Romania: home of beautiful people all looking for the right person. Could that be you?
What if you’re an expat seeking a gentleman / lady to spend the rest of your life with, how do you do this? Do you frequent clubs, bars and coffee shops?
What if that’s ‘not your style,’ what if it’s not working??
What if you just cannot find the ‘right’ person?
There are now many thousands of men and women around the world turning to online dating, and matchmaking, and it’s happening here in Romania. We decided here at Bucharest Expat to find more about this rapidly growing market, and decided to write the first of a series of articles until we get to the bottom of this!
Let’s make the distinctions first.
Online dating – load your profile online and hit the search option and up comes hundreds of profiles, its not personal, it’s a wild shot in the dark, for casual dating, it works, and will get you dates but it is by nature going to throw up some random results.
Matchmaking – a personal, private, face-to-face profile assessment after which selected matches are then invited (even headhunted) to meet you. This is the more expensive route but more intimate and arguably accurate way of finding your partner for life.
With these distinctions in mind we decided to embark upon the following for you, our Expat Bucharest readers. We took one of our American friends, Dave, and asked him to be the Guinea pig for a matchmaking experience. The deal was that he must follow the process, with full commitment, be honest and open and write about the experience for us over the coming months for Bucharest Expat. When he innocently agreed, little did he (or we) know what he was in for!!
So who is Dave? Well, Dave has been here in Bucharest for over 4 years, works as an EU Consultant and has had some ‘social fun’ during this time in Romania, but now in his 40’s he feels that its time he settled down. Dave has actually been looking for Mrs. Right for a year or two, but because of his job and being an expat he has just not really been able to meet her. He knows that she exists and he wants to find her but feels time is slipping by.He is committed to staying in Romania for the foreseeable future and has no plans to return to America as he sold his house in Ohio when he left to come here. More about Dave later!!
Enter our friends at Umbrella For Two Bucharest, Romania and in particular Oana Totora, the (married) co-owner of this small, intimate Matchmaking company, established three years ago here in Bucharest after a discussion between friends on how to find the right man! The result was: www.Umbrellafortwo.ro Three like minded women, committed themselves to a private, very personal and extremely dedicated company, determined to find life partners for their clients.
Having identified the company to work with, we dragged Dave out, showered, shaved and dressed him reasonably well and packed him off for what we thought would be a fun experience. Well, we thought it would be fun, but nobody said that life was easy.
What we had not anticipated is that our friends at Umbrella for Two take this process extremely seriously and having listened to Dave’s story of his first meeting with Umbrella for Two we realized there is more to this matchmaking than a quick chat and a photo! The process entails a series of interviews and tests to truly ascertain your attitudes, dreams and desires, and if at the end you impress Umbrella for two, they will set their hearts on finding you a match!!
Umbrella for Two, very kindly signed the innocent Dave for the Platinum package, the top package, including head hunting, great we thought, what we did not realize was the process that would now follow.
To give you the insider view, we will let Dave take it from here…
“I met the lovely Oana on the stairs of the Umbrella for Two offices in Alba Iulia, one pleasant evening for our informal interview. Over a cigarette on the terrace, Oana explained that the process we were about to embark upon had a failure rate of four from five. This is where I started to get anxious. She explained that for many people they just had to be honest and tell them they would struggle to find their match.
“I felt my heart quicken and involuntarily began to suck in my stomach and started to try and remember why I had not been to the gym much recently. I became super conscious that I should (maybe) have made a better effort on dressing and maybe the ‘rugged’ stubble was not the best idea either….
“On to our ‘little chat’. What can I say? I felt like I was grilled for two hours on my life, my past, future, attitudes, feelings, reasons for friends, needs, my divorce, hobbies, future, dreams. The Romanian Secret Service missed out on a really good agent here! It was deep, personal, and eventually, after dodging round the tricky questions for an hour, I caved and started to be a little more open on my answers. Boy, this lady is good!
“I have to say though, I have never been so thankful for a smile as the one that I received at the end! There’s no messing with Oana!”
When she said “see you next week” I almost cheered. I had passed! My immediate response was enthusiastic “Great, when do we look at pictures and profiles of beautiful women?” Not so fast! The cold smile from Oana returned and she reminded me “This is a long and serious project. We do want you to waste anybody’s time and we will try to find you your ideal life partner.”
“You know what, I started to believe her and then it clicked, I will take it seriously. Okay, you’re on!
“However, that was before the 72 personality assessment questions and the three page profile that I have to write before the next meeting. Arghh!
Lots of homework for this weekend also. I have to supply some profile pictures if possible, (not too bad I smiled, I was on the beach in the summer, just need to dig the right pictures out).
“I sat calmly on the Saturday night and put my heart into my profile, accurate and honest, then onto the 72 personality questions, designed to find out if you’re a nice guy or some serial killer masking as a nice guy. They are difficult questions but you can tell where it’s leading to, and I was as honest as I could be. Being a man, taking a test with straight yes and no answers is difficult when most of the time you want to answer ‘a little bit,’ ‘maybe’ or ‘does not apply to me!’
“Sunday morning saw my email primed, just a quick few minutes on photo shop (What? Come on. Everyone does!) and I’ll be ready. Four sweaty, frustrating hours of Photoshop (delete, are you sure you want to do that? etc.) later and a bronzed, buffed, sexy me was being emailed to Oana.
“I must admit the next week started with me looking forwards to the next step, in this now intriguing new turn in my life!
“Tuesday night came slowly round and saw me excitedly taking the steps up to the Umbrella for Two offices two at a time to meet Oana and the next episode in my dream path to a partner. Great! Pleasantries were swapped and I relaxed in the chair for our next step. Oana asked me to relax and be as comfortable as possible as were “about to prepare for the video interview”. WTF?
“I think I might have screamed, just a little bit… I know my digestive system did.”
Want to know how the video went?
Want to know more on Dave?
Did Dave get past this trial?
Did he ever get to see a profile?
Should we auction the video, at the end?
Could we be that that cruel?
Here at Bucharest Expat we will post the next stage of Dave’s not so easy dream journey to find Mrs. Right in a week or two. We know what happened next and it’s fascinating. Keep checking back and please post your comments and thoughts (and price bids for Dave’s video!!) on the first step of Match Making Romania….
Thanks for reading,