Matchmaking is a big business, particularly when the matchmaking services are geared towards the wealthy. With these services, women join for free, and men pay hefty fees to be matched with these women. This is a one-sided arrangement, but it is based on the demographics of the clientele; for the most part, the dynamics follow the stereotypical partnership: a wealthy man looking for a younger woman.
The Millionaire’s Club is probably the best-known of these matchmaking services for the wealthy, thanks in part to the reality television show, Millionaire Matchmaker, hosted by matchmaker extraordinaire, Patti Stanger. The basic membership level for men costs $45,000, and this includes unlimited dates and four hours of coaching and counseling sessions. You’ll have to pay extra to receive service from Patti or any of her senior staff.
It helps to look past the reality series, though. I would have to imagine only the wackiest people are selected for the show.
Selective Search, a similar matchmaking service run by Barbie Adler, costs $20,000 for men, and there is no cost for women “affiliates.” Barbie’s experience comes from executive recruiting, and she applies what she knows about finding the right executive for a job to finding the right partner for her clients.
While there are some wealthy women who sign up, I would assume that most women who sign up for free membership are simply looking for a wealthier man. Perhaps they are expecting to find happiness in a relationship where they believe they won’t have to worry about money, but wealthy people do worry about their finances. Perhaps some are just looking for some wealth to transfer to them in the future.
In an article in Sunday’s Time Magazine, Joel Stein went behind the scenes at Selective Search to find out who joins this type of service:
The women don’t pay anything, but they aren’t assured of a date, just like in the real world. To my shock, none of them seemed like gold diggers. They had great jobs, went to impressive colleges and had other priorities — namely, that they would under no circumstance date a man under 6 ft. (180 cm) tall. He could be bald, fat and jobless as long as he was at least one standard deviation above average height…
More shocking than the non-gold-digging women, however, were the men. Who were hot. And socially well adjusted… Basically, they were older guys, often divorced, who were serious about getting married and having kids and hated dating. Ironically, because of all the gold diggers.
Busy people outsource various aspects of their lives. I recently outsourced housecleaning; although I am a single man living in a relatively small space, I find it’s worthwhile to allow professionals to do the job right once every few weeks. Finding people to date can be difficult for busy people, particularly those who aren’t interested in bars and don’t have time for the socializing that comes from being involved in a variety of activities. Do-it-yourself dating websites can be a lot of work, and you need to weed through quite a few less-than-stellar matches and go on more than a few lackluster dates.
It makes sense to leave the dirty work to professional screeners. But how much would you pay to find true love? $20,000? $50,000?
Published or updated March 28, 2011.