June 26, 2017
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Follow Justine and Eric and read their feedback of every stage of our matchmaking process and dating and coaching experience

This summer I was offered to work on an unusual project - to help two singles frrom Seattle to find the love of their life.

Both of them were writing daily blogposts. Both are successful, busy business owners; neither has taken the time to focus on dating.  With the help of a successful date coach and the best matchmaking professionals in Seattle, both make a commitment today to go on 60 dates in 60 days — a year’s worth of dates before the holidays.

Having "60 dates in 60 days" it is like suggesting someone to join them to shop for a car and on the question "Where do we start shopping?" to answer: "I do not know - I will know when I see it" Oh well, happy shopping day to you!

60 dates in 60 days is somewhat different to my matchmaking approach, if not the opposite. Quality vs quantity, deliberate choices vs "falling for anything or something"- that's what I advise to my clients... I have been doing matchmaking for years and from experience I can tell that usually out of 60 people - it will be maximum 10-15 matches that are worth the efforts and time to meet in person.

The problem is that most singles do not know how to screen and what to screen for. 

There is a great quote by Mike Dooley: "The only way to get what you really want, is to know what you really want. And the only way to know what you really want, is to know yourself. And the only way to know yourself, is to be yourself. And the only way to be yourself is to listen to your heart." And that's where most single are failing before they even started. Focusing on the goal instead of chasing an intangible dream, knowing well personal healthy boundaries, deal breakers and non-negotiable and having a clear vision of what the perfect relationship will look like, instead of what a perfect person will look like -is the first step on the way to find a great partner. You can find a partner that looks "perfect" on paper but might not deliver you fulfilling experiences and you still will not be happy at the end. Humans are not really looking for a perfect partner - they are looking for experiences  that perfect partner can deliver. 

Hopefully, with this focused approach, they will find true love when they want to find it — now!   

Eric and Justine will share their daily stories, complete with reviews of every way to meet singles in Seattle.  Follow them every day for their stories!

My First Step: Preparing for 60 Dates in 60 Days

My First Step: Preparing for 60 Dates in 60 Days

by  on AUGUST 25, 2011

Beginning the journey- the first step is the hardest- you’ll never know until you try…. Clichés abound and I try to focus on them because they hold some sort of shallow reassurance that if I am just willing to open myself to this journey and TRY, something good will start to form in my life.  Still, that first step really is the hardest and fear is ever present when you start something new and unknown.  Regardless, here I am, 38, starting again and I WILL take that first step and I won’t stop until I have the partner I know is out there waiting for me (or maybe working just as hard to find me)!

So far, I’ve been on a few dates, met with a sage (and sometimes scary) matchmaker, started a total makeover process and struggled with finding babysitting!  Not what you’d call racing off the starting line, but still making progress toward the goal!  I have a photoshoot scheduled for Friday to “glam” my online profile a little… couldn’t be too soon since I just had a date tell me hat my photos didn’t nearly reflect how beautiful I am in person.  That was the nicest thing a man has said to me in years and even though we didn’t really connect, I so appreciated his willingness to let me know what he thought and to try to help me be successful on my journey.

 

The Last Week of My Life: Part 1

The Last Week of My Life: Part 1

How to describe the last week of my life?  Well, I’ve spent hours with a professional matchmaker who challenged my deepest feelings about finding my future partner, been interviewed by a major news station for the evening news, been the subject of a professional photo shoot and attended toddler art class.  Totally normal, no big deal… if you’re Cindy Crawford, which I am not.

Sophia, my matchmaker, spent hours with me.  It was also sobering in a lot of ways.  She is concerned that I am looking for my soul mate AND that I want to have children with that person.  She thinks I may be too old at  38 to attract a man that is interested in starting a family… That’s a scary thought since I really have my heart set on it even though I already have a young daughter.  I can honestly say that by the end of the meeting my ideas about what I wanted and needed in a mate had been challenged and I was really thinking hard about what is most important to me- not just in a relationship, but in my life.  (Just FYI for all you “family minded” guys out there in my age range: I’m from solid, Irish Catholic breeding stock and my grandmother gave birth to twins after age 40- they are the last of her 9 children!)

On the lighter side, she talked about my photo shoot and showed me profile photos that she considers “good” and “bad”.  I was told not to wear black or white and to look for youthful and colorful clothing (you try finding “youthful colors” when every store in Seattle has switched their clothing palate to “Seattle fall drab”). She advised me to” really show off” my personality, while somehow simultaneously being Hollywood glamorous so that I would appeal to men…  hmmm.  My personality is NOT fake eye lashes, Prada and spiked heels on a normal day.  The meeting left me wondering how to be both down to earth and approachable, yet also look like I just walked off a reality modeling show?

After the matchmaker meeting on Tuesday, I had a conference call with the photographer, Jennifer Richard, about our upcoming shoot on Friday.  She gave me more tips and was fantastic to talk with.  I started the process of looking for my 3 photo shoot outfits.  This shouldn’t have been a big deal, but it took HOURS at 5 different stores and I still couldn’t find anything I was 100% sure she and Sophia were going to like.  Between that and the other items Sophia had put on my list to complete before the photo shoot, it was a crazy week.  As instructed, and in some instances against my better judgment, I got my first ever spray tan (a very naked and seriously sticky experience!), had my nails done and scheduled professional hair and makeup for the day of the shoot.  I really could have managed all that, kept up with the basics for my business and my house, made sure my daughter got to all her classes and dealt with the very stressful legal issues we had this week, except…

Just after 10 am on Thursday, about an hour before the sitter was scheduled to arrive so I could shop for the final outfits without my toddler trying to get every pair of shoes onto her head, I got a call from Barb telling me that my story had been picked up by KING 5 News and they wanted me in Seattle instantly for an on-camera interview.  Let me set the scene… My daughter and I are both in our pajamas, we are half way through our breakfast, we have not showered, I have no makeup on, have not fed the dog, I am in the middle of laundry and don’t have any “date” clothes clean, let alone TV interview clothes… Come to think of it, what does one wear for a  TV interview and whose life is this, anyway?  Can’t be mine because TV clothing dilemmas are just not part of my world!

Philosophy and Photo Shoots

Philosophy and Photo Shoots

by  on AUGUST 30, 2011

60 Dates in 60 days… why would anyone do something like that? I don’t know why anyone else would, but I can tell you my main reason in one sentence:  I am 38 and still searching for “the one”.  How did I arrive at this age and this stage in my life without a life partner.

Did I have any indication that I would be in this situation or that my actions were leading me to this place in life?  Unfortunately, not really.  I feel pretty stupid saying that, because in hind sight I can see the warning signs and pitfalls along the way.  Now, here I am: one divorce, one daughter and one devastating relationship later I’m struggling to get on a path I thought I was already walking and worrying about whether or not I’m too late

Ok, enough of the heavy philosophizing and on to the recap of my  “Super Fun”  photo shoot on Friday.  It took a lot more work to get ready for than I had thought.  I woke up on Friday morning and packed an entire suite case full of clothes and jewelry, because, despite all the instructions given to me by Sophia and Jennifer, I still couldn’t figure out which, if any, of the outfits I had pieced together would work for the shoot.  This was not a small suite case, I basically packed for a 2 week trip to New York!  I then headedout for the hair and makeup appointments.  Hair, no problem- big, soft-ish curls, the same as I would do for any special event.  Makeup, now that’s a different story! It was so heavy, it was bright and she wanted to put on FAKE eyelashes!!!!  Sophia already asked me repeatedly to get fake lashes for the pictures and I refused each and every time (despite the fact that she is not an easy woman to say ‘no’ to).  But here I am, sitting in the chair with a trained professional and she is saying that she thinks just “the little ones” would add a special look to my eyes on camera.  She’s saying that you can only see about 30% of the makeup and lash on film and that if you don’t really play up your look, you end up not looking as good in the photos as you do in real life. (I never mentioned to her that Sophia wanted me to get the lashes, she’s come up with this suggestion independently.) Her explanation ismaking sense and I find myself actually considering this option. Then out of my mouth I hear the words, “Sure, why not”…  Before I know it, there is glue approaching my eyeball and I’m thinking, “This is a VERY bad idea”!  But, in just moments (and without any loss of sight), my eyelashes are “enhanced”, the final mascara touches are on and I’m out the door!

I arrive at Carillon Point and head into the Spa at the Woodmark Hotel.  They’re really friendly and grant me permission to use their dressing room for the outfit changes- thank goodness, because my back-up plan is changing in the back of my car!  I meet up with the photographer, Jennifer, with Barb and with my friend Emily who has graciously agreed to come along for moral support.  Jennifer takes a look at my suite case of clothes and within about 15 minutes we have chosen the 3 outfits.  I really didn’t think I had put together anything good, but she seems pretty happy with our choices and we head into the sunshine to get started.  Perfect weather, great location and I’m definitely excited to get started!

I have t stop here and just thank Barb and Emily so much for their help.  Barb spent almost the whole shoot holding a huge reflector in a number of odd positions at Jennifer’s direction so that the lighting was cast properly on my face or hair or whatever.  Emily spent the evening schlepping all my stuff along with us and readjusting my clothes, my hair, even my walk. (Yes, Emily really had to demo walking for me after Jennifer had tried to get me to walk towards the camera in a “relaxed and natural” way about 10 times without success!)  They were both great sports about the whole thing and didn’t even seem to mind all the attention we were getting as the passersby gaped at the three women trying to get a decent photo of one woman! (As an aside, I have done family photo shoots before, and they are NOTHING like having to “model” on your own…  I have seen exactly one episode of that reality TV modeling show and I remember thinking the models were making such a big deal out of nothing.  Let’s just say, I don’t think that anymore- it is a lot harder than it looks!)

Jennifer worked with me tirelessly through 3 outfits, almost 3 hours and about a dozen different locations around Carillon Point.  She patiently repeated her instructions to just be natural and “fidget” a little about 100 times.  She is so professional, yet so relaxed and I really appreciated her patience.  By the time we were through I was feeling so good in front of the camera I could have gone another three hours!  I was DYING to see the pictures, but I restrained myself from asking to peek at her digital camera screen.  She offered to send out one of the photos the very next day and, true to her word, she did.  You should be able to see it attached to this blog post.  I loved it I cannot wait to see the rest later this week!

In the end, after giving Sophia a lot of “push back” on the whole professional photo idea, I’m really glad I did it.  When I look at the pictures I have up on my online profiles now (Chemistry and Eharmony), I realize that what she told me at our first meeting was very true- the photos make all the difference.  I also realized that my current photos don’t look like me when I’m ready for a date- they look like me when I’m gardening… not exactly the first impression you want to make!  They are all taken from bad angles, in clothes I would NEVER wear out to a nice restaurant or a show with a friend, let alone on a first date.  So, why did I feel they were the best representation of “me” and that taking a nice photo would be misleading somehow?  I don’t know, but I’m sure glad that I had some great people help me see the error of my ways!  I won’t be so quick to rule out Sophia’s advice in the future, that’s for sure.

Now I am ready for my first set of “dates.”  I’m going to the Road Runner Sports First Thursday Adventure Run on Thursday night to meet other fit single people.  I’m going to be meeting other new members (like myself — I just joined) of Events and Adventures, the adventure and activity club for singles while I am there… wish me luck and stop by to say hello if you want!

Meet my Match (maker). My Question of the Day: Does Polished = GoldDigger?

Meet My Match (maker), My Question of the Day: Does Polished = GoldDigger?

by Eric on SEPTEMBER 21, 2011

We were to meet at a Starbucks on Mercer Island. There is a Starbucks every 10 feet in the greater Seattle Area and of course, I picked the wrong one. After employing text messaging, a map of Mercer Island, GPS and a divining rod, I finally I found Sophia, the the sexy, European matchmaker from Sophisticated Matchmaking. She looked me over as if I were the raw materials for an abstract sculpture that she would form into a masterpiece. At least I hoped I was going to be a masterpiece.

Just as I start to get nervous she says, “you are much better looking than your pictures”.   This put me at ease because clearly, she “speaks guy,” and knows how to massage my ego. Being bilingual must be a plus in her profession.

She tells me about her matchmaker process … she meets with customers for a few hours an then looks at their photos and their past girlfriends. She will also draw up a dating map for me …diagram what I’ve done in the past and where I want to go with dates. Sounds interesting.

She tells me I should meet with a photographer and get better pictures. After my ego was properly plied, she went on to describe how she would find my soul-mate in 60 days, a task at which I’ve failed miserably for lifetime.  After reviewing some of her members on her ipad, I am both intrigued and scared… they are beautiful women but oh so polished pictures ?!? With my verbal filter firmly in the “off” position, I bluntly ask “Are these women down-to-earth, or gold diggers” (I regret it as soon as say it but I think most guys would ask that question — at least in their own heads).

She tells me that I am mixing concepts about women together – polished and composure don’t have anything to do with money and gold digging. What if a woman makes 200K and takes care of herself … but likes me? .. does that make me a gold digger? After some reasonable discussion, I realize I may be making broad assumptions and this is a good example of how she may be able to help me.

 

After my friends started taking side bets on whether or not this elusive “soulmate” actually exists for me, I decided to make another appointment to see if she could help. I’ve got 8 to 5 odds on the matchmaker… Any takers?

ERIC: If You Don’t Have a Plan, Someone Will Give You One — But You Won’t Like it!

 If You Don't Have a Plan, Someone Will Give You One - But You Won't Like it!

by ERIC on SEPTEMBER 27, 2011

Yet another matchmaker tells me to make a plan for what I want in my dating life.

Sophia began our second meeting by showing me the profiles some of her female clients. Creating a profile is the first step in the matchmaking process Sophia would reveal to me as we sat at the umbrella table on the patio of her beautiful Mercer Island home. This is a woman with a plan. She knew it was best to show me pictures of beautiful women before telling me how much work it would take for her to help me actually get the right one.

First the carrot, then the whip.

After viewing several pictures and profiles, Sophia focused our attention on a woman she believed to be an example of a potential match. The woman’s profile evoked the image of a homebody, couch potato whose primary source of entertainment was shopping. After shaking off a rather disturbing vision of me being institutionalized shortly after viewing the second consecutive hour of the home shopping network, I inquired as to why Sophia thought this woman was an example of a potential match for me. She replied, “the two of you are “emotionally similar.” Does the fact that I don’t know precisely what “emotionally similar” means make me emotionally handicapped. Sophia explained that “what we do is less important than who we are when it comes to relationships.” If that’s the case, I’m not really sure how to go about getting to know someone. If a person is authentic, shouldn’t what they say and do mirror what they think and feel? If a person stays at home every night living a sedentary lifestyle doesn’t that make them a sedentary homebody? If I am being slowly driven insane when I’m doing what the another person wants to do doesn’t that make us incompatible?

I mentioned that in my experience the initial spark fades after six months unless the couple has something in common that bonds them and keeps the spark alive. 

Sophia suggested that I was mixing concepts AGAIN and decided we needed a common vocabulary to discuss the relationships. She started by explaining the different parts of the human make up that affect relationships, i.e. the ego, the heart, etc. She then explained the concept of a dating map and the different types relationships such as physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual. Then she asked me to categorize my past relationships using this “relationship vocabulary,” starting with my fiancee of 10 years ago and ending with my most recent relationship.

She basically told me what parts of myself are involved in having a relationship and what kinds of relationships there are. This enabled me to identify what kinds of relationships I’ve had in the past to see what worked, what didn’t and why. I was heartened by this approach because these are logical steps that I can wrap my mind around more easily than the concept of somehow being “emotionally similar” to someone with whom I have nothing in common. 

I told her that I had a taste of what I thought might be the beginnings of spiritual connections in relationships within the past couple of years and I wanted more of that, please. Of course, just when I began feeling “connected,” the people I might have been connected to decided my core values needed to be made over to be similar to their own.

Why do women date me if they don’t like me the way I am? Is there something I can do to better express who I am and what I want so that women have a better understanding of who I am upfront?

Finally, Sophia asked the most important question, and I thought I knew the answer. When she asked me to tell her what I wanted in a relationship I felt like a second grader bouncing up and down in his seat, wildly waving his arms and screaming “I know, I know!” Apparently I was mistaken.

I told her I was looking for a serious relationship and I was open to marriage and to kids. She said, “it’s not surprising that the women you date keep trying to change you, you don’t have a plan! Not only did she take a figurative flamethrower to my plan by questioning its validity, but she blamed this plan, or lack thereof, for one of the primary difficulties I’ve had when attempting to sustained a meaningful relationship.

I was surprised that “a serious relationship and I’m open to more,” isn’t a plan. She said, “Married with kids is a plan. Being a playboy the rest of your life is a plan, but a relationship and marriage and maybe kids wasn’t clear.”  She wondered aloud if perhaps this was why women were pushing my boundaries. Then she quoted her father who said, “if you don’t have a plan someone else will give you one, but you won’t like it!” Based on recent experiences with some of the women chosen, I would have to say her dad is a wise man.

She ended the meeting by giving meet homework assignments:

  1. Sophia told me to came up with a viable plan. She flatly refused to show me anymore pictures and profiles of beautiful women until I do. (Am I being punished?)

  2. She gave me a long list of reading material designed to help me identify a plan. I’m not allowed to make an appointment to see more pictures and profiles until I’m done with my reading assignment. (maybe I am back in the second grade)

  3. Sophia suggested I have professional photos the with Jennifer. (More on that the next installment)

I would say I can’t wait to find my soulmate so I can get some rest, but I’m not that naive...

ERIC AND JUSTINE BEFORE AND AFTER OUR IMAGE MAKEOVER
JUSTINE'S PROFILE PHOTOS BEFORE  JUSTINE'S PROFILE PHOTOS AFTER

ERIC'S PROFILE PHOTOS BEFORE ERIC'S PROFILE PHOTOS AFTER

Make the most of first impressions - with Portraits by Jennifer Richard Photography
Jennifer Richard
www.JenniferRichardPhotography.com
www.JenniferRichard.wordpress.com

(206) 372-2147