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Meet Your Match: Let SPM's personal yenta...

score you a date

 by Stephanie Berger
 published on Thursday, September 8, 2005

Bonnie
Deanna Dent / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Bonnie "The Matchmaker" Wells says using good manners and treating a potential boyfriend or girlfriend like gold will help you win his or her heart.
 

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"Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match. Find me a find, catch me a catch."

These famous "Fiddler on the Roof" lyrics bring the stereotypical image of an old, Jewish matchmaker to mind--but matchmakers aren't just the stuff of folklore and Broadway musicals.

In the era of online dating sites and speed-dating parties, Bonnie "The Matchmaker" Wills sets people up the old-fashioned way.

With up to 60 clients at a time and a database of more than 350 Valley singles, Wills could just arbitrarily set people up on blind dates, as many dating services do. But she says that she prefers to get to know every one of her clients personally so she can match people who are compatible on more than just a superficial level.

"If people want to see photos first, I tell them to try online dating," she says. "This is for more of a real connection."

Wills' clients are primarily educated, working professionals in their 30s. Older people who have successful jobs that keep them from spending a lot of time of time searching for Mr. or Ms. Right. With a price tag of $3,500 for her services, Wills says she wants her clients to be serious about finding their soul mates.

Wills got into the matchmaking business when she moved from New York City to Phoenix in 1994 and discovered the city had more than 750,000 single people. She originally started a company called Dinner Dates Etc., but in 1997 she decided to take a more active role in setting people up.

Wills says that as a former salesperson, she felt she had the skills to be a matchmaker.

"You either have it or you don't, period," she says. "It's not a talent like being psychic, but you have to want to help people and have the ability to see who is good for who."

Eight years and 17 successful marriages later, it seems that Wills has that ability.

Wills doesn't work with ASU students because she doesn't have a database of younger clients who are able to afford her services. But she did agree to share some of her best dating tips with SPM to help out campus singles.

Be interesting. "People like people who have a life," Wills says. "Have your own interests. You don't need another person to make you whole." Join clubs and get involved in activities that you enjoy.

Be friendly. This one might seem like a no-brainer, but Wills says it is amazing how many people forget to smile. She says that if you are always smiling, you are always approachable.

Have good manners. Wills says this is important for the guys, who often think that having money is an excuse for not having common courtesy. "A college guy can be totally broke, but if he has manners he will get the girl," she says. Even if it seems silly, everyone likes to be flattered and treated like gold.

Don't go to bars. "If you've had a drink or two, you're tipsy and everybody looks good," Wills says. She adds that it's better to meet people at calmer places like the library. Also, let your friends know that you are looking for dates, since people who know you have a better idea of who you might like.

Promote yourself. "Be your best PR agent," Wills says. Only you know exactly what you are looking for, so you have to be actively searching for what you want. She says that if you were a salesperson trying to close a deal, you wouldn't passively wait around while the customer made up his or her mind. Just like pitching a sale, you have to pitch yourself to the people who interest you.

Attitude is everything. "My most successful clients are not the youngest, the prettiest, the richest or the thinnest," says Wills. "They are the ones who are the most focused on what they want."

She says you must be willing to be adventurous and even try out blind dates, because your ideal mate might come in a different package than you imagined.

Reach the reporter at stephanie.m.berger@asu.edu.



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