Summer Maughan has a heart-shaped freckle on her arm. If that’s not a sign that she’s chosen the right calling, I don’t know what is. Summer is a professional matchmaker – with qualifications from the Matchmaking Institute of New York to prove it. And she’s bringing back the art of matchmaking with a retro twist.
Gone are the days when you found that special someone at church, the library or the grocery store. Now it’s about online dating, apps and reality TV. Which is fine and dandy for some, but not all singles. Summer says matchmaking offers a more personal, private and offline approach.
“It’s the second oldest profession in the world,” Summer said, “an age old tradition that has been practiced in many forms around the globe: from the Ming dynasty in China, to the Bantu tribe in Kenya, to the Upper East side of New York.”
And now Gold Coasters are in on the act. Mate4Life is helping people find an exclusive and enduring relationship and it’s a very specific audience she’s working with, although they all have something in common.
“Only people who are serious about finding a new compatible partner to have a long term relationship with hire matchmakers,” Summer said.
Their core motivation often comes from feeling apprehensive – disheartened and fatigued with their current dating life and the options they have.
“They all want a more human and authentic approach to finding a new partner. They are individuals who value privacy and respect and who prefer face to face communication and interactions. They are patient, open and have a sense of humour.”
Summer says they’re often people who consult professionals in other areas of their lives “so it makes sense to them to hire a professional when it comes to their love life.”
The end goal of matchmaking isn’t about dating. It’s about looking at long-term compatibility rather than romantic love at the onset.
“This is a detailed process that requires time, patience and trust from all parties,” Summer explained. “People hire matchmakers because what they have been doing has not provided the outcome they desire. In order for the process to work they need to be open to a new and different approach.”
For Summer as a matchmaker, that means getting to know her clients very well, and manually and personally screening all of their potential matches. It’s also her job to manage expectations and taking the pressure off dating and getting to know someone new. And while she’s obviously a vocal supporter of slow love and the art of matching people using traditional techniques, Summer isn’t opposed to contemporary forms of finding love.
“I went online for research and found my partner,” she says. “Which goes to show the Universe sure has a hell of a sense of humour!”
“Different platforms work for different people and at different stages of their lives. Almost a quarter of all Australians are using at least one online dating site or app. There you do all the work. They are great if you have lots of time on your hands and are into the numbers game of dating, and perfect if you want to go on lots of dates with people who may or may not be dating for the same reasons you are.”
When Summer decided to take this matchmaking thing up a notch, she enrolled in an accredited matchmaking course at the Matchmaking Institute in New York. The institute has core values around customer service, dignity, the importance of human relationships, integrity and competence. It’s the place she found her feet, met like-minded matchmakers and studied the history of matchmaking as well as its place in modern society.
“It was fascinating. My classmates were a real mixed bag: all ages, cultures and backgrounds both personally and professionally. We studied a variety of interesting topics including the reasons people use a matchmaker and what makes a good match. My teachers were successful and well established matchmakers passionate about their profession.”
So, without giving all the secrets away, what makes a great long-lasting match?
“An open heart and mind. Patience and sense of humour. Compatibility and rapport,” Summer said.
“Fictional love stories put too much pressure on instant attraction and chemistry. Author Alain de Botton makes a fascinating comment on chemistry. He suggests that often the only reason we don’t feel instant chemistry or spark is because we don’t feel that person can make us suffer in a familiar way.”
Love can sometimes feel like a rom-com or a fairy tale but in reality it is a crazy and evolving adventure. Not a staged and controlled story that we get swept way with to escape the real world.
And that heart-shaped freckle on the inside of Summer’s left arm? In ancient times that was known as the mark of the matchmaker.
“I have always been drawn to things considered by some as old fashioned or a little left of centre,” Summer said.
“I believe this is my true calling.”
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Find out more about Summer’s services at mate4life.com.au.