Wilhoite was walking by a bookstore when she spotted Greenwald's first book, Find a Husband After 35, in the window. She read it over, then went on to purchase her second, Have Him at Hello, and then e-mailed the veteran matchmaker for advice. She wound up enrolling in Greenwald's boot camp after asking her for date-coaching help and being rejected.

She'll still occasionally ask Greenwald for advice. To date, Wilhoite's greatest difficulty has been developing a brand inside the Mormon community without accidentally offending it. "I look at my website, and I ask myself, 'Does that really represent this population?'" she says. "'Does that capture my message?' I get nervous and think, 'Can I do this?' Rachel's so good at it."

*****

Rachel Greenwald's list of happily-ever-afters includes her own: She found her husband through her own marketing strategies.
Marea Evans
Rachel Greenwald's list of happily-ever-afters includes her own: She found her husband through her own marketing strategies.
One of Jaime Richards's earliest successes was finding a mate for her own mother.
Jim J. Narcy
One of Jaime Richards's earliest successes was finding a mate for her own mother.

Whether through intention or some sort of occupational hazard, a first meeting with Greenwald feels a lot like a first date. By the time she's ready to leave Cucina Colore, Greenwald has even split dessert, a bread pudding she charmingly recommends to clients she sends to this restaurant. After she takes the last bite, her spoon is clean and she politely places it on the very edge of her plate, which she then moves to the corner of the table for the waitress to collect. She does not reach for the check. She has probably never had food in her teeth in her entire life.

As she stands, smoothing down her skirt and gathering her bag, her last words are on the industry. "The hardest part is the emotional roller coaster," Greenwald says, brushing a strand of hair from her glasses. "When your client gets married, when they invite you to the wedding, when they send you a letter from their honeymoon, those things are too few and far between all those moments of sadness, loneliness, rejection, denial and fear."

The exceptions are clients like Elena Wechsler. Had the 38-year-old Harvard radiology instructor's parents not called Greenwald for help in 2005, that photo in the New York Times might not exist. With Greenwald's help, Wechsler prioritized dating, went shopping and created an online profile, which is how she eventually found Simpson. The couple recently welcomed their second child.

The best part of the job, then, is the freedom to create happiness — what Greenwald refers to as "the magic." It's still possible to create a marketing empire based solely on filling mankind's greatest emotional need. "We still think of matchmaking as the little old yenta on the corner, and there's less expectation that we'll be certified in some way," she says. "It interferes with that leap of faith and the belief that it's still magic. Because it is. It's magic."

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10 comments
Laura
Laura

What a fascinating and enlightening article. It's hard to be single, and Rachel brings great hope and determination to an otherwise frustrating and sad experience with dating. Rachel's positive spirit, her passion for others' happiness, and her smooth, easy manner are all elements of her success. But she's also a great, down-to-earth mom, wife and fabulous friend.

michelle g
michelle g

Hmmm . . . I found my amazing husband for FREE.

Sonya
Sonya

I think all that matters is that the people wanted a partner and the matchmaker got it for them. Does it matter how? She got the results. Shrug.

Jack Mackadoo
Jack Mackadoo

This is a fine story, Kelsey. But I will admit that I'm skeptical about utilizing the services of a matchmaker. I can see the pros and cons of it: Pros--especially with online dating, outsourcing the daunting task of weeding through hundreds of potential dating partners to find the ones that are a good fit is a huge time-saver, and a stranger can often advise you better than family or friends on what your strengths/weaknesses are with regard to dating capital. Cons--it's expensive, it's methodical, it's calculated, and the matchmaker's job is to get your ass down the aisle, but at the end of the magical fairy tale it's still you in the prom dress.

If a matchmaker's success is rated by how many couples she gets married off, then what makes her different than a chapel in Las Vegas? I would measure success by how many couples she matched who are in healthy, happy marriages after one year---five years---ten years.....

Leighsin
Leighsin

This is the most ridiculous use of an MBA from Harvard...not to mention the idea that we continue to put women in these horrific roles to "hunt" down men based on the very stereotypes we have tried so hard to get away from...shame on Westword for making this a cover story about a very shallow woman who has learned to capitalize on other people's need to find a partner

pleaseletsfixthis
pleaseletsfixthis

I find Ms. Greenwald’s business a bit appalling. People in the 1960s and 70s expended a lot of effort to break down discriminatory policies and to support and create opportunities for women to go to business school. It is disappointing to me that Ms Greenwald took the opportunity thus created to go to Harvard Business School and chose to spend it in this way. Isn’t she reinforcing patriarchal marriage, where the woman is the primary parent, disenfranchised and demobilized in deference to men in the political economy, and oppressing the children because that’s the only power she has? I am worried she is charging huge amounts of money to people who are vulnerable and who don't understand the ramifications of patriarchal marriage and that modern, two-earner, two parent egalitarian marriage is now available (and is especially widely pursued by Gen-Y and Millenial age men and women, but also by many in Ms. Greenwald’s Gen-X cohort). And she is training other women to do this. Is this kind-of like a cult?

It is interesting to compare Ms. Greenwald’s approach to that of some other women Harvard Business School graduates of her Gen-X era: Sheryl Sandberg and Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. Ms. Sandberg, Facebook COO, shares equally the unpaid work, responsibility and power of her home, including parenting, with her husband. And she married her good friend, by the way; Is it a coincidence that she is capable of being friends with men (and didn't need a matchmaker) when she has this more adult and responsible attitude? Ms. Sandberg also just served as one of the chairs of the prestigious Davos Financial Forum. Ms. Tzemach Lemmon, Newsweek editor and the author of the bestselling book “The Dressmaker of Kabul”, has done excellent reporting about businesswomen in places like Afghanistan and busts stereotypes that US warmongers circulate about the US needing to go to war to protect the women there.

Some of the most serious harms of the patriarchal marriage fall on the children; I gather Ms. Greenwald doesn’t really reach that issue. They range from abuse/neglectful/traumatic parenting by both men and women, high divorce rates, biological clock issues in the children of men who father children at older ages, and children having to take care of mothers who can’t stand on their own.

She says she has few successes in her business; are these serious flaws in her business model the reason?”

Chesterton
Chesterton

Western Civilization will be much better off when it returns to honoring the traditional family, with Husband, Wife, and children. All of these experiments with bizarre alternatives are proving to be failures. Worse of course is the single mother paid by the state to raise children without a father. That results in boys who are utterly without male role models, resulting in gang behavior, no work ethic, poverty, crime. And many women are finding that after wasting their childbearing years toiling in a thankless corporate world they are left with nothing, no family, and for some only grudging respect of the business world. Money can't buy you love in that case. The folly is in pretending that men and women are interchangeable and that God did not create men and women with unique characteristics, the melding of which in the form of the family, results in the correct situation for life, and for the world. Most of the time people like to point to one bizarre family they know that is good, such as two men, two women, or any other combination of people, and then extrapolate that to the bizarre conclusion that therefore the traditional family means nothing and any combination of people should work just fine for everyone. Thousands of years of history prove what is right. The current experimentation will prove to be wrong. Nature will win out in the end.

pleaseletsfixthis
pleaseletsfixthis

You don't "buy" love, in any case. I would suggest that if you think you can, you may not really know what it is?

I imagine these are scary times for people who have not adjusted to the progress of the 20th Century. Having women do things like go to Harvard Business School is particularly scary to people who have issues from the female-dominated childhoods that patriarchal marriage insists upon. If you are having trouble adjusting to being a real dad, a book many men have found helpful is "The Modern Dad's Dilemma" by John Badalament.

You are correct that nature will win out in the end, though: there is no God. That is a fantasy created by the dysfunctions of the patriarchal family, which is a stop-gap (i.e. temporary) invention created only because paternity could not be proven and disproven. Our political and legal system has not quite caught up yet, but it will soon. In the broad range of human evolution, patriarchal marriage and male monotheistic religion is but a blip.

 
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