A real life cupid in Prague?

My Tinder and Inner Circle loving self tried a match making service just in time for Valentine’s Day

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I have always been skeptical of personal matchmaking services. The speed dating, the long interviews, the OKCupid-style forms on Excel, the men who never seem quite right. But recently an interesting story came across my desk and, having just ended a relationship in London, I figured it was worth a shot.
Find L’Amour, as the dating service is called, was founded by Katarina Nemcova the “heart” and Lukas Maly the “brains” after Ms Nemcova returned from the US where she worked for one of the top matchmaking firms before deciding to establish her own exclusive service in Prague.
The two cater to a mainly foreign male and local female population pulling from a vast network of databases from around the world. Apart from private matchmaking clients they tutor Czech men in the field of love, relationships, etiquette. “We teach men how to walk, talk and dress, how to impress and treat a lady, how to be a gentleman,” says Ms Nemcova.

Matchmaker Katarina Nemcova teaches Czech men how to be gentlemen
Matchmaker Katarina Nemcova teaches Czech men how to be gentlemen

The majority of her clients are either recommended her service through friends, are far too busy and rarely have time to meet people in real life, or those who feel that other options, like online dating, do not offer high quality profiles.
I fall into the middle category and after a few back and forth emails, which included me filing in my profile, sending in pictures of myself and former flames, I met Nemcova in the Jalta Hotel to sign up for the three-month “silver package”, 6,999 CZK. It includes a 24-hour helpline.
Our meeting started off with Ms Nemcova explaining how she hopes she can bring, “Something meaningful for people and contribute to their happiness.” I, however, am just hoping I don’t get set up with someone who happens to be a narcissist or has a borderline personality disorder!
“We do a check-up on each person for speed dating and conduct a private consultation before clients meet one another,” she reassures me about my fears of meeting psychopaths. I wish I could say I feel at ease, but I don’t.

Como Restaurant is hook-up headquarters
Como Restaurant is hook-up headquarters

The 90-minute interview commenced and we discussed past relationships, cringe; future relationships, career, personality type I am most attracted to, my bedroom style (am I dominate, submissive, vanilla?) – yes, it does get that personal – and the preferred location of my potential soul mate.
I had wondered what makes Ms Nemcova a match-making guru, how is it that she would be better at finding a potential partner than me? “Very often,” she explained, “there is a fundamental difference between what people want and what is good for them. I have had many relationships in my past and I have learnt it takes time to get to know the person.”
Ms Nemcova certainly doesn’t shy away from bold dating advice. A list of tips for single ladies recently posted to the company’s Facebook page includes “Sleep with him as soon as possible” and “Tag his FB status ‘In a Relationship’ with you!”
Am I ready for this?

A recent speed dating event
A recent speed dating event

The next morning my first set of matches arrived, mostly men from the UK and one or two from the US. Handsome and well-off, they were the type of men I would go for if I was say, looking for a sugar daddy 15 years my senior. An email was sent, discussions were had, and the following day I received a list of age-appropriate men.
After about a week of profile scouting I was matched with an Italian gentleman living and working in Prague. We had dinner at Noi, talked about friends we had in common, our lives in Prague, family and the like, though it became clear that even though he was incredibly charming and well-spoken, we just didn’t have that spark so we friend-zoned each other straight away.
After striking out Ms Nemcova recommended I come to a speed-dating event regularly hosted by Find L’Amour (no membership required) where I could survey the local landscape; it’s flat for those who want to know. My best match ended up being the woman sitting next to me as we discussed relationships and being single in Prague. We exchanged phone numbers and emails at the end of the evening.
I still have two months left on my membership and while Ms Nemcova still seems confident she’ll find me that special someone, I am not giving up my Tinder or Inner Circle just yet.

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