Love for sale

Some go to expensive lengths for ‘the one’

Jane Carstens is a pro at finding love.

Jane Carstens is a pro at finding love.

Some go to expensive lengths for ‘the one’

How far would you go to find the love of your life?

Would you pay $10,000 for an advertising campaign that would see your profile light up in papers around the country in hopes of that magical someone seeing it? One person did. Or how about a grandmother, mother and daughter trio all looking for a different man from the same woman? One family did.

These are only a few of the cases Jane Carstens has seen in the 10 years she’s worked as a professional matchmaker, but Carstens doesn’t consider these acts of desperation — she says these are people serious about finding their matches and it’s a job she (and most definitely her clientele) takes seriously.

“A lot of the times, [dating] is like buying a house,” says Carstens, who runs her own business, Matchmaker For Hire. “You don’t want to see every option out there, you want to see the ones that might fit, and you trust an agent to take you there. I’m kind of like a real-life Cupid.”

In an age where internet dating sites have done away with the need for traditional matchmakers, how can someone still make a living setting people up? The international agency titled The Matchmaking Institute has even recently established the first Professional Matchmakers Association, which acts as a major resource for people interested in getting into the industry today. Carstens says the answer is simple: people are still looking for love in all the wrong places.

“I have so many clients who have tried the dating sites, the bar scene, and they’re coming back empty-handed because they don’t want to date someone who hits the clubs every weekend, or stays at home prowling the internet every night,” she says.

Instead, Carstens says she does the groundwork for people — work that can’t be done just with clicking a few buttons, but by taking a genuine interest in personalities. But her work comes with a hefty price tag: a one-year general membership is $750, while the elite “Private Partner Search” can range from $3,000 to $10,000 — though there are plenty of options in between. “I never help my friends because I’m too invested in what I want for them,” she says. “But from an outside perspective, you can see what might work for two people.”

One story Carstens loves to tell is of a 62-year-old client who decided to marry the second person Carstens sent her on a date with. Of course, it didn’t start out that way. “They had a great time on their first date, and she said she hadn’t felt so good in ages, but he had a bit of a beer belly, he was kind of awkward and she really wasn’t sure,” Carstens says. “I said, ‘Why don’t you just try seeing him one more time?’”

The next Halloween — nearly a year from their first meeting — he trick-or-treated at her door with a ring in his hand. They married soon after. “I can still remember her calling to tell me the news,” says Carstens. “She was crying, and said, ‘If you hadn’t pressed me to see him again, I would have blown him right off. Now I’m getting married!’”

The love stories sound like infomercial fantasies, but what about when the match doesn’t work? Carstens admits that a win only comes from the two people involved.

“It can be heartbreaking to see one person have the best time and the other person say, ‘I still want to look around,’ but that’s life,” she says. “Sometimes it’s the people you think will work the best that don’t. It’s all chemistry.”

Carstens vets all her clients ahead of time with interviews in their own home and detailed background checks including divorce, children and crime. She has run into people she wouldn’t represent, though not often. “A lot of the questions it takes six months to ask as you get to know someone I’ve already taken care of,” she says.

When it comes to time, Carstens says one of the most interesting cases she’s worked with is a three-generational set of women. The daughter, age 29, is looking for a man she may marry and have kids with. The mother, age 52, is looking for a companion who shares her interests that she can have fun with. The grandmother, age 72, is widowed and looking for someone to have, well, a really good time with. “Your checklist changes a lot as you get older, and those standards you were so committed to at age 20 is out the window by 50, and again by 70.”

Carstens herself has been married 12 years now, to her second husband. She does have two dating tips she’ll offer for free. One: “men are easy” — they just want to know what makes you happy, she says. Two: pay attention to when you’re having fun. If you’re feeling great when you’re with someone, this is the body’s take-a-chance indicator.

“Your Mr. or Mrs. Right is out there,” she says. “It’s just not the person you expect.” M

Match made:

For less expensive matchmaking, hit up Carstens’ Vancouver Island Church & State Winery Singles Event. Thursday, Oct. 20, 7:30-10:30pm in Brentwood Bay. Tickets $95. matchmakerforhire.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chelsey Moore’s character Chloe in the upcoming virtual reality game Altdeus: Beyond Chronos. Screengrab
Vancouver Island actress finds success in a virtual world

Black Creek’s Chelsey Moore lends her voice to a new video game set for release in December

Ceramic artist Darrel Hancock working on a clay jug in his home studio in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach potter Darrel Hancock celebrates 40 years in business

‘It’s wonderful to do what you love and make a living at it’

Artist Daniel Cline discusses his sculpture, Harmony Humpbacks, during the June 20 walking tour of Oak Bay’s 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures. Harmony Humpbacks was purchased by Oak Bay as the 2019 people’s choice winner and is permanently installed at the Beach Drive entrance to Willows Park. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)
Influx of donated art a ‘fantastic problem to have,’ says Oak Bay mayor

Oak Bay goes from zero to 10 permanent art pieces since 2015

Dover Bay Secondary School student Victoria Hathfield’s poem <em>Dear Santa</em> appears in<em> Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas is in the Air</em>. (Photo courtesy Darren Lee)
Nanaimo high schooler has first poem published in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’

Victoria Hathfield’s ‘Dear Santa’ appears in new Christmas-themed edition of anthology series

Nanaimo graphic designer Amy Pye has written and illustrated her first children’s book, <em>G is for Grizzly Bear: A Canadian Alphabet</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Nanaimo graphic designer releases first children’s book

Amy Pye teaches the Canadian alphabet in ‘G is for Grizzly Bear’

The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Back Row Brass Quintet – including trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, tuba player Nick Atkinson and French horn player Karen Hough (from left) – were scheduled to tour the Nanaimo area with Christmas Under the Big Tent, but the concert series has now been cancelled. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Symphony brass quintet’s Christmas concert series cancelled

Performances were to happen at venues in Parksville and Lantzville next month

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse, near Shirley. (Contributed - Lee-Ann Ruttan)
New book shines a light on Sheringham Point Lighthouse

Publication examines history, lightkeepers, and volunteer society

Victoria-based guitarist Eric Harper performs at the Port Theatre on Nov. 27. (Photo credit Tatum Duryba)
Classical guitarist to play at the Port Theatre

Eric Harper to play new songs composed during the pandemic

A sample of some of Lou-ann Neel’s jewelry.
Lou-ann Neel wins the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art

Originally from Alert Bay, Neel’s family is steeped in renowned Kwakwaka’wakw artists

I-Hos Gallery manager Ramona Johnson shows some of the paddles available at the retail outlet. Photo by Terry Farrell
I-Hos Gallery celebrates 25 years of promoting First Nation artwork

K’ómoks First Nation-based outlet has art from all over the country

Most Read