Knowing that someone is out there, looking out for you, gives you a kind of swagger. A sense of worth. And anyone who’s been on Tinder for more than three minutes can tell you, it is not great for one’s sense of self-worth. Working with Adelle did the opposite. After every conversation, I felt a little better about myself, about my options. I stood a little taller. It was a nice feeling.
After a few weeks, it happened. Adelle has a match. For me. I have a date.
Over the sound of the cappuccino maker and the uptalk and vocal fry of the teenagers at the next table, my date, “B.,” and I get to know each other. She’s charming. Smart, funny. We chat about how we wound up in LA (me from the East Coast, her from NorCal), what we do here (me, freelance writer; her, office manager at a media company). Jokes are made. Stories are swapped. It’s all pretty standard first date stuff.
I ask B. how she wound up with a matchmaker. She tells the same kind of story as mine: LA dating is a tar pit, she was looking for something different, a friend connected her to TDR. We instantly bond, like a couple of war-torn soldiers in a foxhole (a foxhole with lattes, but nonetheless). We’d both love to get out of the game. Isn’t that the goal?
Are there extra matchmaker sparks? Should there be? At the end of the day, it is just a first date, just the start of a thing. Adelle may have gotten us to this point, but after this, it’s all on us.
How did Adelle wind up in this seemingly archaic job? Well, like the old Hair Club for Men commercials go, she isn’t just a matchmaker; she’s a former client. Adelle came to Three Day Rule as a customer a few years back. At the time, she was working in corporate marketing and communications. “I thought I was doing everything right,” she says. “Blind dates, online, mixers.” But nothing was really working. A friend suggested TDR to her to get her out of the bubble of single life.
It took her about four months to meet her future husband. Even for her, at first, it didn’t work. Her first match or two weren’t quite the fit. “Sunday night is the toughest night for singles,” Adelle says, “The weekend’s over, the work week is starting and you’re back where you started.” During a Sunday night conversation, Adelle’s matchmaker hit her with an epiphany that really resonated: the only person who really knows what you’re looking for is you. And in order to find it, you have to be honest, not just with other people, but with yourself. You have to let go of some of your preconceived notions and dig deeper into the bigger things you want. So when her matchmaker suggested someone outside of Adelle’s requirements, Adelle took a chance and, boom, met her husband.
Through the process, she’d become close with her matchmaker. When her matchmaker asked her to do some brand marketing for TDR, Adelle was happy to make the leap from the corporate world. Even though she came in to interview for a marketing job, it became clear that she could do more with TDR and, before she knew it, she was matchmaking. Her history in marketing and communications helps, but it’s not like there’s a career path that leads to “matchmaker.” It’s about making the client comfortable, getting them to open up, listening to their needs. People don’t think too much about what they want, so the matchmaker helps them get there.
Finally, my conversation with B. winds down. Like a sensible LA dater, I’ve made plans with friends after. So did B. I walk her out. “We should do this again,” I say. “Let’s!” We hug and she walks down Melrose into the sunset. The beginning of something? Maybe. First dates, whether through Tinder or TDR, are always a little awkward. But did this go a little smoother? Did I just think it did, after the whole process with Adelle? I couldn’t answer that question.
While I was working with Adelle, I put away the apps. They’re so tempting, so game-ified. I wanted to see if a real, live person was better than an algorithm and Google Maps. In the end, I got about as many dates out of each, really. (I’m really bad at Tindering.) Of course TDR costs money and the apps are free, but you do often get what you pay for. With Adelle, at least, there was a person, a human being on the journey with me. That counts for a lot.
B. and I tried to schedule a second date, but couldn’t get our schedules lined up. After a few attempts, it was clear that we weren’t quite on the same page. I talked it over with Adelle and she helpfully relayed the message to B. We talked over what about B. was right for me, what didn’t work. (Still not quite funny enough.) I’m back in the Tinder/Bumble-verse now and I’ve had a little success, but I miss Adelle. It’s still pretty lonely out there. After all, isn’t the whole point to find that right someone and get out of the dating pool all together?
Maybe, even these days, it takes the right person to find the right person.
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