High End Matchmaker Interview with Gillian McCallum
High End Matchmaker Gillian from Drawing Down the Moon recently chatted with us to share her matchmaking tips and experiences
Why did you decide to become a matchmaker?
I have wanted to be a high end matchmaker as long as I can remember. I was 15 when I first heard about Drawing Down the Moon, via an advert in the back of Private Eye magazine. I have never wanted to work anywhere else, and it is a huge privilege to find myself at the helm of this well-established and multi-award winning firm.
What makes you different to other companies/matchmakers?
We are the original matchmaker, established almost 35 years ago and renowned for being the Thinking Persons matchmaker. We have one of the largest client databases, with between 800 and 1,000 active clients at any one time, and we also have one of the largest age ranges of any UK High End Matchmaker, with our current youngest client aged 20 and our oldest in their late 70’s. We also have one of the best male to female ratio’s in the industry – something we measure at the beginning of each month. We are currently at 51% male, 49% female. Highly unusual in our industry.
What do you like most (and least) about being a matchmaker?
The thing I love the most is the ability to change peoples lives. Very few matchmakers are able to claim the tens of thousands of relationships, marriages and children that would never have happened without us.
Do you think the way matchmakers are viewed in the UK is changing?
Absolutely ! Women have always used matchmakers, but men are the ones that have really changed their perspectives. We have never had so many eligible men applying to work with us, and the real growth area is younger men.
Do you have any funny or interesting dating stories?
One that I love started out in a terrible way. When the female client entered the restaurant, the male client waved to her and she waved back. Unbeknown to her, a waiter had spilled ice on the floor and she slipped in quite a dramatic way. He rushed to her aid, and she was mortified. Luckily the only thing bashed was her pride. They later got married. Proving the worst starts often turn out to be the best!
What’s the best advice you would give to someone looking for a partner?
Write a whole long list of who you are looking for, what they should look like, what their background should be, how many partners they should have had, where they should live, what they should do for a living and how much money they should earn. Don’t forget to list if they should own a house, and which car they should drive. Then rip up that list. The only thing that counts is who they are as a person, what their values are, what their morals are and whether those are compatible with yours.
What are the most common mistakes people make when dating?
For women: picking the tall, good looking, successful, alpha guy who will trample them. For alpha women, beta’s win.
For men: letting their insecurities lead, and not allowing themselves to be vulnerable
What your greatest success story as a High End Matchmaker?
There are too many to count. Every happy relationship is a great success story. But I love one in particular – the gentle, capable, tall, and attractive chap who through focusing on his work found himself single in his early 50’s. He had decided he would never be able to find someone, and had given up entirely, before a friend insisted he come to see us. We set him up with a highly educated and attractive lady who equally wanted to take her time, and not rush into anything. They became engaged at the beginning of this year.
What trends and changes do you see happening over the next few years in the dating world?
With the prevalence of online dating and the “embarrassment” factor removed, online dating is getting harder and harder. This is mainly because the main apps, Tinder, Happ’n and Bumble have volume rather than quality, so it becomes far harder both to find the right person and when you do, ensuring that both parties stick with that choice. We are hearing anecdotes of people swiping while their date has popped to the bathroom…
What qualities do you think make for a great partner?
Well, you can already tell that my choices are not going to be based on materialism!
In the age of narcissism, someone who puts the other person first, who wants to compromise, and who focuses on the other persons interests, and what makes them happy. Unbelievably, people who put their partner first not only have happier, healthier relationships, but also report lower personal stress and happiness levels.
What is the best way for a man to approach or a woman? Is it OK for a woman to approach a man?
Forget the cheesy lines that some date coaches teach, and be your authentic self. Try to find some common ground. If you are in a restaurant or bar, and you are sitting nearby, comment on their drink, or tell them you are about to order and their food looks delicious. It actually doesn’t matter what you open with, you could quote Shakespeare, but if she is not interested in you, it won’t work.
What is the secret of a long and happy relationship?
See my answer to a great partnership. Long, happy relationships involve putting the other person first. Not everyone is capable of doing that.