Who’s fooling who – do we need a dating coach?

Back in 2008, Ellen Carter quite succinctly summed up why so many high-earners are paying relationship experts to find them a date from whichever of the dating sites both the loaded single and the mentor subscribe.

The main justification, as far as I can tell, for anyone wanting to part with so much of their cash in return for a dating site being able to deliver what they, so far, have been unable to find themselves – namely a long term partner – is that they simply don’t have the time. I’ll just summarise some of the arguments put forward by the therapists, mentors and University boffins for your digestion and then ask you a simple question at the end of it all.

Online dating is booming; for us mere mortals who do not earn a five-figure monthly income, comitting to a mediocre membership fee is cheaper than a night out, traipsing bars where you may not find one individual who’s interested or interesting enough to warrant the expense. Online dating, pretty much guarantees a captive audience with all but the odd exception gathered in the same place for the same thing – to meet other singles. They’re good at it, they work (if you put the effort in, as we harp on about on dating.org.uk quite a lot).

And that really is the crux – if you put the effort in. When I was in my youth, my beloved aunt (she gets mentioned quite a bit on here and I’m darned sure she’d make a better matchmaker than some I’ve seen referenced in recent articles) tried everything to get me together with her well-to-do clients’ nieces and other mateable-aged female family from the hair-dressing boutique she ran in Staffordshire.  Dates which, inevitably, met with varying amounts of success, but mainly indifference on either my part or the matchmade other, rather just tagging along for the ride, with the odd exception in Katherine. The key thing missing about those liaisons was their downfall from the outset: the element of ‘me’ that went into choosing those dates was knowledge of my make-up that aunt had gleaned over the twenty or so years of knowing me – and even then, that was rarely enough.

Now, you’re not telling me that someone, no matter how much money is thrown at the cause, can impart as much knowledge of themselves to a dubiously-qualified stranger as can be gained from over twenty years of upbringing? And that promise is the premise on which high-end dating sites attract their clients; even if you go to extremes, referring back to Ellen’s 2008 article, that clients are persuaded to commit to a three-month immersion program for $5,000 (heaven knows how much that is now, given that UK top bosses payrises have risen from £1M to £4M in the same period [BBC 6pm news, 23/01/12]), that’s very little time for a mentor to categorically state they know what’s best for a client’s love-life.

And now that question: if someone approached you, via a third party because they were too ‘hyperconnected’ to their job and the real world to come and find you themselves, would you want to date that person? And what sort of life are you plotting for yourself, if you did? I think you’d be fooling yourself if you thought life thereafter was going to be anything other than playing second fiddle to their job and the big-earners kidding themselves if they believe an ‘expert‘ can find them love without them actually being there to make the call; the only winners are the high-end dating sites hoodwinking everyone into making believe it’s possible. To be ‘in true love‘ can only ever be ‘inert love‘, without the element of ‘u‘.