Real estate agent Yvette Wright was never sold on online dating so she has established her own dinner party-style business for Christchurch singles. Photo / Geoff Sloan
Yvette Wright is single, and looking – looking out for Christchurch’s hopeless romantics.
The Lyttelton-based real estate agent has diversified into matchmaking, with a dinner party-based club for the wary and lovelorn scheduled to hold its first get-together later this month.
The 52-year-old would have launched Connect2Twelve earlier had Covid-19 not crashed the party though the pandemic might actually pay off in the long run.
“I think it’s made people look at their lives a little bit as well and maybe be a bit more proactive in relationships and social networking,” Wright said.
She went to ‘Table for Eight’ events during a 22-year stint in Sydney, the catalyst for establishing her own alternative to online dating.
“I love dinner parties and meeting people that way,” she said.
“I’ve tried online dating, it can be soul-destroying. I know some people do have success, I’m not knocking it, I just didn’t like it.”
Of course she has her own online horror stories, the sort of staple dinner conversations she hopes to avoid around her tables in future.
“It’s the usual story, they don’t look anything like their picture. One gentleman was nearly 20 years older when he finally sent me a current photo. I felt so humiliated and betrayed, I had invested my emotions into this communication and right from the start it was a lie,” Wright said, before relaying a girlfriend’s brief, though galling, encounter.
“He sat down and asked her: ‘Are we going to be having sex tonight?’ and when she said: ‘No’ he just got up and walked out. He only sat down with her for five minutes.”
Wright, who returned home to Christchurch three years ago, acknowledged online dating was an obstacle, yet the likes of Tinder might also work in her favour.
“There’s a lot of fake profiles with girlfriends, husbands and wives trying to catch each other out,” she said.
There are also safety issues associated with meeting at random.
“At least with a matchmaking type of service you’re eyeballing somebody. You can see their face and their emotions, you can read people.”
Wright vets all her prospective clients before they are cleared to pay the $375 annual membership fee.
“I have a really good instinct with people and if I want to do a bit of a (police) check, my clients know about that up front,” she said.
Wright revealed she had rejected two women already. One was recently divorced and probably not ready, the other seemed too competitive.
“The (divorcee) needed to take some time out and I thought the other one would take over conversations. There was a bit of a jealous streak there.”
Meanwhile, Wright insisted female clients had nothing to fear from her as a potential love rival in spite of her privileged position.
“I don’t want to be competing with them and it’d be easy for me to do that considering I’m meeting the men first,” she said.
“It’s unfair to the women if I’m putting myself out there. I’ll probably end up meeting someone who runs a restaurant.”