Courteney Kay, founder of Sparx and formerly at Dating Ring and Grouper, shares what it's like to be a modern day matchmaker. We get her inside scoop along top traits people look for in a partner, and problems unique to San Francisco. One guy even had a 3 page google doc checklist!
S2E10 Confessions of a Matchmaker
00:00:00 - 00:05:05
The Dateable podcast is an insider's look into modern dating that the Huffington post calls one of the top ten podcast about love and sex. On each episode, we'll talk to real daters about. From sex parties to sex droughts, date fails a diaper fetishes and first moves to first loves. I'm your host Yue Xu, former dating coach turned dating sociologists. You also hear from my co host and producer Julie Krafchick as we explored this crazy dateable world.
And i move so i loves. We are excited. You've join us for an older episode. While our earlier seasons were all about dating in san francisco we quickly realize all the themes. Learnings are universal for all daters so we shifted to covering dating from all around the world as the seasons progress. The fun part is things happen. I san francisco the tech and counterculture capital of the world. We love for you to keep tuning in to our older episodes. But there's no set order to listen in so feel free to jump to more. Recent seasons are relevant episodes for you. Enjoy the show. This episode of dateable is brought to you by five hundred brunches meet like minded people who share your interests over brunch. Hey everyone welcome to another episode of dateable. Show that opens up a candid. Conversation about dating in this crazy city called san francisco and that beautiful voice that saw delicate touch of a voice that you just heard from an angel in our wonderful. Ua and that extremely mature sounding man came from a very mature. Man named michael vargas. So on each episode we dissect a dating story but today we have a bonus episode for you guys. Where not only will we hear dating stories but we get to hear them from a professional matchmaker. She's gonna tell us some of the most interesting stories as she's encountered in her business. So we have courtney on the line. Hey courtney hey guys hey girl. Cortel us about what you do. Yes you a. So i've been in the dating industry for the last five years and a bunch of different kind of verticals in experiences Running from running speed dating events to writing an advice column for women's website and most recently started my own matchmaking and dating coaching company called sparks. Thank you so much. you know. It's all about the sparks in life working. Good conversation and Seeing where things goes so. I'm sure you've encountered some very interesting dating stories. I can definitely share some great stories. I will just put it out there. That i will be changing the names of these people because you know this is what i do and i don't want people to be scared becoming a client of mind knowing that they're going to get talked about protects the innocent indeed. So let's call one guy mr looney tunes and he came to me any literally handed me three pieces of paper in which he had typed out very diligently point a. point b. point c. bullet-point. Abc all over again. Different things that he needed in a woman and that he had to absolutely have his absolute must have absolute. Could not do these including an entire google doc. They sent me with images of women's breasts thighs calves like literally. He showed me exactly what he wanted between the button. The leg to look like so like a vision board board of his dream woman who's various acidic about what type of breasts he was. Okay with not too big but couldn't be totally flat chested so totally reasonable wholly reasonable. Yeah yeah i call these clients like my vending machine clients which i really have moved away from from the site of experience where they feel. I can hand you money. And that means i can get anything that i want if i select you know option c. On the vending machine. I will just get it. Because i'm paying you money and i'm like i can't make this person in a magic hat for you. Like i have to find them in the existing reality system that we all live in. So i had to let them know that it was unrealistic. And that some of these things. We're just getting flat out in his own way now. Was he amazing himself. Every client has something amazing about them so every person has good and bad but with him it was one of those things where he was a little bit disillusioned with what he was bringing to the table. Okay so when you when he gave you all the specifications of the frankenstein woman that he wanted from you. What happened after that. Okay so at this point. In time i was working for a specific agency and so at that time i felt like i should take this client though now with my own company. I'm definitely choosier with the type of clients that i take at this point in time. I said hey this is going to be a really unique experience. I wanted to see what might come out of this. This type of thing though i didn't really want to take the client myself so actually deferred it over to another of my colleagues just to see what would happen.
00:05:05 - 00:10:05
I just didn't feel like it was worth the drama at that point in time so i learned vicariously through my friends experience working with him which was a nightmare. As you could only from the story she told me how realistic dickey really think this was. Yeah i mean. Part of our job is setting expectations appropriately. And saying hey. I think it's in some ways. Good that you've imagined who you're going to be with and you've spent some time thinking about it. But the level in which she spent time thinking about it is not okay and i cannot inspect the woman on every single thing that you just asked me to inspect like. There's no possible way. I can give you a general body type. I can give you a certain. If you prefer a couple of necessities i can go with that angle. There's no way. I'm going to ask these women. What their bra sizes. There's no way. I'm going to ask them what jeans they wear like. I will not look. I'm a woman. I'm a feminist. Like i will get you close to the mark but i will not go to this extreme. And if that's what you want great matchmaker for you basically what are some of the biggest challenges that you have to overcome maker well being matchmaker. You really have to play this line of cheerleader. But then also giving people a dose of realism and you have to know how to exactly talk to each client so that you're actually getting through to them so when you guys are seeing like the show patty singer millionaire matchmaker there's certain clients where you have to be like that you kinda have to be really tough love on them and kind of yell at them and help them get to the place that they need to because there's a reason that they're single and they don't wanna hear it but if you want them to actually have success you kinda need to let them know what's happening but then you also have those clients. That really like are actually pretty awesome. But they don't know how often they are and you have to be like listen. You're great. I want to pump up the confidence and then you just style him a little bit. You talk to them the right way. And they're amazing. People that are out there meeting and connecting the common things that you see people need to kind of get over. Help them see which parts of their checklist. Just totally not helping them. Like when people come and say oh my god i have to date somebody who already has a phd or is getting their phd. Like why do you have to date a phd so narrowing limiting when really. I think what you're getting to is the value that you want. Somebody who's disciplined intelligent. So if i found you somebody that was disciplined intelligent. Would that satisfy you and you have to get them to basically say yes. That's actually what i want. And so it's helping people get out of these things These patterns aren't serving them or getting so so picky literally might be five people out of a million in their town that'll fit when they have hundred criteria. That leads me to my question. Is what are like the talk one superficial traits you get from that and for gosh. Yeah of course. Well you know the phrase men are pigs and women are crazy. The map whack theory is a real real theory in the dating world. Weap- now wack men are pigs. Women are crazy map. Wack really yes. Abbott is a real theory so every guy is trying to find that perfect unicorn on the hot crazy scale and usually women are trying know. It's a real thing you guys. It's a real thing. And the men and women are concerned with men on the like money versus hotness scale or emission a money security all those things so these common stereotypes do come out with matchmaking. Where guys tend to be very visual very superficial at times both men and women need to feel physically attracted but men more so than women come with really crazy. Bucket list of and women are a little more open on the looks. Category assuming that the personality is amazing and the other values are there and they're really ambitious and successful but men come in and they are very picky about body type. There's no fans or buts about it. Some guys are very hardcore about this body. Type i go for this is never going to change for me And then of course women are a little bit crazy on the height thing. I have to have a guy who's taller than me but not just taller than me. It's like five foot girls being like only date six and taller and so ethnicity does doesn't doesn't play a part when people have preferences for who they are looking to date but the nice things people try to be open but then i tend to find that even though they say they want to be open at the end of the day they actually don't really wanna be open and they know what they want and they just kind of stick to it. How do you get people to be more open. So it's tricky because you need to know yourself but then you also have to know that even though you know yourself well you could be surprised still. There's always going to be new learnings. And i don't know there's different types of people that you could end up being attracted to really biding with. But you'll never know unless you go. And i think the best part is just dropped expectations and look at the other person is just a person who you could learn something from. You can't fund with And instead of making be. Oh my god this has to be my soul mate or judging them against like this perfect husband or wife. It's like this is just a human being in front of you. I think the challenge with going going to a matchmaker which is also kind of challenge of doing dating apps to is that if you have the option of of filtering for what you want.
00:10:05 - 00:15:00
You're obviously going to filter for what you think you want right. So then you're like well. If i'm paying you to be my matchmaker you should give me what i think i want. It's harder for someone to be like. Okay i'm i'm paying you to give me what i don't think i want you know. Yeah yeah it's all about communication and the matchmakers job is to set expectations appropriately. Which is hey. I'm going to do my best to go around what you're giving me to work with here. But here's my job. You're paying money. Because i'm the expert and so if i think there's someone awesome for you to meet and its fits outside of this criteria but for you. It's my job to kind of communicate to you. That is a little bit different. But here's why and say. Hey here's why really want you to meet this person. You should still do it and you can trust me. The label matchmaker is so misleading. Because if you read a season saris book he talks about how we don't know what we want we ultimately just don't know what we want. If we had to give a list of things we think we want. That's not actually what we want. I would go to a matchmaker to be the decision maker. Right right it's not a matchmaker. I'm not trying to get you to match me with what i think i want. I'm asking you to make decisions for me. What are some of the problems that you see. That are pretty unique to san francisco. Girl don't even get me started. Yeah okay san francisco has its unique problems for one This is a city of a lot of young people so a lot of my friends are in. Their thirties complained that it's hard to meet guys in their thirties. Because there's tons of guys in their twenties. Who are kind of fresh off the boat in new tech jobs in the city and so it's a little bit harder because they're having this adult playground experience. Maybe they moved here from the mid west now suddenly had this really cushy job where they're making a ton of money in tech they have all their stuff taken care of for them like they basically their mom is. There is google you know. Google cuts their hair. Does their laundry gives them food. Everything right so. These guys are pampered. They make tons of money. They've disposable income they think they're on top of the world and so they're like. I can totally fuck around. And how great time right now like i'm young. I'm hot and i don't want anything serious. And so there's a bit of this. Peter pan complex of people just not really wanting to some people not wanting to settle down just yet which also kind of compounded by the fact that san francisco because it is so amazing with technology. It's epicenter of tech. Every single app under the sun is developed here. Is this the first city that it really like launches either here in new york and so people are on all these apps and people just really can't Settle down and commit because there's just so many choices it's like you're in a grocery aisle of cereals and you think you've found like the best box new tricks what you want for breakfast but then you just keep walking down the i all of cereals and then you see like every single cereal every cheerios. There's frigging like honey nut bunches of oats. You just can't stop really and so you just keep trying all the cereals and you never really commit to one bucks cereals and you just get sick on you. Just take on. Cereal cisco is unique because also because of the tech industry. A lot of women complain about this social awkwardness and there's a general ratio gap between men and women however sometimes that san francisco events. It feels as though it's like a high school dance where men are on one side of the room women on the other side of the room and they will not blend so and then the other thing about san francisco is just how progressive this town is and the fact that we're totally redefining. What relationship means and what What we actually want when it comes to dating and so poly-amorous really big here you know these like The track tripod couples. You know and there's cuddle parties and their sex parties and like the kinsey scale of sexualities. Definitely there's a range. And so i think people are just juggling this this like what. What does this mean. And how do i find somebody else. It wants what i want. What we're all trying to experiment and try to see in the interest of time. Let's go takeaways. Some my takeaways are be open or try to be open to is Don't have a checklist that never works for you. We'll redefine the checklists. Like i would love to help someone. Redefine that checklist so that it really resonates with things that are important and not. Don't have a superficial checklist values. How someone makes you feel versus. How some looks how much money they make etc. I have a couple takeaways. I it's pretty similar one. Is you know. I think value values is valuable. It's the it's the core which you know people wanna connect so few people are if people are not certain where they wanna start looking down to your values aso's y questioned over and over and over again until you find out your real wide real values. That's really important.
00:15:00 - 00:18:59
I think it's important to remember that even though we have all these apps and even though we have matchmakers and all these things like you can work with matchmaker but also be your own matchmaker. I always say to clients. I will fish for you and get you the best fish ever but also you need to learn how to fish too and so here are some tools to help you be a better fishermen because we're all living amongst other human beings and there's always opportunities to connect with people if we are open to seeing those possibilities in even though you're going through some hard times dating how do you still have the attitude of positivity and see abundance instead of scarcity and see attract those people to you how do you. How do you maintain that while you kind of go through the more discouraging elements i just. I just remembered another takeaway. Something that's important that according really hit while on his be willing to change be willing to kind of let go of your judgments of what you believe will work because if hasn't the that means you need to kind of let that go and try something different having perspective on i think according to sounds like that was something that you did really well and was really a real service. Your clients was helping them get out of their own way helping them kind of see a new perspective a new idea. Try something different. Be willing to get out of their comfort zone. Yeah so we do have a question of the day. It's a surprise for you because san francisco tracks so many people who are late bloomers a lot of guys wanna know. Hey i haven't had a serious relationship ever or at actually have never had a girlfriend. How do i start dating as someone in my late twenties or early thirties. I have met in my career so far there was some of them who forty five. Who'd never had a relationship. Forty five forty five female and those situations you can say. Hey i totally get it. People nowadays are really focused on a lot of other things. Obviously like relationships. Aren't you don't have to have a relationship to be successful in your life. Like one primary relationship. You have many relationships that you've had in your life so you just haven't had this one particular long term romantic partner but you've been working on relationships your entire life so you have skill sets. You're not like you're not coming from like just zero and also it's like okay because like i said in the bay area. People are very very focused on career. So it's not always what people prioritize and then they realize. Oh my god. Oh my god now dating and it's like you just have to take baby step a time like anything else like just start going on dates. Start practicing thinking about who you are. What's what's great about you. Can you answer the simple questions. You're going to get on first dates like the basic stuff so treat it like continuing education doing education. The things that i'm hearing it sounds like is also getting over the fear right forty five years old. That's a bit of time to go on a date. So there's gotta be a lot of fear. There weren't the things you're saying. Is they kinda prepared. And kinda which helps people get over that fear so for some people i mean maybe that means like working on their confidence and self so maybe that means going to the gym. Maybe that means like figuring out. What do i look good in all these things and so it's really getting to that self love place to then put yourself out there and go for the dating so we want to hear more from you courtney. Where can we find you so. I am just launching my company which is called s x. So if you wanna check it out it's the websites join sparks dot com and. Yeah just google me. you'll find me. I'm pretty Pretty approachable gal. And i'm on twitter. At courtney nikkei weird spelling thanks. Mom c. o. U. r. t. e. n. e. y. k. y. Courtney love you guys happy to be here. Don't forget submit your stories remember. You can always be anonymous. Who can change all names such as looney tunes and there was this guy. Remember to stay dateable but dateable podcast recorded in san francisco. We like to thank our sponsor five hundred branches for making this happen to connect with us visit date. Able podcast dot com.