A Good Man is Hard to Find… Unless You Cook

A Good Man in Chicago

Dating services in Chicago are as diverse as the city itself. There are at least 40 dating services in the immediate area. Several places cater to Catholics, Buppies, (black urban professionals), the Jewish, Yuppies, and Hispanics, among others.

By: Pat Jacobs

Dating services in Chicago are as diverse as the city itself. There are at least 40 in the immediate area. Several places cater to Catholics, Buppies, (black urban professionals), the Jewish, Yuppies, and Hispanics, among others.

I decided to check out four- The Chicago Singles Network, Interactions, Great Expectations, and Introlens. I called and asked for information to be mailed. I wanted to set up a visit after I had a chance to review their material, but it didn’t work out that way. Only one responded to my request. Two said I’d have to come in first. The fourth promised to send material, but didn’t, even after a couple of call-backs.

An immediate response came from the Chicago Singles Network, which also gave a lot of useful information over the phone. They weren’t afraid to quote prices and didn’t pressure me.

One item from their literature really caught my eye. It was a copy of an article called “25 Ways To Find A Good Man” (Oh really?) . Included were such tips as “learn how to cook, keep your house in order, become interested in sports, don’t reject all offers to dance, and emphasize your best physical assets”(So smile, darn ya, smile!). After reading this, The Stepford Wives movie came to mind. Hmmmmm.

All misgivings about the article aside, the Chicago Singles Network offered an interesting program. A yearly membership fee of $400 guarantees you’ll meet 12 prospects. After you complete a questionnaire and interview, a counselor looks for a compatible member. If one is found, both parties are called and given a description of their date-to-be. If both decide to meet, phone numbers are given out. After this, you’re given a second referral if things don’t work out. The Network also arranges socials and brunches.

Interactions claims to be the city’s No.1 introduction service. It is very similar to CSN in the types of services and activities offered. However, there are various pricing scales according to the type of “program” you need. A $1,000 fee covers a full two-year membership.

When I entered Introlens, I was given a questionnaire. A “counselor” spoke to me long enough to find out I wasn’t ready to pay a fee, then ushered me out the door without brochures or pamphlets for pondering.

Great Expectations, on the other hand, provided a wealth of information and material. They also provide the most memorable moment of my research. I was given a questionnaire to complete, but this one went into much more detail than the others had. It tried to identify the type of man I was seeking and my basic interests. Very comprehensive questions; it DID make me think.

I was then taken into a small cubicle and shown a video on the “whys” and “wherefores” of the organization. Started in 1976, it emphasized video introductions and then expanded to include educational seminars, travel discounts, activity exchanges, and discounts for new car purchases. Great Expectations claims that 56% of single men and 72% of single women want to get married within a year. I was rather surprised by these figures; I thought the men’s would be much lower and the women’s higher.

After watching the video, I was taken to a small room for a conference with a counselor. We went over my questionnaire and then came the moment of truth: the hard sell, how much money can I part with?

The counselor really tried her best, but I wasn’t biting. She asked if I could pay the full yearly fee ($1, 250 for the basic service). I said no. I was then asked how much I had in savings. I refused to say (politely). She then told me about the monthly installment plan ($250 down, $100 a month to pay off the $1,000 balance) and asked if I could get the $250 the following day. (I visited on Sunday.) I told her I’d have to think on it. Then I was asked if I could at least put down $5.00. I replied that I had only enough for busfare home. (It was the truth.)

At this point, I believe she gave up and I decided to end my research on dating services.

About the Author:

Pat Jacobs is currently the writer/producer of “The World Of 1960s Music” blog on Yahoo 360 (degrees).
She also writes features for www. ehow.com (how-to articles) and www.associatedcontent.com (various non-fiction).
She can be reached at Patj25@yahoo.com.

Photo: laffy4k