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From seduction boot camps to dating coaches – why single males are paying a fortune to find true romance One day last August, Duncan Cheatle walked into a London café to meet the woman he hoped would change his life. He was a successful entrepreneur; he liked going on adventurous holidays to such places as Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar; he had a lot of style.
But unfortunately he was still single and was growing increasingly unhappy at living his life that way.
He’d been close a couple of times, but it hadn’t worked out.
And now, as he saw it, “I don’t want to be getting nearer 50 and still not settled down.” And with that in mind he agreed to meet Rachel for coffee.
Rachel was an elegant, angular woman with glossy blonde hair.
Although only 34, she had her own business and spoke a language Cheatle understood – “consultant”, “connecting”. This time in her office, where he paid her £8,000, plus VAT, for a minimum of 10 dates over 18 months and the promise to help him find, if not the love of his life, then certainly a romantic partner. She offers her service to high-end, successful people, mostly in their thirties and forties, and what they get for a fee is a series of introductions and a personal approach.
Their conversation was nothing more than a friendly discussion. As the founder and CEO of Vida Consultancy, she meets her clients, questions them closely on their life history and what makes them happy and, backed up by her psychology background, attempts to match them with a compatible partner.
She is your cheerleader, therapist, a friend who has no needs. Mac Lynn is currently helping 40 people find a partner. There are a growing number of dating coaches, matchmakers, “pick-up” artists, seduction experts who, for a fee, will work on your behalf, rather than you trying to work it out alone.Because the matchmaking industry is self-regulated, it is hard to say how many professionals are out there.But the Sara Eden dating agency, for example, which charges up to £10,210 for membership and covers London and the Home Counties, has seen a 200 per cent rise in inquiries in the past year or so.“It used to be a taboo to use a dating agency, but now it is like a status statement.It has the same cachet as a personal trainer,” says Daniel André, the CEO of Elect Club, whose members range from executives to models.