Here’s the background guys: I’m 28, single and getting tired of meeting men through Bumble and Tinder. Having heard lots of ads on the radio for Intro.ie – Ireland’s leading matchmaking site, I decided to give it a go.
I submitted my details to the site, and got a call from one of the owners very soon after. The co-owner, F talked me through the process and gave me some dodgy statistics suggesting that there are three women for every man in Dublin (Bullshit – I actually checked). He told me that to be introduced to five men over five dates, it would cost a not insubstantial €895. Still, I wanted to give it a go, and agreed to give a €100 deposit over the phone.
With just a few minutes to spare over lunch, I had asked if we could do the necessary face-to-face stuff (I.D., payment, photo) there and then, and do the rest of the consultation over the phone. F happily agrees.
The consultation itself is pretty generic, with questions on what music, films and sports you’re interested in, whether you have or want kids, and a few questions on the type of person you would like to meet. In itself, this is more detailed than what you would get on most dating apps, but no more detailed than an e-harmony or OKCupid.
So far, myself and F are getting on beautifully.
Then, we start to talk about travelling for dates.
Intro.ie says no one will ever have to travel more than 90 minutes, that’s their policy, so in theory you could be matched with someone who lives up to three hours away. I tell F my preference would be to be matched with people who are based in Dublin, Galway or anywhere around or in between those two cities (Kildare, Wicklow, Westmeath, Offally, Roscommon, Mayo).
I tell him that since I go back to Galway quite frequently, that’s what would make sense for me. Some far-flung county like Cork or Kerry would be pretty difficult logistically, not to mention the fact that long-distance relationships are hard, especially when you’re just getting to know someone.
F’s face hardens. His posture changes. The tone of his voice develops a stern edge and he arranges his hands in an arch. “That’s exactly what we can’t do” he says. He goes over their 90 minute rule again. I say that’s fine, but given that 40% of the country’s population gives in the Greater Dublin Area, the parameters I’m hoping for should be quite workable.
Now F is mad.
Did I not understand the rules? Did I need his wife to come in and explain it? Was I even taking this seriously? F points out that I rescheduled the original appointment, and that I say I’m pushed for time (I am – they only open from 9-5.30, you know, the hours when people are usually at work.)
“Most people put time into this” he says snippily.
I feel under attack now.
All I’ve said is I’d like to meet someone I’d be able to see more than once a week? It’s not like I’m asking to be set up with someone from my hometown of 800 people – I’ve given a pretty broad range.
F is having none of it. I tell him I feel like he’s being a bit overly aggressive. He goes off on a rant about the fact that he’s the expert at this, and about all the clients they turn away.
I tell F that I would rather go forward with a different consultant. F tells me he thinks it’s better I don’t work with them at all. I’m fine with that – at this point I wouldn’t take his advice about where I should get my dry cleaning done, never mind a relationship. I tell him that’s okay, but that since it didn’t work out, I’d expect my €100 deposit back.
“Absolutely not” says F.
I tell F I’d like to speak to his wife, the co-owner of the company. He storms out, and in a room nearby I can hear him shouting. This guy is going to help me find a relationship? He’s flipping out over a really minor disagreement – to say I don’t trust his judgement would be a massive understatement. He and his wife come back into the room.
I tell her that if they find me a great match in Cork or Kerry I’m in – I’m not ruling anything out – but that it’s not my first preference (duh?) More importantly, I tell her that the chemistry isn’t right with F and that if we’re going to go forward it would have to be with a different consultant.
She says the company is too small, and that I’d need to be okay with dealing with F as well. I’m not. He’s standing in the corner, visibly seething. R professionally suggests that we part ways and offers to refund my deposit. She is definitely the saner of the two.
I agree, and I walk back to my office feeling absolutely bewildered.
I find myself wondering how many other women and men F has spoken to like that, how many walked away without saying anything because they’re not the type to cause a fuss when someone makes them feel uncomfortable. Intro claim they turn away 15 people a day, but the place looked pretty quiet when I was there.
I can only assume the success they have had to date is down to a combination of being first-to-market with the idea and advertising heavily. After all, if any of us set a friend up on five different dates, the chances are that at least one would be successful, no?
That night, I logged back into Bumble, updated my profile and got back in the game. I had a date set up within the hour. Then I called Two’s Company, one of Intro’s competitors; I got a much better vibe off them, and their starter package is €200 cheaper. So if I go with them, there’ll be a follow-up post on that.
Have any of you had experiences with match making? Did you go to a professional or leave it up to your friends (or your mother?) Leave me a comment