“There are no good men available!”
“I can’t take these guys seriously.”
“They don’t want the same things that I do.”
Sound familiar? They’re the responses you’ll hear from any single woman who’s actively hunting for real love when you ask what the dating scene is like in her town. We hear Black women in particular express concern time and time again over the lack of quality men in their local dating pools. But is that the real reason so many sisters are still unhappily single in their 30s and beyond? Could there be other factors? On our hunt for answers we called on professional matchmakers Kelli Fisher and Tana Gilmore, who together make up professional agency The Matchmaking Duo. The ladies consider themselves “heart hunters” with an excellent success rate. Find out what they had to say about their Black female clients’ biggest obstacles, desires and successes!
ESSENCE.COM: What type of clients do you serve?
KELLI FISHER: We’re open to working with both male and female clients but we’ve really had a flood of Black women coming to us – very successful, professional Black women. They’ve been very successful in their careers but have had real challenges meeting a counterpart. Some of them haven’t been on a date in two or three years.
ESSENCE.COM: Why do these Black women feel they haven’t been on any dates?
TANA GILMORE: They feel like there are not enough quality men to go around in one place or there’s no one particular place to meet men of color. That men don’t usually court you anymore and technology prohibits good old-fashioned conversation. Men are very quick to text these women or use social media instead of just picking up the phone. They also feel like it’s hard to meet men on their level who they feel are still down to earth. We’ve both discovered that they typically feel that when they meet affluent men of color they appear to be “above them.”
FISHER: Yes, and those men have so many choices that they’re not paying much attention to trying to settle down. And, then if they want to go and meet a regular, everyday, hardworking man, for some reason, these women feel those men are inferior to them. So no matter what they feel like they’re in a really tough place.
ESSENCE.COM: Do you feel their concerns are a reality? Are eligible Black men really that picky?
FISHER: We continue to hear the same complaints all the time from Black women across the country, so there is some validity to it. We found that the Black women are looking for more of that old-fashioned type of courting whereas women of other races are being more aggressive. I think maybe if we as Black women start to try and meet somewhere in the middle, adjust the way we approach Black men and kind of push ourselves into that same pool, it will help. So, we’ve been trying to reposition [these women] and work on reprogramming.
ESSENCE.COM: Do you feel Black women and men are too particular when it comes to potential dating candidates?
FISHER: We found that as opposed to the White clients that we’ve had, Black women are usually looking for physical attributes first. We look for someone who is attractive to us and then we pick up on his hobbies, interests and values. Whereas, White clients are looking for the reverse first. What kind of job does he have? Is he going to be able to provide? Then they circle back.
GILMORE: We’re the first ones to look at men's bodies and how attractive they are whereas our White clients have a long list of requirements of things like character and integrity...
FISHER: ...and, then down the line, it backfires for us because you were never a compatible mix to start with.
ESSENCE.COM: Do Black women have realistic dating pool expectations?
GILMORE: We have clients that have a long laundry list of requirements—6 foot 4, with a Ph.D., never been married, no children, in his late 30s or early 40s—and a lot of times we then ask them, well, what are you bringing to the table? And, the answer is nowhere near all that. Why would you expect someone to have more than what you’re offering?
ESSENCE.COM: How are you making successful matches?
GILMORE: Our approach is very different. Kelli and are both coaches, so we will first identify what it is the woman really needs as opposed to what she "wants." We take their list and we put it to the side then we evaluate their personality and do a thorough assessment. Next we align them with people who match their personalities and look at the physical attributes later. That’s been very successful for our clients and us.
ESSENCE.COM: Where are you finding the right men for these women?
GILMORE: As professional matchmakers we belong to a cross-country matchmakers' network. We all have databases that we share. Anybody can join our database, but that doesn’t mean that you will be a match for one of our clients. We meet potential matches all over. Once we meet them, we thoroughly screen them.
FISHER: We’re constantly hunting, all day long. Whether we’re at the grocery store, church or a networking event. We just walk up to them and start a conversation.
ESSENCE.COM: What are the benefits of hiring a matchmaker?
FISHER: The coaching component has been very attractive. We’re not just going out and introducing you to someone, we’re coaching you through the dating process too. It is personalized handholding. You might hire a headhunter for a job. Well, we’re actual heart hunters. Once we identify what they’re looking for we actually go out and hunt on their behalf.
To learn more about The Matchmaking Duo visit their website.