Suddenly, the idea of a professional matchmaker sounded appealing. Fees range from around pounds 1,000 for half a dozen introductions to as much as pounds 60,000 for a global search for your perfect mate.
My first call was Drawing Down the Moon, a dating agency aimed at professionals in London and the South, where I found myself chatting to the indefatigable Mary Balfour over a cup of tea.
“Websites do work,” she tells me, “but an introduction service takes all the hassle out of it and ensures that anyone you meet is at least likely to be compatible.” Mary introduces me to Kate, a psychologist who quizzes me on my previous relationships.
She tells me to keep an “open mind” and promises to be in touch after she has discussed my profile with her colleagues.
Impressed by this apparently rigorous approach, Ms Fontaine, 44, rang up to enquire about joining and a consultant invited her to an interview, not at the company’s registered offices in the City of London but at the Charing Cross Hotel on The Strand.‘I thought it was a bit strange but was quite happy because it was on my way home,’ says Ms Fontaine. She was given his email address and sent him a message. They emailed her some more details, for a man with a Persian-sounding name, who was 56 and worked in financial investments.
They met at 5pm in the upstairs bar and spent an hour and a half talking about what she wanted in a partner.‘I asked her about the sort of men they had on their books and she told me she had two men immediately in mind for me. I asked specifically if these men were looking for a quick fling or a long-term relationship and she said, “If they’re paying upwards of £500 for membership, then they’re looking for a relationship.” ’She then enquired about meeting Tim but was told that he was now in a relationship and had come off their books. A strange email exchange ensued in which he informed her in pidgin English that while he was ‘very happy and excited to meet a person of such attractive profile’, he was ‘only a novice in the single life’.
I joined Sara Eden late June 2015 as a Platinum Personal Consultant Membership Client for £6595.
An internet search turned up the equally worrying fact that he had recently changed his name and that several of his companies had been fined.
“Websites do work and men feel happy searching the net,” she says “but you have to follow some basic rules to ensure your personal safety and you have to have a lot of time to do it properly.
An introduction service takes all the hassle out of it and ensures that anyone you meet is at least likely to be compatible.” Mary introduces me to Kate, a psychologist who asks about my previous relationships before, and – as proves the case with every other agency - questioning why I want someone in my life.
First call was Drawing Down the Moon, a respected introduction agency, where I found myself chatting to the indefatigable Mary Balfour over a cup of tea in West London.
Mary runs a dating website as well as Drawing Down the Moon.