Just leave it to me.
eslie Wardman doesn’t see social media’s spidery entanglement in the dating world as competition to her matchmaking business. One, it’s just part of single life today. Two, it’s good for business. “A lot of my clients come from the online world, and they’re just, “OK, look, I’ve had
it,” she said. Wardman, CEO of Ambiance Matchmaking in OKC and Tulsa, recalled one male client, “Joe,” who had struck up a rapport with a cute girl he met online. She was a picture, literally, of someone living a fit, healthy lifestyle – much like himself. His normal routine was to meet dates at Stillwater’s Eskimo Joe’s. She insisted on him picking her up at her house. At the door, the trim girl in the photo had gained dozens of pounds.
for an international matchmaking agency. Most of her clients come from word of mouth. They range in age from their early 20s to one “Norman Rockwell-type” in his 90s. Nearly all are busy professionals with little time to devote to dating. Ninety percent have college degrees. Ambiance clients are interviewed for about an hour on topics from hobbies to whether they cotton to wine tastings. Wardman and staff then cull likely matches and arrange lunch or drinks after work, which often leads to dinner. She introduces clients to compatible dates once to twice a month. If the couple hit if off, the clients can go “on hold” to pursue the relationship. If a date or series of dates doesn’t work out, they’re back on the active list. Shared interests, lifestyles and values top the list for a good match, Wardman said. How people were raised is deeply rooted.
“Online dating is passe:’ It’s like taking a walk in east L.A. after dark.”
was matched with. He liked her, but she talked about herself the entire time. “Normally, we don’t really share feedback unless we think it will benefit the client,” Wardman said. “But this case was Mars and Venus all the way. Here’s the funny thing: She really liked him. She was just eager to impress him to keep him interested. We got his thought process tweaked and he saw her in a whole other light. He was so excited to be able to hang up and call her.”
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Leslie Wardman, matchmaker
A “super-nice guy,” as Leslie describes him, Joe remained composed and they went out to eat. She devoured dinner while apologizing profusely about the misleading photo. After her divorce, she explained, anxiety drove her to nosh a lot. On the way home, she confessed that she was probably too heavy for him. But she hit on a solution: If he gained weight, they’d be a great match. For Wardman, that was a thank-yousocial-media moment. “Online dating is passé: It’s like taking a walk in east L.A. after dark,” she said. “Having a matchmaker is a luxury. At the same time, there’s still no guarantee – except that you’ll meet somebody like-minded, which really helps. Basically, it ups your chances. I highly recommend outsourcing to a professional.” A former television producer, Wardman has run Ambiance Matchmaking for seven years. Three years prior to that, she worked
Energy level and where they are in life’s journey – not dating at all, just been dumped, kids, etc. – all make for more likely magic. “You’ve got to have some solid ground of commonalities, and then after all is said and done, it’s pretty much your spirits that unite you,” she said. Wardman is no Patti Stanger – the brash star of Bravo’s “Millionaire Matchmaker.” Wardman is charming where Stanger is loud and dogmatic. (One of Stanger’s maxims: Millionaires don’t marry redheads.) Wardman said a matchmaker affords another benefit over searching on social media – a professional, impartial ear to listen to frustrations and dole out advice. Ambiance routinely calls both clients after a date to see how it went. What did they like about the other person? Anything to focus on in the next date if it didn’t work out? In one of those follow-up calls, a male client lamented to Wardman about the highly accomplished, high-profile 33-year-old he
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Farmersonly.com City Folks Just Don’t Get It! FEBRUARY 2013 // SLICE 37
Slice February 13