Whether your aim is to exit singlehood, develop friendships, or find a quick romp, Cupid's Library has a carefully curated list of dating categories and sites for your online dating needs. Falling for a wrong matchmaker may not be as painful as falling for the wrong match, but you can avoid both. Through Cupid's Library's list of comprehensive dating categories and site reviews, you can end your dating drought by signing up only for the right site and paying for the subscription plans that suit your requirements.

Top Ranked Dating Sites

Website URL Rating
1. Match.com http://www.match.com
2. Meet Locals http://www.meetlocals.com
3. Asia Friendfinder http://www.asiafriendfinder.com
4. Muslima http://www.muslima.com
5. Thaifriendly http://www.thaifriendly.com
6. Wealthymen.com http://www.wealthymen.com
7. Dating For Seniors http://www.datingforseniors.com
8. Senior FriendFinder http://www.seniorfriendfinder.com
9. Gay Cupid http://www.gaycupid.com
10. Christian Cupid http://www.christiancupid.com

Matchmaking Chronicles: Interview with Matchmaker Caroline Brealey

by Patricio | 6 p.m. | March 27th 2015

Matchmaking dates back to as early as 1600 and single people's dating and relationship needs since then haven't changed much hundreds of years later. In the library of Cupid, we asked fellow professional cupids about their process, their most memorable matchmaking moments, and why matchmakers still matter. They also serve some really practical advice for those who are seeking eternal romantic bliss.

Previously, we featured Michele Fields, Julie Ferman, and May Hui.

Image courtesy of Saskia / saturdaynightsalright.comNothing is more rewarding for a matchmaker than seeing singles she paired turn into a happy couple. Being awarded an iDate award for stellar matchmaking work probably feels just as gratifying, and Caroline Brealey is one of the few who would know exactly how that feels. This week, we feature the founder of UK-based Mutual Attraction, a professional matchmaking and introduction services that prides itself for its bespoke approach to matchmaking.

Matchmaking seems like one of the most exciting professions there is. Have you always seen yourself as a professional cupid? What made you decide to become one?

I often joke there is no degree to be a matchmaker, though wouldn’t it be amazing if there were?!

Becoming a matchmaker isn’t something I ever thought of doing. In fact, my background is in children’s services, in particular children with complex needs. There were two reasons why I became a matchmaker: firstly, I recognized there wasn’t a matchmaking service that appealed to me at the time – a young, smart woman who wanted to take a proactive approach to dating. Many of the services were geared towards older women or at least, I perceived them to be old-fashioned. There were no matchmakers who didn’t say how ‘exclusive’ they were and how they only worked for ‘refined’ people and the wealthy. The seed was planted, and after hearing about a friend's terrible experience with a high-end matchmaker (second reason), I started doing some serious research. To cut a long story short, a few months later Mutual Attraction was born!

What are the most important factors to consider when creating a match?

Because each person we work with is so different, what’s going to be really important for one person won’t be for another. For that reason, it’s down to the matchmaker to really get to know their client, understand what makes them tick, and get to the crux of who they are searching for.

We always look at certain topics such as values, morals, energy levels, interests, goals, plans for the future, views on family, deal breakers, holidays, what their friends think, and how they define themselves (good and bad!). Because we meet everyone in person, we also like to imagine the scenario of two people on a date. What would they talk about? How would they be dressed? Where would they go? It’s really helpful for us to visualize two people on a real date.

Who are the best candidates for a matchmaking service? Why do you think certain people turn to matchmaking to find a partner?

I think people who use a matchmaking service are switched on to the fact that it is a great way to meet like-minded people in a safe and time-efficient way. Mutual Attraction members are busy Londoners. They’ve often done the whole online dating thing (which totally works for some people), but find they aren’t meeting the right type of people. When time is precious, it’s a bit soul-destroying giving up your free evenings after a long day at work to find that within two minutes, the person in front of you is not right for you at all. We’ve all been there, right?!

The best candidates for a matchmaker service are:

  • Open-minded
  • Want quality, not quantity (if you want three dates a week, you’ll be better off using online dating)
  • Willing to really get to the bottom of what it is they’re searching for in a partner and relationship and more importantly, why they’re looking for it
  • Open to feedback, suggestions and working with a matchmaker closely
  • Happy to take themselves out of their ‘typical dating zone’

Image courtesy of Saskia / saturdaynightsalright.com

Is there a specific trait that prevents someone from being successfully paired? Do you have some requirements for your clients?

We don’t have specific requirements as each person who comes to us is so different that they can’t be put into a box. We do, however, ensure that all our members are actively looking to meet someone for a committed relationship as opposed to a bit of ‘casual fun’, shall we say! We also work with professional people who live life to the fullest.

I often use the example of work. We work with the type of people who, if they were unhappy in their job, they would make changes, wouldn’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves, and would take action. They are dynamic, intelligent go-getters!

In what ways is professional matchmaking more effective than online dating?

The key differences are that matchmakers:

  • Meet everyone in person so people can’t fib about things like their height!
  • We take time to really get to know all our members, they aren’t just a ‘profile’.
  • We do I.D checks so we know the people are really who they say they are.
  • We only work with people who are actively looking for commitment.
  • Are trained and can get a real feel for people – something a computer can’t do.

Put those things together and you have a recipe for more compatible matches!

How have dating apps such as Tinder changed the matchmaking industry?

I think dating apps like Tinder, which are all about looks, create a difficult dating environment for everyone – unless you’re super hot! I completely understand its popularity, but isn’t judging a potential life partner by one photo a bit ridiculous? What smart person would do that? The impact is we create a shallow dating society where people are more interested in how you look than what you’ve got going on in your brain (or a least a combination of the two!). I find that quite sad and I hope people don’t get caught up in the ‘game’ of it.

I find that more and more people are moving away from using dating apps if they are serious about finding love. Apps can be great if you want to have a bit of fun, but for those looking for a committed relationship, it can be a bit of a challenge to suss out who is serious and who is with their work buddies having a laugh!

Any unforgettable matchmaking anecdote you would like to share?      

I was working with a client who wasn’t sure whether she wanted to meet the guy I had matched her with. After lots of ‘He’s amazing, give it a chance, it’s just coffee’ kind of conversations, she agreed (and I did a little dance!). Thank goodness she said yes because they are now married and are starting a family!

Is matchmaking as fun as it looks or is the stress level equal to that of a neurosurgeon? Would you recommend professional matchmaking as a career option?

Matchmaking is a fantastic career, but I have to hold my hands up and admit I thought it would be more of a straightforward career than what it is. Just getting a matchmaking service off the ground takes huge amount of work and time, particularly to build up a network. If anyone out there is thinking of becoming a matchmaker for an easy life, then all I can say is… don’t do it! But, if you’re prepared to put in some serious leg work and truly want to help people find love, then it’s a very rewarding career.

I am lucky to coach and support matchmakers in their journey through my matchmakers training program and one-on-one mentoring. You’ll be seeing more and more matchmakers emerge as the industry grows.

Image courtesy of Saskia / saturdaynightsalright.com

How much do you charge for your service? Are there significant differences in rate? Some matchmakers are more expensive than others, but differences in fees aside, what makes your services special?

A 3-month membership with Mutual Attraction is an investment of £3,900 + vat. For that, we do what most matchmakers do in a year in three months. We quickly realized that people don’t want year-long memberships where they meet one person a month – it’s a long time to wait! Our members are professionals who are looking for love now. Why meet your special someone in a year when you could meet them now?!

Mutual Attraction is the only London dating agency to have won the prestigious ‘Best Matchmaker’ iDate award and we were also the 2014 winners of the Matchmaker of the Year award at the UK Dating Awards. We keep our members at the heart of everything we do. It’s easy to go off on tangents and offer lots of different services within your matchmaking package, but we keep our focus on matching clients with compatible like-minded people. Our job is to help introduce people to the love of their life and that’s exactly what we do.

If you were to pick a popular figure to match, who would you pick and what kind of date would you set?

Love this question! I would absolutely love to match Taylor Swift; I think she is completely misunderstood.

If there’s one piece of advice you’d have for singles who are looking for a partner, what would it be?

Be proactive. If you're dating online, make sure you set aside time each day to do it. If you enjoy dating events, get your tickets early and put it in your diary so you make it happen. If you are matchmaking, then embrace it, take the opportunities to meet lots of like-minded singles. Whatever you do, get stuck in and approach dating with a positive mindset. Just think: your special someone is out there and you’re taking the first steps to finding that someone. :)

To find out more about Caroline Brealey's services:

Visit her site - www.mutualattraction.co.uk

Drop by her Matchmaker Training website - www.carolinebrealey.co.uk

Like Mutual Attraction on Facebook - www.facebook.com/pages/Mutual-Attraction

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Sugar Baby Lifestyle (But Were Afraid to Ask)

by Jesse Quinn | 3:30 p.m. | March 24th 2015

Image courtesy of Marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.netIf life were a movie, playing the role of a sugar baby would probably be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A sugar baby, after all, can only be played by women within a certain age bracket. Past that bracket, a woman begins to assume roles that is far from the glamorous posing that her youth once afforded her – mother, old maid, or cougar.

Thankfully, social roles and relationship dynamics are changing and becoming more complicated than that. Being a sugar baby, however, largely maintains its strict age demands and 'sugar relationships' rarely allow for any deviation. There is a reason why, in this still taboo relationship, the lady is called the 'baby' and the man is the 'daddy'.

Far from being the most aspirational role for women, the sugar baby persona is idealized in so far as  the lifestyle is associated with youth, beauty, and riches. With its promise of glittering luxuries, is the sugar baby life something young ladies in the throes of youthful verve and ambition yearn for?

What is a Sugar Baby?

A sugar baby is essentially a young woman whose company is usually coveted and paid for by an older affluent man. Like an actress who assumes a role and gets compensated for it, a sugar baby takes on certain relationship roles and earns from it, often handsomely.

Being a sugar baby also means being in a relationship: it requires commitment and comes with many duties. First and foremost, these girls have to look dazzling and desirable at all times. Sugar daddies are often prominent in their chosen fields, and their young partners need to be high class – or at least give the impression of being one. Their second task is to manage discretion. Finally, they must provide the desired forms of companionship that their sugar daddy needs. This refers to activities both inside and outside of the bedroom, or more likely, a hotel room.

A Glance at a Sugar Baby's Traits

'Sugar baby' conjures an image of a sweet young girl who may or may not even be in her twenties yet. The age range is flexible, but they are usually exceptionally young. Most ladies that live this life are in their 20s. Some may even start younger than that, but the legality of these circumstances is questionable at best. Still, underage sugar babies are far from unheard of.

Sugar babies often have other occupations. Some are strippers, and a few are bona fide prostitutes; however, it is worth mentioning that most of these women have professional careers outside of the sex industry. College students, secretaries and office workers are prevalent, and they already own the ideal starter wardrobe.

Physical attributes are exceedingly crucial. Not everyone qualifies to be a sugar baby as it requires certain assets, so to speak. Unless it is mandated by a specific fetish, sugar babies are rarely overweight. In fact, many sugar daddies demand the exact opposite. Anorexia is, sadly, not frowned upon, and it can be subtly enforced by the gifting of size zero outfits.

The Perks and Perils of Being a Sugar Baby

Anna Nicole Smith's life trajectory perfectly illustrates the fun and follies of being a kept woman. She married an octogenarian named J. Howard Marshall II whom she met when she was an exotic dancer at Gigi’s strip club in Houston. Being married to a billionaire afforded her a life of unimaginable luxury at the age of 26, and this decadent lifestyle ultimately killed her before she reached 40.

As Anna Nicole's early life will tell you, the sugar baby lifestyle can seem appealing for several reasons. Primarily, it is a means of accessing extravagance through intimate connections to those who belong to prestigious social circles and possess enormous fortunes. The luxuries are sometimes irresistible and fancy gifts are accompanied by glamorous vacations. Who doesn’t want a free MacBook, free MAC make-up, free Alexander McQueen ensembles, or even just a free Big Mac everyday?

Let's not discount the pleasure of being adored by a doting older man. These mature sugar daddies have all the wisdom and wealth a young girl could desire. Many ladies become sugar babies out of sheer adherence to pleasure principles, but let’s face it: these gals are in the minority.

Image courtesy of torbakhopper (used under a Creative Commons licence)

Sweet Deals of Being a Kept Woman

In truth, the advantages of pursuing life as a sugar baby are often pronounced. For most women pursuing only the sweetest of deals, the following freebies may be too hard to resist:

1. Become Sexier – Every little piece of a sugar baby's ensemble is meant to dazzle and shine. All of the presents culminate in a seriously boosted sense of sex appeal. Because a bigger budget automatically enables massive spending sprees, girls can don nothing but designer fabrics and diamonds. Gowns should cost at least a few thousands of dollars, and they are regularly custom fitted for a gal's personal proportions. Curvy dimensions will be enhanced with precision – accentuating the hips and the bosoms – to showcase to the general public, but the benefits are clearly all for the sugar daddy.

2. Travel the World – Sugar daddies need companions on their worldwide adventures, and sugar babies are much more likely to accompany them than wives and mistresses because they have less responsibilities or commitments. The private jet quickly becomes their equivalent of a hotel suite between countries. The destinations are endless, and some of them are uniquely exotic which can be attractive to certain young women.

3. Satiate Sexual Impulses – Some women are simply into older men. Silver foxes are abundantly available to eligible bachelorettes and there are well-tended places one can go to find them. Mild incestuous role-playing also enters the equation in a mostly harmless fashion. In the end, becoming a sugar baby is one of the most socially appropriate ways for women to satisfy their urges to be with mature men.

4. Live Glamorously – Being a sugar baby eliminates the challenges of climbing an economic ladder fairly. Lucky ladies, and even enterprising 'pretty women' (see iconic Julia Roberts movie), with all the right attributes and inclinations can jump straight to the top. There will never be a shortage of jewels, gadgets and clothing. Fine imports from around the world are placed at their feet when they find a suitable sugar daddy.

5. Pay for College – The notion that sugar babies are uneducated is a major misconception. In contrast, many of these crafty young ladies are actually planning for the future by using the money to invest in higher education. This is a smart way to avoid student loan debt, and it can be much easier than applying for scholarships. It is wise for a sugar baby to dedicate ample time to her studies; however, it can be tough considering the active commitments to daddy.

6. Leave Sex Industry – Some strippers become sugar babies in hopes to leave the club once and for all. Certain pros would gladly give up their profession to find financial security, and some porn stars would probably do the same. The sexual requirements are reduced alongside increased monetary and material gains. Even if a baby doesn't find her daddy particularly attractive, she is only dealing with one respectful fellow instead of large quantities of swarthy dudes.  

7. Look Younger – The side-by-side comparisons are always generously favorable for a sugar baby. An emphasis is placed on youthful appearances anyway, and many daddies prefer the childish side to be emphasized.


Dynamics of Sugar Baby Relationships

As great as the advantages are, keeping up with this lifestyle takes a toll on relationships kept outside of the sugar coupling. For one, the bond with a sugar daddy is unlikely to result in marriage. The entire affair is concocted as a temporary arrangement. This transaction just happens to include sex, and it is typically expected that feelings will be excluded from the relationship. Marriage can happen, but it is a rare occasion.

Since the long-term prospects are minimal, many sugar babies still pursue regular dating avenues simultaneously. Having a boyfriend on the side is possible, but it is especially challenging. If they are unaware of the arrangement, suspicions are bound to start mounting. The endless adornments are going to be impossible to conceal, along with their origin.

If a sugar baby's boyfriend is somehow okay with the arrangement, it can work, but he might start feeling like a pimp without the profit. The bottom line is this: don't drag an innocent party into this lifestyle unknowingly, especially if actual romantic feelings are involved.

Image courtesy of Francisco Osorio (used under a Creative Commons licence)

Handling Social Situations and Cultural Perceptions

Once a sugar baby has worked out all kinks between her and daddy, she has to figure out how to present her newfound “love” to the world. Ultimately, she will have to come up with a different explanation to satisfy everyone.

Family members can be the most difficult people to appease, and they can become very uncomfortable with the entire affair. If at all possible, she should not let her real dad know. Father and Daddy have absolutely no reason to ever cross paths. The real threat comes in the form of friends, especially acquaintances that are exuberantly youthful.

Gal pals could become bitter when they witness all of the grandiloquent gifts. If they don’t just outright try to steal another baby’s daddy, then these friends might resort to name-calling and ostracism.  Schoolmates and work associates are also prone to gossip, so never discount the possibility of having other sugar babies as friends and confidantes.


Rules for Keeping a Well-stocked Sugar Bowl

Getting involved in what is still widely considered as an unorthodox lifestyle, sugar babies would be wise to stick to certain rules, which are outlined below. (A sugar baby may not always abide by them, but it certainly wouldn't hurt being armed with the knowledge that for every misstep in what otherwise should be a performance, there are accompanying risks.)

Rule 1: Ladies should always present their own version of the contract. While it will rarely be accepted verbatim, it is an excellent way to establish general expectations and limits.

On occasion, unread written contracts can contain damaging stipulations that were missed during signing. In worst-case scenarios, a sugar baby can be required to return all gifts when the couple parts ways. This sucks, especially because all of the sexual favors are impossible to refund. The moral of this lesson: check the fine print at least twice, and make sure to factor in all possible interpretations.

Rule 2: Labels are important! A baby should be very careful to never call the coupling a union or marriage. It can rarely even be considered a real relationship although it most certainly is.

This lifestyle turns the female body into an economic commodity. This means that the two individuals are not considered lovers. They are more like business partners that get laid during the transaction. Still, money lasts a lot longer than a girl’s flawless physique, and daddy is not loyal to anyone. He is likely to trade for a newer model in time. It’s not that much different from the way men treat their cars, and a sugar baby can quickly become last year’s ride.

Rule 3: Two babies are normal, but two daddies are questionable.

If daddy doesn’t give his baby enough support, she may be inclined to look for more sugar. This can get her into a lot of trouble! Meanwhile, she must accept the hypocrisy of her daddy having multiple flings. (After all, these sugar babies probably met their sugar daddies in the same manner.)

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.netRule 4: Looks can be deceiving. Appearances are not the qualities a sugar baby should measure in her prospective daddies. Sometimes, handsomeness is even a bad sign.

The most attractive sugar daddies are making these arrangements for a different reason than their regular-looking counterparts; otherwise, they would be dating fine young girls on their own merit. These suave men are usually less than gentlemanly, and they often have bizarre fetishes to fulfill. They are mistaking this field for prostitution.

Rule 5: Emotions should never be involved with a sugar daddy. This may sound idealistic, but it is the best way to stay safe and desirable.

If you get in an accident, your sugar daddy will not be there for you like a real boyfriend or husband would. In fact, if the injuries lower a lady's physical aesthetics, the incident may result in a severing of ties entirely. The same is true of diseases. Basically, your financial situation will deteriorate right when you need help the most.

Some daddies also discard their toys after they start showcasing the first inkling of being clingy. Financial security often comes with acting nonchalantly, keenly attentive and horny. As a sugar baby, happy and horny shouldn't have to be only emotions to have, but having both certainly helps. In the words of Amy Winehouse, just “separate sex from emotion.”

Rule 6: No kissing! This rule can only be changed if trust exists and thorough discussions have taken place.

A contract can be specifically devised to make kissing acceptable behavior. Until agreeable terms for making out have been put into writing, doing the tongue tango should be fully forbidden. Even little pecks are a slight cause for concern.  

Rule 7: Multiple methods must be used to avoid pregnancy at all cost. The same is true of diseases.

For sugar babies, conceiving a baby instantly lowers value. It also displays a level of irresponsibility that is unfit for their distinguished position. Ultimately, girls may have to terminate pregnancy and relationship simultaneously. Daddy might not even help with the cost of an abortion, but other daddies force their babies to have one immediately. These are powerful men who cannot afford to have illegitimate pregnancies. Their methods of coercion are often tactless and forceful. A baby must bring the protection herself; otherwise, she will be without an excuse when the time arrives. He will not be likely to provide condoms unless he's a true gentleman.

Rule 8: Sugar babies must never make the mistake of thinking these men are harmless.

These older men often have political or social clout, and their financial means allow them to get away with anything. It is dangerous to be fooled by stature and age. Also, weapons and drugs can get involved. She has to be careful with what information is put into written communication. Any records that might be saved will come back later to haunt her. The same is true for compromising photographs and videos.

Rule 9: Sugar babies have to exercise regularly to maintain appearances, and they are likely going to do this alone. Their partner is too mature for rigorous routines, and gal pals have a propensity to gab and gossip too much.

The maintenance of perfection is an impossible feat. Age is almost always the primary aspect being considered. The inevitable is unavoidable. If 18 is what daddy wants, then 18 is what he will get every year.  

Rule 10: The importance of sex cannot be discounted. This is the glue of a sugar baby’s role in her relationship with daddy.

If she doesn’t bring the sugar, then she is just a baby. Not all sugar relationships require sex, however. Sugar relationships are hardly one-dimensional. In fact, some sugar daddies are content to pay hundreds of dollars just as long as their babies maintain decent grades, while some are happy just saving their foxy young companions from homelessness.  

Rule 11: Be prim and proper in public. Erotic undertones should be subtle.

It can be difficult to manage the early meetings. Potential sugar babies want to look sexy without revealing wealth or connections. The initial outfits should be classy, but minimal. These garments are often treated like a template that can be molded to meet his preferences over time. Low-cut blouses and high skirts are a mainstay of a sugar baby’s sultry wardrobe.

Rule 12: A sugar daddy’s kindness should never be undermined by flaunting flashy accessories that were not acquired from him.

This offense is already bad if a baby accidentally shows too much self-reliance, but the infraction is made way worse if the glamorous adornments came from another man.

Image courtesy of Chris RubberDragon (used under a Creative Commons licence)


The Sugar Baby Life is Not Always Sweet

There are reasons why a sugar baby would leave the lifestyle behind. When all the ingredients that make a sugar relationship successful suddenly start falling apart, a sugar baby could quit and find alternatives for all the things that being a sugar baby has afforded her.

An ideal way out is through a caring romantic partner. Real love is known to transcend the struggles that a sugar baby endures, and an understanding boyfriend can make the transition much easier. While the money may be tighter, economics should not be enough to lure her back into the lifestyle. A sugar baby's life will never be the same, but it is possible that lust could lose to the heart.

They say that at the end of every rainbow is a pot of gold. At the end of every sugar relationship is a pot of cash and maybe a key to a brand new Honda. But before a rainbow ever appears, there must be rain – heavy, torrential downpour of precipitation. When a sugar relationship ends, and so do the sweets.

There are many reasons why a sugar baby would quit the lifestyle. Giving up sugar is not the easiest thing to do but doing so may in time prove beneficial. And as with most roles-of-a-lifetime, a sugar baby is bound to give her swan song when the time is right.


Do you agree with these sugar baby facts? Feel free to share your thoughts on the comments below.

Matchmaking Chronicles: Interview with Matchmaker May Hui

by Patricio | 5:47 p.m. | March 20th 2015

Matchmaking dates back to as early as 1600 and single people's dating and relationship needs since then haven't changed much hundreds of years later. In the library of Cupid, we asked fellow professional cupids about their process, their most memorable matchmaking moments, and why matchmakers still matter. They also serve some really practical advice for those who are seeking eternal romantic bliss.

Previously, we featured Michele Fields and Julie Ferman.

Image courtesy of May Hui

Don't be fooled by the matchmaker's name – there is certainly no undesirable 'catch' with Catch Matchmaking. Partners May and Katie offer up only their intuition and expertise in pairing Los Angeles-based singles with their ideal match. If you prefer visuals to promises, you may want to refer to their Comparison Chart for the 'Catch Difference'. This week, one half of Catch Matchmaking May Hui tells us whom single people should keep as their dating coach and more importantly, whom they shouldn't.

Matchmaking seems like one of the most exciting professions there is. Have you always seen yourself as a professional cupid? What made you decide to become one?

I have always been fascinated with couples, dating, and relationships. I was always very nosy about people’s love lives, very into socializing and hosting parties, and into networking. I decided to become a matchmaker when I saw how much joy there is in bringing two people together. My parents have always set up family and friends, and with a lot of success. I guess it’s in the blood.

What are the most important factors to consider when creating a match?

It’s easy for singles to rattle off the things they want in a partner but as matchmakers, our job is to figure out who they really need, not who they want. Important factors to consider are long-term goals/vision for their lives (i.e., want kids, religious preference, marriage, etc.), compatibility, and interests. Two people who are marriage-minded are going to treat dating a little more seriously. It’s not necessary for both of their common interests to be exactly the same. What matters is if there is potential for them to learn from each other and want to try other activities.  

Who are the best candidates for a matchmaking service? Why do you think certain people turn to matchmaking to find a partner?

Best candidates for a matchmaking service are people who value their time more than money. The ones who have no trouble meeting people of the opposite sex but just not meeting quality, vetted matches. Men in their 30s and up make the best matchmaking clients because there are so many single women out there for them. People come to us because they want someone to do the work for them, screen for them, and vouch for them.

A lot of people aren’t great at bragging or talking about themselves, and let’s face it, dating is a little bit about selling who you are to the opposite sex. We get them the first date and get his foot in the door. The rest is up to him to be a good dater and put his best dating foot forward. The best candidates are the ones who are realistic with who is seeking him. If he is open to dating up to ten to fifteen years younger, he is seeking someone who is in the same shape as he is, and he is open-minded and adventurous with meeting all types of women. 

Is there a specific trait that prevents someone from being successfully paired? Do you have some requirements for your clients?

Someone who thinks he's entitled to hot women just because he can pay for a service usually would not successfully be paired off during the time he's with our service. Some men think they can be rich, bald, and not charming and still get the 9s and 10s but that is just not the way things work. Women have expectations, too. Even though women don’t pay us, we still have an obligation to them to set them up with the men they are seeking. We are not one of those services that would send our women out on blind dates to fulfill the man’s agreement just because he paid us. We want to make sure the women are meeting the men they want to meet.

May Hui guest's appearance at LA Talk Radio (Image courtesy of May Hui)

The requirements we have for our clients are simple: they want our help, are not still married, have open lines of communication with the matchmakers, and treat us matchmakers with respect. Just because someone has money doesn’t mean he can treat matchmakers poorly. If we like him, we want to work hard for him and want him to find someone. If he treats us poorly, chances are, he will treat the dates poorly, and who wants to send him out if he is not a good dater?

For you, what type of man/woman is the hardest to match?

The hardest type of women to match are the ones who used to be attractive when they were younger. They had a lot of people vying for their attention. Now that they are older, they have this distorted image that they are still the hottest one in their age group, although they are not. They are very picky and no one is ever good enough. Women who make a lot of money usually want a guy who makes more money than her. They want the CEO types, but the CEO types are not looking for a wildly financially successful type A woman. They do not want boardroom in the bedroom. They want a nice, sweet, feminine woman who is caring and wants to take care of her man.   

In what ways is professional matchmaking more effective than online dating?

Professional matchmaking can guarantee you dates; online dating does not. You can be emailing tons of women and get no dates. A professional matchmaker vouches for you and pairs you up. An ethical matchmaker should take your money only if they know their database has people to match you up with. An ethical matchmaker knows his or her database very well. If you’ve been in this business longer than five years, you know who is looking for whom – there are no more surprises. It’s not being judgmental or jaded. A professional matchmaker can zero in on who you are, whom you need, and with whom you would best be matched. It comes from many hours and years of experience, and it’s intuitive. 

Online dating is not intuitive or has the human touch to make matches for you. Online dating is great, but if you don’t have the time for it, it can be a huge time-waster. When you hire a professional matchmaker, you are basically taking a shortcut. It doesn’t mean you are desperate or lazy; it just means you want to be more efficient, you want to enlist the help of someone who specializes in dating, and you want to cast a wider net to find The One.

How have dating apps such as Tinder changed the matchmaking industry?

Tinder and other apps alike are great for dating if you are an attractive person or can be photogenic. If you can spell and use grammar correctly, that is a plus. Those types of apps are like fast food dating – they might not be good, but they get the job done.

Those apps haven’t really changed the matchmaking industry because people who are drawn to those types of fast food dating are not the same clientele as matchmaking clients. The costs between the two are different – free or less than fifty bucks a month versus thousands of dollars. If anything, some might get so frustrated with apps dating that they might try matchmaking services later.  

How does being a cupid-for-hire affect your own love life? Do you apply the same rules and matching techniques to your own dating habits?

I think if I were single again, I’d be a great dater and know that I wouldn’t be single for long. Looking back, I was not very open-minded when it came to dating. I did some of those idiotic things that women are doing today: bringing a friend to go on a date, not answering phone calls because I was no longer interested in seeing him again instead of telling him we are not a match, or declining a date because he was one or two inches shorter than my ideal height… I can go on and on.

Being a matchmaker has made me realize just how many great men and women there are out there. To say there are no great guys or gals out there, is just BS. You have to give people a chance and find reasons to go out with someone again versus finding reasons not to. If every single person out there applied this rule, there would be more people paired off. 

Is matchmaking as fun as it looks or is the stress level equal to that of a neurosurgeon? Would you recommend professional matchmaking as a career option?

Matchmaking is as fun as it looks when you are taking clients that you genuinely know you can match and are excited to match. Where matchmaking gets stressful is when you take on clients who you have no business taking on. Sure, sometimes you need to take on clients to pay your bills, but after learning that lesson, it’s just not worth it. My business partner and I learned early on that it’s not worth the stress to take on someone you can’t match. If you go to sleep at night and worry about a client, then that was not the right client to take money from. Stress level does get high when a client says one thing in the interview but when it comes time to send him out on dates, he changed all or some of his criteria.

I definitely would recommend professional matchmaking as a profession. We actually train people to start their own business in matchmaking. We want to teach lessons from all the mistakes we’ve made so they can take a shortcut into becoming the best matchmaker they can be in a shorter period of time.

How much do you charge for your service? Are there significant differences in rate? Some matchmakers are more expensive than others, but differences in fees aside, what makes your services special?

Our prices range from $3,600-$10,000. It depends on how selective a client is, the search criteria, length of search, and the scope of the work. Our women are attractive, intelligent – the whole package. The clients we work with are realistic and normal who are seeking love and trying to find the one. We offer them personalized customer service. If we can’t help them, we will refund them. We are not here to take their money and not deliver on what we promised. If we make a mistake, we will own up to it and apologize. Our services are different from other services because we work with the career guy next door, not the millionaires who are seeking someone 20 years younger or all model-type women.

May Hui and Catch Matchmaking co-founder Katie Chen at the Dating Industry & Internet Dating Conference (Image courtesy of May Hui)

Men, for a free consultation, contact us at (310) 876-2291 or fill this out: http://catchmatchmaking.com/contact-us/. Women, join our private and confidential database for free by registering here: http://catchmatchmaking.com/online-profile/

If there’s one piece of advice you’d have for singles who are looking for a partner, what would it be?

Fire your single friends as date coaches. Ask a married friend who’s been married over 10 years for dating advice. The married friend with years under her marriage belt should be your go-to dating advice person, not your single friend. Relationships take work and has lots of ups and downs. Your married friend will know that and they will be the ones to give you the best advice. Unfortunately, your single friends want you to be single with them and commiserate in your single status. They are giving bad advice because they are single!

To find out more about May Hui's services:

Visit her site - catchmatchmaking.com

Like Catch Matchmaking on Facebook - www.facebook.com/catchmatchmaking

Follow Catch Matchmaking on Twitter - twitter.com/CatchMatchmaker

Visit their YouTube channel - www.youtube.com/user/CatchMatchmaking


Check Cupid's Library's blog every week as we feature more matchmakers.

Matchmaking Chronicles: Interview with Matchmaker Julie Ferman

by Patricio | 3:53 p.m. | March 13th 2015

Matchmaking dates back to as early as 1600 and single people's dating and relationship needs since then haven't changed much hundreds of years later. In the library of Cupid, we asked fellow professional cupids about their process, their most memorable matchmaking moments, and why matchmakers still matter. They also serve some really practical advice for those who are seeking eternal romantic bliss.

Last week, we featured Michele Fields.

Image courtesy of Julie Ferman20,000 clients. 1,100 marriages. 23 years. If these numbers are not enough, allow us to explain: Julie Ferman Associates have 20,000 Southern California clients, is responsible for 1,100 marriages, and has 23 years of matchmaking experience. This week we interview its founder, Los Angeles-based personal matchmaker and dating coach Julie Ferman.

Matchmaking seems like one of the most exciting professions there is. Have you always seen yourself as a professional cupid? What made you decide to become one?

I’ve always been obsessed with romance, dating and love. My earliest memory is sitting at the end of my driveway, on my little blue tricycle, all dolled up, waiting for…. The Prince. I found the search for my real prince not so easy, so I enlisted help. I joined the local video dating service in 1990 in St. Louis, my home town. It was a fun adventure, and as fate would have it I ended up marrying the guy who sold me that membership, the owner of the agency. I asked him out initially and the engagement was what he calls “a conversation that got out of control”.

Who are the best candidates for a matchmaking service? Why do you think certain people turn to matchmaking to find a partner?

The matchmaking clients we’ve been most successful with are those who are thoroughly desirable – nice looking, presentable, accomplished, but also open-minded and realistic, with a sense of humor and a joie de vivre. In fact, the people who are most likely to “do well” in dating, to begin with.

Is there a specific trait that prevents someone from being successfully paired? Do you have some requirements for your clients?

Whenever someone is overly picky or fussy, hypercritical by nature, tending to see what’s wrong versus what’s right or lovely in another person – this is usually a recipe for failure with matchmaking. This type of person’s relationships often fail too, as who wants to be picked apart every day? I ask my coaching and matchmaking clients to practice noticing what’s nice and lovely in other people and in circumstances in general. Being positive and open is something we can indeed learn.

For you, what type of man/woman is the hardest to match?

A woman who’s hypercritical or overly focused on superficial, less than critical elements, and who vetoes the very men who are indeed interested in her – the men she actually has “a shot at” – this is the type of woman I tend to avoid taking on as a matchmaking client, as her criteria is often not in line with reality. A man who shoots out of his league – targeting women who are typically not interested or attracted, or a man who insists on dating women who are more than 10 years his junior. Both are too tough a search and usually end up with disappointment. I don’t like to set my client up (or myself up) for disappointment, so I’m very selective and careful about who I invite to become a matchmaking client. 

Julie Ferman with fellow dating coach Marni Battista (Image courtesy of Julie Ferman)

In what ways is professional matchmaking more effective than online dating?

I am very often able to get my Client out on Date Number One, Two and Three with the type of person who would likely “veto” him/her online or at a party. I’m able to “pitch” the client with my hearty recommendation. Great people “miss” each other all the time out there in the world. Matchmakers are here to make sure that doesn’t happen.

How have dating apps such as Tinder changed the matchmaking industry?

Occasionally I’ll hear of a relationship that started on Tinder, but mostly I’d say the applications have HURT dating, as it leads people to judge superficially, quickly, to dismiss lots and lots of people who might actually be a lovely fit, if looked at more closely. It furthers the tendency to objectify and categorize quickly based on looks. On the other hand, it might give some people who tend to shoot out of their league a dose of reality.

Are women better matchmakers than men? Are there differences between how men and women pair up two people?

I’d say that women are typically better suited to the profession, as we tend to be more relationship-oriented. But I know some great male matchmakers – they often have a more direct approach and can get away with saying things that women might be chastised for saying.

Any unforgettable matchmaking anecdote you would like to share?

I’ve had 1,158 marriages that I know about, since 1990. My favorite was getting both a father AND his son married. I got to attend both weddings, and the dad gave me a generous gift. That was magical.

How does being a cupid-for-hire affect your own love life? Do you apply the same rules and matching techniques to your own dating habits?

Yes, indeed. I’m much nicer to my husband and tend to apologize often. We both practice the art of communication and turning toward each other when times get rough. We see what it’s like out there and we’d rather take good care of each other than try to find a suitable match out there in the jungle.

Is matchmaking as fun as it looks or is the stress level equal to that of a neurosurgeon? Would you recommend professional matchmaking as a career option?

A matchmaker has to be a jack-of-all-trades; both a business professional/entrepreneur and a service-oriented coach. Efficient and productive and also caring and sensitive. We need to be very, very good at managing our boundaries and our time, otherwise it easily becomes an 80-hour a week job. When I do EVERYTHING well, it’s fun. When anything falls apart, it’s not fun at all. It’s definitely a juggling act, and you have to love yourself first, so you can stay sane for the other people in your life, both clients and friends/family.

If there’s one piece of advice you’d have for singles who are looking for a partner, what would it be?

Place yourself strategically where you can be found, by registering with your local matchmakers. Don’t know how to find them? Register with us and we’ll help you get connected. Also, develop your Romance Marketing Plan – email me at Julie@JulieFerman.com and we’ll send you a template. And one other thing… practice looking for what’s right versus what might be lacking or missing in the people who are around you, especially the people who are approaching you, expressing interest. Practice loving yourself and practice kindness all day long. Kindness is sexy.

To find out more about Julie Ferman's services:

Visit her site - www.julieferman.com

Like Julie Ferman Associates on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/JulieFermanAssociates

Follow @julieferman on Twitter - https://twitter.com/julieferman

Check Cupid's Library's blog every week as we feature more matchmakers.

Essential Survival Guide for Victims of Domestic Abuse

by Michael James | noon | March 9th 2015

All relationships might seem to begin with love and trust, but when the relationship becomes an abusive one – marked by physical or emotional violence, or both – you as a victim are left with pain and hopelessness. If you find yourself trapped in such an abusive relationship or feel that you are in danger of being abused by a partner, read on.

Use this guide to protect yourself from further maltreatment. The resources here can help you break free from the vicious cycle of violence and lead you to a safer, happier life.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Safety Precautions

As a victim of domestic violence, you may feel like the situation is a big, black hole from which there is no escape. Do not let yourself believe this. There is always something you can do to improve your situation.

These measures will help you become more in control, less vulnerable and feel safer – whether you are still in an abusive relationship or have already stepped out of one.

While still in an abusive relationship

If you are reading this and are continuing to interact with your abusive partner, then you must set up the following precautions.

1. Keep a list of people you can contact. Abusers are manipulative predators that want you to think that you cannot live without them. They want to twist your perception, and will try to turn you against your friends, family and other people who may genuinely care about you. Also include contacts from your local domestic violence help program. Make sure this list is available at home, at your place of work and on your person so that whenever there is danger of an attack, you can use the list to call for help.

2. Make sure these contacts are readily available in case you call/notify them for help. Do the people in your emergency contact list know that they are in the list? It is very important that you let them know that you may call at any time to ask for help, or rescue you from a physical attack or emotional lashing. You must get their assurance that they will be there for you when you call or message them – because if they cannot commit to this very important responsibility, then you should find another contact. The best emergency contacts are those that live near you, have the physical and transportation means to reach you, and are not so busy that they cannot be contacted for long stretches of time.

3. Identify safe areas in your house. Safe areas are rooms with windows or doors going outside the house so you can run for help, telephones so you can call 911 or your local police hotline, inside locks to keep your abuser at a safe distance, and free from weapons. If your abuser begins to attack you, run to your safe area and either try to escape or call for help.

4. Set up a help code word or phrase. There are times when you will want to call for help, but you fear the repercussions if your abuser finds out about your plea, like hurting you or your children. A help code word or phrase with your emergency contact list (see tip #1 of this section) will let them know that you need immediate assistance without alerting your abuser. Choose a word that can be used in normal conversation, but distinctive enough for your contact list to remember.

5. Prepare an escape plan. If and when you decide to leave your abuser, you need to have everything ready to go. Duplicate the car key and hide it in an easily accessible location. Pack a bag with some clothes, cash, important documents and your list of emergency contacts – ask a good friend to keep it in their house where it would be safe. If you have children, practice your escape plan with them.

'This is where the blow may hit, but not where it hurts' photo courtesy of LMAP, used under a Creative Commons licence

When already out of an abusive relationship

You cannot let your guard down even when you are no longer living with or interacting with your abuser. Your abuser will likely try to come back to your life, and it is very important that you put up strong barriers to protect yourself and your loved ones.

1. Consider relocating away from your abuser. A great way to restart anew is to put great distance between you and your abuser. This lessens the likelihood of contact, and lets you break away from the old habits that enabled your erratic relationship. You may choose to relocate to a new neighborhood, city, state or even country. You might think twice about relocating due to the hassles such as your children having to transfer schools, and having to find a new job and home, but relocating can be worth all that so you can have a fresh start.

2. Keep your new residence a secret. Your abuser might try to track you down and pull you back into the relationship by using manipulation or violent threats. This is why you should not divulge your new residence to anyone who might reveal your location. Make sure to get an unlisted phone number and a post office box for mail rather than your home address. You should also look into applying to your state’s address confidentiality program, which forwards mail to your home without divulging your address. Your ex-partner might try to find you through your old service providers like your bank and credit card, so cancel them and subscribe to new ones, preferably to a different provider.

3. Change up your routine. It is critical that you change up your routine, especially if you choose to stay in the same area as your abuser. Your abuser can try to re-establish contact by stalking you in your favorite coffee shop, gym or mall. Simple things like choosing a new route going home and doing errand runs on different days will help decrease the chances that you will encounter your abuser.

4. Consider getting a restraining order – but do not be complacent. A restraining order or protective order is designed to punish your abusers should they try to approach you or stalk you, but will not prevent your abuser from finding you in the first place. Restraining orders can be an invaluable tool to deter abusers, but you should not think of it as a bodyguard that will keep you absolutely out of harm’s way. If you choose to get a restraining order, learn everything you can on how the restraining order is enforced in your area. Some areas are lax with restraining orders so that the police will only give a citation to a stalker-abuser. US residents can get more information on restraining orders by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or their state’s Domestic Violence Coalition.

5. Use a corded phone whenever possible. Phone conversations can be tapped, so try to always use a corded phone -- it offers superior privacy and is harder to tap compared to your cordless or mobile phone. Given your vulnerable state, it is very important to protect your plans and conversations.

6. Replace your old mobile number and purchase a prepaid one. If you cannot afford to change numbers or buy a new mobile phone, your local domestic violence shelter or support group might be able to provide you one.

7. Make sure your phone settings and apps do not divulge personal information. Check your phone settings or any apps that might reveal your current location, residential or work address and contact details. Turn off any settings that might divulge personal information that an abuser might use to find you.

8. Create a new email. Your abuser will likely know your old email address and may try to get – if not already have – the password to it. A new email is safer to use, in general. Safeguard this new email address and reveal it to only the people you trust. Create dummy email accounts for registration purposes, and keep one real email for your personal contacts, emergency correspondence, and conversations with friends and local help groups.

9. Memorize all your computer and device passwords. Do not write them down and create ones that are very hard to guess – avoid using birthdays, nicknames and other publicly known facts about you.

10. Be careful about public computers and devices. Avoid opening your email in a public computer or someone else’s devices. Also, make sure to delete the history or use a browser that does not record your session such as Google Chrome’s Incognito setting.

Image courtesy of Alexander C. Kafka (used under a Creative Commons licence)

Personal Safety Plan

1. Legal guidelines. These are the questions you need to ask, and points to consider when seeking legal help.

Questions to ask your lawyer or legal advocate:

  • Am I eligible to file a restraining order?
  • Should I file a restraining order?
  • How do I file the restraining order?
  • What is the difference between a temporary restraining order and an injunction?
  • What other legal measures can help protect me from my abuser?
  • How do I avail these protections?
  • What should I do if my abuser violates the restraining order?
  • What will happen to my abuser if he or she violates the restraining order?

2. Workplace safety. Abusers can also try to hound you in your workplace. Whether you are the victim, or a colleague or boss of the victim, here are guidelines to help you deal with abusers that show up and cause trouble in the office.


As a person dealing with abuser

  • Know your employee rights and legal protections, and approach your human resources director or manager for help in enforcing them.
  • Is your abuser stalking you? Then, depending on your state, you could be protected by anti-stalking laws. Some states even have stringent anti-cyberstalking laws to prevent online harassment.
  • Did the abuser threaten to hit or actually hit you? That is grounds for your filing of assault and battery.
  • Consult with an employment lawyer. While the above guidelines can protect you after the abuser has begun stalking or threatening you, it does not prevent such incidents from happening again. Be proactive and talk to your office lawyer to obtain appropriate legal advice on how you can be better protected in your workplace.
  • Speak up. You may be embarrassed to be revealing about your abusive relationship, but no one can help you unless they know your situation. Let your abuser know that you will not tolerate his abusive behavior and stalking in the workplace.
  • Document the abuse. Record instances of abusive or stalking behavior in the workplace, as well as threatening or inappropriate language. Take note of the time, date and details. If the behavior has caused a negative impact on business performance, such as reduced productivity for you, disrupted operations or destruction of property, then you can make a stronger case for your employer to take action. Evidence will convince the higher-ups that the abuser is not only harassing you but also damaging the business.


As the colleague of someone dealing with domestic violence

  • Offer emotional support and backup. When your see that a colleague is being harassed or stalked, you may feel it is dangerous to get involved. But know that it could as easily happen to you – would you want your colleagues to ignore your situation? Be understanding and seek to build the confidence of your abused co-workers. Also, by providing them support – such as warning the abuser that shows up in the workplace that he can be reported to management – you can discourage future incidents from happening again.
  • Report to HR and management. Your colleague may be fearful or embarrassed about reporting a workplace stalker, even thinking they may lose their job, but you can tip your HR and manager about the ongoing harassment.


As the manager/senior of someone dealing with domestic violence

  • Listen, be understanding and provide support. This might seem obvious, but some managers and seniors may opt to take a hands-off approach to domestic violence victims, thinking it is not in their place to intervene. But managers and seniors have every right to protect their employees, especially if the abuse occurs at work or affects the work of the victim.  Do not turn a blind eye – by doing nothing, you somehow effectively assist the abuser in creating a hazardous workplace environment for your employee. Your best approach is to talk to your abused employee, understand the situation, assure them of your support, and then work with them to prevent any attempts at workplace harassment or stalking.
  • Be proactive in protecting your employee. Alert your security personnel of a potential abuser entering and disrupting the office premises. Abusers might stalk or harass a victim even in their place of work, so send a picture and name of the abuser to the security.

 Image courtesey of dualdflipflop (used under a Creative Commons licence)

Helpline and Support Directory

Never think you are alone. This directory will help you find help and encouragement from government agencies and support groups for domestic abuse victims:

United States

Emergency helplines

  • 911
    • They will respond immediately if you are in danger of being hurt or have already been hurt by your abuser
    • Call: 911


National hotlines

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    • The only center in the US that provides information regarding 5,000 local and nationwide shelters and service providers for victims, and their friends and family.
    • Has access to translators for other languages.
    • Call: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY for the deaf)
  • Dating violence hotline
    • Call: 1-866-331-9474
  • Sexual assault hotline
    • Call: 1-800-656-4673
  • National Sexual Assault Hotlines
  • National Organization for Victim Assistance
    • Call: (800)-TRY-NOVA
  • State Coalition List
    • Lists the phone numbers for the state offices of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
    • Offices help you find local support or a shelter, and free or low-cost legal services.
    • Visit: http://www.ncadv.org/learn/state-coalitions


Legal services

  • American Bar Association, Domestic Violence Resources
  • Womenslaw.org
    • Provides legal information and support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault
    • Contains a state-by-state directory of domestic violence shelters in the US
    • Visit www.womenslaw.org
  • Safe Horizon (New York City)
    • Free legal advice and aid for domestic violence victims in New York City
    • For domestic violence
      • Call: 800-621-HOPE (4673)
    • For crime victims
      • Call: 866-689-HELP (4357)
  • For rape, sexual assault and incest
    • Call: 212-227-3000 or 866-689-HELP &4357)
    • TDD Phone number for all hotlines: 866-604-5350
  • Email help@safehorizon.org
  • Visit www.safehorizon.org


Americans living overseas

Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Line – organization dedicated to assisting American women living overseas and victims of domestic violence. Provides outreach, safety planning, and other support services and information



  • Canada
    • Canadian National Clearinghouse on Family Violence – the national resource center for all Canadians seeking information and help regarding partner abuse, and other family abuse
      • Call (613)-957-2938
      • Call TTY toll-free: 1-800-561-5643
      • Call toll-free: 1-800-257-1291
    • National Domestic Violence Hotline
      • Call: 1-800-363-9010
  • United Kingdom
  • Europe
    • Women Against Violence Europe
      • Provides refuges, hotlines, education and counseling help throughout Europe
      • Call: 01-5482720
      • Visit www.wave-network.org
  • Australia
    • Call 1800RESPECT at 1800-737-732
    • Call 1800-200-526 – confidential national helpline
  • Asia
    • Philippines
      • Arugaan ng Kalakasan
        • Non-government organization providing services for battered women and other victims of domestic violence
        • Call (02)-921-8013, (02)928-7774, (02)-430-4227
    • China
    • India
      • International Foundation For Crime Prevention and Victim Care
      • Call: +91-44-43111143
      • Visit: www.pcvconline.org
    • Indonesia
      • Mitra Perempuan Women’s Crisis Centre
      • Call: (6221)-837-90010
    • Japan
      • Asia-Japan Women’s Resource Center
      • Provides information sharing, education and training and fights for women’s rights. Helps women become more equipped with necessary skills and knowledge.
      • Call: +81-3-3780-5245
      • Email: ajwrc@ajwrc.org
      • Visit: www.ajwrc.org

Further Reading Resources

Domestic violence: Finding Safety & Support


Break the Silence Handbook

Matchmaking Chronicles: Interview with Matchmaker Michele Fields

by Patricio | 6 p.m. | March 6th 2015

Through most of our life, we have been led to believe that matches should be made in heaven. We have been led to think that the bow-wielding love genius we call Cupid, whose stellar archery skills and eye for compatibility have brought thousands of couples together. But we may have been deceived.  

Some perfect matches are, in fact, made on earth. The 'perfect match' could be made without the aid of a bow and arrow, but it could never come to be by randomly pairing singles' profiles. Professional matchmaking requires skill, smarts and passion. Heaven is that special place where couples go when these professional cupids make a perfect concoction.  

In the next few weeks, Cupid's Library will be featuring some of the most accomplished women matchmakers whose candor in this series of interviews fuels their insights on matchmaking, dating and relationships.

Image courtesy of Michele Fields

This week, we start with Denver-based matchmaker Michele Fields.

Experienced, direct and informative. These are the qualities that Michele wants Bon Jour Matchmaking to be known for. With 26 years of experience, it is hard to fault this formula.

Matchmaking seems like one of the most exciting professions there is. Have you always seen yourself as a professional cupid? What made you decide to become one?

When I was young and dated people, I always thought of other women they would make a better match with. It came naturally to me. In 1989 the only service in Denver was Great Expectations and I didn’t like their structure. I felt that I could be a more personal, efficient and less expensive alternative.

What are the most important factors to consider when creating a match? 

I take into account 6-7 factors which the client has pointed out during the interview are the most important to them. My service is collaborative which is what makes it so successful. We decide together who the best matches are based on tons of information which include several photos.

Who are the best candidates for a matchmaking service? Why do you think certain people turn to matchmaking to find a partner?

The best candidates are people with open minds and open hearts who are willing to listen to my coaching and the feedback that I share with them. People who can trust my process and have patience for the right person to come along.

Is there a specific trait that prevents someone from being successfully paired? Do you have some requirements for your clients? 

People who don’t listen to me. I know my clients and what resonates with them and what doesn’t, so my advice is based on what will be the most successful actions. If they are closed-minded and narrow and/or impatient, they will not be successful with me. Yes, all singles who I accept must fit in with the current clientele and agree with and understand the philosophy of Bon Jour Matchmaking Service.

For you, what type of man/woman is the hardest to match?  People who are too narrow and want perfection. 

They are not perfect but they insist on perfection in a mate.

In what ways is professional matchmaking more effective than online dating? Image courtesy of Michele Fields

If you engage a real matchmaker you should work with someone who knows each and every client, coaches, gives you feedback, and gets in the middle when things start to fall apart. Online, there is no one to do any of that.

How have dating apps such as Tinder changed the matchmaking industry? 

Just made it that much more superficial.

How does being a cupid-for-hire affect your own love life? Do you apply the same rules and matching techniques to your own dating habits? 

As a woman it has affected me profoundly on a personal level after 26 years! My self-image has taken a big hit listening to men berate women who they perceive are not “perfect”. I stopped dating five years ago as I see how little appreciation men have for more mature women.

Is matchmaking as fun as it looks or is the stress level equal to that of a neurosurgeon? Would you recommend professional matchmaking as a career option? 

You are dealing with people on such a personal level -- their egos, their self esteem, their hopes and dreams. It is a difficult profession to do long-term and that’s probably why so many services pop up and disappear in short order. To go 26 years with 300+ marriages is a huge accomplishment in this field. Also, when things don’t work out for someone, they tend to take it out on the “messenger”. Each person is responsible for their success with a matchmaker and in relationships. When it fails it is not always the fault of the service.

How much do you charge for your service? Are there significant differences in rate? Some matchmakers are more expensive than others, but differences in fees aside, what makes your services special?

I do not have flat fees. After 26 years working with singles, I’ve decided to evaluate each individual’s situation and offer their own personal fee that fits their situation and how much I feel I can do for them. That and a million other things mentioned above are what make Bon Jour Matchmaking Service sooooo special!

Image courtesy of Michele Fields

If there’s one piece of advice you’d have for singles who are looking for a partner, what would it be? 

If you are genuinely looking for a lifetime partner keep your eyes on the prize. Focus on what is important in a marriage, not how gorgeous they are, or whether they ski at your level. Compatible morals and values are the most important, activities and interests can be cultivated and are not what is going to get you through a lifetime of trials and tribulations.

To find out more about Michele Field's services:

Visit her website - Bon Jour Matchmaking

Like Bon Jour Matchmaking on Facebook – Bon Jour Matchmaking


Check Cupid's Library's blog every week as we feature more women matchmakers.

The Love of My Life Has Manic Depression

by Mary J. | noon | February 19th 2015

Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.netEvery girl who is looking for her Prince Charming always envisions a tall, dark and handsome man. Few descriptions of this person ever describe his mental condition; however, psychology tells us that if a person is tall, dark and handsome, the halo effect that we ascribe to him will automatically include intelligence, wit and mental stability. [Note: If you are not familiar with the halo effect, it simply means that a person with one good quality is seen to have many good qualities.]

Few, if any women will ever achieve this perfect vision in their real lives. I have yet to meet the perfect woman on this earth, and since women are naturally better than men, smiley emoticon, we can assume that there is no such thing as a perfect man. Once I got over needing to have a cartoon as my life partner, I found the love of my life in a package much different than the Disney caricature.

I met my husband at an AA meeting. His depressive state had caused him to use alcohol as a sort of self-medication. In many ways he was the most in need of help, but he always had the kindest words of encouragement for everyone in the group. I asked around to see if his behavior changed just to get me on a date. Everyone said that this was his true personality, so I ended up asking him out!

After six months of dating, I knew that this was the man that I was going to marry. He said that he knew from the second he saw me walk into the AA group, which is quite a romantic thing to say. He says very romantic things, which is another reason why I had to lock it down!

We both wanted kids; we definitely had to agree on this point in order to get married. We decided that our various challenges would serve as a good example for our children. If they came out healthy, they would have no excuses. Both of us are very driven, and we wanted our children to be inspired by us and be driven in life as well.

Part of the reason why I married him was that he let me know exactly how debilitating his condition was. With his doctor's permission, he actually went off of his medication for a while in order to show me exactly what a worst case scenario would be like. I chose him only after experiencing that episode firsthand.

Manic depression is described as a group set of behaviors that fluctuate wildly without any external provocation from extremely manic highs to extremely depressed lows. My husband's manic depression was not diagnosed precisely, as in many cases. However, our doctors and my gut say that it was partly from genetics and partly from a lack of nutrition early in his childhood. It certainly did not help that he grew up in a mildly abusive household in which no one really knew how to vent frustration in a proper way.

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.netMy husband, the true love of my life, deals on a day-to-day basis with manic depression. Before we go into the reasons why this is difficult, we must go first into the character traits that made me want to marry him despite his mental disorder.

The spirit that I saw in this man as he dealt with his manic depression was unshakable. The number one reason that he is my husband now is that no matter how he felt biologically that day, his service to other people never wavered. He gave the same to everyone whether he was feeling well that day or not. It was then that I learned the true nature of the spirit and that our bodies are truly just vessels for a much higher energy.

This is not to say that our marriage is without its problems, of course. The process that my husband must go through in order to overcome his mental weaknesses takes quite a toll on me, his main source of daily support. At times, I am his mental punching bag. It can be difficult to try to explain to my best friends that my husband truly does not mean to make me cry at family occasions and during holidays. Ex-boyfriends have physically confronted my husband about some of the things that he has said about me in public because of his manic depression. Some of the things that he says while depressed are the exact same things that physically abusive husbands say to their wives.

Even as you read this, you are likely saying to yourself that I am letting love blind me and that I may even be in some physical danger. Believe me, this social pressure is an incredibly difficult ship to navigate, because while a manic depressive person is depressed, the things that they say resemble abuse. If a so-called mentally healthy person said the same things, it would be abuse.

This is exactly why I would like to focus on the difference between dating someone with a mental disorder and someone who has the potential to abuse you and possibly end your life.

If you are dating someone with a true mental disorder, then that person should first be aware himself of his problem. If he has not sought out medical attention and given himself the potential for stability through medication or through a daily routine, then that person is not ready for you to date. For instance, if you are dating a mentally ill person who believes that he can get off his medication whenever he wants, this can be a dangerous situation. Leave it alone.

Secondly, a person with a mental disorder will also understand the social ramifications of his actions. My husband never made excuses for his behavior in front of people – he immediately returned to his doctor and worked out a medical program that would increase his stability. I did not have to cajole him to do this; he is well aware that the person he is when depressed does not deserve a caring wife. Abusive people say that they will change and do nothing.

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / FreeDigitalPhotos.netThird, understand that dating or marrying a person with a mental disorder places you in a situation that many people simply will not understand. You may have to explain yourself over and over again to people who love you. You cannot become frustrated with this, as that frustration will creep back into your relationship and affect it negatively. As women, we always prefer to be the ones with the freedom to emote; however, if you are planning on a serious life with a person who has a mental disorder, this is simply one of the sacrifices that love would call on you to make. Your partner will need your mental stability in order for the relationship to work.

Most importantly, you must be able to separate the mental illness from the person who is suffering from it. This is perhaps the biggest lesson that my relationship with my husband has taught me – the physical body is a slave to nerve endings and neurons and blood chemicals. The spirit, however, is completely separate. It is truly difficult to explain, but if you cannot fall in love with the spirit of a person through the noise of biology that a mental disorder creates, then you should immediately let that person go. The relationship will not go well for either of you.

My husband and I set up physical boundaries as well. It is agreed among our entire family that if my husband ever hits me for any reason, I am to immediately leave. We have this in writing. It is not a legal contract, but it is an agreement that is known to my entire family as well as his. The bottom line is this: there are ways to overcome the difficulties that mental disorders bring to a relationship. True love will always find a way.

Your medical history is not the first thing you share when going on first dates, but in Illness Dating sites, talking about a common disease won't be so strange. Check our list of dating sites and resuscitate your need for a healthy romantic relationship. 

7 Reasons You Should Sleep Around While You’re Young

by Molly Lanscombe | 5:23 a.m. | January 23rd 2015

Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.netI have been very fortunate to sleep around extensively while still young. I have slept with most of the continental United States, plus many cities in Alaska and Hawaii. Okay, okay, so some of that isn’t true but, there are other ways to expand your horizons when you’re young other than traveling the world. I’m a firm believer in the idea that sleeping around is an excellent way to spend your time and that you’ll probably never look back and regret many of those nights – unless you spend the night with a Greek guy who got all his ‘moves’ from bad porn films. Slapping my boobs? No. Just no. A friend once told me that you shouldn’t even consider settling down until your number was at at least 50. I think that might have been some of the best advice I ever received.

Let me explain.

1. Sleeping around helps you chill out

I’m not talking about a post-coital buzz here (although that should never be underrated), but the fact that regular sex really does help you approach life with a more relaxed attitude. As well as  being a physical release for any pent-up tension – nothing makes you forget a shitty day at work better than a hook-up. Additionally, all my friends who are doing that cringe-y thing of trying to make it work with every guy they ever date no matter how unsuitable – they are the ones who aren’t sleeping around. If you’re too busy having a little casual – but responsible – fun, then you’re not crying into your pillow about why Mr (or Miss) Meh hasn’t texted you for three days. Better to have two or three hook-ups on rotation until you meet someone worth investing a little more in.

2. Sleeping around makes you feel sexier

Let’s face it, if you’re having regular sex you feel good about yourself. Even though, rationally we know you don’t have to be sexy to get laid whenever you want – just ask Mick Jagger – but it sure does feel sexy, powerful and confident to have regular sex.

3. Sleeping around helps you pick up some valuable new skills.

When you sleep around, you acquire some valuable skills. You can figure out how to make the best of a small situation, how to talk dirty, how to phone and book a cab at the same time you’re having sex. These are useful life skills.

Also, I can proudly say that I’ve been told several times that I give the very best blow jobs. I attribute this to both years of studying Cosmo’s sex tips way before it was legal for me to be performing such activities and, later, to performing a lot of them on a lot of different guys. You can also spot guys a mile off who haven’t had that much experience and haven’t yet expanded their skill set. I feel like Federer playing against a sports club amateur. It’s frustrating. Do your future lovers a favour and put in the hard graft now, while you’re young.  

4. Sleeping around gives you some excellent stories and some valuable ‘wank bank’ material

Some of my best stories revolve around hook-ups I’ve had. Ahh, those two young athletes who made me feel like a goddess and then fixed my aircon – which had been broken for weeks – afterwards. That guy who insisted on having 'Step Up' on in the background every time. That dude who turned out to live in a hammock in a tree. Aaah, good times. Some funny, some odd, some so sexy I keep re-playing them in my head like a well-worn VHS. It’s good to have fun stories to look back on, just in case all the future holds is blended meals and card games.

5. Sleeping around lets you experiment 

When you have a long-term partner, it can be difficult to try out new things without it seeming like a lame attempt to ‘spice up’ your relationship. Unless you’re into spanking, role play, peeing on each other, etc, from the start, it can be kind of awkward and could potentially destroy your relationship entirely if you start doing it after a year or so. Sleeping around when you’re young gives you the chance to try out all this stuff for size and see if it floats your boat. Nobody needs to know you cried when that guy peed on you. The important thing is you found out it was as awful as it sounds and you moved on.

6. Sleeping around is fun

Sometimes people will look down on your hedonistic lifestyle. I say ‘screw them’. If you’re safe and responsible and everyone involved is happy, then it’s all good. Anybody who has a judgment about that is very likely to be quite uptight and very jealous. It’s fun not to be uptight. It’s fun to have sex.

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net7. We’re never guaranteed old age, so let’s enjoy life’s experiences now!

I never quite understand the people who hold back and restrain themselves when it comes to matters such as this. I know a lot of people who don’t sleep with people despite them both being free and single and both wanting to. Let go of any odd moral beliefs you have about this being sinful – come on, we’re not in the Victorian times anymore – and embrace your youth. Your body is the best it’ll ever be, you have more opportunities now than you’ll likely ever have. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? You might meet the love of your life, the earth might get wiped out by a zombie apocalypse. Seize the moment and do it now.

Are you convinced by the power of great, frequent hook-ups yet? Cupid's Library's list of Casual Dating sites might aid in your decision to make the most of your testosterone-addled youth.

About A Boy Toy: Benefits And Tips To Becoming Cougar Bait

by Jesse Quinn | 6 a.m. | December 26th 2014

Cougars are sultry goddesses offering refined pleasures that defy comparison. Youthful girls simply cannot compete with the erotic skills of these mature ladies. This is why a guy perpetually seeking improved sexual experiences would be wise to set himself up as a boy toy.

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.netA boy toy is a youthful man that is available for fulfilling the sexual needs of a well-to-do older woman. He presents himself in the most gentlemanly manner possible, and does everything to accentuate his boyish charm. Being relatively young is important, especially for any boy that wants to be a cub.

Hunting for MILFs (Mother I'd Like to F***) has gone completely mainstream. Stifler's mom in 'American Pie' normalized the concept of cougars for teenagers everywhere. After a generation, the notion of boyish men sleeping with older women has been accepted as a normal state of affairs. Eva Longoria’s affair with John the gardener in 'Desperate Housewives' may have dispelled the stigma once and for all.

An assortment of juicy privileges await the cougar bait. He is showered with endless sexual favors, romantic gestures and sweet surprises. He is spoiled in the bedroom and outside of it. He gains a lot of personal understanding of female pleasure, and he can hone his methods to deliver earth-shaking orgasms to future partners.

And as if you needed more proof to set yourself up as an object of a MILF's lust, this list of benefits might strengthen your resolve to become a good boy toy:

1. Cougars are not timid about anything sexual, and they are certainly not intimidated by kinks and fetishes. In fact, MILFs just love to get down and dirty. These women might even have fantasies their husbands refuse to fulfill, so they look to open-minded cubs instead. They have the experience to do unimaginable things behind closed doors. Most younger girls are hesitant to embrace the slutty side of their nature, while most cougars want to be treated like filthy whores whenever given the opportunity.

2. MILFs are not manipulative like their immature schoolgirl counterparts. They know their deepest desires very well, and this innate personal understanding allows them to unearth new levels of pleasure. Their schedule is timed to the second, so promptness can be expected with every encounter. They don’t have time to make their date wait for hours while they get ready. A cougar will be all dolled up when her boy toy arrives, and she will be ready to pounce.

3. The rewards extend far beyond the bedroom. These feisty femme fatales have a tendency to spoil their fresh-faced boys. Cougars have an undeniable reputation for being sugar mamas, and they often go straight to the purse while in a state of afterglow.

4. The enterprising cub learns sexual skills that will improve his approach as a lover for life. These moms love instructing their cubs through the process. The guidance extends to thrusting methods, oral techniques, and foreplay. To enjoy the full effects, call her “Mrs.”

5. MILFs offer elegance and luxury. They have a real wardrobe with endless dresses and lingerie. Their make-up exudes sophistication, and they know all their best colors already.

6. Enjoy an open night schedule! MILFs have kids to entertain and husbands to handle. This means a boy toy is free to roam the night looking for raunchy escapades. If he returns to his woman’s abode courteously and promptly, no questions will be asked. This is a great way to get the best of both worlds.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.netAs terrific as it is being a boy toy, there are a few potential downsides to keep in mind. Most boy toys find ways to enjoy all aspects of the arrangement. Primarily, MILFs have a day-time schedule, and they may have families. Being stealthy is a crucial asset for any boy toy that does not want to have an unfortunate rendezvous with an angry husband. Another potential problem is a fear of being objectified, although most cubs love being fawned over.

When looking for a willing MILF, there are a few key traits to look out for. Horny cougars are easy to spot, but only if you know the signs. Follow these tips and techniques to be ensnared by the next sexy mama you see.

1. Look for signs of a cougar on the prowl. She will usually be combining high levels of glamorousness with revealing garments. Her eye will be the first thing you notice. If the piercing gaze of a huntress failed to meet your stare, then there is no hope; however, a fleeting glance is all it takes to know this woman wants some action. The other signs to identify include jewelry and sports cars.

2. Set yourself up as the perfect prey. Be spotlessly clean and borderline metro-sexual. A cub must be well-dressed and hip. A clean shaven jaw line is an absolute must. Manscaping must be handled with expertise and precision. Remember, tattoos and piercings are ill advised. They create the persona of a bad boy, which only appeals to young girls; meanwhile, these MILFs are looking for a good boy to be obedient and chaste. Don’t wear sunglasses. MILFs want to see the innocence in your eyes. One final note: Be fit, but not overly muscular. A chiseled body may make you look too old for her tastes, so stay trim.

3. Pay no attention to the wedding ring. It is insignificant when determining if a lady is game. This holds especially true with cougars. They flaunt the sparkling diamond on their ring finger as an invitation for a fling on the side. This is a win-win situation on all grounds. You get a refined piece of ass to start, and the bling indicates that you will be receiving some of her husband's hard earned income. In the meantime, she gets a good lay that has been elusive in her relationship for years. Everybody is happy, except maybe the cuckolded husband. There are even dating sites that specialize in affairs.

4. Don't expect to dominate them because this will backfire. Act a little shy to really woo a MILF. Make her feel like she is taking your innocence. The meek will be devoured and ravaged. Play the part by feigning nervousness. Avoid going overboard into downright virginal territory, but imply that you are eager for something you cannot find in girls your own age. Ask a MILF to show you the way, and she will guide you to a place that surpasses your wildest fantasies and rawest desires.

5. Give these babes something to fuss over. Do your best to be immaculately coiffed, but always leave a minor detail unattended. Effective examples include a missed button or an errant cowlick. She'll promptly attend to the problem, and taking care of her cub will make her flustered and hot.

6. Emphasize an open day schedule. If they have a family at home, the only chance for a romp is in the morning and early afternoon. In a similar vein, it is wise to know how to not leave a trace. A masterful vanishing act is necessary for secretly scoring with a busy broad.

7. Be intellectual! MILFs love boys that are wise beyond their years. This allows them to feel like the guy is effortlessly bridging the gap. Listen to classy music. Avoid hip-hop, rock, and electronic music; instead, make the switch to classical music when in public. Carry books, especially classic literature and bestsellers. Don’t touch the romance novels! Those are reserved for her, and you might gleam some of her secrets if you pry. She may not forgive this infraction.

8. Ask for scolding, and even punishment. This will turn her on immensely, and it will give her the direct power to mold you into a better boy toy. Request spankings if you feel like you deserve them. Her eyes will well with tears as she smacks your boyish butt, and so will yours.

9. Use proper grammar with every correspondence. Don’t abbreviate any text messages, and keep slang to a minimum. You don’t have to be Shakespearean, although it wouldn’t hurt; just use full sentences and polite formalities.

10. Do not treat them like antiques. If you accidentally treat her with overly cautious regard, she will be offended. Never say anything to them that makes them feel out of touch. Be willing to get rough! It will be appreciated. Trust me, you will not break them.

11. Deliver in bed! Seriously, this needs to be reiterated over and over again. A boy toy needs to know how to make sex the single best thing his cougar has ever experienced. He must go out of his way to lavish her with attention, affection and a good pounding. The goal is to make her come repeatedly. As a boy toy, she should be able to play with you as long as she wants.

All boy toys get reciprocal benefits from pleasing their women, but the advantageous results are maximized when the woman is at least a few years his superior. This kind of pairing is truly the most erotic in all of human nature. A widespread consensus exists declaring that men reach their peak of sexual prowess around the age of 18; meanwhile, women achieve their maximum climax after 30. The numbers simply show that young men are destined to be with older women if they want to know the meaning of real pleasure. Being a boy toy comes with endless perks, and the fun is always enhanced when you belong to a confident cougar.

Ready to hustle as a full-fledged cub? Let this hefty list of cougar dating sites serve as your training ground for cougar-prowling. Happy hunting!

Christmas May Come But Once A Year, But That Doesn’t Mean You Have To

by Molly Lanscombe | 10:07 a.m. | December 12th 2014

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.netI don’t want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need… regular, reliable sex to get me though the festive season. In short, a festive fuck buddy.

Christmas is a warm and fussy time of year; the fairy lights viewed through a mulled wine haze, the soppy films at the cinemas… not to mention the mistletoe and midnight kisses as the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. When you’re in a relationship, the whole world becomes your ‘Love, Actually’ at Christmas. When you’re single, however, you start to know what it feels like to be that crazy pigeon lady in ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’.

But, more than goopy films and that constant urge to snuggle under blankets with someone, the thing that amplifies Christmas loneliness the most is… family. At Christmas, we’re often forced to spend far too much time with drunk, judgmental relatives with prehistoric views (“are you courting yet?” was a question I received from my granddad every time I saw him from around the age of 10) than anyone should have to endure. Okay, so a Christmas fuck buddy would be the absolute worst person to introduce to your family or to even mention to them – can you imagine the horror on your Aunt Gerty’s face as you explain the concept? – but, it would lessen the chiseling away at your soul and self-esteem that each concerned comment causes. “Shouldn’t you be thinking about settling down soon?” “You don’t want to leave it too late…”. Yeah, thanks nan – things are a little more complicated than they were back when you met your partner at a tea dance and stuck with them for life. Yeah, the thought of a hot, sweaty sex session that evening really eases the stress of all the interrogations you have to endure during the day.

Boyfriends are great and all but, at short notice, a fuck buddy is a brilliant substitute. Sometimes they even turn out to be an even better substitute – especially as far as not having to bother about what kind of cologne he wants when you’re doing your Christmas shopping, or having to fend off questions about when you’re going to start having grandkids.

No, I’m convinced a fuck buddy is exactly what I’d like to find under my Christmas tree this year  – preferably I’ll unwrap him before Christmas, actually – because Christmas Eve is not a night to be alone in bed. Nobody wants to be dodging mistletoe when they could be making the most of every sprig.

A friend with benefits is a year-round treat, of course, but during the holidays their value goes up tenfold. Let me explain:

1. You have someone to take to all those Christmas parties. Depending on what sort of party you’re headed to, you probably won’t introduce your fuck buddy as that but, for all those random house parties you end up at, it’s always good to have someone to chat with when you only vaguely recognize three people other than the host – and a great excuse for slinking off early. Only the meanest of friends would hold it against you that you ditched the party to hook up with a hottie.

2. You have someone to kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Never underestimate how shitty that moment is when you don’t. It’s hard to look cool, casual and unfazed while you’re surrounded by a sea of snoggers.

3. You have all the Christmas warm and fuzzy feelings, but without the hassle and expense of buying Christmas presents. Buying watches or wallets at Christmas is tedious. Instead, your Christmas present to each other is just more filth. Which is, of course, the best present of all.

4. Christmas morning sex. It’s really the best, if only for the puns ‘let me unwrap you’, ‘my, what a big package’, ‘this year, I’ve been naughty’, ‘I want you in my chimney’. Actually – scrub that last one.

5. Getting to feel smug and dirty and secretive despite saying ‘no’ when your family asks if you’re seeing anyone.

6. Human hot water bottle.

7. Calorie-burning. You’re probably hitting the mince pies a little harder than you should, so it makes sense you work out a little more to compensate. An hour of sex burns off one slice of stollen. Maybe.

8. Sex is an excellent mood booster, and you need to stockpile all the endorphins you can get when you have to deal with your brother’s bratty and over-excited toddler all day.

9. You can go to bars all party season safe in the knowledge that, whatever happens, you’ve got a booty call secured.

10. The thought of a hot hook up planned afterwards really lessens the horror of the office party.

Last year, Santa granted my Christmas wish. I had a festive hook-up throughout the entire season of joy and goodwill to all men. Boy, did I feel some goodwill to all men. T’was indeed the season to be jolly. You can say what you want about committed relationships, but they don’t give you the same kind of glow that something a little more illicit does. That festive fuzzy glow is really complemented by post-orgasmic smugness; I thoroughly recommend the combo. Seriously, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future could have saved themselves a big task if they’d just sent a hot hookup for Ebenezer Scrooge. The man clearly just needed to get laid. I suspect the results would have been identical.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My festive hookup was a DJ which, FYI, is perfect for getting into clubs, staying late and then going home for the private after party – wink, wink. Instead of feeling like a loser on Boxing Day, when my relatives interrogated me about my carelessness with regard to not yet being married while I ate my turkey leftovers, I took it all in my stride, knowing I had something better than long-term commitment; I had an evening of up-all-night fun ahead of me. I felt young and sexy rather than spinster-y and panicked.

But, like eggnog, festive fuck buddies are a brilliant addition to your festive plans, but can be deceptively dangerous if you’re not cautious. While they seem like innocent fun that you just want to keep going back for more of, you may find yourself very drunk and making poor decisions before you know it. Okay, the similie is tenuous, to say the least, but you get my point.

The problems generally tend to focus around blurred lines; either yours, theirs, or someone who spots you together – for example, if you bump into your mother while you’re out together in the supermarket shopping for post-sex snacks on a Christmas Sunday afternoon. This may or may not have happened to me. It’s awkward and, you’ll probably find yourself having to pretend to your mum that you’re dating. Your mum won’t let this grain of hope for the fact she may be able to marry you off in the near future go.That is but one of the unavoidable scenarios of having a holiday or any sort of casual dating 'relationship'.

It’s also very possible that all the Christmas fuzziness (and large amounts of alcohol) gives you a serious case of rose-tinted specs, and you’ll start to believe everything in life is a Hollywood movie and that your unconventional relationship is probably the start of something really magical. But, when January comes – with all its lack of money, diets and back to work realness – you might remember why your relationship never developed into anything beyond the bedroom. Then you’re left with the bitterness of an awkward parting just before February, which already sucks due to Valentine’s Day, which I refer to by its unofficial name, the Annual Day for Couple Smugness.

The other fear is that they’ll start to like you more than you do them – they aren’t immune to Christmas fuzziness and booze – nor your obvious charms and irresistibility, either. It’s always tricky explaining to somebody that, while you like them, you much prefer their bedroom skills than their personality. If you are faced with this difficult situation, please word it a little differently than this.

No, keep your festive fling as part of your Christmas ritual; like an advent calendar, bad jumpers and changing your ring tone to Wham’s Last Christmas. A festive fuck buddy has a short shelf life. They’re a Christmas crutch to lean on (lean on, straddle, whatever...) but, when the decorations come down, you should, bid your hookup adieu, too. Remember, a festive fuck buddy is just for Christmas, not for life. A holiday from real life, a sexual vacation and a little end of year treat to yourself. And if you haven't got yourself one, it is never too late to shop for one. Remember not to overindulge once New Year comes.