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Dating agency promises love... and riches

A Swiss dating agency offers love, but at a price (kyle.narod.ru)

A Swiss dating agency promises to pair up the most demanding lonely hearts by pointing Cupid's arrow in the direction of aristocrats, diplomats and top business honchos.

But it says lesser mortals can also join - providing they pass the rigorous interview and can afford its fees.

The Lord agency, based in canton St Gallen, says it manages to pair up more than half of its high-calibre clients, many of who are based outside of Switzerland.

It posts adverts for some of its more eligible singletons on its website, emblazoned with a large golden crown. On any given week, there multi-millionaires who say they haven't yet struck gold in the love-stakes, or pilots looking to fly on the wings of love.

Vetting

Christoph Rohl, Lord's co-director, says the agency's success is down to thoroughly vetting clients when they apply for membership and assessing their needs.

"We talk to them for a couple of hours and find out about their jobs, their lifestyle," Rohl told swissinfo. "We look at their clothes, their manner and we ask them whether they have property, ships or even planes."

Rohl says it's not possible to guarantee whether clients are truthful about their wealth, but he hints that fibbers are usually found out when it comes to paying up.

"After they've been accepted, we ask them to pay our fee - and then we see if they have the money or not," Rohl explains, adding that the rates depend on factors such as the amount of dates the agency sets up.

And he says there's hope for even the least promising candidates.

"Sometimes we think a guy won't be able to find any lady, because of his [awkwardness] or his looks," he says. "But there are very bright ladies who see through all that and say 'I like him, he's very human, he's well mannered'."

Bumpy road to love

But despite Lord's best efforts, first dates often go wrong, according to Yolanda Decurtiens, a banking executive and a member of the agency.

She complains that many of the men she's paired up with come laden with emotional baggage.

"Sometimes, you'll start off having a nice evening with them, chatting over dinner, and then they start talking about their ex-wives or girlfriends and I just don't want that," she says.

"Other times, you set eyes on them and you know straight off that you're wasting your time!"

Another problem is that some of the more well-to-do fellows have a tendency to be a bit on the serious side, she says.

"Some of them are very formal, far too serious" she complains. "I like to laugh and I'm very open minded and sometimes I feel that I can't even breathe!"

Decurtiens bemoans the fact that older single people with high aspirations have a very tough time trying to find a partner. But she's says the Lord agency is a valuable help.

"I think it is useful, because even though I'm very active and go out a lot, it's still hard to form romantic attachments."

swissinfo, Vanessa Mock

In brief

The Lord agency provides a dating service for members of the social and financial elite from over 60 countries.
Most of its clients come from Switzerland, Germany and Austria.
It claims that it manages to pair up around half its clients.
Less illustrious singletons are also welcome, it says.

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