Like dowries, corsets and virgin brides, matchmakers should, by all rights, be relegated to a bygone era.
Yet despite the fact today’s busy singles have access to online dating, social media and nightclubs, the centuries-old tradition of matchmaking is actually flourishing.
Stacie Ikka is a professional Toronto-based dating coach and matchmaker whose company Sitting In A Tree (sittinginatree.com) just celebrated its first birthday.
“I’ve been to far more funerals than weddings,” says Ikka. “I want to see if I can change that.”
While relatively new to the professional matchmaking game, Ikka considers herself extremely intuitive when it comes to matching people up, utilizing a corporate background to her advantage.
“I used to be a headhunter, so I’ve used this type of mentality to connect like-minded people in the past,” she says.
“A good matchmaker has an appreciation for what constitutes a long-term relationship, meaning core values and similar lifestyles, similar goals within the couple and as individuals.”
Ikka likens finding a partner to finding a new job and suggests searchers use a variety of approaches to find success.
“Are you going to use the job boards in isolation? Probably not,” says Ikka. “If you’re savvy and resourceful, you would be casting as wide a net as possible. That might mean calling one or two recruiters and making it known that you’re conducting this search. Using a matchmaker is a really nice supplementary activity to online dating.”
Ryan, 34, is a client of Ikka’s. He is successful, good looking and career driven. Ryan is what your granny might call “a catch.”
“I want to eventually find somebody and it’s hard to date when you’re so busy,” explains Ryan. “I’ve never really been one to believe that computer algorithms can actually find your soulmate. With Stacie, there’s a little bit more of a personal touch.”
Matchmaker Cheryl Bursey, of Venus and Mars Matchmaking (venusandmarsmatchmaking.com), expresses mild concern that I’m single.
“You should be with somebody!” she proclaims.
That’s what my mother tells me every day.
According to Bursey, she actually does get mothers who will call her and ask a lot of questions about her service before sending their daughters to her.
“It happens quite a bit,” she says.
Like Ikka, Bursey also worked as a corporate headhunter and boasts impressive instincts when it comes to matching up her successful clientele.
“I’ve got presidents and CEOs,” she says. “They’re busy. They’re consumed with their careers. This is just an easier way.
Bursey says online dating is time consuming and the only way to be successful online is to have a photo.
“Without pictures, I don’t think you’ll get anywhere. And most of my clientele cannot do that because of their professions.”
Both Ikka and Bursey offer initial consultations and tiered service packages. But having a yenta of one’s own is not cheap; prices range from the low hundreds to more than $10,000 depending on the personalization of the search. But if you have more money than time and yearn to find that special someone, it’s potentially a worthwhile investment.
The world’s most popular matchmaker is not a person, but a service. It’s Just Lunch (itsjustlunch.com) has set up more than 2 million first dates over two decades.
According to Jacquie Brownridge, managing director of It’s Just Lunch Toronto and It’s Just Lunch Vancouver, the service sets itself apart by focusing on low-stress dating scenarios with clear finish times. Busy professionals find a weekday lunch date works well (and there’s no fretting about what to wear, either).
So why put your romantic fate into the hands of a modern-day matchmaker?
“Let’s look at Einstein’s definition of insanity,” says Stacie Ikka. “You’ve been doing presumably the same things over and over again and expecting different outcomes. Maybe it’s time to try something new. “
Sexy Typewriter blogs about her dating failures – online and otherwise – atSexytypewriter.com