Despite the popularity of online dating; many singles are increasingly relying on professional matchmakers to help them find love. A Tango reporter hires three expert cupids to get a new take on the world's second-oldest profession.
Lisa Ronis is sitting in a coffee shop with her French hound, Stella, leaving a sparkling message: "I’ve found the man for you. His name is John. He’s hilarious, sexy, and I’ve given him your number. Let’s chat!"
For most people this would be a social call, but Ronis is hard at work. She is a professional matchmaker, a member of a booming industry that exists nationwide. There are over 1,000 private matchmakers in the United States today, according to Marketdata Enterprises, a research group in Florida.
And there's even a school to train them: The Matchmaking Institute in New York City molds novice meddlers into professional love brokers. "Matchmaking is a hot profession right now," says Lisa Clampitt, the institute’s cofounder and executive director. "It's the next real estate! Our class size has tripled in the past three years."
She attributes this growth to the rise of the Internet. "The online dating industry has mainstreamed the idea of having a third party facilitate your love life," Clampitt explains. "But there’s a lot of misinformation online. Married people pretend to be single. People lie about their age, height, weight. That’s where a matchmaker comes in; they prescreen your date before you even get there."
"It’s all about efficiency," says Rachel Greenwald, a professional matchmaker in Colorado. "If, say, you’re a busy executive, a third party setup saves you the time it takes to slog through all the dating arenas—spending hours at a crowded party only to go home having met no one."
It may not be as strange as it sounds to outsource your love life. As Janis Spindel, a New York City matchmaker, puts it, "It’s perfectly acceptable to hire professionals to do something better than you could do it yourself—even find a mate."
Beyond this logical appeal, there’s an emotional pull: It’s comforting to think that someone else can guide you through a precarious patch of life with relative ease.
If you are someone who is too shy or too busy to "get out there"—or, worse, realizes that being "out there" usually ends in disappointment and heartache—having a pro in your court can force you to make better choices.
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