October 2019

Matchmaker Marni Galison’s Dating Dos & Don’ts:
How to Land Your Love Match

Nancy Rotenier: Why can’t people find The One?
Marni Galison: I direct clients to people I think would fit even if it isn’t a perfect match. I hate to use the real estate analogy, but you aren’t going to get the apartment by the park and the apartment with downtown edginess. People who are way over the top in what they want aren’t going to get what they are looking for. You either have to change your expectations or alter yourself to match what you are looking for.

NR: Are looks important?
MG: If you are not taking care of yourself, you are at a serious disadvantage. Harsh stuff, but it’s the reality, at least in New York. There are so many smart, attractive, AND fit women to compete with. And I’m not dealing with men who are looking for perfect. I know good men, and they’re hard to find in the city. On being in shape, just be the best you can be. On your date, you will be a more confident version of yourself.

NR: What are your first-date tips?
MG: Dating taps into insecurities and family issues, and I give clients the first-date-toolbox lecture. One small thing isn’t an issue, but several small things can be a deal breaker. Don’t talk about an ex or politics. Pop an Altoid before you walk in the door, and bring a small mirror to take one final look before arriving. Simple things can help a date run more smoothly. You have 7–10 seconds to make a first impression, and 6–8 subsequent interactions to undo it.

NR: What complaints do you hear most after dates?
MG: Women complain that men don’t know simple manners: they text after a date instead of calling, they don’t walk alongside them, they’re not holding doors open. Women are acting too needy, too available, and put themselves down too much.

NR: What’s the best first-date look?
MG: Find balance—don’t dress too conservatively or too risqué. The universal go-to outfit: if you have good legs, wear a skirt or a wrap dress; if you don’t have good legs, wear pants but only jeans if they look great. And wear a nice top. Whatever you wear, tailored, simple, and elegant is key, no big jewelry, no big bags. And consider getting your hair and makeup done.

NR: Where should you go for a first date?
MG: I normally set up brunch dates. It’s ideal, because you’re taking alcohol out of the equation, and you’re meeting in a very relaxed daytime attitude. And you can’t go somewhere with slow service—if you’re not connecting, it doesn’t work. An hour or hour-and-a-half date is good.

NR: What about ordering food?
MG: Choose something simple and make eye contact. That is more important than the food—that’s not what you’re there for.

NR: Who pays on a first date?
MG: There is no universal rule, but before they go on the date, I tell the couples I set up that the man will pay. I tell women, don’t go for your wallet, don’t do the fake pay move. After the first date, women should make gestures like paying for a cab or drinks when men pay for the rest of the meal. Guys want to see that you aren’t looking for a free ride. Men should do the majority of the inviting, and the person doing the inviting should be the one treating.

NR: Are there dating-manners deal breakers?
MG: If a guy picks a girl up at her house, he is going the extra mile, but it shouldn’t be expected. And if he picks his neighborhood for a first date without offering to pick her up, he’s self-centered. It’s a red flag—don’t go.

NR: And what about that perennial favorite—did he call?
MG: Men often err on the side of too long. You could wait a day or 2, no more. A week, and the girl has written you off.

NR: Should women follow The Rules post-first date?
MG: Have a life and be busy. Let men chase you, they like to chase a little. Men want women who have boundaries. And have open body language but don’t be needy. The principle of The Rules is good, but don’t drive yourself crazy.

NR: Should you play the field or be exclusive?
MG: Maximizing options and having certain expectations sooner as you are older is more important. And you are allowed to ask questions at a certain stage of the game. But everyone should date several people at a time. Until you have the conversation that you are exclusive, you should stand on a neutral field.

NR: How do you decide if a date is relationship material?
MG: Do you turn away the person who has everything in common except for one major thing? What is worth giving up? What do you need? What has to be there? You will know what you need and what would be nice but is not a necessity.

NR: Are men or women more tolerant?
MG: Women generally tolerate more. Men have more options, so they are quicker to rule out people. And, men tend to be more decisive than women. They are more basic, and they know what they want.

NR: What should women know about men?
MG: One, it’s really not about whether you’re a nice person or not. It’s all visual. Body language is huge. It’s attraction, and men react primally. Two, guys want to meet a woman who is cool with things. Women gain so many points by being easy-going and taking pride in their appearance.

NR: What don’t men realize about women?
MG: Women were brought up with a sense of a fairytale guy. Men should realize that chivalry goes a long way. A thoughtful card is just as nice as a big present—it’s the thought that counts. Women aren’t materialistic or demanding—they want to see that the man cares. Money isn’t enough to hold someone. And men should realize that a quick call or text to a girl they like would give them so many more options.

NR: What should everyone know about finding The One?
MG: There is no evil sex—you should just learn the tools to interact with the other sex. Some people have lost faith, but you can change your situation. The most important thing is being happy. Life is stressful, but if you can’t bring happiness into a date, you shouldn’t be going out until you can.

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From Lawyer to Matchmaker:
Marni Galison and the Art of the Fix-Up

I’m an attorney by trade. I grew up on Long Island, went to Georgetown undergrad, and Emory Law School. After practicing law for 10 years, I spent my last year feeling there was something else I should be doing . . . Read more

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In Tomorrow’s Love Week Email . . .
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From Lawyer to Matchmaker: Marni Galison and the Art of the Fix-Up

Marni Galison-01Interview by Nancy Rotenier

Nancy Rotenier: Have you always been a matchmaker?
Marni Galison: I’m an attorney by trade. I grew up on Long Island, went to Georgetown undergrad, and Emory Law School. After practicing law for 10 years, I spent my last year feeling there was something else I should be doing.

NR: Why did you decide to start Sunday at Noon?
MG: I lived like my current clients. I was in the office all the time. I had tried online dating, but it wasn’t for me. So, I fell into matchmaking when I realized my own need for it. Sunday at Noon started 2 years ago. At a dinner party, I was talking to a friend who was in his mid-40s who said he wanted a family. I said, “I know people I could set you up with.” He suggested I do it professionally—and he was right. I knew this was something I could do, would be good at, and would be able to help people with. It’s hard for career-minded people, even those who are attractive and well-educated.

NR: Are you married?
MG: No. When I decided to leave law, I realized that since I’m not married and have no children, it was time to do this. I’m 37 years old, so I’m in the trenches with my clients.

NR: Who comes to you for matchmaking?
MG: My clients are well-educated, professional, career-minded people looking to meet someone, but they have left it to the end. For clients in their 40s, I say: “You need to focus on this.” They are at a stage where they want something real. For clients in their 20s, these girls are smart and beautiful and they are getting started, but they don’t want to be the 39-year-olds feeling pressure. And I tell everyone: “Use your time wisely.” It’s being strategic without being desperate.

NR: What do you charge?
MG: The price range is $5,000 to $20,000, and caters to specific needs and budgets. There is no guarantee of marriage, but I do guarantee you will meet quality people that you want to date.

NR: Why are you good at finding Mr. Right?
MG: There is a lack of honesty in a lot of forums. A lot of people are straying from online—it has too many options. But I love helping, and I really care. Many clients don’t want to tell people they met through a matchmaker. I wish I could invent another word for matchmaking; it does have that elderly babushka feel. And it doesn’t help the stigma that caring is totally missing from a lot of matchmaking services. Having a legal background also helps—relationships are a negotiation.

NR: How do you compare with other matchmakers?
MG: I have a different personality from a lot of other matchmakers. I like to take time to get to know my clients, to learn their personalities, to know what they like and dislike. People need to know similarities to find dates more attractive. I also plan the dates to make them as easy as possible, given career-minded people’s schedules. Differences—not everyone loves the Sunday brunch, and many other matchmakers don’t arrange dates.

NR: Do you throw singles parties?
MG: They do not feel like singles events. I threw 1 big launch party for the company, and everyone had such a great time, I decided to do it once a month. They are invitation-only, so people meet like-minded people. There is no meat-market feeling, and guests who meet at my events are still dating.

NR: What’s your edge over a blind date with the neighbor’s grandson?
MG: I get to ask all the tough questions that you shouldn’t ask on the first few dates, then I give clients the background information on potential matches. It’s gathering general information, like who this person is, prior relationship information, were they immediately attracted to the person in their last relationship. I ask about their families, what they are looking for. I explore both prior history and a person’s forward thinking. I get truly excited when I find people to match, and it takes a year to work with each client.

NR: Is everyone ready for love?
MG: The people I work with are usually late 20s to mid 40s. Every matchmaker has a different style. Mine is very subtle. It starts with a phone conversation to see if the person is someone I can work with. I ask: Who are you? What are you looking for? What is going to make you happy? And some people need makeovers, some need to learn manners. Then, I help people to see the patterns in past failed relationships. I’ve seen a lot “Eureka!” moments.

And if you missed it in your inbox, read Matchmaker Marni Galison’s Dating Do’s & Don’ts: How to Land Your Love Match.

PageDaily’s Special Must-Read Series—Don’t Miss It!
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