The Sunday Times magazine column: dating for millionaires



Berkeley International is the kind of posh dating agency that advertises at the back of Tatler. It is a personal matchmaking service that costs a minimum of £10,000 a year and is described as “matchmaker to millionaires”. I’m not sure what they want with me.

It turns out that, having read my column about Tinder, they reckon they can do something for my love life where technology has failed. They will find me The One. Sure, I say. Then immediately regret it.

Berkeley International invites me to meet its CEO and head matchmaker, Mairead Malloy, at Home House (a posh members’ club in Marylebone). She is going to interview me, then find me potential dates, which she does not do by algorithm but intuition, literally stopping people she finds in the street.

I go to meet Mairead straight from a weekend in the country, so I am wearing ripped jeans and muddy tennis shoes. At Home House, they look me up and down and make me wait in reception.

Mairead is a very good-looking, chatty Irish woman who immediately starts interrogating me about my love life. “Your longest relationship?” Five years. “What happened?” He drank too much. “Do you not like a drink?” Yeah, but… “Are you still hung up on him?” No. “I think you’re hung up on him.” No, I’m not.

“Mairead wants to know what I am looking for. I tell her someone really, really funny. I don’t care what he looks like, although it’d be great if he lived in Manhattan”
Mairead wants to know what I am looking for. I tell her someone really, really funny. I don’t care what he looks like, or how old he is. Although, possibly, it would be great if he read newspapers, if he had an interesting job and lived in Manhattan. Ideally, the editor of The New York Times. She agrees I’d be better with someone foreign, “because British men can be quite conservative”.

She has clients of all ages. The youngest is 18. Why would young men bother with a dating agency? “To meet the right kind of girls,” she says. Yuck. And I think, again, this may not be my shtick.


Read the full column here:

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