By Rachelyn Gordon
We live in an era where it is ubiquitous to outsource the services we require.
We turn to travel agencies when we are looking to go on holidays (though many go through the internet!) and to recruitment agencies for jobs. It’s the same with love.
As dating services get more common, there are still many who perceive singles who turn to dating agencies as being desperate. But it shouldn’t be so and singles shouldn’t be stigmatized for turning to such professional matchmaking agencies for help.
To find out more, I Love Children spoke to Ms Violet Lim, founder of Lunch Actually, the ins and outs of her profession.
“Many young professionals are single because they are already married…to their work!” – Ms Lim
Puzzled that many of her attractive banking colleagues were still single, Ms Lim decided to find out why this was so. She quickly came to realise that the problem was time.
This inspired her to set up Lunch Actually with her husband, Mr Jamie Lee in 2004. The husband and wife team decided to invest their time in providing a safe and enjoyable avenue for singles to meet new people, since the trend of young professionals who are single is only increasing with each year.
‘Usually, we will know within the first 10 minutes of the date if it is going to work out or not. If it was a dinner date, 10 minutes is when you have just finished the appetiser, there is still the main course and dessert to come! It’s not polite to cut a dinner date short, with lunch dates, you are provided with an easy escape plan; needing to rush back to work for an urgent meeting,” quips Ms Lim.
The matchmakers work closely with clients to learn more about their preferences in type of physical and personality traits that they are looking for in the opposite sex.
Physical preferences would include age, education level, religion and habits. And personality preferences include characteristics such as introverted vs extroverted, spontaneous vs organised, etc.
Also their past relationships, passions, values and anything else that is important in their lives through face-to-face consultations.
There is no guarantee it’s always a perfect match even with the help of professional matchmakers. It essentially does come down to the clients’ decision. Chemistry between two persons cannot be forced no matter how compatible some people may be.
To curate better matches, a feedback from the client after every date is important.
Chris: When I was matched to Ben, I was furious! I did not understand why they would match make a lawyer to Ben, an entertainer. But, my dating consultant had met us both and knew that we were compatible as we had many similar values and shared a similar sense of humor.
Furthermore, Ben was very well-educated. After much persuasion from my dating consultant, I reluctantly went on the date. I must say, we got on like a house on fire! We got engaged within three months, and married within a year!
Now, we are proud parents to two beautiful daughters. We would probably not have crossed path if not for Lunch Actually.
"Love is love, no matter if you meet at a bus stop, a bar or a dating service!" - Ben
“Matchmaking is an easy job, anyone can do it!”
Fact: Besides matching singles based on a plethora of needs and wants, the consultants also coordinate schedules, book restaurants, conduct follow-up reviews of dates, fine-tune preferences, and essentially take on full accountability for their clients’ love lives. It is definitely not an easy job!
“Only weird or desperate people join dating agencies.”
Fact: Clients can consist of successful, intelligent, high-net worth and eligible working professionals. It is because these singles are so successful in their careers that they tend to neglect their love lives.
The LunchClick app is for those looking for a serious relationship. There are plenty of fun (planted) questions and answers where singles can send to each other. – Ms Lim
What to do
a) Dress well – it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed
b) Be punctual
c) Prepare topics for conversation to avoid long, awkward silences
d) Let your date know you enjoyed their company (if you did) as soon as possible and don’t play the waiting game.
What not to do
a) Do not hog the conversation!
b) Do not talk about what you are looking for in a spouse on your first date.
c) Do not be too quick to judge.
a) Keep the date in public
b) Tell a trusted friend/ family member where you are going
c) Watch your drink and stay sober
“Love at first sight situations rarely happen, keep an open mind and don’t have unrealistic expectations.”
– Ms Lim
I Love Children thanks Ms Violet Lim for her invaluable input.