The Covid close down has seen pubs, clubs and even colleges shut down, so with the traditional avenues that would see boy meet girl blocked off where do love stories begin in lockdown?
The answer it seems is online.
‘Business is booming’ says Fergal Harrington of the, Dublin based, Intro online dating agency, who told, Meath Live
, ‘We are open ten years now and have never experienced anything like the volume of enquiries that we have had since Covid hit, it’s gone off the scale to be honest.
‘We have had actually had to take on more staff since we closed our office a year ago this month and now all seven of us operate from home whereas before we would travel the country meeting people face to face before we accepted them as a client.
‘Now we interview people via Zoom or WhatsApp and honestly we have never been busier, we are booked out for interviews every single Saturday for the next three months and every Sunday for the next five months, the last year has seen a phenomenal leap in our business.
‘I actually think that people are prioritizing relationships more now, prior to lockdown they would always have distractions, they would tell us I can’t do it this day or that day as I am busy at work, or I have to look after elderly parents, but now they seem to be able to find time to look for a relationship.
‘They are more open as well they realise that they may be stuck in their house for another few months so when we do set them up with someone they tend to tell them them how feel a lot quicker than they would have previously.’
There’s a funny side to the online experience as well, and Harrington suggests women handle it better than men.
‘There have been situations where we set up a Zoom call between a man and woman and she has spent the entire call looking up his nose as he didn’t know how to hold the phone properly.
‘Two other funny ones spring to mind , a separated man, we had suggested a match to, called us to say the woman we had lined him him up with was married to the guy his wife had run away with!
‘Another time we set up a woman with a guy from five counties away, now it is important to note this woman was separated but continued to use her married name, so when we asked her how she got on with her Zoom call she told us ‘I got on great and sure why wouldn’t I it was my brother.’, what could we do except laugh.’
Zoom may work for some but Sharon Kenny, who runs Thematchmaker.ie website is not a fan.
She said, ‘ I advise clients not to use it as if you have been on calls like that all day for your job doing it again in the evening can feel too much like work.
‘I suggest they put each other on camera on their phone and head out for a walk so they can show each other where they are and what they enjoy doing.’
Kenny candidly concedes that some people don’t play by the rules, especially the 5km travel restriction, ‘ I would say most people do adhere to it but there are people meeting up outside the 5km limit that is for sure.
‘There is a huge element of frustration out there, the question I am most regularly asked is ‘Will I ever be able to go out on a date again’.
‘I try to coach them in how to be patient, but April 5th, when the restrictions are, hopefully going to be relaxed, cannot come quickly enough for most people.
‘Since lockdown business has at least held it’s own, it is slightly different for me as I am more about face to face meetings with clients, but it’s been okay overall, and I have diversified a little in so far as I have set up an online course called Meet Match And More, which basically gives people the advice I would give them if I was able to meet up with them’.
Love may be in the online air, but it doesn’t come cheap, Harrington’s firm charge €795 for a guaranteed five introductions.
However he says, ‘Can you put a price on finding the love of your life? I don’t think so.’