We spoke to gay matchmaker Jacqueline Burns about what it takes to find love when you’re a busy, high flying individual. It’s not easy setting time aside to date and so we thought we’d find out more about the exclusive world of premium gay matchmaking.
What inspired you to study gay relationships in your post-grad?
It actually all began because my closest friends are gay men. Having always had an avid interest in relationships, I knew I wanted to look into relationship longevity; what keeps a couple together long term and makes a relationship work. It was a gay friend of mine who suggested I look into gay relationship longevity – so I did!
Looking back, my research was remarkably similar to what I am doing now as a gay matchmaker; hopping around interviewing interesting gay men about their lives. And that was 9 years ago!
Describe what it is you do at The Echelon Scene.
Although I founded The Echelon Scene, I also work directly with my clients as their gay matchmaker. I want each and every client to benefit directly from my expertise and give them the best possible chance of finding love. So, I’m a busy bee! I fly around the world meeting, vetting and profiling the most fun, and attractive single gay men, who are passionate about what they do and genuinely seeking a relationship. I get to know my clients extremely well, discuss matches and get them out on dates they are excited about- finally! I offer not only access to single gay men who would never typically join with an agency, but I am their confidante both post and pre-date. I give honest, real, inside dating knowledge that only a gay matchmaker focused on gay relationships for the last 9 years would have.
How and why did you start the company?
It certainly wasn’t an obvious career decision.
The simple answer is that I much prefer matchmaking gay men. I have found that straight men mostly have the mindset that they can find a relationship easily, “because all straight women are always looking for love, right?” And their focus was, for the most part, on physical type. Not why I got into matchmaking.
The Echelon Scene is very focused on finding love, for clients who have this as their goal. For us, this means a 100% focus on gay men. I am finding that this focus allows me to work with the most inspirational gay men in the world. For sure they are looking for someone attractive, but it always goes much deeper than that. They want their relationship to last and to find someone who inspires them and who they can share their life with. This is why I went into matchmaking.
How do you match people? Are there key criteria?
A lot of what I do when gay matchmaking is to really understand my client – what makes them tick, what are their values, what makes them smile, where do they see their future. Having met thousands of men over the years, I have some expertise with this. I also listen to their ideals, their needs and we talk about exes.. everyone’s favourite part.
The Echelon Scene has a process, where I get clients to look at themselves and to probe what’s really right for them. A lot of the time, even with my most emotionally intelligent clients, it’s a learning experience, and what they said they are looking for in their first initial meeting, tends to shift and change ever so slightly. That’s normally when I have my success and my client meets the person they end up with.
What would be your top 3 tips for someone who’s going on a first date?
Look your best. Keep it light and funny. Laugh, smile, listen. Is that more than 3?
You describe romantic relationships as “a marathon, not a race.” Do you think we tend to expect too much too soon?
Don’t get me wrong, I tell all my clients at The Echelon Scene that I fully believe the start of a relationship should be blissful. But the reality is that it’s not always going to be easy and we need to remind ourselves of that. The millennial mentality is ‘why can’t I be happy all of the time?’ We are taught to put our happiness first, and I don’t believe that’s a recipe for success. If you share the same values and hopes for the future, you have the foundation required to overcome short-term challenges and to learn, grow and change together.
Your top piece of advice for a gay person looking for love and not finding it.
Acknowledge that it is not easy. My clients are typically very busy with work/travel and quite simply struggle to find the time to meet men in settings where it is possible to get to know their values or whether they might truly be compatible. Finding love on Grindr or Tinder is, in my opinion, next to impossible.
In something as important as finding a gay long-term partner, it is not unreasonable to say, “I could use some help.” My full-time focus is on finding incredible single gay men looking for a long-term relationship. That is my job, not yours. And, it is one I enjoy because it’s pretty special finding people love.
Jacqueline Burns is founder of The Echelon Scene.