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Why Love Made Me Quit Matchmaking

Being a matchmaker is an emotionally taxing business. We get a bad wrap. There are negative online reviews and a constant stream of calls from clients that berate you for not making their dreams come true.  It is an intangible business, yet, the weight of your client’s romantic world lays on your shoulders. Like the Atlas of love lives.

I have been in the industry for eight years. The thing is, when people pay over a thousand dollars to find their match, their standards spiral out of control. I have always said “If you want the perfect partner, you must be a mirror of that person” Unfortunately, this is not a concept that most clients of matchmakers can wrap their heads around. Case in point, I received an email today that read:

I am  looking for a marriage as
soon as possible for the life time. I am not a casual hooker. I am
real person who want to marry with those girl/lady who will be ages in
between 18 to 35 years old. She must be belong from the Europe, North
America, Australia, New Zealand, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Iceland and
Bermuda. She should be financially well settle. I shall relocate to her country
.

WELL, at least he is willing to relocate. However, his grammar sucks.

That’s just an application, but this is what happens after you set up a date:

Manners: 10 mins late, didn’t text, didn’t call, didn’t apologize (works 4-5 blocks away!). Table manners really so so. I would NOT take her to a client dinner. Personality: shy at the beginning, definitely not an extrovert. Embarrassed about her super short marriage, which she brought up herself, could have opened up a little, trying to show a minimum of ability to communicate emotions and depth, she just brushed over it. As a guy, I hear her bringing it up – which was not necessary – and it’s a red flag. When she doesn’t explain why it was so short, then it becomes a bigger red flag. Sleepy, yawning since the moment she sat down (so it wasn’t me) Intellect: bright and educated, but not genuinely humble about it. She was a bit boastful about her position and education, was a bit taken by surprise when she realized I am in financial services like her, which means I know exactly what she does and where she stands (practically, a glorified admin, nothing to boast about at her age) Travel: lots of talking about travel, but really not much travel done. Now that I remember, I had “smelled this” in her profile. Looks: piece of red pepper in her lower teeth, fake eye lashes going in all directions, her hair was ½ held up by a clasp and, 1/2 falling off on the sides (not planned), she could use a manicure, overall appearance and preparation to meet me was shameful. Old and cheap long sleeve sweater, my junior staff dresses better at the office. On date 1, I was hoping she would make much more effort. Seriously, not presentable in my circle of friends, “too Berkeley”, unclassy, unsophisticated, not put together, disastrous. Good luck.

 Body is average/below average, the little that could be seen of her knees / thighs showed she’s hairy and not taken care of. Significant skin damage, I don’t remember her age but she’s at least 36 and shows more. Deal breaker: lack of kindness.

 Asked me if I like dogs, I responded I do and had a dog, she asked what happened, I told her it was stolen by one of my ex-es, she couldn’t’ stop chuckling, I can see she tried to contain it, but her smile wouldn’t stop. Unacceptable. Dealbreaker: She was running me through the “Asian gold digger” interview, a process to ask questions / make comments to elicit answers to assess financial means. Good luck with her in the future. Deal breaker: “I can never travel more than 2 weeks, I would miss my dog too much”

This was the nail in the coffin for me. I can no longer deal with the judgment, objectification, and down-right hatred and blame that is inflicted on matchmakers who genuinely want to help people. How can people be so hard on one another? After all, we’re all people putting forth the effort to find someone to love!

I have enjoyed many successes, and seeing the beaming faces of my many married couples, their growing lives, their children-It makes it all worthwhile. I know that my work as a matchmaker has brought many people happiness, hope, and lives they thought could not possibly exist. The happiness and pride I feel in that is immeasurable-but it came at a cost. It takes so much out of you emotionally. There are nights that you can’t sleep because you know someone is reeling from a bad date, or the fact that, maybe, they are probably never find love because they are too damaged to open their heart to it.

My point is this: Love is not perfect. It is gritty. You have to be willing to shed your skin, and accept the fact that life as you know it will change when you bring another person into it. You have to be so vulnerable that getting hurt is less of a cost than falling truly in love. That the pain of being broken hearted can teach you things about yourself you never realized and can make you a better person. Love is inspiring. Heartbreak is inspiring. You will feel both sides whether or not you stay together or not. Falling in love is facing your fears, facing your past, and knowing what you need to do right this time. For you. For your partner. A matchmaker cannot do that for you.

Now, I am not saying that I have been the best at following my own advice. I have my share of relationships that did not work out in the end. But I DID learn more about myself and about how relationships work in the process. I don’t hate my exes, hell, I had my part in every failed relationship I have under my belt. Now, you can have a matchmaker, and we are great at searching high and low for someone we think will be a goof fit for you. Sort of like the room mate that finds your car keys on the coffee table after you have been searching for hours.

Just like I have my part in failed relationships, single people also have their individual responsibilities in finding a happy relationship…

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your partner and look after their needs as well as your own. Remember that fun and physical intimacy are as vitally important to your relationship as financial security, work obligations, the way the house is kept, what you can agree on for dinner. Trust, reliability, and a responsibility to one another’s needs is paramount. You cannot expect perfection, or that there is one person who will come into your life ready-made to fit into your life as you currently experience it. Look forward to the excitement of change. Anticipate the love of someone who appreciates that you make room in your life for them. Embrace the fact that sometimes things will be uncomfortable, uncertain, and that sometimes your partner will fall short. Remember though, if you let the right one in, you will have support, love, and passion to come home to.

The Perils of Online Dating

The Perils of Online Dating.

The Perils of Online Dating

The perils of online dating

When I was 18 years old, naive, and reeling from breaking up with my high school “sweetheart”, I decided to hit the information super highway for love. I started chatting online with some righteous babes right away and quickly became addicted to the plethora of young available guys prowling the net. I spent countless evenings exchanging flirty banter, taking the perfect self portrait on my webcam, and then one fateful night I found him.

His screen name was Tahoebro78 and he was oh so dreamy. Heregaled me with tales of road tripping across the U.S. followingPhish tours and breaking his leg rock climbing.After chatting online with him for 2 days we set up a day to meet up and spent the remainder of that evening talking on the phone. I was smitten. I was ready to meet my future husband.

I had never been on a blind date before and I was so nervous that I spent the entire day changing my outfit, curling and re-curling my hair. At 6:00 I finally had chosen the perfect outfit. A cotton candy pink zip up sweater, light blue flare bottom jeans, and white and pink converse. I sprayed myself down for the 50th time with Tommy Girl Perfume and hid in my room until the door bell rang at 6:15. I answered the door and there he was. Every bit as gorgeous as I had pictured in my mind. He was sweet and boyish with thick chin length blond hair tucked behind his ears and wore a thrift store sweater and corduroy pants. We exchanged an awkward hug and I am positive that I giggled some nonsense about leaving before he had to meet my Dad.

I don’t remember what we talked about on the ride over to the game park where we were to race go-carts, but the conversation went smooth and easy like the green hit off a freshly packed water bong. We laughed together and sang along to the soundtrack of The Grateful Dead playing on the cassette player that sat between us on the center console of his shiny Super Wagoneer.

As we pulled into the parking lot he playfully mentioned that he was actually quite competitive and I had better prepare myself to be left in the dust. Little did I know that in mere moments I would be eating his words.

Being the perfect gentleman that he had turned out to be, he told me to wait in the car so that he could come around and open the door for me. He grabbed my hand and kissed me on the cheek as I hopped out into the giant gravel parking lot of the game park. We linked hands and began to walk up to the entrance when he turned to me and asked…

“Wanna race?”

He could have asked me if I wanted to do The Worm over hot coals and I would have acquiesced if it meant he would fall in love with me.

Since it had been a good 10 years since I had last sprinted full throttle I thought that this very moment was as good as any to take it up again. I looked into his dreamy blue eyes and accepted his challenge. Before the words could leave my lips he was in a full on sprint with a good 5 yard lead. I took off behind him doing my best to keep up. My mind was racing along with my legs and I’m thinking:You know, this is kind of ridiculous. What kind of guy challenges his date to a race? He’s totally kicking my ass too. Oh my god…I hope I don’t have pit stains after this. 

Pit stains would be the least of my worries. As my body careened onward I could feel the weight of my shoulders pulling me down. Picture a duck with its wings tucked back, gaining speed, neck craned out into the universe, propelling itself faster and faster before it’s grand ascendance. That was me, but there would be no grand ascendance into the horizon.

Fortunately, Mr. Granola was so far ahead of me he had no idea that there was such a spectacle going on behind him. Feeling a bit of relief that he was completely oblivious to me, I began to recover my stride when the unthinkable occurred. I could feel my pristine white and pink Converse One-Star make it’s great escape from my right foot. There was nothing I could do to compete with the force of my body’s increasing speed in conjunction with the betrayal of my footwear.

I was going DOWN. 

I slid into the asphalt like it was a Slip n’ Slide. The all too familiar sting of gravel infiltrating my palms brought me back to my childhood, and that really isn’t ever a fun place for my mind to wander. It took me a moment to collect my thoughts and take inventory of what had just transpired. When I gathered the courage to look up, Mr. Granola was charging up the steps doing his best Rocky Balboa impersonation. He looked behind him as he reached the top of the steps, arms still pumping in the air when the Security Guard tapped him on the shoulder and pointed across the vast parking lot at me. I was still on the ground waiting for the universe to do me a solid and swallow me whole.

Mr. Granola rushed back over and peeled me up from the pavement and hugged me. It was then that I looked down and noticed that my clothing was streaked with asphalt and my jeans were ripped at the knee exposing a gnarly glistening strawberry. I looked like I had just been run over by an 18 wheeler. Attractive look for a first date, no?

In retrospect, I question his chivalry because he didn’t offer to drive me back home to change. I’m a trooper though and I made a weak joke about how he would look after I kicked his as on the go-cart track. He ended up pummeling me in that department as well. So much for a pity win! Competitive indeed, no lie.

So I suppose at this point, you may be wondering what came to be of Mr. Granola and me. Well, let’s just say that it all ended in a park very late at night after copious amounts of weed had been spliffedand a promise that I wouldn’t get any diseases from allowing him to fondle my nether regions.

There are some real charmers wandering around the internetz.

Packing!

Packing!

My Beef with Wine…

The holidays are here and I am feeling particularly optimistic about the season. My new job as a wine broker is going very well and I am having a lot of fun learning more about wine and sales. To be honest, while I love the world of match making and I miss it a lot most days, It feels good to go back to my roots in a way that I had never envisioned. That is what I love about the culinary and hospitality industry. If you are passionate about it, you can always find a way to make a living even if you don’t want to cook in a kitchen or work for a hotel.”Find a job that you love and you’ll never a work a day in your life” is just the truth.

Modeling a gorgeous 2009 Cab

Modeling a gorgeous 2009 Cab by Jim Olsen called Wagner.

As an early Christmas present I would like to share one of my favorite holiday recipes with you. You see, when Joe and I were dating he curtained his disdain of many foods very well. It’s a good thing too, because had I known that he hated seafood AND Steely Dan before date three I don’t think Team Powdilla would exist today. As a result of his persnickety palate we do not make turkey for our holiday feast. Instead, we make prime rib. Okay, not a bad substitution I have to admit. I think this is a fine tradition that should be adopted for a few reasons: Prime Rib is delicious, it is way easier to make than turkey, and it’s paired with red wine. I really don’t think I need to convince you any further than that. Without further ado, I give you…

Team Powdilla Holiday Prime Rib with Cabernet Mushroom Gravy

For roast:

  • 1 (4-rib) prime rib roast with ribs
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper

For sauce

  • 2 small onions (1 left unpeeled and halved lengthwise, and 1 peeled and chopped)
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup chopped shallots (about 3 large)
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 Large shallot, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped crimini mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2/3 cup veal demi-glace
  • 1 tablespoon red currant jelly
  • Juice from slices roast
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook roast:

Let roast stand at room temperature 1 hour. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Trim all but a thin layer of fat from roast, then rub roast all over with herbs, salt, and pepper.

photo 1

Transfer to a rack set in a 13- by 9-inch roasting pan. Roast beef 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 250°F and roast until thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 110°F, 2 and a half hours. Transfer to a large platter and let stand, uncovered, 30 minutes. (Internal temperature of meat will rise to 130°F for medium-rare.)

Begin to prepare sauce when you reduce the heat on the roast:

Cook halved onion, cut sides down, undisturbed, in 1 tablespoon butter in a 2-quart heavy nonreactive saucepan over moderate heat until browned well, about 4 minutes. Add chopped onion, shallots, carrot, celery, garlic, and 2 tablespoons butter and reduce heat to moderately low, then cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until chopped vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add herbs, peppercorns, and 2 cups wine and boil, uncovered, over moderately high heat until liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup, 25 to 30 minutes.  While wine reduces, sautée the shallots until translucent then add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms have a jammy consistency, about 7 minutes.

photo 2

Using a fine mesh sieve, pour the reduced wine into the mushrooms using a wooden spoon to release all of the liquid through the sieve.  Add in demi-glace, and remaining 1 3/4 cups wine to reduced liquid in saucepan and boil, uncovered, over moderately high heat, skimming off froth occasionally, until reduced to about 2 cups, 20 to 35 minutes. Stir in currant jelly, then reduce heat to low and whisk in salt and pepper, any juices from meat accumulated on platter, and remaining 3 tablespoons butter until incorporated. Slice roast across the grain and serve with sauce on the side.

photo 3

This Prime Rib will pair wonderfully with the wine show cased above. It is a 2009 Wagner Cabernet Sauvignon meritage from Mendocino and Lake County grapes. It is hand crafted by Jim Olsen who was the professor of oenology at UC Davis for over 20 years. This cab is fruit forward with lots of black cherry and has a light, dry finish with silky tannins. It is PERFECT for food pairing or on it’s own.

Bon Appétit!

The End of an Era

A few of weeks ago I was talking with a good friend of mine about (what other than!?) dating and relationships when I mused “I honestly can’t imagine ever doing anything other than being a matchmaker.” Well, as the saying goes if you want  to make God laugh tell him your plans.

A series of events occurred, not more than a month ago, that opened the door to another exciting opportunity for me. I am taking a tremendous risk. It’s kinda scary and I almost can’t believe I went for it. I have faith that this is a move that will bring a lot of good fortune and life changing experiences with it. I have been encouraging people to take risks and follow their hearts for the past 5 years. It is time that I take that advice once again for myself, for Joe, and for our future. So far, I am very happy with my decision and feel more and more confident that I am doing what is best. Plus, I am having a lot of fun; and fun should always be your guide, right? RIGHT!

I had very mixed emotions about my choice initially. On one hand,  I love being a matchmaker. I am eternally grateful for the growth I have had both personally and professionally. I am grateful for the trust and friendship I have earned from everyone I have worked with.  To my clients, I care about you and know that you are in good hands.  Table For Six is an amazing concept and a wonderful way to meet some of the most accomplished, down-to-earth, NORMAL single people out there.

I am not hanging up my hat as a dating coach, I have some big plans for moving forward and continuing to “Make the Love Happen!” . I want to make myself available to anyone that wants to stay in touch,  so feel free to reach out! I mean that!!!

Thank you to all of my friends, family, and Joe for your enthusiasm, support and encouragement with the news. Your words and gestures mean the world to me.

Rules Were Meant to be Broken

It never fails that at least once a day someone tells me about the methods, rules, and-dare I say-myths singles subscribe to on their quest for love. I always listen intently, waiting to hear how this little trick or test is the sure fire way to “figure women out” or “find out right away if he’s boyfriend material”. Now, before you write me off as Judgy McJudgerson, keep reading. Far be it from me to tell you how to live your life…HA! Yeahright. I LIVE to tell you how to live your life. Well, your love life anyway. Trust me, I’m on your side and I love you! That is why I must put the kibosh on this malarkey right here, right now.

This is business so I am bringing out the bullet points for dramatic effect and because I’m friggin’ serious:

  • You will know within 30 seconds if you feel physically attracted- If we only had 30 seconds to give an answer, the human race would have died out long ago. Obviously, you can tell if someone is hot or not at first glance. Fortunately for all of us, we have the ability to change our minds. Chances are it took a while (definitely more than 30 seconds!) to get the date lined up and you have already spent some time and money getting ready for the date (I hope!); So if you show up and your date doesn’t immediately light your fire, just relax and let go of your expectations. Without the pressure you can just enjoy getting to know the person. Worst case scenario, the night is pleasant at best. Best case scenario you start feeling warm and fuzzy mid-date and could just end up living happily ever after. Or maybe just making a new friend.
  • Wait 3 days before you call… B.K.A The 3 Day Rule-3 days!? That is an eternity when you want to know if someone is interested! Plus, it gives the person playing the waiting game WAY too much time to analyze. When rejection is looming defense mechanisms kick in and all kinds of assumptions are being made about why you haven’t called and why you aren’t good enough anyway. Hmpf! Not knowing if the other person likes you or when you will see them again sucks, so get on the horn no more than 2 days after and make an action plan for your next date.
  • The person must have/be (insert physical characteristic here)- This is usually height, weight, or race, so you get a pass if you are a woman that is over 5’10” that wants a 6’+ guy, or if you have a very active lifestyle and want someone fit, or if you or your family have cultural objections to a particular race or religion*. It’s perfectly okay to have standards, but if you are hung up on a particular “look” or physical “type”  you might want to examine what qualities your ideal partner would possess. Physical attraction is vital to a romantic relationship, no doubt about it, but so are values, trust, humor, and a desire to look after each other’s needs. Take it from me, I was partial to Asian guys until I took a chance on a tall, bearded Jewish chap wearing a hot dog suit because his profile was well-written, hilarious, and endearing. Blah blah blah….and then I married him.
Hamming it up on our wedding day, July 31st, 2010.

Hamming it up on our wedding day, July 31st, 2010.

  • My friends and family have to approve first- If the person you are dating treats you like gold and leads a life that you approve of, but your friends or family give them the thumbs down, it is time to tell them what to do with that thumb! Friends and family try to look out for your best interests, but be wary if you see a theme that no one is ever good enough for you in their eyes. You may have to stop telling them about the details of your dating life if you feel that they are always throwing salt in your game. NEVER introduce your date to your family right away or “accidentally” bump into your best friends on your second night out. If your family or friends play too much of a roll in your decision making it will become tiresome to your partner and could cost you the relationship in the long run. Start setting boundaries with your loved ones now and try making relationship choices on your own or with the help of a professional.
  • I won’t have sex on the first date- This is actually a really good rule. Don’t break this rule.

*Race is a touchy subject. It could be that you have never been physically attracted, a cultural issue, the opinion of your family, etc. Bottom line: Be open minded and be true to yourself when it comes to dating outside of your race.