- Health Slideshow Your 6-Step Guide to Being More Satisfied in Bed (http://www.ivillage.com/your-6-step-guide-being-more-satisfied-bed/4-b-122060)
- Health Slideshow Answers to Your Embarrassing Sex Questions (http://www.ivillage.com/odors-orgasms-stds-answers-your-embarrassing-sex-questions/4-b-291285)
- Health News Feature Revive Your Sex Drive (http://www.ivillage.com/revive-your-sex-drive/4-a-108227)
"Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match / Find me a find, catch me a catch." We've come a long way from the era depicted in the classic musical Fiddler on the Roof, when parents routinely hired someone to find their adult children a "perfect match." We've now got the freedom to be our own matchmakers, but there's still a catch. It's not always an easy task! Consequently, many singles are enlisting the help of professional cupids whose business is bringing together compatible couples.
Today's matchmakers work hard for their money -- and they demand a lot of it. Prices for these pros run steep, and only a select few singles are affluent enough to afford the service. But you get what you pay for, and matchmakers are selective about their clientele, finding them via referrals as well as by scouring cocktail parties, political fundraising events and charity balls. Then comes an extensive one-on-one interview and background check. "I'm more than a matchmaker. I become a friend to my clients," says New York-based matchmaker Barbra Brooks. "I'm available to them at all times. After each arranged date, I interview both people for feedback, which I pass on -- diplomatically, of course." Over the past 16 years, this personalized approach has resulted in "hundreds of marriages and at least 40 babies," adds Brooks.
No need to be wistful, though, if you can't afford to hire a matchmaker of this caliber. We've asked Brooks and three other exclusive matchmakers for their best tips on how to find love. Here's what they have to say:
1. Be realistic. "If you look like Roseanne, don't fixate on finding a Tom Cruise look-alike," says Brooks. "I also tell women who seem to be on a money hunt -- that is, looking exclusively for men with big bucks -- they'll have to change their attitude if their goal is a long-term relationship. Men can sense right away if you're out for their wallet, not their personality." In the long run, the most priceless attributes you should want in a mate are not looks and/or money but a loving heart, dependable nature and commitment to you.
2. Be a hot mama, not a prospective mama. "Men have a radar for detecting women who are baby hungry," warns Christie Kelleher, director of the New York office of Kelleher & Associates, an upscale matchmaking service for successful professionals. Kelleher, whose service has brought together about 6,000 marriages in 19 years, adds, "He's thinking, 'Whoa -- I don't even know your middle name, and I already know the colors you want to paint your kid's nursery.'" Your best bet: no baby talk!
3. Make dating a priority. Janis Spindel, the self-described "cupid in a Chanel suit" and president of the New York-based Janis Spindel Serious Matchmaking service, suggests that clients approach finding the right man as they would a job hunt. The key is to always be prepared because you never know when or where you'll meet someone. Wear clothes that make you feel attractive and plan ahead for interesting conversation. "You also need to change your routine," adds Spindel, who in the last 10 years has brought together more than 300 marriages and 400 monogamous couples. "Don't get your newspaper delivered. You might meet someone at the newsstand."
4. Nix the ex talk. On the first few dates, Brooks advises her clients to ex-cise the desire to tell the new man all about the previous boyfriend. If your ex was fabulous, your date will feel he can't measure up. But if you bash your ex too much, your date could think, Whoops -- she might be talking about me that way in a few months! Similarly, you should be wary of a man who can't stop talking about his former paramour. If he's still hung up on her, his heart has no room for you.
5. Neurotics needn't apply. You both need to be emotionally healthy to forge a successful relationship, says Neil Clark Warren, Ph.D., who founded a cyber matchmaking service called eHarmony.com in 2000. For instance, it's not a good sign if you're in the relationship primarily because you're frightened of being alone. It's equally bad if your guy looks as longingly at the gin bottle as he does at you. Or if he's morbidly depressed. Don't fall into the codependent trap and think you can "heal" him. It's smarter to look for a man who doesn't need healing.
6. Mind your manners. Men are understandably appalled when their bright, attractive, funny date suddenly does something tacky like ripping a piece of bread in half and putting the other half back in the bread basket or applying lipstick at the table. "Men also find it gauche when the woman calls for the check," says Brooks. "The man wants to do the summoning of the waiter and the paying of the bill." Spindel also warns against a few more etiquette faux pas: "Be on time, shut off your cell phone, look him in the eye, not down at the floor. Don't ask him too many questions about his job. He'll think you're a gold digger." You don't need to be Emily Post, but if you display the sensitivity of a lamppost, don't be surprised if the first date is the last one.