It’s quite sobering to hear the head of one of the country’s leading dating agencies downplay Valentine’s Day as a money-making ploy and denigrate (some of) the plethora of online players as cynical money machines that care little for their members’ feelings.
Many of those offer free membership and target a younger market not necessarily looking to settle into a lasting relationship at first click.
Two’s Company is an offline (its website only exists to market its services and set out its terms) introductory service, which charges customers between €600 and €2,500 for a half-year’s membership, depending on their requirements.
What that means is that you pay €600 for the standard package (a personal assessment and any number of introductions with potential partners over a six-month period); €1,000 for the ‘gold’ package of being matched with people particularly suited to one’s lifestyle, and €2,500 which, seemingly, buys someone so like you — in every way — you may end up marrying yourself.
Mr Phelan admits to having got into the dating game out of curiosity.
A former property developer who felt the need to change career when the economic downturn took hold — “if Lehman Bros hadn’t collapsed, I mightn’t be doing what I am now,” he quips — his new journey aptly started when he met his current partner (both romantically, and in business terms) Jennifer Haskins, via a now defunct dating agency — the poor service offered by which (“it was a fluke that we met through it”) led both of them to look more closely at the possibility of running a better style of service.
The move ultimately led them to establish five years ago one of the world’s most unique introductory services agencies.
Privacy is a watchword — Mr Phelan pointing out that many adults looking to meet partners don’t want to be seen openly searching for their prospective partner online.
But, two other aspects also set Two’s Company aside from competitors — it is the only agency with a 50%-50% male/female ratio amongst its members.
The considered average is 60% female/40% male, but the reality is suspected to be nearer 70%/30%.