President, Table for Two, match-making service
119 N. 4th St., Ste. 306 (in the Textile building)
Company motto: "We take the reservations out of dating."
The well-dressed professional matchmakers whip out their file folders and set down to business: finding a man for "Mary" (not her real name), a 30-something woman who works in marketing at a large corporation.
The five women staffers -- a receptionist, two interviewers, the client service manager and president Rolando -- have gathered in the largest of the four rooms of their Warehouse District office. The comfortable office is filled with warm-print area rugs, gilded frame floral paintings, overstuffed chairs (for clients) and black desk/rolling chairs (for staff).
As the air vents hum and General Manager Denys Cerny makes judicious use of a dozen metal file drawers, such as "Women -- 47," "Men on Hold," "Women Out of Service" and "Men 18-100," this professional version of a small-town quilting circle collectively plays cupid.
"Mary is real lively -- she just has a real twinkle in here eye, and I don't say that real often."
"How about 'Tom'?"
"Oh, I just love him -- he's so positive."
"But he hates cats -- doesn't Mary have a cat?"
"Yes, but if they fall in love, the cat can go," pipes in Rolando. "I'll personally go over there and remove it."
It's done; Mary and Tom shall be introduced.
Skyway News sat down with Rolando to find out more about the world of professional matchmaking and what it's like to be head of such an intimate, yet-professional service-providing firm.
What are some of the main misconceptions about your job?
People think it's fun. I mean, there are great moments -- when you hear about engagements or that two people closed down the restaurant -- but what some people don't realize is that our customers are demanding; they're used to getting what they want, and, in this case, they're not in control.
Who are your clients?
They run across the board, from their 20s to 70s, single to divorced, etc. They're mostly accomplished individuals, and they're ready for a serious relationship. We're not a dating service. You don't pay a certain amount of money for a certain number of dates, like you do at other places. One guy asked "how many dates will I get for this $2,700?" and I said, "Just one, I hope."
Twenty-seven hundred dollars?
That's for two years: 12 months of active placement and 12 months on-hold, when you're dating someone you've been matched with here. It also includes coaching.
When people are introduced, they meet at a restaurant where you've arranged a comfortable table and separate checks. How do you decide who meets whom?
We don't use a computer, that's just statistics. I hire gifted people, and I have that intuition, too. . . . The Fox news crew is coming in to do a story on a couple that found each other here. The woman was dating someone else -- someone she met through our service -- but I just told her, "You need to meet this other person." Now, they're engaged.
What are the top things that keep people together?
Similar value systems and family backgrounds -- how people view the world.
If your clients are too busy to find a partner, how can they have enough time to make a serious relationship work?
When you find the right person, you make it work.
At the end of our interview Rolando gathers her full-length camel coat with a fur collar and heads to meet someone for lunch at the Women's Club, 410 Oak Grove St., in Loring Park.
For more information on Table for Two, call 677-1550 or check out tablefor2.com.
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