With long working hours and the pressures of busy careers, many Londoners find it difficult to find love. Personal matchmaking agencies are on the rise and look set to become accepted as just another professional services – like using an estate agent to find a property or a recruitment consultant to find a new job.
Like online dating, using a matchmaking service has lost the stigma which used to be attached to it a few years ago. Instead of the sad thirty-something accountant still living with his parents and lacking the social skills to find a partner, you are more likely to meet an interesting, successful and social guy who has been too focused on building a career to date if you use a matchmaking agency today. Indeed if you want to meet a very successful man with a few millions in the bank you can opt for one of the high end agencies such as Berkeley International or Seventy Thirty, as long as you have a spare £6k to get you through their doors.
The past two years have seen a huge increase in membership of matchmaking agencies. One factor is the much higher chance of success of using an agency to find Mr or Mrs Right compared to online dating. This is due to the in-depth psychological profiling of all members together with informed intuition on the part of the matchmaker who looks at important factors involved in whether two people will get on, such as values, background, interests and aspirations. This removes risk and weeds out the many players who are only interested in no-strings sex, or in having a fling behind their partner’s back, who litter online dating sites, not to mention the weird, socially inept and unbalanced. Agencies will reject those applicants, together with those who are obviously a lot older or – dare I say it – heavier than they claim.
If I was single I wouldn’t think twice about signing up with an agency, finding that special someone is too important to be left to chance. Personal matchmaking is a safe and trusted alternative to meeting men in bars which, let’s face it, has definitely lost its appeal when you’re in your thirties and more interested in cosy dinner parties with friends!
The advertising watchdog has found the eHarmony TV advert to be misleading. I always wondered how the dating website can substantiate its claim in the ad that 2% of the 4 million Americans who get married every year – that’s a highly unlikely 80,000 people – met on eHarmony.com. It turns out that they are unable to.
Following complaints from viewers, the Advertising Standards Authority investigated and ruled the advert as misleading because it claimed a “definitive figure” of marriages based on a 2007 online survey of 7,000 people (errrm, so they used the responses of just 7,000 to make a claim that 80,000 people met on their site, highly scientific – not!)
As a result of other complaints from the public the ASA also said that the ad failed to make clear that in 20% of all cases eHarmony is unable to find a match for those who have taken the time to register on the site.
Out of curiosity, and obviously rather bored one evening, I decided to register on eHarmony.co.uk to see how it is different from all the millions of other dating websites out there, and why it claims, rather bizarrely, to be a “relationship site” rather than a dating site – I mean, talk about meaningless marketing rubbish! That American voice-over is high on my list of the most irritating things ever.
I soon regretted it. The process of going through all the personality profiling questions takes well over an hour. At the end I was told I had just one match. ONE, in the whole of London, which apparently has around 4 million singletons. eHarmony.co.uk is clearly struggling to convince people to finish the registration. My match was a rather unattractive lanky kitchen assistant around five years younger than me. If that’s the best they can do, hopefully the irritating advert will disappear from our TV screens forever!
A woman in the U.S. has lost thousands of dollars after she willingly sent the money to a man she’d never even met. Authorities say she “fell in love” with a man on a dating site who then duped her into sending him the cash. The two singles met on the dating site match.com.
‘Jason Miller’ and the woman began a relationship online. According to her, “He always talked nice, sweet, didn’t try to lure me into bed and that kind of stuff.” ‘Jason’ told her he was living in London as a model.
He said that his mother was in the hospital, business wasn’t good and he needed money so the victim wired him $5,000 several times to London.
A friend of the woman’s eventually spotted ‘Jason’s picture on two other profiles; he was using different names and stories altogether.
After two months and $20,000 later, she contacted police and wrote him a final e-mail to which – surprise, surprise – he never replied. ‘Jason,’ or whatever his name really is, then deleted all of his match.com accounts.
Authorities say the chances of catching the guy and recovering the money are close to zero.
I’m sorry but how can someone fall in love without meeting the person?! You can see why scammers use dating sites when there are so many vulnerable women, and I’m sure men, online who will believe whatever they are told in the hope that they have found ‘the one’.
Sugardaddie dating is apparently the hottest trend in online dating right now. Sites such as www.SugarDaddie.com cater for generous benefactors with large bank accounts who are looking to pamper and spoil attractive younger single women in exchange for sex. The dating niche has been receiving lots of attention recently, with coverage in The New York Times in the U.S. and on the Richard and Judy TV show here in the UK.
As the sites make clear exactly who their target audience is, and what ‘Sugardaddies’ are offering women i.e. payment in the form of nice clothes, jewellery, etc in exchange for a physical relationship with no strings attached, there is less chance of false expectations and broken hearts. People who join the site know exactly what they are getting and there are no fake promises of committed relationships. Honesty really is the best policy when it comes to dating online. Perhaps we will see the launch of some ‘Cougar’ sites (see my blog earlier in the week) for more mature women with money to burn and a high sex drive to satisfy?!
The term ‘cougars’ is very much in vogue – Madonna’s one, Demi Moore’s another. Not surprisingly cosmetic surgery seems to be a prerequisite for being a cougar and having a toyboy on your arm.
I watched a TV programme on older women and younger men the other night in which a founder of a dating website which caters exclusively for that audience talked with some of the site’s members about how they are solely looking for hot sex with a much younger man – a relationship didn’t seem to be on the cards.
The term is very predatory, and was first used in America as a thinly-veiled insult to single women over 40. Older men seeking younger women are often called Sugardaddies which has a warm, cuddly feel about it. Cougar implies that you need to stay on your guard or a woman may get her claws into you by her manipulative use of her sexual techniques.
Last week saw the debut of the new sitcom ‘Cougar Town’ in the U.S. with Courteny Cox playing an older woman, with a teenage son, who relentlessly goes after younger men as sexual conquests. She flashes a paperboy and eyes up a younger man with the words: “I’d love to lick his body.” To me she will always be neat-freak Monica from Friends.
I’m all for women being empowered but to portray all single older women as being sex-mad predators is more of a male fantasy than reality.