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The Short Version: Much like homebuyers often need help from a real estate agent, singles can benefit from help with dating. In the Baltimore area, Tammy Tilson and Kimberly Simonetti, of The MatchPro, work with singles to match them with compatible partners and sort out all the planning details of their first date. As a dating concierge service, Tammy and Kimberly find interesting, intelligent, and attractive singles, then set up the date, reserve the table, and prepare their clients for the special night. All clients have to do is take a shower and show up, and they could find themselves sitting across from the love of their lives.
People often seek assistance from a real estate agent when looking for a new house or from a headhunter when they’re trying to find a new job, but many people could also use that kind of help in the dating world.
Take Kevin, for example. He was an active, fun-loving guy who asked me out while he was staying across town. I said yes — but almost immediately regretted it.
He suggested dinner but was unsure about where we should meet. He also told me he’d have to let me know what time he could make it out. Then Kevin texted to say that he was just visiting, so that might influence my interest in meeting up with him.
I wasn’t sure what that was supposed to mean, and I was still confused about the location and time of your dinner date. Much like someone looking for a home or a job, Kevin could have used some help. In this situation, what he needed was a dating concierge.
Tammy Tilson and Kimberly Simonetti, of The MatchPro, provide that service for their clients. These matchmakers offer full-service assistance to connect people with potential love interests, and make sure that each client is both mentally and physically prepared for a date — they even help set up the evening.
It’s a personalized specialty service that many modern singles can benefit from.
“They don’t have a problem hiring a headhunter or a real estate agent, but, for matchmaking, it’s more personal, and it can be a little more difficult. It’s an investment, but it’s personal,” Tammy said. “We have your best interest at heart. Our goal is to create families, and that really drives us.”
The MatchPro started back when Tammy, a licensed psychotherapist, began her private practice in 2004. Like so many therapists, she’d often hear stories of relationship troubles, including divorces and difficulty finding the right partner. A few years later, when she went through a separation of her own and was thrust back into the dating scene, she got a firsthand look at what it took to date in today’s modern world.
“I found myself even more interested in my therapy clients’ issues regarding their partner or if they were having trouble finding a partner. So I started a separate business as a dating coach, where I helped people with their online profiles, dating strategies, building up their self-esteem, or managing their anxiety,” she said.
Meanwhile, Kimberly had a successful career as a professional photographer and was steadily booking more portrait sessions for singles who needed great shots for online dating profiles. When Kimberly’s stylist told her she was considering meeting up with Tammy, Kimberly had an idea.
“I looked up Tammy, called her, and said, ‘Let’s meet for coffee.’ We hit it off, and the rest is history,” Kimberly said. “We started referring business to each other, and one day Tammy said, ‘I need a partner.'”
Today, the pair is one of the most sought-after matchmaking teams in the Baltimore area.
Most clients who seek out The MatchPro range in age from their late 20s to early 70s. Singles in the younger demographic often lack conversational skills and are exhausted from meeting people who prefer to play games or aren’t ready for a serious relationship. Older clients, for the most part, have been married before and are looking for someone new.
“We can do things online dating can’t, even with all the technology out there,” Kimberly said. “Who knows if everyone is giving their real name? We’re able to see if there are criminal concerns or if they’re still married. We set up the introduction; we make the reservations, and we follow up, just as any concierge would do.”
“We have great reviews because we only take people when we think they have the right mentality and are coachable. We have to ensure we’re a good fit for each other.” —Tammy Tilson, Founder of The MatchPro
Sometimes, people aren’t quite ready for dating, even if they come to The MatchPro thinking they are. That’s when Tammy uses her training and expertise to help a client emotionally and mentally prepare before setting them up. Others need the help of a stylist or makeup artist, who also work with the pair.
“If people aren’t in the right headspace and their expectations are unreasonable, we don’t want to take them. It’s not worth it,” Tammy said. “We have great reviews because we only take people when we think they have the right mentality and are coachable. We have to ensure we’re a good fit for each other. It’s a mutual decision.”
Tammy describes her matchmaking and coaching style as gentle, while Kimberly said she has a more direct and humorous approach.
“A lot of people who come to us are jaded and frustrated and down on themselves, and they may feel ashamed or embarrassed that they’re seeking our help,” Tammy said. “But, using my therapy background, I try to build them up and give them ways to accentuate their positive features.”
The pair is always on the lookout for quality singles to add to their ever-growing database. Kimberly and Tammy both network at singles events and even keep an eye out in the line at the dry cleaners for people they think their clients may find attractive.
“We get to know them, send them on dates, and get their feedback. We get more successful throughout the process, but we also develop a relationship,” Tammy said. “Even after their membership expires, we keep in touch. It shows we care. We’re not a franchise, we’re from here, and it’s a tight community.”
Because they work so closely with their clients, Kimberly and Tammy said they love it when they make a successful match.
“I feel charged up and excited when we make a connection,” Tammy said. “We are passionate about what we do. I want to help people who feel alone, discouraged, or embarrassed. They think, ‘Why can’t I meet someone but everyone else can?'” Tammy said she never thought she would be a matchmaker. It just happened organically, and she’s proud to give people another option to finding a match.”
Kimberly agreed, adding that it feels wonderful to know that the pair is helping create future families.
“Let’s face it. Isn’t that what we all want at the end of the day? It’s not about what you own or who you know, it’s who is by your side. That’s family,” she said. “For us, it drives me to get out of the bed and see what kind of family I can create today.”
The pair is now looking to spread the word about the benefits of hiring a dating concierge and expand their network well beyond the Baltimore area with the help of a reality show in which they’re participating.
“We’re constantly on the prowl, looking and investigating,” Tammy said. “We’re out in our day-to-day lives, talking to people and networking. You have to be a go-getter. We love doing that for other people.”