I'll admit it: one of my guilty TV pleasures is The Millionaire Matchmaker. I find the orchestrated pairings entertaining and stomach-churning at the same time. Of course, there are other matchmakers hard at work without reality TV contracts.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, Amy Andersen works with 800 singles, half of whom are women. Amy's company, Linx Dating, doesn't call itself a "millionaires" club; instead it fashions itself as a service for both "successful" men and women. Of course, you have to pay to play. Amy's fee starts at $6,000 for eight hand-picked matches. $30,000 gets you 15 introductions, a nationwide search, and a cocktail party. Amy also offers date coaching, image makeovers, wardrobe overhauls, fitness training, and networking cocktail parties.
This sort of "high-end" matchmaking can be controversial, so I thought it would be enlightening to ask Amy to share her take on matchmaking and modern love.
Why do people come to you for your services?
Amy Andersen: People come to me because they are educated and hardworking, (typically) young professionals who are interested in finding a like-minded, quality match. Often our clients have dabbled in online dating (to mixed results), most have attempted the bar scene to unpleasant outcomes, and due to their success and taking their professional careers seriously, they refuse to date their colleagues. Thus, the resources shrink, and choices become limited and sparse.
To find out what qualities Amy's clients look for in a date, and to see how she would answer critics,
What are the top qualities a man looks for in a woman?
AA: I would say being physically fit is way up there —and keep in mind, fitness can be wide ranging; she doesn't have to be an Ironman triathlete, just someone who cares about her health and enjoys fitness — along with being confident and happy with who she is. It's also important she has a life outside the relationship — in other words, not clingy. Being warm and nurturing is also way up there!
What are the top qualities a woman looks for in a man?
AA: A woman looks for good DNA! She wants a man who is going to be a good provider — so she looks for financial stability. Our clients are not looking for a guy jockeying between jobs and floating around trying to figure out what to do with his life. She also looks for physical appearance, often wanting him to be fit or tall. And finally someone who is a good communicator, not a game player.
What would you say to critics who think you're setting up gold-diggers with men who want trophy wives?
AA: We couldn't be more opposite of matchmakers who only represent men and simply have women in their databases. Unlike The Millionaire Matchmaker or other firms, we represent both men and women, and not just average but exceptional professionals. So many of our female clients are just as, if not more, successful than their male counterparts. A critic could speculate that men gravitate toward the network to meet a highly affluent woman! It really could not be further from the truth that we work with gold diggers. Everyone in Linx is an equal, and each client pays for the service. Thus there are not unusual expectations, or women desiring rich men, or men desiring a casual hookup.
Can money buy you love?
AA: Money can buy you the option to meet someone great, but it can’t buy you chemistry which leads to love. That is left up to two people and fate.
Come back tomorrow to find out what Amy thinks about "hooking up" and traditional gender roles.