As a divorce attorney, Samantha Daniels’ job used to be helping couples break up. Now she’s helping to bring couples together — she put aside her lawyering to set up as one of America’s most notable matchmakers. And Daniels, whose story is the inspiration for the NBC series “Miss Match” starring Alicia Silverstone, has now brought her talents to “Today,” setting up three singles on dates as part our “Today Gets Personal” series. Here are the three singles Daniels helped in finding the perfect match in time for Valentine’s Day — and the video revealing how things went on their dates!
Top 3 Dating Issues:
1. How do you find the right person?
2. Where do you go to meet people when you're in your thirties?
3. In an age where women have become much more aggressive (a la "Sex and the City"), how is a less pushy person supposed to behave when looking for a potential suitor?
In Her Own Words
"I'm an outgoing, fun-loving, adventurous-type person. I really like doing new and exciting things that I've never done before. And then it's kind of funny because I'm a homebody too. Sometimes I just like to stay home, kick back, and — you know — have a little wine or whatever. But overall, I'd say that I'm an outgoing individual ... I love skiing. I work out. Play the piano, play the violin."
Who She is Looking For
"The type of person I'm looking for is somebody honest, and somebody that I can trust. Trust is very important to me. Somebody who has a good sense of who he is and what he wants out of life. I like a manly kind of man, you know? I like a person that's outgoing and humorous and really doesn't take himself too serious, but knows how to have fun.”
On Using Dating Services
"One time I put an ad in the paper. And that's about my extent of it. People have told me stories, you know, that they tried this particular online service and they met the guy who seemed absolutely fabulous … but he was living with another woman! He was not being honest. And then the woman found out what her boyfriend or husband was doing, and she started calling this girl. I mean, it's just crazy. That made me a little hesitant."
Current Dating Scene
"I'm not really dating a lot. I go on dates occasionally. But that's really it. I really don’t know where to meet people. The traditional method of, like, going out to a bar or a club, I’ve kind of been there, did that. So that's why I was thinking, well, maybe let me try the dotcoms or alternate methods. … When you're younger, everybody would go to the club scene or, you know, go out to the bar or something like that. So that was a means of meeting people because everybody was pretty much like-minded. Now, when you're in your thirties, and you have people that are married, your pool is diminished. Where do you go to meet people? I'm at a loss."
On Being in Your Thirties and Single
"The most frustrating thing is that the pool of men is limited. There are not a lot of single guys out there in their thirties who are really looking to settle down with someone. A lot of the guys are married. And then a lot of them just really don't want to commit. So that is a problem. … I think you do a lot of settling — and I'm not really ready to settle just yet. So, yeah. I think it's a little difficult being single now."
Her Last Date
"We went kayaking. And that was really cool. I think that's one of the most fun things that I've ever done. And we got to know each other on the trip up. But he turned out to be not what I was looking for."
On Getting Married Again
"I'm not ready to settle. I will tell you, though, I meet guys that are ready to get married, and it kind of scares me. Because they are so, like, gung-ho about getting married. But sometimes I think that's a line that they use to kind of reel you in because they know, yeah, she probably wants to get married. But they skip the whole courtship process. I mean, they go so fast, and that scares me because I like to take it slow to get to know the person to find out what they're about so they can get to know me as well."
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The Hardest Part of Dating
The hardest part of dating for me is getting to know what the person is really like. You know, you may invite them over to dinner. They'll help you with the dishes; they'll even help you prepare the dinner. ‘Do you want me to take out your garbage?’ You know, putting their best foot forward. And then after about a month or two, the real person starts to come out. And that drives me crazy. Because initially you like the person in the beginning that's really helpful and attentive. But once they kind of get comfortable, the real them comes out. And that drives me crazy. Like, what happened to that other guy? Where is that person? I wish people would be kind of more up front and honest. Or at least consistent."
"I think it would be a great, great, idea, and a great alternative. Because, as I said, it's difficult to meet the type of people that you want. And if you have this — a pool of men from this matchmaking service who have been screened — and you can say exactly the type of person that you're looking for? I mean, that's almost like a gift. I think that's a great idea."
Top 3 Dating Issues:
1. Where do you meet the right kinds of people?
2. From a female perspective, how do you approach men and dating? Should you be aggressive or meek?
3. Is it OK to date more than one person at a time?
In Her Own Words
"I would say that I'm headstrong and independent. Confident, compassionate, passionate. Kind of quirky, a little bit of a loner at times. I love music. I love to read. I guess I would say I was more on the intellectual side. Music and dancing and all that art stuff, I'm a big fan of, too."
Who She Is Looking For
"The perfect person for me would probably be someone that is independent as well. Someone that, most importantly, isn't looking for someone to complete them, but can be very independent and is happy with their own life. And is driven, and intelligent, and really has their own passion that I can learn from and support them in. I guess I'm also looking for a fan. Someone that I can come home to at the end of the day and, kind of, be the cheerleader for their life, and they can be the cheerleader for mine. Someone I'm inspired by and challenged by. Someone that when I hear about their life and hear about what they do, it inspires me to even push myself further than what I'm doing."
On Alternative Forms of Dating
"I did the online dating, I've done a dating service in New York. … I haven't had much success yet."
The Dating Scene
"I've gone on quite a few first dates. It usually goes really well for the first ten minutes when I ask about what they do and I get to hear about what they do. I find one of two things: either men who never ask you about what you do — either because they assume you don't want to talk about it or they're just not used to that — or then when I do start talking about what I do they usually kind of shut down and get very defensive. And that's kind of the end of it.”
On Dating in Your Twenties
"I think it's really hard because you're trying to balance the career thing. It's the time in your life where you have to commit to that if you want to create something. And yet at the same time, you don't want to do it completely by yourself and then all of a sudden hit 30, 35 and say, ‘Oh, yeah, a relationship would be nice too.’ So I'm really looking for the balance."
On Settling Down
"I guess I'm hoping that whatever relationship I end up in, I won't ever have to totally settle down in the sense of to stop exploring and changing and growing. But it would be nice to have someone to share things with and do stuff with."
On Being Single in New York City
"It's an odd feeling because there are so many people around all the time. You walk by a restaurant, walk by a bar, it's full of people. So you can sit next to people on the subway and in the restaurant and walk by people that you can imagine would be wonderful people to talk to. Someone you would like to have dinner with. But New York's not really set up in a way that makes it okay to walk up to that person and say, ‘Hi, I'm Laura, I'm new to the city, nice to meet you.’ So it's difficult. Because, I mean, it's New York City — there have to be driven, intelligent people out there. I mean, this would be the place to find them. In LA, people come up to you a lot more. It's a city where meeting people and talking to people and schmoozing people is kind of the name of the game, regardless of what field you're in. But it doesn't get much further than that really. You don't find the same kind of passion in LA that you find in New York. The people that I've seen or met or even heard about that live here, the things they do, they're so passionate and so driven and so committed to their ideals and their beliefs — it's really inspiring. In LA, everyone's very friendly, but it doesn't go much further than that."
On Her Dating Skills
Oh, I think I need improvement. First of all, how I go about meeting people — where I go to meet them — because I definitely tend to run into the same people. … And then, I think I come on a little strong and I think I scare them off pretty quickly. And I don't mean to; it's my nature to be very forward. I probably need to back off a little bit."
"I don't know anything about it. I mean, I understand online dating. But as far as a matchmaker, I didn't even know they still existed or were still around. So I have no idea what that is exactly. The only thing I could think of would be someone that just knows a lot of people. I mean, I don't know how else a matchmaker would do what they do unless the person knew a lot of people and got to know them almost like a friend, and then could match them up. The best guy I ever dated was a blind date set up through a best friend. So I definitely think that someone who knows you probably picks people better for you better than you do."
Profession: Trial attorney
Top Dating Issues:
1. What kind of expectations should both parties have for a date, particularly for a first date?
2. What are women really looking for in a guy?
3. What do you do on a good first date?
In His Own Words
"I think I'm enthusiastic. I think I have a perspective on life that is very appreciative. I think my background and how I came up has kind of instilled in me a sense that nothing is forever. And when I'm in a given moment or I'm in a certain situation, I tend to appreciate it. … I like to be physically active. I think I'm a competitive individual in terms of what I do for a profession and in sports and pastimes and things like that.. I take karate, I've been doing that for about four years. I like to keep active in the gym. I weight train. I like to go out. I'm a social individual. I like to go out with friends to bars. I like to go dancing. I am a romantic. I believe in love. I believe in butterflies, and I believe you can make it work — even though my experience might lead me to believe otherwise. I am family oriented — I want to have a family. I believe in communication, I believe in honesty to a point where I'm not guarded and I probably say things I shouldn't say. I love what I do for a living. I'm passionate about my job and I would like somebody that I spend time with to be passionate about something. I love talent. I think talent is the greatest aphrodisiac there is. Whether you're a painter, a writer or an artist — as long as you're passionate about something, I don't think there's going to be any problems."
Who He is Looking For
"I am all about enjoyment. I want to find somebody who enjoys spending time with me as I enjoy spending time with them. People ask me all the time if there's a type. I'd be lying if said I don't look for an attractive woman. I want to be physically attracted to somebody. But I want there to be an intellectual connection, similar hobbies, similar interests. I like spontaneity. I like somebody who doesn't have a whole lot of inhibitions and who knows who they are — what they're about, professionally and personally. And can express what they want. I like career-oriented women. I like women who are independent. I like women who are intelligent. I like women who are capable of expressing what they're like, what they're about. I like a woman to be able to tell me what they like in a guy. And I like being with somebody that, when you're with them, there's a connection that makes you feel better about who you are. Because that's what it's all about. I mean, when you meet somebody for the first time, if you don't have those butterflies initially and you don't get nervous about that person and you don't get excited to see her, then I think that's a problem. And if you don't have that early on, it's tough enough to keep that in a long term relationship."
On the Process of Dating
"I don't like talking about myself. Which is a unique challenge when you're on a date. Because when you're dating, it's an interview. Especially the early parts of it. My nature makes it difficult to go out and meet people and talk about myself. I think a lot of the problem is there's a protocol that's followed on these dates. I mean, you sit down. You say, ‘What do you do? What's your job like, what's your family like?’ And I'm really not one for protocol. I just think it's artificial."
On the Dating Scene
"I enjoy dating. I enjoy meeting new people. I don't enjoy the process of sitting down with somebody I don't know and getting to know somebody. The problem is not meeting people — the problem is finding somebody that you can make a run of it with. And I think that is the difficulty that any single person has in New York City or anywhere for that matter — finding somebody you can see yourself with for a long period of time."
On Settling Down
"If the opportunity presents itself. I am totally up for that. I think I've dated long enough. It's not easy — I go into these things now with a different mindset than I used to. I go into it looking for somebody long-term. As opposed to going into it and looking for somebody just for the experience. I'm up for anything. I really am."
On Alternative Forms of Dating
"I've been on blind dates. And I've been on the type of dates where you have two people that don't know one of the people they're setting up. It's two mothers that meet each other and say, ‘Have you met my son?’ And the other woman goes, ‘Have you met my daughter.’ And all of a sudden you get a phone call and you're going out. I call it a double blind date. I think matchmaking, like Internet dating, is just another opportunity to get out there and meet people. I myself am not on the Internet. Friends of mine do — I have nothing against any of that stuff. But I believe in the good, old-fashioned seeing somebody, then liking one another, exchanges numbers and going out.”
"I have friends of mine that I trust completely. And if I met a matchmaker, so to speak, who I trusted, and they knew me, then there's really be no difference. And I'd certainly go out there and do it — what's the harm? I mean, it's a date, that's all."
On His Ideal Date
"A date without any real plans. You just meet the person and you have the whole night. You need the night. Not one of those one-hour cocktail meetings or just dinner. You meet each other at around 8 or 9 and you just go. You meet for a drink, it all starts with a drink. You have some conversation, you take it from there. That's the best kind of date. You just spend a tremendous amount of time with one another and there's a connection and you just enjoy each other's company. I think that's important and I think it's possible. You just can't be too guarded in these things."
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