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Guest Opinion: On Life and Love after 50, by Tom Blake

Why I’m Not a Matchmaker

Tom Blake

I’m a newspaper columnist. My topic: people age 50-plus seeking love. For 26 years, I’ve written about hundreds of seniors who’ve found love, and thousands who haven’t.

Knowing I have contact with so many older singles, people ask why I don’t fix people up. There’s an easy reason: it’s too darn hard and seldom works.

It’s not that I haven’t tried. I’ve known widowers from San Clemente and widows from San Clemente and have suggested they get together. Some have, but in almost all cases, no match was made. And then, the people get mad at me for wasting their time. It’s a no-win situation.

Granted, some couples have formed as a result of our Meet and Greet get-togethers at Tutor & Spunky’s, the Dana Point deli I owned for 25 years before retiring. But I didn’t fix them up. They did it themselves by being willing to get off their couches and out of their houses.

Many couples who met there are still together. But not all. Some of the relationships have lasted for a month or so, while others resulted in marriage.

Sponsoring events like that is challenging. Why? There are always more single women than men, especially as we age. Often, it’s been a ratio of 5- or 6-1. I’ve watched women walk in the door, see a limited number of men, and turn around and walk out.

It takes time and effort to put on those no-cost events.

Last week, a Dana Point woman emailed: “Maybe you should have Meet and Greets more often so seniors have a place to go and socialize instead of staying home. I know you are busy, so maybe you can have someone else take charge. Just a suggestion.”

She’s never attended one of our events. My answer to her: “More often? It’s difficult enough having one per month, just trying to round up enough men to make it interesting. More often than that? No thanks.”

Nearly every day, an email arrives in my inbox promoting new dating sites. This week, one arrived with the subject line: “An Easier Dating Site For Men Ages 50+.”

I usually ignore those emails, but this time I was curious so I clicked on it. It showed a picture of an attractive woman with this caption: “Local matchmaker has more older women & needs more men to match with female clients.”

The opening line read, “Meet Successful Dana Point Singles.” Turns out, it’s not an online dating site, but a matchmaking site, the kind where you pay a professional matchmaker to find dates for you.

The site stated, “Professional Matchmakers work with you to determine the exact type of man or woman that would be best for you, and then do their best to find that person and introduce you.”

“Do their best?” Wow, matchmakers are only as good as the people they have in their stable. Let me tell you, they are aware of the lack of men. I have had many of them contact me saying they were having an introductory cocktail party, and did I know of any men they could invite? No joke; it’s true.

It’s Just Lunch is a matchmaking service and on occasion has contacted me asking for the names of men. I decline, of course.

The ballpark cost for hiring a matchmaker? The article stated it’s between $675 and $25,000.

The site also stated: “Matchmaking is, by its nature, a local endeavor. That means local offices staffed by warm, experienced, real people—not algorithms.”

Maybe the office is in Dana Point or San Clemente or San Juan Capistrano, but if so, I’m unaware of it. Avoid professional matchmakers. Read the online reviews; they are frightening. People often feel ripped off.

So, I’ll remain a columnist, and leave the matchmaking to, well, the professional matchmakers, wherever they are.

Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and San Clemente resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: tompblake@gmail.com.

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