Another week, another ride on the Monaco Express, as I call the BA Friday flight from London.
But this was no ordinary day. With a dense drizzly fog clinging to the ground, it had the hushed atmosphere of a Sherlock Holmes movie. Planes were grounded, passengers stranded, the BA Lounge packed. I grabbed a coffee and asked a pretty blonde if I could share her table.
We soon struck up a conversation about what we both did for a living. “Dating Industry,” I shared. “Nanny for an Oligarch in Monaco,” she said.
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“Ah, so you look after someone’s loved ones and I look after the love lives of others,” I replied.
I explained that I was an International Matchmaker. “Ooh, what’s that?”
“Well, we’re like head-hunters. We find serious partnerships for exceptional but time-poor people. This is our busiest month and, in fact, the first working Monday of the year is what lawyers dub 'Divorce Day'. We get most of our enquiries this month.”
“Really, so how does it work?" Ines, my table sharing friend, asked inquisitively.
“Well our clients pay us from £10,000 to £50,000 depending how many locations we cover for them. Clients work with a matchmaker who searches our extensive network of vetted singles, honing in on the closest matches.”
“So how successful is it – do you go to lots of weddings and christenings?”
“Well, we have an 85 percent success rate. But that’s because we turn away about a third of our enquiries and concentrate on the people that really are serious and know what they want, or can let us help them find out.
"The prospective date of the client isn’t charged – so if we ask someone to be part of our database as a potential match, it means they’re a good fit for us.”
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It transpired that Ines the nanny was single and needed help with her online dating profile. With time on our hands, I offered help. She was using an app called Bumble, which matches like Tinder but lets the girls text first. The result is that men try harder with their “Billboard” and women get to be choosy and not constantly bombarded.
“Oh, Ines this won’t do!”
“Why not”, she asked, “men just look at pictures?”
“But your profile picture is of you straddling a giant tortoise! If you’re going to be astride anything, better make it a racehorse! And the others are just your face? You’ve got a great body, find one with all of you in it and add one with you smiling in the middle of a group of friends. We always photograph better surrounded by loved ones.
“Now let’s write something about you. Men are visual creatures, but they do read … What do you do that’s interesting? Men love sporty girls. Do you do any sport?”
“Oh, I run the marathon in Istanbul every November and love No Finish Line in Monaco – my girlfriends and I get competitive with that.”
"Well I did Politics at Gothenburg, but I’m originally from Stockholm. And I did TEFL in London where I was working in financial PR for a few years. That’s what I’m doing in Monaco, teaching twin four-year-old Russian boys English. “
“Well I spend all my free time travelling. I share the children with another nanny, so we can each have some time off. I’ve been exploring France and Italy mostly.”
“Lastly, what are you looking for in a partner?”
“Well, I’m 35 and I love children, so someone serious, not a player. He needs to love the outdoors, have a great sense of humour and good family values. Spontaneous, not stuck-in-a-rut square. Preferably blonde.”
While I was writing up Ines’ little profile for the big wide world of online dating, I had a thought. We have a Scandinavian client, Lukas, who travels like crazy and wants to meet someone with a super-flexible career, someone with great values and a solid degree. Preferably a pretty blonde. Boom.
Lukas was in Monaco for business the following month, so I struck the match and they’ve been dating ever since.
The moral of the story? A high-flyer doesn’t always want another high-flyer. For our client, it was more important to be able to find enough time for a relationship.
Barbara Brudenell-Bruce is a matchmaker with London’s exclusive matchmaking agency, Vida, and her network boasts an impressive list of entrepreneurs, celebrities and aristocrats. She lives between Monaco and London. Article first published January 16, 2017.