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In fact, old-school, face-to-face matchmaking is still doing well, and not just for the matchmakers: their customers are doing well out of it too.Mel met her husband and father of their baby daughter, Bruce, through a traditional matchmaker.
It got to point where guys were happy to have fun but they weren't really committing," she says.
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Elite Introductions founder Trudy Gilbert says her company is extremely selective as well, catering to business professionals, millionaires, actors, and models."I won't take on anyone who smokes, and I don't take on anyone I don't like; if I'm going to be their advocate, I've got to like them as a person," she says.
If a potential client like Mel passes the phone interview, the next stage is to go into the matchmaker's office for a face-to-face interview to talk about her likes and preferences, giving the matchmaker a feel for what she is after in a match.
If you don't have that, then you don't have anything." Prescott says.
Gilbert, who has worked as a matchmaker for nine years, says face-to-face matchmaking is successful because people go to her looking for something serious."They don't come in and pay me to play," she says. Wouldn't you rather pay someone to do all that hard work for you? Seventy per cent of Prescott's clients have ended up in relationships, and both she and Gilbert have celebrated hundreds of weddings with clients.
Gilbert says that, after the interview, she already has a hunch about which clients would be compatible with someone like Mel.
Two compatible clients will get a call from the agency, to tell them everything about their potential date.
She always wanted to have children, and being well on her way to 30 made her aware her biological clock was ticking. I did what everyone said; I looked approachable at the supermarket, I went to parties, I really did spend a couple of years on the dating scene," says Mel, who is now 32."I was out there, giving it a go, and I was actually dating with the intention of finding someone I could marry and have kids with."So after about three years of dating, Mel decided to give up conventional dating and give matchmaking a go."One day I was listening to the radio and this ad for Ideal Introductions came on, so I looked up the website, contacted them and had a chat on the phone, and then made my way into the office," she says.
Linda Prescott, founder of Ideal Introductions, says the process of joining a matchmaking agency is quite selective."We chat on the phone first and if we don't like sound of someone, we don't invite them in; we knock back about 40 per cent of people who enquire," says Prescott, who has been a matchmaker for more than 20 years.
We spoke on the phone that night and I said I would be happy to see him again and wrangled him for date two."Prescott says matchmaking is still popular because the calibre of matches is so much better, compared with online dating.