Before the iPhone, iPad and Apps really took off and changed the online dating scene for ever there was a point in time when if you searched online you’d find Matchmakers that ran purely phone based businesses or the hybrid variety where you filled in an online profile but still got a call from an actual person to talk about your profile and also to do the final payments sections.
I think the first time I did a phone interview was just after I’d been released from hospital in 2007 having undergone major surgery which saved my life but meant at 33 loosing my ability to have kids so I really wasn’t in the best mental state to take up the offer they were selling. I still to this day have no idea how they got my number but I gather it was because I’d filled out some form for another company doing surveys who then on sold the information to other companies. The girl on the phone was genuinely lovely and every couple of weeks would ring to see if I’d changed my mind and was ready to leap back into the world of dating – the answer was always NO but she gave it a good 6 months of trying before I got taken off the call list.
The next time I decided to look into phone based it was 2009 and I was living in Melbourne and it was after the 2nd In Person Dating Agency disaster. By this time they had morphed into the hybrid variety where you fill in the profile online and they then ring you to narrow down parameters, discuss packages and payment options and so on. The first company seemed ok till we got to the packages and payments sections of the call. Turns out that Basic Membership meant you would be sent on no more than 6 dates in 6 months and Membership was $12 000 for 6 months. After reminding my self to breath and asking the girl to repeat the information in case I’d got it wrong (I hadn’t) I very politely told her I’d have to think about it and I’d get back to them if I decided to join. No way in hell was I joining at that cost considering my monthly budget had about $40 remaining after I’d paid my portion of rent, food, bills etc. I worked out that each date would have been worth $300 ($12000 / 6 = $200 + transport and dinner) if I’m going to fork out that type of money on a date I could hire a good male escort.
The next firm also in Melbourne was at first reluctant to even talk to me as a client as I’m “bigger” and apparently at least in Melbourne it’s hard to find men who want to date bigger women. However once the guy who ran the agency found out I come with a surgeons guarantee that I 100% can not have children and I have 3 university degrees he put me on the books for free because I fit a very special category – THE CAREER-RETIREMENT WIFE. Apparently there are a category of guys out there who’ve done the first wife (had kids), the second wife (mid life crisis) and are now looking for “the woman they can eventually retire with who doesn’t want kids and will help their corporate ambitions”. I went on 1 very bad date and then politely requested I be taken off the books as I had decided to move home to Queensland.
The next firm was more resent in 2013 when I was in Brisbane. They do something called Just For Lunch which sounded ok so I filled in the online profile then got a call back. The concept is that after you pay your money they organise the day, the time, the restaurant booking, they guy and all you do is turn up at appointed day/time/place and go on the date. Honestly the concept is brilliant and it would take most of the stress out of the whole blind dating thing. However the cost is not cheap and when I said to the girl on the phone that I’d have to review my budget before I could sign up her response was “Well don’t wait to long after all you turn 40 soon and getting dates after that is well almost impossible”. I went from nice to frosty bitch in a heart beat and told her I had just decided thanks to her attitude that her company evidently needed to work on their customer service skills and I would not be joining up and hung up on her. They still send me e-mails for their “latest seasonal special packages” and I’ve noticed they are getting cheaper.
My final hybrid experience came this year in 2014. I was until I got made redundant working a FIFO 21/7 roaster which made finding dates let alone dating almost impossible since I had to fit my life into my 7 days of R&R. I had planned to find a living breathing MatchMaker to go to here on the Sunshine Coast but apparently they don’t exist anymore or at least not in this area. So I went for the next best thing a hybrid company that has an ONLINE Dating site but for a bit of extra cash you can have a living breathing consultant contact you via phone to guide you through the process and “help”. This sounded ok so I filled in the online profile including the section requesting a call from them and waited and waited and waited. Finally I got to the point I figured I’d never hear back from them and was back out at site when I got a call. I very politely explained I was at work and could they ring back on my R&R and gave the dates, no way was I discussing my dating life on a remote CSG camp site with 300 crew around. Next day I got an e-mail confirming my scheduled date and time for my call back so I was thinking “wow very professional this might be it” alas I was wrong. The scheduled date and time for my call back appointment came and went with no call from the company. Then 2 weeks after my scheduled date/time again while I’m at work I get a call telling me they are now ready to discuss my case. I very nicely explained again to the lady on the phone bad timing I’m at work and you missed my scheduled call back so no I was not going to be discussing my “case” with her and not to call me again. She then proceeded to ring me for the next week to see if I had settled down and was ready to discuss my case and pay for my service until eventually I put her number on BLOCK on my phone.
I’m still tempted to jump online and see if I can find a new firm to list with while I’m home but I’ll wait and see what I’m doing job wise next year before I do after all if I’m back working FIFO I could be away for up to 28 days at a time so fitting dating in will be interesting.