You’re 42, single and want to meet the man of your dreams. You want a long-term relationship that results in marriage. But because of your public profession, online dating isn’t for you.
Or you have a strong personality that sends some women running. A good person to meet is Donna Shugrue of Perfectly Matched, a matchmaker business in Colorado Springs that boasts 700 couples now married.
Shugrue has been matching individuals professionally for 23 years. Her gift showed itself early, as she was getting her friends together when she was in high school.
Fast-forward a few decades when she was 40 and recently divorced. Then a Denver resident, she answered an ad in a newspaper there, and for two years, she learned the craft which was to become her life’s passion — helping people find love.
First, Shugrue meets with a potential client and explains the process. She’ll also ask questions such as:
What is your long-term goal, find a live-in without marriage or a monogamous marriage?
“I tell people, ‘Don’t waste your time dating someone who wants to get married if you don’t,’ ” Shugrue said. “ ‘Don’t waste your time dating someone who wants to have kids if you don’t.’ ”
Tell me about your family?
What is your profession and how much do you earn?
In your partner, do you want someone who is more educated than you?
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
“Most people think it’s important to share some if not many interests and activities,” Shugrue said.
She will also ask how important is it that your partner enjoy the activities.
If you’re a non-smoker, would you date a smoker?
The biggest limiting factor, Shugrue said, is that nonsmokers will not meet smokers.
“Smoking, drinking, kids, pets, education, income” are all limiting issues, she said. “Intellectual compatibility is really more important than the level of education.”
“And, of course, attraction” will limit the matches, Shugrue said. “What I do here is opposite than what people do on their own. I start with things that matter and then look to add the attraction.”
Shugrue then asks clients to complete a 46-question test that measures compatibility in temperament, sociability, conformity, affection, religion and finance.
Answers to the 46 questions result in Shugrue knowing her clients quite well. Test results show how analytical clinets are, what type of humor they have, how romantic they are, how they spend money, how tension and anger rate.
She will further interview clients, including asking to see a driver’s license so the client can’t fudge on age. She keeps information in paper files neatly arranged on her desk and in office cabinet. No personal information is kept electronically.
Shugrue said she is working with about 300 clients at any given time.
With the compatibility test results and interview answers in mind, Shugrue will consider someone for a match. She shares some of the match’s information with the client while the client is in her office.
Shugrue then calls the match to share information and determine whether he or she wants to make the first move and call the client.
“I tell people keep it on a friendship level for the first three months,” she said. “Don’t have sex for the first three months. It’s not that long! Once you’re physically involved, you’re emotionally involved. It changes everything.”
Clients who maintain their relationships on a friendship level for three months and don’t move in together or get married for the first year “seem to make it work,” she said. “You should go through one year — all seasons. Someone who works for you in the summer may not work for you in the winter.”
She has decorated her office with posters of movie love scenes, Gone with the Wind and Titanic. Behind Shugrue’s desk is a large frame with photos of couples she has introduced. Many are of children of the couples she’s matched.
Men typically want a younger woman who is fit and trim, even if they have “a gut out to here,” Shugrue said, motioning with her hand. “I tell them if she’s fit and trim, she probably wants someone fit and trim,” Shugrue said. “I don’t mean to pick on older men, but as men get older, they focus more on the physical. As women get older, they focus less on the physical. Women are much more accepting of someone who is overweight.”
Women are concerned with height. Being about the same height is better for “just about everything — walking, dancing, sleeping, everything,” Shugrue said.
Physical attraction is not only the “most important thing,” it is also the “least important thing,” she said. People will take a “nanosecond” to decide whether they are attracted.
One couple involved a woman who was 83, though she “didn’t look it, act it or dress it,” Shugrue recalled. She matched him with someone her age, then later with a man four years younger. They clicked, got married and the groom called Shugrue.
“He said, ‘Donna, you did it! We got married in the Catholic church by a priest! I love her to death, and I love you too!’ ” she said.
In another case, a woman knew just by looking at a potential match’s scores that she would marry him.
“She said, ‘That’s him. That’s the man I’m going to marry. I just have this overwhelming feeling,’ ” Shugrue said. “Three months to that day, they got married and they’ve been together since 2002.”
Overall, “The best thing about my service is people who come here are serious; they really want to meet someone special,” Shugrue said.
“I serve as a filter. It takes care of about all the BS that goes on out there.”
Info: 30 W. Bijou; 260-1000.
Years in business: 23
Number of employees: 1