There are more single Kiwi women than ever, but it seems those looking for love are now searching in different ways. In the last Statistics New Zealand Census, 1.8 million adults were in a relationship, while 1.4 million were single.
In 2012, there were 61,000 more women aged between 25 and 60 than men in the country. The “man drought” hit 34-year-olds hard, with 2310 less men of that age than any other group.
Speed dating was one of the more popular methods, but with the economic climate hitting people hard, many are turning to free online matchmaker sites.
The Weekly talks to two speed dating operators who have adapted to this change by coming up with alternative methods for people to meet.
They say the industry hasn’t fully recovered from the recession, which means those looking for “The One” are cautious about where they spend their money. One matchmaker has branched out to include “single mingles” and group dinner nights, while the other opened a boutique introduction service, which is showing early signs of success. They also share tips to help New Zealand women find their perfect match.
Matchmaker and dating coach Verity Molloy says the industry has been forced to evolve with the economic downturn. “People are picky about where they spend their money. There was a huge demand for speed dating and it’s petered out.”
The 40-year-old, who has seen 38 marriages from her events, thinks many low-income earners may prefer internet dating because it’s a free service. Verity now caters for those who are seriously looking for a long-term partner with her upmarket introduction agency MatchPoint.
“I took a calculated risk and set it up last year. It’s really taken off. People haven’t quibbled about paying a $350 start-up fee. They like the privacy.”
Verity is careful to only add those who join up for the right reasons and vets prospective clients. “That’s the difference from speed dating, where not everyone is coming to meet their one and only.”
Speeddate Auckland owner Dee started her company eight years ago. While she has noticed a dip in numbers attending her latest events, Dee adds that her singles parties and group dinners – that cater for up to 20 people – are still extremely popular.
“There’s been a bit of a shift, but speed dating is still there. The industry is quite competitive.”
Whatever method women choose to use, Dee believes there are things they can do to maximise their chance of finding a mate.
Now in her fifties and single ‘There are things women can do to maximise their chance of finding a mate’ herself after losing her husband to cancer 12 years ago, Dee has noticed through her own experience how women put up “roadblocks” on the path to true love.
In particular, she believes some women won’t give men a fair chance. They will write them off straight away when she recommends trying at least one date.
“They jump ahead and don’t give it enough time. Most men seem more relaxed about it. I say be kind to yourself and to them.”
VERITY’S DATING DOS AND DON’TS
Do: Put your best foot forward.
Do: Be well-presented – not just with your image, but also your attitude. “Regardless of what we think, men are not intimidated by assertiveness – guys like it.”
Do: Walk into the date with an air about you and a smile, but stay true to yourself.
Do: Try to keep the listening to talking ratio more or less 50/50.
Do: Reflect back on what attracts you to someone. “Most ladies are attracted to assertive, confident men that are well-presented.”
Do: Let prospective partners down gently.
Do: Always phone to arrange the second date. “I’m not against texting, but it’s easier to gauge what they thought of a date from a call.”
Do: Let him pay. “Guys should still pick up the cheque on a first date.”
Do: Call and thank him if you’ve had a nice date.
Do: Let the real you shine through. “I have a hottest girl and guy in each event – the pair everyone else picks. But the female is not always the most aesthetically pleasing – it’s often the one with the personality who laughs a lot.”
Don’t: Go to a date thinking, “What am I going to get from this?” – think, “What can I give to the experience?”
Don’t: Show too much cleavage. “Give them a hint, but not the full rack.”
Don’t: Talk about your previous relationships.
Don’t: Lead anyone on if you know you don’t have a future.
Don’t: Waste too much time texting each other.
Don’t: Worry if someone doesn’t tick all your boxes immediately.
Don’t: Try to be funny.
Don’t: Misrepresent yourself or tell white lies to impress the other person.
Don’t: Drink too much.
Don’t: Put out on the first date. If you really like them, then it’s a good idea to get to know them better.
DEE’S DATING DOS AND DON’TS
Do: Be willing to take a risk. “Women have become more closed.”
Do: Be feminine. “Bring out the love, bring out the woman – men love that.”
Do: Show some flesh – a bit of leg or cleavage – no matter what age you are. “Young girls are fine with it, but some older women have gone back to the Victorian era.”
Do: Ask about and compliment the male. “Give back to him, give him his mojo.”
Do: Smile and be welcoming. “Make them feel good and then you do too.”
Do: Dress well. “Women always dress lovely when they come to my functions, making an effort to look good – whether they’ve had their hair or face done. But the feedback I get from some women is that the men need to put in more effort. Some have forgotten how to dress because they’ve been living alone for so long.”
Do: Be aware of your body language. Try to keep your arms relaxed.
Do: Text a thank-you after the first date. It can leave the door open for another.
Don’t: Dress in masculine outfits. “Some women have lost their femininity. Dress sexy, but not tacky – think Brazilian women who ooze that sensuality, femininity and softness.”
Don’t: Worry about age. Not all men are looking for a younger model. “Older women have been forced to become self-empowered and
this often makes them more masculine.”
Don’t: Expect men to do all the work.
Don’t: Expect people to like you the way you are if you don’t make any effort.
Don’t: Expect him to pay. “Some men won’t pay if the woman is already stand-offish.” Instead, see it as a nice gesture from a man on a first date. Internet daters may prefer to go for coffee because it’s cheaper.
Don’t: Worry about when to have sex. “There’s a perception that a lot of men want to get women into bed on the first date, but a lot are fragile and scared to ask.”
Don’t: Appear desperate.
Don’t: Reject anyone by text. “Be gentle with their feelings. It’s heartbreaking for the person on the end of that text. I suggest something like, ‘Thank you. It was a great night, but we are not suited.’”
Don’t: Bombard them with texts or phone calls. “Remember, if they’re keen they’re there. If they are not replying to you, it’s not meant to be.”