Agents Provocateurs - Spear's Magazine

Agents Provocateurs

Dating agencies, once shunned, are now the perfect conduit to romance

Dating agencies, once shunned, are now the perfect conduit to romance
 
 
‘MOST RELATIONSHIPS that end do so because a giver attracted a taker,’ says Virginia Sweetingham, founder of Gray & Farrar, a firm specialising in introducing HNWs looking for love. ‘But I think by virtue of coming to us, taking control of their lives and being positive, 99 per cent of the people who retain us are givers.’

The people in question are in their early thirties or upwards, male and female in equal number, of a similar (international) background and level of education, financially independent and all, quite simply, finding it hard to meet people like them. For the most part they’ve always believed — assumed — love would happen. But the years have gone by in a heartbeat and they haven’t met the one. G&F, which has successfully operated on instinct for 20 years in London, the UK and worldwide, acts to facilitate access to a potential love match, in a dignified way.  

Based in Berkeley Square — up from Annabel’s and across from Morton’s — this firm has set the pace in its industry, paving the way for others to follow clumsily in its wake. It boasts a two-in-three success rate, thinks nothing of matching an Italian architect working out of Nigeria with an expat in Singapore (getting married, BTW) and, if its growing client list is anything to go by, is fast becoming as indispensable to modern living as a trusted wealth manager or personal trainer.

The matching itself is straightforward, comprising an initial interview — which some men view more as a business meeting, women more as a pleasure — during which Sweetingham or one of her colleagues will enquire after your relationship history (‘there’s no place for counselling or psychological evaluation. Having said that, you always have to look at why previous relationships broke down’). If you’re just out of a relationship they’ll ensure you’re emotionally free (ie ready to move on), all the while going through a mental rolodex of potential suitors they feel are right for you.

The man in the equation is then given the woman’s number and it’s up to the pair where and when to meet up. ‘Our clients are grown-ups,’ says Sweetingham. ‘Their only difficulty is meeting somebody like them, so there’s virtually no apprehension over that first meeting.’

None?

‘You imagine the awkward conversations, don’t you, when people are from different worlds. But our job is to make sure that those common points of reference are there from day one.’

Successful singletons of the world, there is a place for you to unite. It’s getting ever more popular, mind, so you’ll need to sign up fast. Take charge of you, give it your all and reap the rewards. Just don’t, don’t, become a taker.



 

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