Dat­ing guru

A match­maker shares her ex­per­tise in a book to help women find the right man.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FASHION - By SHARMILLA GANE­SAN

A match­maker shares her long ex­pe­ri­ence in a book to help women find the right man.

WHEN it comes to dat­ing, women can of­ten be their own worst en­e­mies. From sell­ing them­selves short to hav­ing im­pos­si­ble stan­dards to mov­ing too fast, many of them un­wit­tingly sab­o­tage their own at­tempts at find­ing their per­fect part­ner.

Match­maker Vi­o­let Lim has seen all this and more; she has, af­ter all, set up 15,000 first dates through her dat­ing agency for thou­sands of sin­gle men and women. She is the founder of dat­ing ser­vices like LUNCH Ac­tu­ally, eter­act.com and eSyn­chrony.com in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Match­mak­ing In­sti­tute, South-East Asia.

Af­ter six years in the busi­ness, Lim has de­cided to share her ex­pe­ri­ences to help women find the right man. She has writ­ten a book called Lessons From 15,000 First Dates.

“I started dat­ing my hus­band at 20 and got mar­ried at 25, and I thought I knew all there was to know about dat­ing,” shares Lim, who is now 30 and set­tled in Singapore. “But af­ter I be­came a pro­fes­sional match­maker, I was sur­prised to learn a lot of things I didn’t think about.”

She thinks that most other women are op­er­at­ing un­der mis­con­cep­tions too, and could use some in­side in­for­ma­tion, hence her mo­ti­va­tion for writ­ing her book.

Be warned though: she may be named af­ter the prover­bial blos­som, but Lim is no shrink­ing vi­o­let. In fact, this soft­spo­ken, sweet-look­ing lady pulls no punches when it comes to talk­ing about dat­ing and re­la­tion­ships.

“I have to warn you, I’m not go­ing to be po­lit­i­cally-cor­rect, and I’m not go­ing to sugar-coat what I have to say!” she jokes dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view in Kuala Lumpur.

Tim­ing is ev­ery­thing

And the first so-called po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect fac­toid she pro­fesses? Age does mat­ter.

“We pre­fer to think that this isn’t true, but I get to see the truth sta­tis­ti­cally. There are many young women who want to fo­cus on their ca­reers and put off a re­la­tion­ship. But they can, and should try, to have both!

“What they don’t re­alise is, there is an un­of­fi­cial age limit. Men in their mid to late 30s, for ex­am­ple, pre­fer women who are be­low 35,” she says.

Their rea­sons, she says, are very prac­ti­cal. Ide­ally, the men would like to date for one to two years be­fore get­ting mar­ried, and an­other two years or so en­joy­ing the “hon­ey­moon” pe­riod. There­fore, if the woman is older than 35 when they first meet, she would be about 40 when they are ready to start a fam­ily, which Lim says many men feel may be too late.

Be­ing “ageist”, how­ever, is not con­fined to just men. Lim shares that most of her fe­male clients in their mid-30s are not in­ter­ested in men above 40, for sim­i­lar rea­sons.

“The men are in­ter­ested, but the women want some­one closer to their age. Prob­lem is, the men around their age are in­ter­ested in women in their late 20s!”

In Lim’s opin­ion, the “ideal mar­ry­ing age” is mid-20s for women and late 20s for men.

One way for women to find that per­fect part­ner, says Lim, is to tear up their “check­list” – that list of cri­te­ria most women have that a po­ten­tial mate has to ful­fil.

“I don’t have to be psy­chic to know that 90% of women want the same thing. Most of them want a man who is taller, nice-look­ing with a good physique, in­tel­li­gent, and able to pro­vide for a good life. Of course, it is good to

Here’s look­ing at you

But does that mean ap­pear­ances don’t mat­ter?

Un­for­tu­nately, this isn’t the case, par­tic­u­larly for men. Which leads to Lim shar­ing an­other po­ten­tially con­tro­ver­sial point.

“Ap­pear­ance is very, very, very im­por­tant,” she says. “There are cer­tain bi­o­log­i­cal mark­ers, or fer­til­ity mark­ers, that we are wired to take note of; that ex­plains why we take a dou­ble look at cer­tain guys and not oth­ers. It’s may sound base, but that’s how it is.”

Her ex­pe­ri­ence has shown her, how­ever, that mak­ing the best of one’s looks can be ef­fec­tive too.

“When you’re dat­ing, es­pe­cially the first few dates, you have to put your best foot for­ward. I be­lieve that there are no ugly women, only lazy ones. My male clients have shared that they are not look­ing for a su­per­model, but rather, a woman who takes pride in her ap­pear­ance.”

Sur­pris­ingly, av­er­age-look­ing women may some­times have a bet­ter chance of find­ing a part­ner, says Lim. She calls this “the curse of the beau­ti­ful woman”, say­ing many beau­ti­ful ladies end up sin­gle be­cause they are so used to be­ing im­pressed.

“A beau­ti­ful woman in her 20s, will have about 10 to 20 men look­ing at her ev­ery day. And men use a va­ri­ety of ways to catch her at­ten­tion. There­fore, they of­ten get bored with nice, de­cent and sin­cere guys.

“A re­ally beau­ti­ful woman I know once told me her idea of a per­fect first date was for the guy to char­ter a heli­copter tour around the city! How can some­one live up to some­thing

Be pos­i­tive: ‘Peo­ple who do the best on their dates are those who are happy,’ says Vi­o­let Lim.

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