I love weddings…the romance, toasts, champagne and dancing. I don’t even need to know a couple that well to well-up as they walk down the aisle. And while I have not had luck (yet) playing matchmaker for myself, I do love trying to connect people in the hopes that they could be a good match for each other. While I don’t have an impressive track record, my heart is certainly in it, and so I thought it was worth seeing if I can develop the skills to be a matchmaker.
I knew that if I want to improve my cupid batting average I would need the advice of an expert. Lucky for me, arguably the most prolific matchmaker in the country agreed to meet with me. Forget Patti Stanger; Janis Spindel is the original Millionaire Matchmaker (and as she points out, there is a big difference between matchmaking and a dating service). Janis is a matchmaker, author and has been featured in the New York Times, the Boston Globe and ABC News.
Janis and I met in a cozy corner of a hotel lobby on the East Side of Manhattan. Although we were tucked away in a corner, Janis kept looking around, scanning the room. I quickly realized why: America’s number one matchmaker is constantly looking for people to match. Constantly. She is always working. And for her, working means approaching and meeting hundreds of men and women each day.
Janis began her business almost 20 years ago after her amateur matching skills resulted in 14 marriages in eight months. Yes, you read correctly. While those couples were made up of friends of hers, now she finds individuals to match anywhere and everywhere…strangers she met around town…in the nail salon…wherever. She now has over a thousand successful relationships and marriages. She estimates that she gives out 250 business cards each and every day.
Janis has been described as a force of nature, and it’s an apt description. She speaks a mile a minute and her sentences are punctuated with emphatic enthusiasm that can become contagious (“He is gorgeous…GORGEOUS”). Pair that with her frequent head jerks in the direction of any potential new client who walks in the room, and you wonder how she can apply this level of constant energy to her job, in addition to her life at home with her husband of 30 years and two daughters.
But as she told me, her job is her passion, so it doesn’t really feel like a job. With that, I knew why I liked her immediately.
While she originally had both male and female clients, now Janis works exclusively with men who pay hundreds of thousands of dollar for her to help them find wives. And about that she is clear; her clients need to be in it to win it with marriage on the mind. “I get people married! Plain and simple,” she has said. And to that end, she does her research: Janis goes out to eat with each prospective client so she can research what they may be like on a date. She will also help them prepare to meet Ms. Right: she has a stylists on staff if a new wardrobe is deemed necessary, and will connect a client with a dentist if his pearly whites need to be more…well…pearly white.
She is also constantly introducing herself to women (they can also fill out a questionnaire on her website to be considered for matching. I did it, it’s painless.) to evaluate whether they would be a good match for one of her clients. Plus, attractive women have attractive friends she says. Same goes for men. If someone is attractive and successful — even if they are already taken — Janis hypothesizes that his friends will be as well. She has built up an astounding network of singles, and she is constantly adding to that pot.
I wondered how she sizes people up so quickly. Janis told me that her grandmother was clairvoyant, and she has some of the same intuition about people. She is able to immediately asses if an individual would be a good match for one of her clients. She also relies on similarities in backgrounds and interests to inform her matches: religion, education and parents’ marital status are a few examples.
As I would assume happens during most of Janis’ conversations, our chat began with me interviewing her, but it ended up with her interviewing me. Why did I leave New York (I get this a lot from New Yorkers)? What am I looking for in a man? We talked about online dating (which, for the sake of full disclosure, I did try for a hot second, but quit after meeting only two guys. One kept referencing getting (him, not me) into bikini shape for summer, the other was super nice, but all we talked about was Will Farrell movies and his paraplegic triathlons.) Janis is a “HUGE promoter of online dating,” she told me. “Remember it just takes one…and you never know.” She has even launched her own online site. You can check it out here.
So armed with insight from Janis I will now set out to set up! I have a few brave souls who have already volunteered to make up one half of some great future couples. If you are interested in being my guinea pig…umm…I mean the beneficiary of my new-found matchmaking skills, please let me know! I will fill you all in later on how I – and they – do.
And in light of the cases that the Supreme Court is considering this week, I feel the need to be explicit that I would be honored to attempt to also match individuals who are looking for a partner of the same gender, because I believe that everyone deserves the right to marry who they love.
Thank you to Janis Spindel for taking the time to meet with me. She really is a force of nature and if anyone can find your match, it’s her. You can learn more about her services on her website, you can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. I was not compensated in any way for this post.