Finding true love isn’t likely to happen with a guy showing up 326 feet away on a dating app. It’s not impossible, but definitely a challenge. And most matchmaking services are for heterosexual couples or they just dabble in same-sex relationships.
Not at He’s For Me, a Texas-based matchmaking service exclusively for gay men. They’re branching out to connect like-minded men anywhere in an offline environment that brings a real personal touch.
We were intrigued by this service so we chatted up founder and president, Tammy Shaklee on her unique business model.
He Said Magazine: You’re straight. Why start a matchmaking service for gay men?
Tammy Shaklee: As a Dallas client said it best, “We’ve been doing your hair, flowers, weddings, catering, and interiors for generations, so it’s about time you (straight women) work for us!” I believe the pro-equality movement invites straight allies to join in support, and offline matchmaking is what I know.
We bring traditional introductions, courting and dating to the men who want a strong foundation for a long-term relationship and future family. When I couldn’t refer a gay friend to the same matchmaking company I used because they didn’t serve gays, I was dumbfounded since it’s been in business since 1990. Then I got pissed. And I thought, if gay men knew how to create this for themselves, they would have. I knew my experience in news, politics, and philanthropy provided me the interviewing skills, savvy, and empathy to serve those deserving discreet and professional, quality introductions (which is how I met my husband).
HSM: What makes H4M different than, oh, Grindr or Scruff?
TS: Offline matchmaking is the “opposite of the app” we are proud to say. We’re a human team, not an algorithm. We spend time to interview and get to know the real person, and match them based on compatibility. It’s much more than populating a field in a profile. There’s no lying when you are vetted in an interview, and complete a criminal background check. And we coordinate every detail of the match, from date, time, location, reservation, to a personal feedback process. We do everything but go on the date for you.
HSM: How do you vet the guys who join the service?
TS: It simply starts with a phone call, with detailed questions before we even invite you in for an interview. Then we will interview for two hours, before inviting you to become a client. We will only engage you if we feel we can be successful in setting you up. If your expectations are reasonable, and you’re serious about a relationship, we want to get you on a match within two weeks. We vet the bachelors to see if they are truly eligible as if we were setting you up with our own brother (if he were gay, of course).
HSM: What’s your favorite match gone right?
TS: “I’m a sucker for redhead,” was a line that inspired me early on. While we match clients to clients (only if they’re compatible), we also scout for our clients. With clients from 5’5″ to 6’7″ and ages 23 to 75, we are constantly scouting for (and vetting) compatible bachelors. I love when we can introduce high profile men in the community with a regular professional guy, who’s great in so many aspects but isn’t known in the gay circles, or doesn’t attend LGBT events. There are so many quality but unknown eligible bachelors in every city. Gay men will contact us and do a Skype interview even before they’ve moved to Texas. We match them upon their arrival, and they don’t even have to hit the bars, or go online.
HSM: What’s your best advice for a man to show his best side with a matchmaker or otherwise?
TS: We love men to be honest with us. We want to find and match them with someone who is going to love them for exactly who and how they are. But we will inspire men to get ready for that introduction, whether it’s increasing fitness levels, freshening that first date wardrobe, or even extreme things like quitting smoking or shaving that trendy beard that’s not working. Gay men can be wildly critical of each other, so we’re here to help men make a great first impression. We encourage them by even coordinating the second date, if both enjoyed each other’s company but can’t decide whether he’s the one. Matchmaking is a process, and we help open the mind and heart to a great guy that’s the real deal.
HSM: Where are you expanding to next?
TS: At this month’s annual International Certified Matchmaker’s Conference in NYC, we were wowed with other matchmakers referring most eligible bachelors from where they live and work. With already a list of a dozen other states, and a dozen other countries, we’re collaborating to serve and match as many gay men as possible. With quality clients in Dallas, Houston, and Austin, our focus was initially in Texas. Now my company allows us to serve clients from Seattle to the Carolinas. We can even set up our clients where they travel. Your compatible match may not be on your app’s GPS, but he’s on ours. And he’s as frustrated being single as you are.
He’s For Me