s Just Lunch membership list of other serious daters who actively sought out and paid for the service. By contrast, other matchmakers recruit from their social connections and even strangers, often waiving fees in order to increase offerings to paid clients.
- A+ Better Business Bureau rating
- 5,447 It’s Just Lunch reviews on Consumer Affairs, with an average rating of 4.1/5 stars
Interested? Give It's Just Lunch a call now at 1-800-805-9757, or fill out a quick form on their website and have them call you.
Who can join It’s Just Lunch?
Any adult who can pay the fee is welcome to join It's Just Lunch. However, one of the benefits of IJL is that they will not take your money unless the service is confident they can arrange a minimum number of quality dates that meet your dating criteria.
How does It's Just Lunch matchmaking work? How do I join?
I went through the It’s Just Lunch free, onboarding interview process, and left extremely impressed by how the program works, the type of people it attracts, the history and success rate, and It’s Just Lunch’s high standards.
While I happen to be happy with my boyfriend of 2.5 years, I had so much fun during the interview, and that evening enthusiastically recommended IJL to one of my single, successful girlfriends who is frustrated with online dating.
Have a listen to my experience with It’s Just Lunch dating specialist, Sandra, here, or read the transcript of the conversation below.
Here is how It’s Just Lunch works:
- Call 1-800-805-9757, or enter your contact info here and a specialist will contact you.
Expect to spend 30 minutes on the phone, as the dating specialist will ask all about you:
- What prompted the call
- Your interests and values
- Experience with dating — the good, bad and ugly
- What type of relationship and match you are looking for
- Your schedule and dating availability
- Your levels of education and career
- Any dating deal-breakers
- Answer any and all questions you have
2. Based on your answers, as well as your location, the specialist will offer you a dating package — a fixed number of dates over a specific period of time. The package is based on a minimum guaranteed number of dates It’s Just Lunch feels confident promising. The higher the likelihood they can find quality matches for you in your area, the higher the number of dates they will promise. It’s Just Lunch dating packages range from about $2,000 to $5,000. (Too pricey for you now? Try eHarmony online dating for free, and monthly fees starting at $7.90/month >>)
3. Once you are signed on, you will be introduced to your own personal matchmaker. This person will spend time on video interview getting to know you, who you are, your personality, and the type of person who will make a great first date — and help you reach your dating goals.
5. Your matchmaker will present you with potential matches, showing you their photo, and information about who they are and their age, interests and other information. Your full name, contact info, and other identifying information is kept completely confidential. And remember — none of this process is available publically online. It is 100% private.
6. Once there is a mutual match, It’s Just Lunch sets up a first date at a restaurant, bar or cafe, based on your schedule.
7. Your matchmaker will follow up after the date. The info you share will help your matchmaker hone their matches for you in the future — as well as better understand your date.
Learn more about It's Just Lunch here, or call 1-800-805-9757.
It’s Just Lunch FAQs
How much does It’s Just Lunch cost?
It’s Just Lunch guarantee dating packages are customized for each client, and range from about $2,000 to $5,000.
Prices are customized based on the member’s city and flexibility in their dating requirements, as well as age and other factors.
The service also has a deep database of millions of potential matches — all of whom actively signed up for and paid for the service. By contrast, many high-end matchmaking services recruit randomly from attractive people they meet, but may not actively pursue and pay for a matchmaker in an effort to find a meaningful connection.
If this is too expensive consider eharmony, an onlind dating site / app that has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, claims that every day, an average of 438 singles marry a match they found on eharmony. Free basic version and a sole focus on serious, committed relationships. Check on eharmony now, for free >>
Does It’s Just Lunch do background checks?
It’s Just Lunch screens clients by first doing a one-on-one interview via phone. Once someone committed to being a client, they sign an agreement stating their interview questions are true. After that, the service meets face-to-face with the client and does a photo ID check to verify who they are, and related details — including age — are true.
Does It’s Just Lunch serve the LGBTQ community?
It’s Just Lunch serves the gay and trans community in some of their offices, and is expanding service to this community. Ask your dating specialist what is available in your area.
Does It’s Just Lunch serve people with disabilities?
Yes. Before It’s Just lunch agrees to work with any client, they ensure they can provide matches, and set proper expectations.
What is It’s Just Lunch success rate?
Says IJL dating specialist Sandra Hatton: “Success is measured differently by each client. It is always personal. But we do guarantee fun first dates, and we measure our success by metrics including great feedback from clients, when clients go on “hold” for one another, and having a great time. We have documented thousands of relationships and marriages, but we always make sure we measure success one-on-one for each person. Being proactive and going out on fun first dates is always a success.
Some of the It’s Just Lunch success stories are on their website:
FAQs about matchmaking services
What is matchmaking?
Matchmaking is the ancient practice of connecting two people for the purpose of romantic connection. Historically, matchmakers focused solely on marriage introductions, based on the needs or wants of the couple, and/or their families and communities.
Today, matchmakers are typically paid services that use a combination of technology (like online interviews and video recordings).
How does matchmakers work?
Typically, when you join a matchmaking agency, expect to go through a long interview process so that the matchmaker can get to know who you are, what you are looking for, and the type of person who you may find a connection with.
You will likely be asked to provide proof of your age and identification, and submit recent photos they can share with potential matches.
The matchmaker will then present potential dates to you. Depending on the details of the service, you may be sent on a totally blind date, or have a video and other information to review before agreeing to a date.
How matchmaking services really work?
Many services only charge one gender: either only the men pay, and attractive women are recruiter to go on dates, free of charge to the woman. Other services offer the reverse, capitalizing on the fear that many women have that “there are few good men out there.”
Matchmakers’ biggest challenge is recruiting quality single people to match with clients who pay very high matchmaking fees. Matchmakers are constantly recruiting new members — from their social and professional networks, social gatherings, and even approaching attractive people in public places.
It’s Just Lunch reports that all of its recruiting is from within its existing network of paying clients (or former clients whose packages were fulfilled), and are seeking serious relationships.
How much does matchmaking cost?
Matchmaking is not cheap. Typically, matchmaking services cost between $10,000 and $50,000 per year.
It’s Just Lunch customizes matchmaking packages based on the minimum number of dates they feel they can guarantee, factoring in the client’s location, age, and other factors (mainly: how picky you are). It’s Just Lunch guaranteed date packages cost about $2,000 to $5,000, including one-on-one dating coaching.
Prices will vary based on where you are located, if you are in New York, London, Orlando, Chicago or San Diego — or anywhere in between (and how far you are willing to travel for a date).
Questions to ask a professional matchmaker
- What does your price include? Are there any guarantees?
- How do you recruit?
- Are both parties paying customers? Or is one gender free?
- How do you measure success?
- What is your success rate?
- Can you introduce me to some past client referrals? I’d like to speak to both men and women.
- How do you know the other person is looking for a serious relationship?
- What is the interview process?
- Do you do background checks? How do you know the other person isn’t married?
- How do I know the person isn’t just a golddigger?
- What are the typical characteristics of your clients?
Here is what you can expect when you call It's Just Lunch
Call 1-800-805-9757, or set up an appointment here.
Here is my experience when I called and spoke with dating specialists Sandra (transcript below):
A dating specialist will take plenty of time to answer your questions, and get to know you, what you are looking for, and whether It's Just Lunch can guarantee quality dates.
Hi, Emma, this is Sandra from It's Just Lunch. How are you?
Oh, thank you so much for picking up right away.
Of course. Well, listen, I had a quick question, how did you hear about us? Did you know somebody that's dating with us?
I have actually heard of people who have used you, but it was many years ago. But I saw an ad in an in flight magazine on Delta, which I frequently fly. So, it just kind of piqued my interest. I know, just always been interested in matchmaking. It seems sort of like a very exclusive, expensive thing, but I'm at a point in my life when I thought it might be kind of interesting.
Oh, very fun. Now were you traveling for work or was it for fun?
It was to see my brother in Chicago.
Oh, good. Okay, great. Well we're always so curious to know how people hear about us, we usually get a lot of our clients as referrals. So that's the reason I asked. So did you get a chance to actually go to our website. Did you read through anything, like our FAQ, or how we work?
I do. I have a general idea of what you're about. But I just really wanted to see how this whole process works.
It's Just Lunch history
We're a personalized matchmaking service. And we specialize in setting up busy singles on first dates. So, it used to be lunch dates. Not many people take lunch anymore, so it could be a drink after work. For the most part, it could be a weekend date, like a brunch date, or a drink over the weekend.
So we've doing this 28 years, actually 28 years coming this June.
Is our anniversary. And we've actually set up almost three million first dates at this point.
That's crazy. Three million? Sometimes, I feel like I've been on three million first dates.
That's common, people say that a lot, actually. One of the reasons we're successful is that we, number one, we're discreet. We're confidential. So that really does set us apart. You won't find any photos of our clients online, there is no videos, no last names, no phone numbers are given out, no emails. So, you know, you get to work with your one on one personal matchmaker, which is really nice.
And the one thing that is wonderful, is that most of clients don't have a problem dating, at all. They're really looking for a quality match, over just quantity. It seems that most of our clients are very busy. Work and lifestyle.
So would you say that you're pretty busy?
I'm very busy. I'm a mom, I run a business, yes. Very busy.
It's Just Lunch clientele
Okay. Good. Yeah, we hear that a lot and lots of times if you know you are busy, the people you're running into on your own are your colleagues, clients, people that you have a professional relationship with, that maybe necessarily, you don't want to go there. Or maybe you're friends or family have fixed you up and it hasn't worked. Or you've just not, you've outgrown the bar scene. That's not somewhere where you go to potentially meet a good match.
And most of all, I think that when people contact us, they're ready to take control. I think you mentioned something a long the lines that you might be ready for something different. And then, again, it really is just about meeting the right kinds of people. Does any of that sound like you right now?
Yes. That's all really resonates.
It's Just Lunch interview for potential clients
Okay. Perfect. And I see from your information, you're 42, is that correct?
Okay. Well that is a really good age for dating, actually, a lot of our clients are in that age range dating with us. So, that's wonderful. So tell me what you've been doing to date on your own now. Have you tried anything? Are you on any apps? Are you being set up? What's going on in your dating life?
So, lots of online dating. Mostly, or meeting people through work.
Or, you know, just social contacts, just personal contacts, but a whole lot of online dating.
A whole lot of online dating. Okay. So, tell me about how that's going for you? Did something recently happen that made you contact us, now? Was it the dating or is it something else?
Yeah. Big burnout. Big burnout on online dating, just feeling like running through. It's just like a lot of swiping, left and right. And not really finding meaningful connection.
Though, over the years, I have really enjoyed online dating. I just enjoy finding people that maybe I wouldn't normally connect with, like people outside of my industry, outside of my neighborhood. Just different types of people, coming out … I've been divorced for ten years. But coming out of the experience, and just figuring out who I was going to be and what I was going to, my new life was going to look like and the kind of people I would date. It was just like a great opportunity to experience of that, especially in New York City where I live, and there's such a huge variety of people here.
Yeah. Well kudos to you. That sounds so fun. I'm glad to hear that. That's something that we really actually like because that helps us, because we know that you know what you want and what you don't want. And you probably have a more specific idea of what you're looking for.
So, concerning a relationship, what are you looking for? Are you looking to find a steady relationship? Do you want to get married? Are you looking just to continue to meet different people?
Something serious and committed. Something, a meaningful long term connection. I don't necessarily have to get married, per se, I'm divorced and I have kids and I don't think that's an end goal, in and of itself. But I do want a serious, committed relationship.
Okay. Well, you did the right thing by calling us. I'm happy that you did. So tell me what you're looking for in someone. You don't have to give me a long description, but if you were to really narrow down the top three things that you would say are your must haves. But think quality characteristics, over anything else.
Somebody that's just very honest and open. I have a very keen bullshit detector and I also have no tolerance for that. So, just somebody that is really, has the capacity to be vulnerable and open and honest and straight forward. And, not just with me, but just in his life in general.
So, I mean, I feel like that plays out into everything. That means that he would have other meaningful relationships in life that he, the way he manages his business is very honest and straightforward. The way he lives his life, he's not probably somebody that's going to have a lot of really flashy cars and clothes, but really enjoys what he does have. And hopefully, you know, he's successful. That's important to me. I have a lot going on in my business. And I like to talk about business a lot.
And I am comfortable and I do enjoy my lifestyle, but it's, you know, it's not a status thing. But I do need somebody that's established in his life and his career, too.
Okay. So, it sounds like most importantly, is honesty. You want someone who's open, who's straightforward. Maybe typical, nice New Yorker qualities, I think, but you also mentioned something about being close with people like maybe friends and family as well, so he has legitimate people in his life.
And then, I just wrote down, down to earth. ‘Cause it sounds like you just want someone who's a little bit more real. A balance of the success, but doesn't necessarily always have to be in a suit and tie, can really just be himself. And then, successful in whatever it is he does.
In terms of that, successful, we'll talk a little bit more about that later. I want to, I'm kind of curious to know what kind of men you've dated in the past. So, one of the things that we do when we go through this process is really spend our time focusing on what you really want.
So, we want to find out exactly the type of person that you want to meet. And we're going to get a little more in depth to find out a little bit more of the things you're attracted to and preferences. And then we're going to match you on those things. So what we're going to do is conduct about a 20-30 minute interview, just to ask you a few more questions. And we're going to do this to make sure we have what you're looking for.
So, that's really important to us. Your matchmaker, if they can work with you, will select and recruit matches pretty much right away. And we work with a network of singles that are really serious about dating. So that's the number one thing that we qualify our clients on. They have to be really looking for someone, not a lot of different people.
So, again, matching on your relationship goals is really important. And that could be a client that's dating with us right now, already. Or it could be somebody that we recruit specifically for you. So we can get a little bit more picky.
With too, so that's pretty awesome. Do I pay on the front end or do I pay on the back end of this thing?
So, if we decide that we can work with you as a client, obviously this is determining we have the kind of people you're looking for, we really feel confident we can find those men for you. Then, you would invest up front. And it's my job just to make sure that you're really excited and comfortable about everything, including the investment. So you'd have to feel good about it. So, we want you to be excited about it. A little bit nervous butterflies is okay, but it's definitely an up front commitment.
So, wait, I need, so okay, so it's that first you interview me to see if you can even serve me?
Yes. Of course. We don't just take on anyone.
One of things that sets us apart is that we give guaranteed dates. So, not many matchmaking services, if at all, give guaranteed dates. They'll definitely sell you a membership. And it may even be a year or two years down the line, but there's no guarantee. So, because we've been doing this for 28 years, our network is very vast. And we operate out of over 100 offices worldwide.
So we have a network, where we don't have to search and select at the bars and the restaurants or you know, in the subway. You know, we can use our network, so yes-
I have a story about that. But that's for an adult audience. Go on.
So the way that it works, is let's say for example, when you go through this interview, we decide that we have what you're looking for. Then at that point, your personal matchmaker first of all is going to want to meet you. So they're going to call you, we're going to meet you face to face. Okay?
The first step is really making sure we have that. So, it's really hard to say what's involved in a package, because again, we're going to personalize it based on what you're looking for. I want to make sure that first we have a 100 percent what you're looking for. Because it's important that, like I said, you're comfortable, and you're excited and you know what to expect.
When you say face to face, is that over video, or in person in real life?
We would do over video. All of our matchmakers are located in one location in Miramar, Florida. So they would meet you face to face. That's the first thing, they just want to see your face. Then at that point, if we have a match right away, we'll send you a profile. And that profile would include of course, the photo of the client, which we only show once you're a member.
From the It's Just Lunch interview to matching
Match doesn't mean date. It just means, here's a profile of someone we really feel that you'd want to meet. It would have a photo, you wouldn't have last names or phone numbers. You would see what you have in common. Relationship goals, you would know their education, you would know their career, you know hobbies and interests. Most importantly, you would know why we feel this person is a good match for you.
So we know the stuff that you wouldn't know on paper or on online app. You can read in a profile, and you don't know someone's personality. You don't know the little things that we know after a date. So one of the things that we do, is we get feedback from our clients. So if we present you Bob, for example, we can tell you things about Bob that are not paper, because we've heard his feedback. And we do the same thing for you.
You mean, from other women who have gone out with him?
Yeah. We're not going to get too specific, but we know those little things about his personality. Remember we've done an interview with him. We've met him face to face. So we know how he sounds, we know his kind of sense of humor he has. We know all those little things that you just wouldn't know. Like if a friend was setting you up, that kind of stuff.
They wouldn't tell you exactly what he is on paper, they would tell you, what is personality is like, they would tell you why you guys have to meet. So that's kind of how your matchmaker is going to present you your match.
We would also physically see it. And at that point, you know once you agree to meet the person, because you can say no. You don't have to go out on this date. At that point if you say yes, then we'll go ahead and start the work. We'll set up the date. We confirm with both parties. You'll go to one of our restaurant partnerships. You'd walk in, you'd say, “Hey, I'm here to meet Bob.” Maybe he's there first and he's already seated, maybe you arrive and they sit you down at the table.
You guys go on, give lots of tips, so we give you a dating coaching session before you start. So, if you're nervous about dating or even you just want a couple of tips on how the process works, that is something that would happen before your first date.
Text from my matchmaker? And you said I have one matchmaker that I'm working with.
You have one matchmaker. Yeah. So once they meet you, via Skype or Zoom, at that point, if you decided to do the dating coaching session, we'll go ahead and do it. It's about 30 minutes. And just can kind of prepare for the dating process.
You don't have to do that, but I think most clients take advantage of it, even if they are expert daters, and they have experience, it's just something fun. And at that point, if you're on the date with Bob, and you guys click, you hit it off, you can decide if you want to give him your business card or phone number. It's really up to you. We do coach-
So there's no personal information exchanged. I don't know this guy's last name, I can't search him on his Facebook.
I can't stalk him by his email or his phone number-
Because it's totally anonymous.
Until we meet, and then it's obviously, we're two adults. We can change, exchange numbers if we want.
It's Just Lunch dating coaching
Yeah. And I think at this point, I mean, this is, we coach our clients to know how to I guess, seal the deal. So, who's going to ask for who's phone number, what do you do if you don't want to give your phone number, kind of things like that. So that's a part of the dating coaching session, to start. So we'll give tips to get through that.
Well, I think that's really interesting because so many women coming out of divorce, maybe they have not been on a date for 20 years, 30 years.
And they don't know how to date and they're completely intimidated by online dating, dating and social media age, texting, sexting, dick pics. It's completely overwhelming and paralyzing for them. And this has a little bit like old fashioned dating.
It takes all of that out of it. And it takes, like you said, it really focuses and attracts people that are serious daters.
Yeah. We just want to make it fun and low pressure. So even when the check comes, for example, you'll have two separate checks brought to the table. That way no one feels like they have to pay. Now, I will say, obviously, 90 percent of the time, if the gentleman wants to see you again, he's going to pick up the check.
But, it's not, any pressure, for anyone. It's just meant to be fun.
And you guys because, It's Just Lunch sets up the, you guys actually make the dinner reservation and tell them ahead of time to bring two checks?
Well, we don't set up dinner dates. So it's usually a drink after work.
Oftentimes, I think if people click and hit it off, yeah, they order food. Really the whole point of a first date is to keep it like, an hour, two hours. Keep it simple. Keep it fun. You know enough about each other that you have things to strike up the conversation and topics, saying, “Oh, hey, I see that you travel a lot, you've been to Iceland, me too.” So we'll give you enough about the person that you feel like you have things to just chat about.
And then if you want to stay for dinner, great. But we just typically set up just a drink or a lunch. But we've heard a lot of success stories where people have spent four or five hours, they've gone to dinner. They took a walk around the park. And you know, you can take it from there.
So, second dates obviously are up to the clients, if they click and hit it off. Most of our first dates do lead to second dates, because remember, both people have already agreed to meet one another. You already have the same relationship goals, you already have the things in common as well as the qualities and characteristics that you're looking for.
And you see a photo, so you kind of generally would know if you're attracted to one another. Chemistry typically is there or not. And oftentimes, you now, you just know when you know. The first 25 years we were in business, we didn't even show photos. And we were successful. We had tons of marriages and relationships just describing matches. .
Yeah. Yes. I mean, that's what we expect too, I mean, we're so used to consuming so much information about people. So that makes sense. Okay. So, now, what about simultaneous dating? So let's say you send me on a date with somebody. I like him. I want to see him again. But I'm not ready to settle down. Are there dates-
So one of the things that we do first is when you go on a date, we're going to collect from you. So after date, you know, obviously, feedback is optional, but if you've invested in this for yourself, and you're really serious about meeting someone, for the most part, people give their feedback. And you can be as detailed as possible.
So we like to take it over the phone, you could also email it in, do you think that you would feel comfortable doing that.
Sure. Yeah. I have lots of opinions about everything.
Successful matching & putting a hold on an It's Just Lunch membership
Good. So, you know, if he's a great match for you and you want to keep dating him, we're going to continue to send you matches until you say, “Okay, you know what? Can you put my membership on hold? I really like this guy. I don't want to go on any other dates. Put my membership on hold.” And we'll allow you to take some time to get to know him so you don't feel like you have to be rushed. You can take your time. It's not the point of going on a lot of dates here. We're really focusing on one date at a time.
So, to answer your question, yeah. I mean, we're going to keep matching to you until you say stop. And of course based on the number of dates that we guarantee you. A lot of times, you may go on hold for three months and decide he's not the one. And then, you know, come back and say, “Okay, I'm ready for my next match.” And we'll try again.
It's Just Lunch clientele qualifications
So, okay. So, I like that you're not willing to work with me unless you can provide matches. So, if I for example, I mean, who's somebody that would be hard to match? Somebody maybe like, lives in a rural community where there's just not a lot of people that would be of your demographic.
I think that there's a lid for every pot. So, you know, we've been doing this for so long, I personally have worked in Boise, Salt Lake City, London, Australia, Ireland, there's just, people are the same no matter where they are. So, I really don't think anyone's unmatchable. I think that sometimes we have to be a little bit more flexible on certain things, like maybe driving a little bit further than you might want to-
To meet that person. So even if you're in a rural place, there's always typically, because we have so many locations around the U.S. somewhere that you can drive and meet someone. And that may mean that you have to flex, or you may say you don't unfortunately, right now, we don't feel confident giving you the guaranteed dates at this point.
So that's how we do the interview. The interview is really important to determine that. I couldn't tell anyone anything that they have to flex on until we get to know you. But just based on geo graphics, for the most part, we can help people. And if what you're looking for doesn't make sense, or we don't feel that it's realistic, we'll tell you. Honestly, because that's important.
So, and sometimes, you know, you don't know. Especially like you said, if you're recently out of a divorce, you don't really know what's realistic or not.
You have to figure that out.
And you know don't know what you want. You don't know who you are when you're coming out of a big relationship. I mean, it is, it takes a long time. It can take a long time. I know, just in my work, I have been approached by matchmakers to do, brand partnerships before and they're like, “Yes, so basically, if it's like 70 year old guy and he only dates 19 year olds. We probably could not work out with him.” Right?
Right. I mean, I think that age is the biggest factor to get people to flex on. But it's also the most silliest factor, because I think everyone feels the age they are. And because we show photos, I think once you see the person, you can decide whether or not you want to meet them. But we wouldn't just take someone on that was 70 that wanted to date 20. It just wouldn't work. There would be no sense in giving a guaranteed date, 'cause we can't guarantee that.
So that's really what the interview is for, so if you want, we can take ten more minutes or so, now, we can go over some basic interview questions.
It's Just Lunch matchmaking interview, continued
See if we have what you're looking for and then you can make the decision for yourself. So tell me what you do professionally? I know you're a mother. And then you said you own your own business?
Yeah. So I have a media company, I'm a blogger. A writer. I've been a writer for my whole career, 20 years. And I've had this business for seven years.
Great. Now, when we would be presenting you to a potential match, would you want him to know that you're a writer, more of an entrepreneur? How would you want your profession to be described?
It's really both. I'm definitely a creative person. But I am entrepreneur and a business owner too, and I end up connecting, probably I find myself connecting with business entrepreneur folks more than just straight-up bleeding-heart artists. I don't have anything in common with those folks.
Okay. Great. All right. So I'm going to say, entrepreneur, business owner, slash writer. So we can keep that in there. Sometimes people like to keep it specific, sometimes they like it to be more vague. Especially based on what you do professionally, if it's really a specific job, people can Google you.
And I know you work for yourself, so what would you consider your typical work schedule if there is one?
It's business hours during the day, but it is very flexible. Yeah. You can just say Monday through Friday, whatever.
So, if we were to set you up on dates, do you think you would prefer drinks after work? Would you prefer weekend dates? What would work better with your schedule and your children?
We can, honestly, weekends or weekday lunches. During business hours or weekends I would say.
Oh, great. I love that you're open to lunches, that's amazing. And then for weekends, would you like a drink in the evening or more like brunches?
Okay. You're super flexible. I love it. That's great. Now, how long has it been since your last serious relationship? I know that you mentioned that recently you were speaking with someone. Was that a serious relationship or that was just kind of at the beginning stages?
Oh, you can, whatever, say, five years ago. Five years ago.
Okay. Five years. And then how long were you together? Was that your marriage? Or was that a relationship?
No. That was another relationship, like a year.
Okay. So, I kind of what you to just narrow down what you liked about this person, and I don't want you to think just specifically this person, but people you've dated in the past, what you've really liked about them. You've already told me a few things that you're still looking for. But I want kind of a few, maybe three to five extras that you find yourself attracted to that you really liked about this last person, or if you can think back to past relationships that you want to us to continue to match on.
Right. So, let's see, somebody that's very smart. Somebody that's extremely, way, way above average intelligence.
And that's like the hugest turn on for me. And I don't really care what he's smart about, he might be really interested, and honestly, I like it when people have interests outside of mine that will kind of broaden my horizons.
You know, whatever it is, just somebody really brilliant. Good sense of humor. I mean there's nothing better than laughing with somebody. Great sexual chemistry is very important to me.
Similar politics. I'm extremely liberal. Very politically active myself. I mean that's a given. That's a 100 percent deal breaker if you have a Make America Great Again hat, we're done.
And not even, even vague Republican leanings, we're so over.
Talk to me about that sense of humor really quick. What kind of sense of humor do you like?
I mean, whatever, I mean, that boyfriend was very sarcastic. And that kind of gets to be a drag. ‘Cause I feel like just straight up, sarcasm is kind of dated humor.
It's like, just because you say things that are opposite doesn't make them funny. Being silly can be funny. Being super cerebral can be funny. There's all kinds of brands of humor, but I think it takes certain intelligence and wit and confidence to be funny.
I wrote down witty. Probably more of intelligent sense of humor, I'm kind of sensing from you.
Yeah. But being silly.
Like if some guy can get down and silly and dirt, potty humor, that can have it's charm, too.
Okay. Good. That's awesome. So we know intelligence, you want someone a little bit above average obviously his own interests, something that he's just smart about. Whatever it is and you someone-
Sense of humor. Kind of geeky? Okay.
I tend to like the guy that was the nerd in high school. He's not the cool guy with a sports car. I was a nerd in high school and I think I will never lose that. You can't un-wire that hard wiring.
No, that's great. I love it. Chemistry, I think you said, we're not going to know that right away, but talk to me about appearance. Was your last person you were in a relationship, was he attractive? What did he look like?
I mean, there's nothing better than a good looking guy. But that is definitely not a deal breaker. I'm 5'6″. I'm not that tall myself, but tall guys are great. But had the hots for this guy that was also 5'6″ and he was super sexy to me, 'cause he was smart and funny and interesting and successful and a good dancer.
I honestly am not hung up on guy's looks at all. But I'm not going to turn down a hot guy either.
Okay. Good. Well, I love that. Did you say good dancer?
Yeah. That's not even a thing for me. But we did go dancing and people in New York don't even go dancing. But we did go dancing. It's not a dancing city.
Being healthy is important. So, I'm not the fittest person but I do work out everyday. I love to hike. I'm active. And we're all getting older, let's take care of ourselves, you know? I like somebody that's going show up and expect me to take care of myself, too. I feel like that's a given. And I just would somebody, he doesn't have to have rock hard body, but he needs to take care of his health.
Okay. Well, we do, I will say that that's one of the number one things that we hear from the gentlemen, they are just looking for someone who's active and fit, or lives a healthy lifestyle. I think really similar to what you're saying. So that's really good.
Let's flip it around, let's talk about what you don't want. Because I think it's a little bit easier to get to know someone based on what you absolutely don't want. We talked a little bit about politics. But more about qualities and characteristics, what kind of personality are you not really clicking with? What kind of person are you trying to avoid? And try to think about qualities and characteristics but even if it's something else.
Yeah. Let's see. I mean, reality is, is I've got kids and that, it's got to be somebody that's like, maybe that's not their number one thing, but they are in to kids. Or they're at least open to a family with kids. And I'm not having any more kids myself, by the way.
So that's just, yeah. That's come up in past in dating. And you know, this is like the thing with New York, is that the people are like, honest and ambitious and out there. But the other side is they can be competitive. Right? And they can be over prioritizing work. So there's a difference between being driven and successful and then also defining yourself by your job or the material trappings of money.
And it's a fine balance and I have struggled with that myself I think. But I really do not give a shit what your address is. I do not care. Do I care if you have, your financially stable and that you can take care of yourself? Yeah. That is important to me, 'cause you know, that is important to me. But just the flash, I don't care about. Or like what the title is.
And you know, like I say, you can't bullshit a bullshitter. So if you want to talk to me about how awesome your start up is, I know a little bit about start ups and 99 percent chance it's not that awesome.
So it sounds like to me, just tell me if I'm wrong. You're not into someone who has a major ego about himself.
You're not really, you don't want someone who's trying to impress you. Just be yourself. You want someone who's not super competitive. Someone that has at least a decent work life balance like you and you know, I think it's hard when you want someone successful, but I think if you're looking for someone in their 40s early 50s, at this point, living in New York, hopefully that's not that hard to find.
And you want someone who's just down to earth and real. Right?
Right. Yeah. And then I think the other things, it's like, worldview, it's important. I like to travel. I like, I'm very interested, I read a lot. No one's going to have the exact same interests as me, but somebody that's also engaged in the world in a meaningful way. And then, whatever that means to him. Maybe he has a rich volunteer life or I don't even know.
But something interesting that we could be talking about. That we're both, I guess it's passion, is what I'm looking for.
Okay. Share some things you don't like about men you've dated.
Things I don't like about people, see that's the thing, I have plenty to complain about when I'm dating them, and then I block it out.
Right. Yeah. Well, that's kind of what where you've got to think back at just maybe the last couple of relationships and say, that for me was pretty much a deal breaker. And it was there and I just don't want that again. And it could be, I mean, I know you mentioned that honesty was really important, so obviously the flip of that is someone who wasn't honest. But that's kind of a given.
So maybe think about a couple of things that maybe in the past, just didn't work for you.
If a guy has kids, it's really important for me that he's very involved and their lives. That he doesn't just do the every other weekend dad thing.
So if he has kids, you want him to be a good father. Someone who's involved in their lives.
And just general, I find that people just don't have manners. Show up on time. Right? Be considerate. Sometimes, it's just little things, you know, somebody else's glass at the table is empty, fill it with some wine, or little considerations. Be respectful of my time and my schedule, is really important to me. And I feel like that's a larger meta social ill.
So someone who's thoughtful, it sounds like. Someone who's respectful. Clearly.
Right. I mean, I'm not so big on like old-school chivalry. But just general basic human considerations. Like anything that he would extend to me, he would be extending to other people in his life on his daily basis.
Okay. So I wrote down a couple other the things. It sounds like you said you've connected mostly with other entrepreneurs, have you dated different types of people, like the last guy you were dating, was he an entrepreneur, business owner?
No. But that's not a deal breaker. For sure. I mean, I definitely dated corporate guys and it's fine.
We don't really do matches on profession. I was just trying to see if there was a trend. And it sounds like I think you've narrowed it down based on the qualities and characteristics that you're looking for.
So I think we'll be fine there. And then appearance, it sounds like you're not that picky. Someone who's athletic. Someone who takes care of themselves. But your ideal guy, talk to me about what he looks like, just ideally. You know?
Yeah. Like he's tall. And he's fit and he dresses well. Everybody has a beard now, but I do tend to be drawn to guys with beards.
Okay. That's good.
I don't like tattoos, but everyone has a tattoo, so I think everybody I've ever dated has had a tattoo. So whatever. That's literally something cannot be be picky about that any more.
You know, it's just like there is something about a guy, something genuinely in his soul that shows he is a confident, good guy. That just comes through, the minute he walks in the door. So that's very hard. I don't know how you're going to screen for that.
Are you looking for more of a like a suit and tie guy, jeans and suit guy? Do you like a guy that's always in jeans and t-shirt? I'm just trying to think, 'cause you said dresses nice. What kind of style are we talking about?
Oh God, if he's really, corporate, Wall Street in a suit, I don't know, but I do love a guy in a suit. I don't know how to answer that.
Okay. Probably jeans and suit. It sounds like to me you're saying jeans and suit, 'cause you like a little bit of rugged guy. So it sounds like you want someone who can be down to earth on the weekends, but if he has a professional job, and he's wearing a suit, that's fine.
Yeah. I don't care.
Okay. All right. So you're 42. So typically what I recommend as an expert, is that we have you date a couple years younger. And then up to 52. Where have you typically dated in terms of age?
I've dated a lot of older guys. And a few a younger guys, too. I'm not, I don't discriminate. But I am more drawn to older guys, for better or worse.
Why do you think that is?
Also the intelligence factor, possibly? Maturity.
An old soul. There is some of that.
I think I'm probably a little bit more advanced in my career than other people my age. Maybe.
And I'm also a neurotic person. So, there's that.
Okay. Good. I mean I think it's great. You just want someone who's mature, you're typically drawn, but if you're open to ages, this is going to be really easy for us. I mean, really, really opens up the search and we don't have to picky on that. The last thing we ever want is for someone to box off a potential, a possibility based on age. Especially 'cause you get to see a photo and you can say yes or no. You have the control. You're not really forced to go with anyone. So that's going to make things really easy.
Are in a New Yorker born and raised? Or where are you from originally?
So, I'm from the Midwest.
Okay. Where in the Midwest?
I'm from a small town in the Midwest, called Sycamore, Illinois.
Okay. Illinois, great. And then you said you've been here how long? In New York?
16 years. Okay.
Now, do you have any other family here in New York?
My brother and his wife live in building, actually.
Wow, that's wonderful.
And then you said you have children. How many children do you have?
Two children. And how old are they?
Nine and eleven.
Okay. Great. That's wonderful. Now I'm looking at you, I can't tell what color your eyes are. Are they brown, are they blue?
Blue eyes. Okay. And you have red auburn hair, it looks like. Do you smoke cigarettes?
Okay. So do you prefer a non-smoker?
Yes. Oh, God, yeah. I dated a guy that vaped. Oh, God.
At least they've gone to vaping. And that's change, it used to be actual cigarettes. All right so is that deal breaker for you would you say?
Okay. I'll be honest with you, I think 99 percent of our clients do not smoke. So, it really goes into that lifestyle. A lot of our clients are really healthy active lifestyles, so I know that you mentioned that earlier.
You're 5'6″, I remember, what is your weight? We won't share this on your profile.
Oh, like 140.
Okay. Perfect. And I'm looking at you, I don't want to make any assumptions, are you Caucasian?
Yep, super white.
Okay, just want to make sure you never know. So have you ever dated outside of your ethnicity before?
Yeah. I'm really open about race.
Oh, wonderful. Are there any ethnicities that maybe you're not as attracted to? Are you going to be open to just anyone that we feel is a great-
Yeah, I really am totally open. I do tend to date mostly white guys. A lot of Jewish guys. I'm not Jewish.
I love this. I love that you're so open. This is going to make it so much fun for you. This is the kind of things that just, it just really expands things a lot, especially in New York, to find you someone great.
Wonderful. Now I know you said you're not looking to have any more children. Which is fine. So, in terms of the gentlemen, you did mention also that if he was a father, that you would obviously want him to be invested. So it sounds like you're open to men that have children.
Do you have any caveats on that? Like, number of children, or age of children, not they we specifically match on that. But it's-
No. I don't. I don't. I mean, I don't know. I'm very open, though, I don't think I've ever been really involved with someone that had little kids at home.
That doesn't sound really exciting to me anymore, 'cause I'm thinking about getting, when my kids are leaving. And there's a freedom that comes with that.
But it's not a deal breaker. It really isn't.
Okay. That's good. That's really good. I mean, you never know. For the most part, I think, we're looking at gentlemen from 40 to 50, they're probably going to have, if they have children, probably around your age range, anyway. So, that's more common than not.
Now I know you said that you were married in the past. How long have you been divorced?
Ten years. Okay. Now are you open to meeting someone who is also divorced?
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes.
Someone who's widowed?
Okay. What about someone who is separated, meaning they're still going through a divorce. It's not necessarily finalized.
Yeah, in New York, it takes forever to get divorced. And everybody dates while they're separated.
I mean, honestly, I think that you're very, very open so far, and it's on the right things, which is good. So this is actually really helpful. Religion though. Are you religious? Are you more spiritual? What would you consider yourself?
I am not religious. And I don't think I've ever been involved with somebody who is religious, more than culturally religious. I'm in theory, totally open to that, I just have never, I'm trying to think, my friends are not religious people for most part. It's again, I just don't, I just never really connected with religious people.
And that's not, I mean, I understand culturally, you're religious. Raised in religion, I identify as that religion, if you want me to go to church with you every week, in theory, I would be open to that, it's just never happened.
Right. Well, the reality is, is that if someone was very, very religious, they would probably be requesting to meet someone also very religious. So. I do think that we're fine there. Also, in New York, most people are just spiritual like you said. They may come from a certain background, so typical Christians, spiritual is the average, and then, because we don't really match on religion per se, we leave it up to you to determine that on your date. But I just was curious on that. ‘Cause it could be a deal breaker for some.
Now, education, this is a big question for a lot of our clients.
I honestly do not care. If you, my favorite is, my dream friend, lover, whatever, would be somebody who dropped out of eighth grade and made something out of themselves in this world.
You love that entrepreneur type. I love that. You want somebody that's driven.
Well, that's another deal breaker. If on the first date and you're like, 45 years old and you want to drop the name of the college you went to when you were like 18 go away, I'm so, what have you been doing for the last 25 years.
Yeah. That's so funny. Oh my God, do you have your college degree?
Yes, yes, I do.
Okay. Do you have a four year degree?
That's it. Yeah.
Okay. Where did you go to school?
University of Illinois.
Okay. And what was your degree in?
Okay. So I'm going to put that you're very open to intelligence and success. They don't have to have a degree. It's not a big deal to you. You just really want that person who's successful. You do want that intelligence factor. So that is going to be great.
Most of our clients do have a four year degree, but we do have a lot of entrepreneurs. And we have a lot of those stories, those success stories you were talking about.
Sports and fitness you talked a little bit that you do work out every single day. What do you typically do for activities and working out?
Oh, gosh, jogging or the gym, yoga. I've been hiking a lot. Sometimes I bicycle.
Just depends, when I travel, I always like to do kayaking or horse back riding if I can.
Wow. So you're outdoorsy. This is good. A lot of gentlemen are looking for someone that hikes and a lot of New York women don't love the hiking. So this is good for you.
What about tennis or golf? Because I know this is more something that you know, men ask for-
I have never been golfing. And I took tennis lessons last summer and I would be not a good doubles partner. But I'm open, to doing it, some more. It's fun. I'm just not good at it.
So if he wanted to go every weekend golfing and said you can come along, you'd drive the golf cart, no problem?
Well I don't know about every weekend. Unless somehow he made me fall in love with golfing. I'm open to that, but I don't see that happening.
Okay. Perfect. I'm just going to say you're pretty much open to it. And do you like sports, yourself? Are you a sports gal?
Do you have any teams?
No. I'm not. I like to go to a Mets game once a year. Otherwise, I'm open to it, I have nothing against sports. I just don't care myself.
Okay. So rather than me going through a bunch of hobbies and interests, tell me the things that you're really passionate about, really interested in that you want us to share with your match.
So, you know, for example you've mentioned a couple of things already. You've mentioned travel. Obviously I know you're a writer. You've mentioned some outdoor activities, like hiking and canoeing or kayaking, I think you said. Talk to me about music or theater or you know, anything that you think, “I want this person to know this about me.”
You did mention you were looking at a match for someone who maybe does volunteer work, I think you said you were involved in some things, maybe that kind of stuff that you want to share?
Yeah. I'm just increasingly interested in civic work and politics. That's where I'm spending a lot of time and interests right now. That is really important to me, because I feel like it's an expression of our gratitude of this world. If you're a successful person and middle aged, you have a lot to be grateful for. And if you're not giving back in some way, and that can look like lots of different things to different people, then that's going to be hard, as I get older, that's harder for me to relate to.
Okay. So, obviously that's one of our interview questions, but I think when somebody is really kind of on the same page, they're going to disclose that in the same way that you did. So I'm going to put that down. And then, hopefully we'll find someone that has that similar passion it sounds like that you have.
Quick question that's just more allergy related, do you have any allergies to pets? Do you have any cats, dogs, anything like that?
I have a cat.
Okay. It's something we have to ask, you never know. And then, travel. I love to ask this question. Where are your, what's your top favorite destination and where is your next must go to bucket list destination?
Last spring my kids and I went to Vietnam. I don't know where my next one is. I'm thinking about going to Columbia. I don't know. I really, I might take my kids to India this summer. It's just kind of like wherever I get cheap tickets and we just go.
Okay great. So you're adventurous, you would say?
Okay. I love it. Okay. Perfect. So, let me just make sure we're on the right track. I just kind of want to recap a couple of things that we've talked about. So, you've told me that you've predominantly been dating online. You didn't tell me exactly how long, but you said, “A lot of online dating.” So it sounds like you have some experience there.
So that problem was, who knows what's going on, but the relationship goal, obviously wasn't there, maybe at the same priority level as you. That's typically why a lot of clients call in, so that's a common thing that happens. So it's totally normal. It's nothing to think there's anything wrong. It's very, very normal. It's one of the number one reasons people call in. Mostly though, our clients just want to have fun and meet the right kind of people. So that's why they call in.
They really want somebody of quality, they're willing to wait for it. They don't want to just go out on date after date after date. They sometimes would rather be doing their laundry, to be honest, than going out on a bad date.
So, concerning a relationship, you do want something serious. You want something committed and long-term. It doesn't sound like marriage is priority, but it sounds like you may be open to it, if you had that special someone and-
Okay. And then the other thing is too, it sounds like you're really looking for someone, number one who is honest, open. You want someone who's a real person. Someone who's genuine. You kind of want someone who's down to earth but obviously, still passionate, obviously someone who's still successful, someone who has something going on. So he can either open your mind, he's intelligent, he has his own passions, he has his own hobbies, and hopefully, some of those things are in line with some of the things that you like.
Whether it's philanthropy, whether it's some of your activities, you know, obviously it sounds like number one, you have children. So, you want him to be someone who is open to that, either has his own, is involved in their lives, or would be happy and open to doing things with you and your children, obviously in your relationship, as well.
So all of these things so far, easy peasy. These are great qualities and characteristics and they're very real, and you've been very open to a lot of the things that help us because then we can focus on the good stuff. We don't have to be too picky. You're a very open minded person, which is really lovely to see.
So, I do feel comfortable bringing you on as a client. At this point what I'd like to do is extend you an offer to become a member. I'm going to invite to come on board. What we probably would be looking at is about a 16 month membership. So that would give us a lot of time to work with you. You wouldn't have to rush. And we consider it a fine tuning process.
We'll guarantee you a minimum of 14 dates. Okay? These are people that you've actually said, “Yes, I want to meet this person.” So, 14 dates, we'll also give you hold time, so this will give you an opportunity for example, let's say, you do meet someone fantastic, whether it's date number one or date number seven, that you want to get to know. And just not be overwhelmed with another match, or try to juggle that. You can place your membership on hold, which happens all the time.
And we'll also give you two dating coaching sessions. So, one would be to start. It's optional. I recommend it everyone, it's really fun. You know, you can start off by just knowing what to say, what to do. And we'll just give you a lot of fun tips and tricks. And then the other dating coaching session, typically we like to do about midway through the membership. Because there's a lot of reasons why, but we want to draw upon the feedback that we've gotten from you and about you, to help you to continue to fine tune and make sure we're on the right track, you're having a good time, you're having a good experience, and then that way if we have to tweak some things, we can, for the rest of your membership. Okay?
And so, your membership investment would be $4,500. And then, how did you want to take care of that? It would be Visa or MasterCard.
And is it one payment, or can I do it over the 16 months?
It's definitely one payment. We want to do that up front. It really just keeps our clients fully invested and committed.
But what if I meet the man of my dreams after the first date? Do I still have to pay the whole fee?
If you meet the man of dreams after the first date, we're just going to say, “What a great job we did.” And I think, most of our clients say it was well worth it.
It's all that money I saved on lip gloss, new shoes and uber rides.
And what is your success rate? I mean, how many people see value in that fee, 'cause it is so high?
It is a lot of money and I really think that that's a good thing. We're actually middle of the road for matchmaking services. They can range anywhere between two and ten thousand dollars, but here in New York, I mean, they can $10,000, $20,000, $50,000 thousand dollars. We do want it to be an investment, it does weed out the people who maybe are not that serious about it.
And to be honest, our success rate just depends on the person. You know, like I said earlier, we've set up over, almost three million first dates. We have thousands of relationships and marriages, but not everyone is looking for that. I always ask our clients and I'll ask you, Emma, what do you feel would be your success? How do you think you're going to measure it on your dates?
Is it going to be meeting that special someone? Is it going to be if you meet the right kinds of men? If you have a great experience?
I think after 14 dates and more than a year, it was like, “Okay, these people got me. They understood it.” I mean, I've been on so many dates. I'm an adult. I understand that we all bring something to our own crap to the table.
You can't blame everybody else for the fact that you're single and lonely. But, I'm like, “Okay, these guys really gave it an honest effort, even if I walk out of this 16 months without the serious relationship I'm seeking. They really understand me. They set me up with some quality people.”
That, I would feel like I'd be bummed that I didn't have a relationship, but I would feel like it was a quality service.
Yeah. So our goal is really just to make sure that you're meeting the right kinds of people, you're having a great time. Most of our first dates do lead to second dates. Obviously, it's really important that you are sharing your feedback like we talked about earlier. Because without that, we really can't do our jobs right. But the biggest thing, honestly, is just to go into it with an open heart and open mind, just have a lot of fun, make sure you're communicating with us. Don't just say yes to everyone, really take the benefit that you have the control of saying yes or no to your dates at heart.
So, okay, so, now I lost my train of thought. So that fee, though, you're giving that to me in New York. Would the fees the same if I were in a smaller city, like Cleveland?
No. So actually, it's more expensive in New York. So New York is, well there's two states that are consumer loss. So actually in New York, we charge 850 per date and it's one month, one date at a time. It's the only state where we can only do one date at a time. North Carolina is a little tricky, too. We have to do a monthly membership, but it still breaks out to the same cost.
We do have some people for example, like if you were 62 year old woman, I might do six month membership for you. I might give you four or seven dates instead. Especially if maybe you're not that open, but on certain categories but you're just like the perfect, you're just open on all the right things that we wouldn't have to tweak anything with you.
It could even be something small, like if you said, “I'm Jewish, I only want to meet Jewish. I'm in New York. I can do,” we might tweak it a little bit. So, average matchmaking service all around the world, are typically two the five thousand dollars. But, I mean, I've taken on clients personally that have spent $50,000, $30,000, $20,000. And it's constant. Even in Wisconsin, people are paying $10,000 for matchmaking services.
So, we're middle of the road. But we're the best. We have been doing this longest. We have the largest network in the entire world. So, I think the average, and you can kind of this as an average, is, we're setting up anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 dates a month.
What's the male-female split?
See that's an interesting question, because we have so many locations, it's just depending on location. To me, it's kind of a null and void, doesn't matter, because we recruit as well. So, if there, for example, New York City is one of our largest markets, if I have 500 women here and only 300 men, it still doesn't matter, because I'll find that women the right guy through recruiting.
The way we recruit is first through past clients. So let's say for example, you were just a client of mine two years ago, and all of the sudden, boom, you popped up in my head. Or I was bringing on this gentlemen, and I'm like, “Oh my gosh, I remember Emma. She has to meet him.” We would maybe recruit you back, to become a potential date for a client.
As a non-paying member?
You wouldn't be a member. But what would happen is let's say we recruited you back. And we might call you up and say, “Hey, Emma, I know you dated with us in the past, and we have this gentleman, who just became a member, I would love to re-interview you. Meet you, Skype, Face Time, whatever. And see if you're a good fit for him.” And then if you are fitting what he is looking for, 'cause remember, I'm recruiting for him. And this our recruitment team, I wouldn't personally do this. We have a whole team of recruiters.
At that point, we would generate and create a profile to send over to him. If he said yes to meeting you, then we would let you go on that one date. And you wouldn't have to pay for it. But it would just be kind of an opportunity to date.
So is this just really old-fashioned matchmaking? Or is there some special algorithm that you have?
It's old-fashioned match making except for the fact that like I said, we just have a lot more people behind the scenes and we have a larger network. I'll give you an example. My second year matchmaking, so I've been with the company for nine years. And I did New York City. So if you were single back then, you could have come in and sat with me in the office, but that second year I had four marriages, seven out of the gate couples I matched. They never saw a photo at all. At all. They didn't, it was just me calling and being like, “Hey, I really want you to meet this person. Here's why, you just have to meet them, just have to trust me on this.” So there's not an algorithm but I really think it is passion and I think it's a little bit of intuition. I think it's really getting to know someone and really finding that emotional trigger.
We have your profile, we do in depth interviews, but then as you're dating and we're getting to know and you're getting feedback, that changes. And the people change too. One of the women that I was her third date and I think his first that got married, she was someone that came back. She was a renewal, that I re-interviewed and got onboard.
And she didn't remember anything that she'd interviewed. All the interview questions from a couple of years before, she's like, “I don't even know why I would've said that.” She's a completely different person. Just a couple of years later. So, that can happen in the middle of your membership. So there's no algorithm.
It's just like, if you are doing this match, it's just like anything, you just develop the skills. I mean, the intuition can follow the practice. Right? It's like muscle memory.
It is. I mean, it's really interesting. I wish I could really pinpoint for you, you've been here for an hour, I really do think a lot of it is intuition, because you care, it's just passion. It's really being passionate. And our matchmakers, well, the dating specialist on this side, the matchmakers are just as passionate as the dating specialist and work hand in hand.
We're a little bit more skilled in getting that decision made, where as the matchmakers are really more skilled in you know, you had a bad date and you have a good date. You have a bad date, you have a good one. But that's more, I don't want to say, coddling, but making sure that people are not giving hope and still having fun and not throwing in the towel, because they haven't met that special someone.
And how are the matchmakers trained?
So, you know, obviously they have to have a four year degree, we look for a certain type of background. It doesn't always necessarily mean it's going to be that particular background. But they also go through dating and coaching training as well. And they get a certification to be a dating and life coach.
But yeah, they have a certification course. They do have to have to go through and they do go through vigorous training and again, it's really just taking care of people. I think just treating them like they're a friend, for the most part. People just want that personal connection, instead of just like, going on a date, not knowing how it went, just to be able to call and be like, “Oh my gosh, let me tell you how my date went.”
And that's how we really get to know the client, I've interviewed gentlemen before that I thought I really figured them out in one call, or in office in person. And then, three dates later, I'm like, “I had no idea he was like that.” ‘Cause feedback will come back.
Okay, so this all sounds really great, but I'm just like, what kind of guy is going to be interested in a matchmaking service? Is he like a desperate loser?
That's a great question. No. So the kind of men that use matchmaking services are smart, intelligent men that don't want to waste their time. When a man knows what he wants, he knows what he wants, and then he gets it. So, it's usually like a light bulb moment that'll have went off for him.
If he isn't serous, yeah, he's out there, he's at the bars, he's at the restaurants, he's on the apps, he's doing all those things. But when a man is ready to meet the right person, that's his only focus. So we get those guys that are ready, sometimes just once in a lifetime, maybe twice if they're lucky. That come on board, because they're smart. And they look at dating as, this is a way to outsource their dating life.
And they typically are looking for someone at this point in their lives that's on the same level with career and success and that life balance, because they want to find the right person.
So it's a great question but it's just really smart gentlemen. Also, I will say a lot of these gentlemen don't typically do online dating based on what they do professionally. Maybe they don't want friends or colleagues to see them online as well, so there's also the discreet, confidentiality part.
The biggest thing that sets us apart, number one is guaranteed dates, no work, so most matchmaking services, do not set up dates at all.
I don't know any that do. Any. So, the fact that we're actually setting up, coordinating dates, confirming with both parties, that's unheard of. Because we have this huge operation and we're able to do that stuff. That's not extra stuff that even if another matchmaking service did offer guaranteed dates, which again, a lot do not. Because they don't have the network and they can't recruit from past clients, 'cause their Rolodex is very, very small.
They're usually recruiting through sources like, literally, like out on the street, or I don't know how they recruit to be honest. I've seen some, I know some matchmakers in New York City who literally are in the subways and who are out on the bars and are out passing out cards and that's just not what we do, 'cause we want people to come to us.
We want our whatever you want to call them, our leads, our past clients, they've all had something that's prompted them to call us. Whereas when you recruit in other ways, you don't even really know the level of seriousness. So that's a huge difference that sets us apart, because if we're going to recruit, it's still within our network. People that came to us. So we're not cold calling. We're not out looking for some random person and just hoping he's going to be like, absolutely serious or want a relationship.
Right. Right. Right. Interesting. This is so interesting.
So that's just the only couple of things that I would say that really sets us apart and I do have a really good matchmaker friend here in New York and I'm always laughing, because she's like, “What can I do to get your leads? What can we do to get, can we partner?” They always want to get our network. So that sets us apart big time, that's why we can give the guaranteed dates and we can set them up. So all our clients have to do is say, “Hello, I'm here to meet blah.” That's it.
And how do you know these guys are not married or otherwise in a serious relationship?
That's a great question. I love that question. Well, of course we ask them.
We all ask them.
They're honest. Right? But we do take, once we meet you, we do take a copy of your driver's license, obviously and then when we bring on these gentlemen, or women, one of the things that we do, is we send you an agreement over to sign. One of the first things the agreement says is to insure that everything you have said in the interview is truthful and honest, and if not, we will go ahead and cancel your membership but keep your investment.
So, it doesn't really make sense for anyone to be dishonest unless they just don't care about money.
And do you ever, like lying about age, that, I busted so many guys, 'cause I have a really good Googler, I busted so many guys lying about their ages.
And how often do you catch these people in lies and they don't get their money back?
It's actually not that often. I does happen, of course. It's not that often but because the first thing that your matchmaker does is meet you face to face, we do have you hold up your driver's license. It just would be a little silly to do that. We do mention, obviously, when we're sending over the agreement, to type in your driver's license and we verify your date of birth, there. So it's, kind of, people have said, “Okay, well I have to tell you something. Earlier I said I was 51, I'm actually 58.” So, usually before they sign on the dotted line the truth comes out.
It's women more than men, I hate to say it.
What if somebody wants an open relationship or just a casual relationship or a sex only relationship? Is that even something that's even available here? And how often do you find people in that?
It's very rare that people call in to say, “Hey, I'm just looking to date a lot of people.” Or, “Hey, I'm just looking for something super casual.” They definitely don't call in for looking for just a sexual relationship, because we couldn't match on that.
How do we know if you're going to have chemistry with someone? It's just not a common thing. I would say maybe one out of every 5,000 people would call and ask that question.
It doesn't mean they're all looking for something serious, right away. Like if someone's just directly out of a marriage, just divorced, separated, they may just be looking to meet quality people, have a great time, have fun, build a connection. That's fine. That's very normal. But eventually, I think they still would be very much open to a relationship and that's why they're here.
Otherwise, they don't typically want to make the investment, which makes sense.
Me and a lot of my girlfriends, we make money, and sometimes a lot of guys out there that are struggling, how do I know that some guys I not just looking for somebody to pay his rent?
Oh, or like a sugar mama? Well, I mean, men have this concern more than women, to be honest. They actually, they know that there's a lot of matchmaking services and dating services out there that offer free memberships to women.
And so, you know, they come to us because they're actually looking for women who are on their same level. They're not looking for someone to take care of them, they're just looking for someone on the same level. Our dating service is the dating service for busy professionals.
So, not only are we attracting that in the gentlemen, but also in the women. We're just kind of looking for an equal. But it's more of question that gentlemen ask more than women. So that's no cause for concern at all. These men are successful.
You'll know what they do professionally, based on their profile and if you don't feel it's up to par, just simply say no.
Cool. Interesting. Okay. I think that's it. Thanks for your time.
Yeah. All right. Well, thank you so much, Emma.
This was really great. Thank you.
It was fun.
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It's Just Lunch
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Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker,” her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.