updated 23 Aug 2013, 09:35
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Tue, Aug 20, 2013
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Who's afraid of dating events?
by Diva

Judging from last year's furore over "dating vouchers", it's still taboo to admit you go for state-supported dating events - what more if you've been going quietly for, say, the last 10 years.

That's why we were surprised when these four brave women, all frequenters of events backed by the Social Development Network (SDN), stepped up to share their stories: why they've been going faithfully for years, why they're not giving up on The One and how they don't feel pai seh about putting themselves out there.

Desperate, you say? No way. These are smart, independent women who are taking charge of their happiness - and their lives. And for that, we take our hats off to them.


Genecia Luo, 29, a charisma coach and author of self-help book You Are Possible: Personal Branding Secrets by Genecia Luo, is a former Miss Singapore Universe runner-up (2006) who has participated in several pageants.

She runs personality development training academy Inqueenz and has been using matchmaking services since 2008. Genecia seems to have it all: the 1.75m-tall beauty is confident, eloquent and smart, devouring up to 500 books a year, from investment guides to self-help tomes.

Her training academy conducts talks and personal development workshops for students and professionals. Genecia also works with dating agencies to offer dating coaching and grooming tips to their clients.

She may be a dream girl, but she sees no harm using a matchmaking agency to find her dream guy - someone mature, intelligent and witty. It started when her friend, a co-founder of dating agency The Dating Loft, encouraged her to try matchmaking.

"She had gone on 100 dates before finding her husband. She wanted to see me date and get hitched." But she had reservations. "This was five years ago, when there was still a stigma attached to dating agencies. Plus, people would say: 'You're a beauty queen! Why do you need a matchmaker?'" But she did it anyway.

While she wasn't having serious problems finding dates - she has had four serious relationships so far, all with men whom she met through friends - she felt there was no harm getting extra help. "I learnt not to care about cynics. It's my own life and happiness.

I just see dating agencies as another avenue to meet new friends," she says. Plus, success had placed some roadblocks in her love life. While entering pageants had widened her social circle, "it was much easier to date before I became a beauty queen," she says.

"Back then, people knew me for me. Now, they tend to have preconceived notions about me - that I'm too 'picky' or high maintenance.

I've also met superficial men who just want to hook up." That's also why she prefers to date outside of her social circle. People who don't know her well won't have pre-formed judgments, she reasons.

Dating agency owners have even discouraged Genecia from attending their social mixers as they feel her "beauty queen" status might give her an unfair advantage. She accepts that and is fine with sticking to one-to-one matchmaking. At her dating "peak" in 2010, Genecia went on dates every other day with men she met either through her dating agency, or through friends.

While she hasn't had a relationship with any guy she's met through an agency, she describes most of them as "great guys" who are pleasant-mannered - save for a couple of oddballs.

"I was set up with a guy whose first reaction upon seeing me was to exclaim: 'So you're Miss Singapore International!'" she recalls. But the clincher came when he unexpectedly grabbed her hand to demonstrate a palm-reading session. "I drew back and said 'no, thank you!'"

She has also received three marriage proposals in the past two years - all from men she had only casually dated ("I don't know why they proposed!"). She turned them down. "I want to know someone well before I commit. I don't believe in jumping into a relationship," she explained. Despite the missteps, Genecia isn't giving up. She encourages friends to set her up and is now a client of dating agency Lunch Actually.

She's been in touch with founder Violet Lim (also a friend) to start arranging new dates. After all, she hopes to get married one day. "I'm a toughie at work, but a marshmallow in love. I'm the sort of girl who likes to cuddle up with my guy at the beach and just chill out together."

Genecia's tip: "Be yourself on a date. If he doesn't like your real self, move on. But don't look sloppy, as first impressions count. Put on light makeup, make sure you're well groomed, keep a small mirror in your handbag - and wear your best smile!"



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readers' comments
Well understood! Dating is no easy matter!
Problems are with those who less focused on the important aspects.
Those who marry through dating services should come forward to assist those who still dating but could not get the correct other half.
Posted by Superidiot on Wed, 21 Aug 2013 at 22:42 PM

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