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How to find your perfect partner

KATIE Byrne talks to the women who have made it their business to help single people find love life must have been simpler in the era of matchmakers. A single person didn't stay single for long when it was in the interests of all those around them to find them an eligible match.

They didn't so much give destiny a gentle nudge as a hard push. Of course, we must have had fewer expectations back then, too.

It may surprise you that there are still matchmakers in Ireland -- and not just in Lisdoonvarna. Some of them run introduction agencies, some of them help to build confidence and raise poise so that you can initiate those introductions yourself.

If 'The One' has been eluding you, then these ladies may be able to help.


Modern matchmaker, dating expert and singles' event organiser

"The first mistake single people make is that they don't tell people they are single: they need to send out the messages. Some women are just waiting for Mr Right to come and it's just not happening.

"Men need to have more confidence and a 'just do it' attitude. They need to get out there and approach women. Irish men are struggling with confidence and they think they need alcohol to approach a woman. I tell all the men that the women of Ireland would love if more men came up and approached them.

"Even though I call myself a modern matchmaker, I'm very traditional in my approach. It goes back to Stone Age times when men went out hunting. Your job as a woman is to present yourself in a very visual, attractive and feminine way. Men fall in love with their eyes. Women fall in love with their ears. In saying that, there is nothing wrong with a woman starting a conversation. However, I think a man should ask a woman on a date.

"Some women are afraid to act feminine. They say they are 'up for the craic' and enjoy drinking pints with the lads, but a man doesn't want to have sex with another man, unless he's gay. Because gender roles have changed, many women have become these dominant characters in the boardroom.

"I worked with a well-known female entrepreneur who nearly took my hand off with her handshake. She was used to dealing with men in work, but that doesn't work in the dating world. Men don't want to go on a date with a controlling, masculine woman.

"Some women have desperation written all over their faces. It gets in on them and they are not in a happy place in their lives. And men don't want to talk to misery guts; they want to chat to playful, fun characters. It's nearly going back to how you were as a child. That stuff really works.

Q: What are your thoughts on having sex on the first date?

"I think sex is one of the most beautiful things in the world, but we need to remember that it is a gift, especially for a woman. Men love sex. They think about it a lot more than women do. So women can use that to their advantage. If you give up sex on a first date, that can be it for the man -- they have nothing else to chase. I recommend going to date five. If you want a short-term relationship, go out and have your one-night stands, and that's all fabulous, but if you want a long-term relationship, my advice is to hold out. Plus, you're building chemistry, so when it comes to date five it's explosive.

Q: Where should single people looking to meet somebody go in Dublin?

"For women, I would say with rugby season coming up, certain pubs will be packed full of men after the matches. Slattery's is a good example, as is Paddy Cullen's in Ballsbridge. I'm a big fan of pubs such as O'Donoghue's, Doheny & Nesbitts and Kehoe's. I've seen as few as two women in some of these pubs. And they are good, quality men.

"I'm a big fan of the Shelbourne [Hotel] bar, too. A lot of attractive businessmen come in and out and it's a very open space, so you can check out the whole room.

"For men, there are always more women in clubs, and I also advise men to go to more singles' events. The spaces for women at these events always sell-out in minutes, but I have to headhunt men. They are perfect for men because you know they are single, available and interested and the standard of women is second-to-none."

So, you could argue that one gender generally wants love and the other sex. And therein lies the rub: despite the forward march of feminism, men still control the dating arena.

Women are more likely to complain that they "just can't meet anybody". Men are much more relaxed.

To labour an old cliche: it'll happen when you least expect it. The problem with this is that some women never stop expecting it!

Cameron Diaz remarked: "People think if you're single, you are incomplete. The thing is, I don't want to be in a relationship that makes me incomplete."

You have to be complete before you bring somebody into your life. It's only when you are leading your best life possible that you will attract the best possible partner.

Desperate women go to desperate measures -- and they often attract the wrong kind of men. The moral of the story is to relax and go with the flow. There is nothing as attractive as someone who is comfortable in themselves.