Feb 07, 2012 Amanda Seef Uncategorized
“The nice thing about love — love really is we. It’s not about me or I. It’s we. That’s what I love about love.”
— Scott Stowell
This couple’s business is love, and they want to make your love their business.
Lunch Appeal, Liverpool’s professional matchmaking service, works to bring together like-minded people who are looking for love. With about 50 percent of all New Yorkers single, the love company may have met its match.
“We’re more interested in second dates than a first date,” said Scott Stowell. He and his wife, Pam, have run Lunch Appeal since 2005. “Our philosophy is that we would rather take our time and make it a more perfect match, than just get you out on a date.”
“This is a process,” Pam added.
The process started about eight years ago — the sociable couple found themselves stuck inside on a cold, winter evening. An interview on 20/20 was about how to become official matchmakers.
“I just said, ‘Oh, that’s me!’” said Pam. “I was already matchmaking, without knowing I was doing it.”
Both attended the Matchmaking Institute in New York City and came back armed with certification to start putting their love for love to work. While out downtown, they realized Syracuse had a high culture for singles, something that they hoped their business could address.
“People’s lives have gotten so busy that they don’t have the time to meet anybody anymore,” Scott said. “The problem is trying to be in the right place at the right time.”
Their service, they said, is the answer to the right-place, right-time quandary.
The goal of Lunch Appeal isn’t to provide a dozen decent options for dating, it’s to provide one well-matched option.
“It’s not like a grocery store, where you can go in and try five different models on the shelf and you pick the brand you like,” Scott said. “You don’t buy dates.”
58 percent of men believe in love at first sight
51 percent of women believe in love in first sight
31 percent of men find being single stressful
40: the percentage of people not sure if they want marriage
27: the percentage of people who are against marriage
34.5: the percentage of people looking to tie the knot
21.3 percent say they don’t have time or want to stay single
12.7 percent are actively seeking a relationship
46.8 percent are not actively looking for a relationship, but if they met the right person they’d consider it
16.9 percent are dating someone
2.2 percent are “playing the field.”
—Match.com 2012 Singles in America Survey
The science of love
Pam is the mastermind behind the matchmaking, as she works to bring personalized matches to each client. An interview with Pam covers a host of things and information on hobbies, activities, career paths, family situations and personal appearance is collected so that Pam can put her matchmaking expertise to work.
“The biggest thing is talking about what you have learned about yourself,” Scott said.
She helps pair clients with a perfect partner, while Scott helps to offer dating advice, showcasing some mistakes that may have been made and providing insight into previous and future relationships.
“People don’t really know what they want, other than that they want to be happy and have fun,” Scott said. “People spend more time planning a family vacation than they do thinking about who they are going to spend the rest of their life with.”
Both help their clients think about what they want in a relationship or who they may see themselves with for the long-haul. But they also provide good insight on how to be open-minded in the dating realm, seeking out new types of people and throwing away the stereotype of someone’s typical perfect partner.
“What we find is that the people continue to look for the same type of person,” Scott said. “They go after the wrong people. You need to open up your dating parameters.”
“If you’re looking for the person to be with for the rest of your life, go have fun with it,” Pam said.
After the interviews are done, the application is filled out and the conversations about dating have been had, Pam sets up introductions between two date candidates. Whether it’s meeting for a drink during Happy Hour, meeting for coffee or heading to dinner, the introductions are personalized for the two involved. They’re provided with some basic information about each other — first names and descriptions of their appearance, and some information about careers, hobbies and activities.
One thing that is not provided throughout the process with Lunch Appeal, the Stowells said, are photos.
“If you want to pick your date based in looks alone, that’s what the Internet is for,” Scott said.
By not providing photos prior to the first introduction, Pam said the dates are more likely to open up and see the other person for who they are, not what they look like.
“I didn’t want people to choose a person based on their looks,” Pam said. “People want to be accepted and wanted for who they are.”
“Beauty is only going to get you so far for so long,” Scott added.
The duo also runs background checks on each client, checking for violent felonies.
For many people using Lunch Appeal’s services, they may have been out of the dating world for a while, where new technology has drastically changed the scene.
“We need to education about the new dating scene,” Scott said. “With social media, and the rules of texting, it’s difficult to understand sometimes.”
Prior to an introduction, the duo also talk about date etiquette, like how much to talk during a date, and what topics to bring up, and avoid.
“Past relationships should never be brought up on a first date,” Pam said.
A common business practice is also being used in the dating scene, Scott said.
“We tell people, you can pretty much guarantee that the other person is going to Google or Facebook you,” he said. “Whatever is on Facebook, that’s how someone is going to portray you. Be conscious of the image you are sending socially.”
WHEN 6 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23
WHERE Carnegie Cafe at the Maplewood Inn, 400 7th North Street, Liverpool
WHAT A rose ceremony, where singles will be given a rose to give to others they may find interest in
FOR MORE INFORMATION lunchappeal.com
The difference between men and women
The Stowells also work to educate people on the difference between women and men. Scott is writing an eBook to help men become better daters.
“Women are a flower, you have to peel off the layers,” Scott said.
Scott says men, typically, need a lot more help in dating than women. Women are more complex, but tend to pick up on more nuances than men do. Highlighting the differences helps his clients become more successful daters.
“Men want to be physical to get emotional,” Scott said. “Women want to be emotionally attached before getting physical. We tell men, you need to learn to be emotional with women and you’ll get all the physical attention you need.”
They love love
The Stowells have been together for 25 years, and will celebrate their 19th wedding anniversary in March. Through it all, they say they’ve remained best friends.
“We’ve been blessed with an unbelievable relationship,” Pam said.
“We still go out on dates,” Scott said. “We have fun and really enjoy each other’s company.”
And while love is a complex thing, Scott says his favorite thing about it is sharing in each other’s days, and sharing the intimate and personal moments, together.
“The nice thing about love — love really is we. It’s not about me or I,” he said. “It’s we. That’s what I love about love.”