Fancy white gloves matchmaking in a gritty city?

I recently spoke to Leanne Butkovic of Thrillist, who was working on a piece re “white-glove” (read: fancy and expensive) matchmaking services — specifically, the extra-exclusive service Three Day Rule, which recently opened a shop in Philadelphia.

Here’s what Lauren wanted to know:

I was hoping to get your insight on a story I’m working on about the role of a white-glove matchmaking service in Philadelphia. Namely, are matchmakers known to be a worthwhile investment?

The genesis of this was a company called Three Day Rule, which charges $4,500-6,000 for personalized matchmaking services, opening an outpost in that area. An interesting move since Philly is historically a fairly blue collar town, so that price point seems an intimidating chunk of change to put up when online dating options are so readily available. Any of your thoughts would be so greatly appreciated!

And here is what I had to say re Lauren’s query:

I am not sure how Philly measures up in terms of cost of living, but if you look at this report from Pew (yes, it’s from 2013, but the numbers can’t have changed too much), the median household income overall is about $34k and 51% of the city making less than $35k annually. Six grand is definitely a big chunk! But it also shows that 12% of the 1.56 million people population makes $100k or more. Yes, that’s a big income disparity, but in terms of having apparent funding for such a service, the clients are there.

This also dances a bit around the idea of what people assign worth or meaning to. For some, a brand new car may mean nothing. But for others, a brand new car is where they will sink all their extra money. This type of dating service can certainly have comparable variable value.

The online dating world has become very challenging in many ways – from general misrepresentation to different goals (dating vs DTF, etc) to the time it takes up to overlap occurring in real life social circles (how many times have we been DMing with someone only to find out a casual friend dated that person a few months back – maybe that’s awkward), etc. It may be that people want to regain the time and effort they would spend sifting through profiles by simply paying someone to do the vetting for them. This may sound clinical, but it’s no different from a workplace using a staffing service to find the perfect person to work in their community vs posting a Help Wanted ad on Craigslist.

You can read Lauren’s piece on Thrillist here: “Does Philly Really Need Matchmakers?” (6/22/16) Oddly though, it says the article was written by someone named Anna Goldfarb…

Pretty interesting in terms of socioeconomic variability, the different things different people can value, and the contemporary work, dating, and general life landscapes that people must contend with — even in Philly. What do you think?


(pictured: “matchmaking” as illustrated by Three Day Rule on their site)

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