But it was still very different to going on a date with a random bloke I met in a bar, or someone on Tinder.
Mainly because the emphasis was on getting to know each other – there was no expectation that we’d be going home together at the end of the night (as Mairead had already said “it’s certainly not a shag-fest”).
Like everyone I’ve become so used to virtual interaction, and to an ill-defined dating life characterised with shades of grey, that the whole experience felt quite alien. We cushion our interactions with the opposite sex with euphemisms and half-truths, lest we hurt their feelings or they hurt ours.
In many ways the experience was easier – a third party conducting things meant there were no miscommunication, and the amount of money people were sinking meant everyone was pretty committed to meeting a partner. We limit ourselves tentative text messages and emails so we never get hurt. That’s the point though – Berkley International is designed for the sort of people who have neither the time or the inclination to mess around.
The other party gets the message pretty quickly, and that’s the end of that.
Some of the models represented by the agency have posed for Glamour, In Style and Numero magazines.
Despite this, it still stings a bit when I hear that one of my dates agrees with my assessment.
Normally, if you go out with someone and don’t feel like there’s much chemistry, you just stop replying to their text messages.
They don’t use algorithms to match their clients, everything is based on personal introductions, the feedback they accumulate from you after each date you go on, and a good dose of gut instinct.
And – here’s the crunch – it costs between £10,000 and £50,000 to join.