Cleveland Cupid does lunch

Mike Green keeps a modern-day version of the little black book. His is a very fat, 500-name-strong list of “the right kind of people” on his computer database files. Green, 45, of University Heights, owns Lunch Date, a 10-year-old dating service that he says resulted in nearly 300 trips down the aisle. A former sales and marketing executive, Green's claims to fame include meeting every client personally and once accidentally setting up a brother and sister. Kathleen Murphy Colan asked Green a few questions about Cleveland's dating scene and how to handle the slippery territory.

So who are your clients?

White-collar professionals from 12 counties in Northeast Ohio. I like to think they're sharp, streetwise, well-educated and well-traveled. They range in age from 25 to 74, and the biggest group goes from 35 to 45.

You don't use the internet, don't videotape candidates or take photographs, so people are really going on “blind” dates, based on one meeting with you?

That is correct. Remember I'm gathering information on clients who are opening up and telling me who they are and what they are seeking in another person. I use this information to make appropriate selections which generally are successful.

So, Mike, we're meeting here today at Lucky's Cafe in Tremont. Don't you think that's kind of funny? A matchmaker hanging out at Lucky's?

(A grimace.) To me, it's really a serious buisness. I'm not fond of the “matchmaker” term. I try to downplay that aspect.

Do tell about the brother/sister hookup

We had a women who was very, very particular about her matches. Her match had to be of a certain height, religion, geographical area, etc. We presented a candidate that I thought was appropriate. She excitedly agreed to meet him and he he had agreed as well. They met and, oops, they're brother and sister, who haven't spoken in over 15 years. The end result? They might patch things up and spend four hours together.

Tell me another funny story.

We arranged a match at a restaurant and the two clients were unable to find each other. The female client calls me and informs us her hair color has changed from blonde to red. We call the restaurant to try to salvage the date. The hostess goes on the intercom and announces to the entire restaurant, “Frank, the women you're meeting, Liz, has changed her hair color from blonde to red!”

What's the etiquette for a first “Lunch Date”? Who should pay?

I highly recommend that the men pick up the check on the first date. I'm kind of old-fashioned on this one and I like to pay for the first few dates. We've had instances of highly paid CEO-types asking their dates to pay for half of lunch. Needless to say, that never goes over well with the ladies.

What's your best advice for anyone going on a first date?

Be yourself. Be real. Listen. Don't talk about yourself the whole time. Keep good eye contact. Practice good table manners. Don't look at your watch. Have fun.

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