With work taking up most of their time, modern people find it increasingly difficult to find a life partner.
In the past, people used to meet people at village dances or at balls. From a certain age onwards, their mate was found by elderly women. However, village dances and balls have all but disappeared of late, and elderly women are busy, since the retirement age went up. So, what is there left to do for someone who is not young enough to go clubbing any more, surrounded by acquaintances who no longer have an unmarried sister or cousin, and everyone works form 9 AM until the work gets done for the day?
You may say that doesn’t leave too many options, but reality contradicts us, at least in Romania. We have everything, dating sites, marriage agencies, agencies organizing informal get-togethers, theme trips, speed dating, tango lessons, and even walks in the park or socializing events for both singles and couples who want to widen their social circle.
One offer in particular drew our attention. “Umbrella for Two” is a dating agency specialising in services targeted at a very sophisticated and very busy group of people: singles in the business world. It does more than simple matchmaking, it selects potential candidates using the principles of business head hunting.
Claudia Ulici is a professional matchmaker. She told us how the idea came to her to set up such a business.
Claudia Ulici: “It was simple, we looked around and saw how many people have difficulty in finding a life partner, because they dedicated their time to their profession more than it used to be the case. In addition, social circles are getting narrower, since as people grow older most friends end up married. Then there is the fact that people get pickier, and no longer go clubbing, socializing excessively. That is why this is a welcome service that we provide.”
320 customers have come through the door of the agency in its 3 years of existence. We asked Claudia Ulici how she goes about it when she goes heart hunting:
Claudia Ulici: “Some people are very selective, they have a certain precision in setting criteria that a potential life mate has to meet. We use these criteria and start exploring through our network, our acquaintances, in events that we take part in, looking for the right person to meet the wishes of our client. We have a discussion where we present our concept and activity. To the extent that the person is interested, we have a few discussions with our client, trying to understand their lifestyle, interests, future plans, and decide if they have potential for our customer. If this matches positive, then we put the two in touch with each other.”
Imagine you are at a party where there is also fundraising, which happens fairly often in Romania, and someone walks up to you and says:
Claudia Ulici: “’Hi, I am Claudia Ulici and I am a matchmaker’. It is a funny moment, but your interest is piqued. I haven’t met any resistance. If the person is not a target necessarily, they are not seeking a life partner, the discussion remains at a stage where information is involved, maybe they can recommend someone. That is a very good thing. Information is always welcome.”
What happens further, if the person is interested in meeting another agency customer?
Claudia Ulici: “We put them in contact, and if they show interest, we encourage them to have a second or a third meeting to pursue things further. We make reservations for them, we make sure that the place is proper for meeting, many times we leave it to the gentleman to pick the place. We make sure they can identify each other right away. If necessary, we even make the introductions.”
We asked Claudia Ulici who makes use of these “heart-hunting” services. As it is in society at large, 60% are ladies, while 40% are gentlemen.
Claudia Ulici: “These are extremely selective people, who know what they want or are in the process of discovering themselves, people with good careers, are very busy, but at the same time want something better for themselves, and that means first and foremost a satisfying relationship, a healthy relationship, based on collaboration between two partners and growing together. The most active segment is between 30 and 43 years of age, people who want a family, but not at random, next to someone they can rely on. They want a match in terms of personality, character, social and professional status, previous life history, present lifestyle or future plans. Last but not least, people no longer work as much. They understood that working too much they’ll end up single, and so they set aside some time for personal life. We haven’t had desperate cases, we don’t get customers who are completely out of options, each of our clients has the opportunity to find the right person. My recommendation is for them to think very hard on who they want to find. Among the well-defined criteria should be the ones relevant to what they want to accomplish in the future. Everyone who comes to us is a daring person, because the first thing they do is look at themselves, and that is not an easy thing to do.”
It certainly isn’t easy, but it’s healthy, because everything is better in two.