OUTSOURCE YOUR LOVE LIFE
EMPLOYING A PROFESSIONAL MATCHMAKER IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY POPULAR WITH YOUNGER GAY MEN WHO ARE TURNING OFF APPS AND LOOKING FOR LOVE.
The 26 to 32 category is the fastest growing age group. They’re tired of meeting the wrong people and too busy to waste their time.
SEVEN YEARS ago, when Vinko Anthony and Andrea Zaza started their gay matchmaking service, Beau Brummell Introductions, Grindr had just launched. The seductive ease of the app meant the end of Gaydar and Manhunt, that had dominated the gay dating business for a decade.
While it may have seemed that an old-fashioned introduction service may not have been a wise business to start, the business flourished from the beginning and today Beau Brummell have clients from Sydney to Melbourne to Brisbane to Perth, regionally and internationally.
“It’s not about the city you’re in, it’s about finding a life partner,” says Vinko (Company Director). “Our commitment to each client is to work with them until we’ve achieved success. We only take them on board if we think they’re suited to our existing client base and our way of working.”
Beau Brummell have matched over 260 couples who’ve been together for over a year, with hundreds more currently on their books and dating. But if you think it’s just older gents looking for love, think again. While men aged 33 to 54 were once the busiest category, Vinko says the 26 to 32 category is the fastest growing.
“The younger generation are disappointed and tired of meeting the wrong people,” he says. “They are too busy to waste their time [on dates and relationships that don’t work out], and they like being part of a club of like-minded people. Apps provide sex on tap, but they are like beats used to be in the past. You don’t find your husband at a beat. Well, you might find somebody’s husband [laughs]… but you won’t find a long-term relationship. The younger generation are progressive thinkers. They see our service in the same way as using a financial adviser or a real-estate agent.”
Do younger people even know what a matchmaking service is? “There are people who don’t understand what we do,” says Vinko, “some think it’s like a manual version of Grindr.”
That couldn’t be further from the truth. Rather than matching men by geo-location or algorithm, the Beau Brummell team assess each client with an in-depth interview, then consider each man individually before making a recommendation that two clients meet.
And it’s here that things get surprising. In a culture of “swiping left” and making superficial judgements about others based on their Tindr profile or Instagram selfies, Vinko says most clients choose not to see a picture of their date before meeting. Furthermore, 80 to 90 percent of the dates that start “blind” lead to second dates and relationships.
A Pew Research Centre study in the US found that only a third of people on dating apps ever ended up meeting anyone. The same study showed that Millennials in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston and Philadelphia were career focused and spent long hours in the office and working at home. They were happy to “outsource their love lives” to a trusted professional agency.
While engaging the services of a matchmaker has become a trend, another social change is reflected in the profiles of the Beau Brummell client list. “We don’t have any smokers,” says Vinko. “It is hard to match a smoker, and the people who come to us are those who are investing in themselves. Smoking is not an investment in yourself.”
Qualities that are rated as the most attractive include intelligence, honesty, motivation, socially progressive views, and the desire for a monogamous relationship.
While most men who become Beau Brummell clients are looking for the same thing – a satisfying, long-lasting relationship, Vinko says they have observed slight cultural differences between men by location.
“In Brisbane they are very fast on the up-take when they meet someone they like. They don’t hesitate. Melbourne men are very open to different dating opportunities, they’re open minded. Sydney is much faster because it’s a busy city and quite a transient city; people are coming and going a lot.”
After seven years, Vinko and Andrea are thrilled with the success of the business and say they find the matching process very satisfying. We don’t doubt their many happy customers do, too.
VINKO ANTHONY AND ANDREA ZAZA OF BEAU BRUMMELL INTRODUCTIONS, THEMSELVES A COUPLE.