Celibacy affects 18 million French people. A constantly increasing number according to INSEE statistical data, which illustrates a few significant points. All age groups are affected. More than half of single people live in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. Two out of three are women. One in two is over 50 years old. Matchmaking has become a business in itself, trusted by more than 2,000 dating sites and apps. In this jungle, the good old marriage agency, which dates back to 1825 in France (source Wikipedia), appears as an alternative to the virtual.
It’s not just singles who join online dating platforms “in the hope of finding love.” In France, more than 20 million people have their profile there. And it’s already been a long time since Meetic (2001) was the only place to act in this area. Another paradigm that has shifted, using web technologies to meet a soulmate is no longer a shameful act done on the sly, but an act asserted. In conversations, we are Tinder, Bumble, Attractive World or HugAvenue. The websites are compared, analysed, commented on. Especially on their benefits. Most are now equipped with a geolocation system that allows you to find men or women nearby.
The real difference is the algorithm. “Artificial intelligence” which makes it possible to collect profiles and match them. Some databases have more than 5 million members. And it works, we all have couples in our relationships who have known each other through the internet.
The #meetoo syndrome
Philippe, 54, a divorced senior executive, represents the archetype of the potential client. “ It is very complicated today to approach a woman. The relationship in the professional context is totally prohibited. The danger #me too prevents any approach, especially when there is a hierarchical relationship. In a bar or in a night club, places that are suitable for flirting anyway, the same. Everyone can film. The videos immediately ignite social networks. As a result, the physical meeting – based on the feeling, the voice, the look, the shared moment – has almost disappeared. “. Hence the mandatory passage, he believes, through intermediaries. Whether it is artificial intelligence and websites or well-established professionals such as marriage agencies.
The hunt for the true profile!
Study in Marseille. Located on avenue du Prado, a bourgeois artery of the city, the serious dating agency Unicis (we no longer say marriage agency) is invisible from the sidewalk. You need up to 5e floor of a large residence to find, not a boudoir, but a classic functional office, equipped with a computer. ” Our first contact with a prospective member goes through web”, recognizes Aurélie Malagoli, the director of the agency. To enter the file for the group, which has 104 agencies in France, strict conditions are required. Must be ” free in civil status “. This means that in order to apply you must be single, divorced, in the process of divorcing but separated and living alone, a widow or a widower. It is of course a matter of standing out from the dating sites and apps that have has taken the internet by storm.To come across as an anti Tinder or Fruitz.
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Indispensable, financial independence
Another important criterion: financial independence is required. “We only work for people who want to build a long-term, lasting relationship based on trust and sincerity”, explains Aurélie Malagoli. She will therefore check the main points in the file from the first interview. Essential supporting documents such as family status, place of residence or professional activity must thus be presented.
The discussion, scheduled to last an hour and a half, also allows the “matchmaker”, who has an ad hoc professional background, to clearly identify the profile of the candidate in search of a soulmate. “There is no possible lie about appearance, age, height, weight, profession. We are here to ensure that the elements presented are real. But also to understand the process to refine the search. Our goal is that it should match the first person you meet, which happens.”
Few members, but sharp profiles
Innovation 2022, an online character test before the first employment with the agency, makes it possible to better identify the candidates’ expectations, but also their personality. Once the profile is established, software makes it possible to cross-reference them from a base which, for the Marseille region alone, has approximately 2,000 members.
Magali (first name has been changed), a sales manager in the automotive sector, crossed the door of the Prado agency at the age of 30. “The work took me ten hours a day. With websites, I went from surprise to disappointment when I had in front of me the one I had become inflamed about online, just in words. The dating agency has actually saved me endless time “. Now married, the mother of a little boy, she admits that her husband did not meet one of his departure criteria, which was crucial at the time. “He was fourteen years older than me. Aurélie Malagoli had met him when he signed up and convinced me to accept a first appointment. The relationship of trust that we had established made possible what artificial intelligence could never have done. Because I would have immediately rejected his profile on this issue of age that was crucial to me at the time! » ♦
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[pour les abonnés] – A monitored company – The study of 60 million consumers –
- A framed business. Olivier Zaghdoun, CEO of Unicis, notes that in his group’s presentation file “over the past three years, despite the Covid crisis, his group has opened more than 40 branches in France with increasingly younger graduates, although the average age is around 50 years old”. Unicis was founded in Lille in 1973, a golden decade for marriage agencies, and has 104 franchise agencies in France. The investment is around 30,000 euros for branch managers, who therefore undertake to respect a charter.
Some marriage agencies show e.g. specialties, age or rurality. More glaucous, some highlight ethnic or current affairs profiles as an important base for Ukrainian women looking for stable relationships. The web does the same!
- Too many disappointments. On dating sites, 25% of men and women in the panel asked by “60 Millions de consommateurs” magazine failed to get a date. Adrian de San Isidoro, head of the equipment and leisure section of the magazine’s editorial staff, conducted the survey. On the subject, read the Neonmag article here.