All the agencies I saw regulate the process carefully: I had to sign confidentiality agreements, show ID and wait while they ran checks.
Kate is adamant that a first meeting should last no more than 90 minutes and should take place in a hotel lounge or cafe, somewhere with privacy but where there are plenty of people about, too.
“Websites do work,” she tells me, “but an introduction service takes all the hassle out of it and ensures that anyone you meet is at least likely to be compatible.” Mary introduces me to Kate, a psychologist who quizzes me on my previous relationships.
She tells me to keep an “open mind” and promises to be in touch after she has discussed my profile with her colleagues.
Suddenly, the idea of a professional matchmaker sounded appealing. Fees range from around pounds 1,000 for half a dozen introductions to as much as pounds 60,000 for a global search for your perfect mate.
I’ve been married, and enjoyed a long relationship since my divorce in 2003.
I have fabulous friends, work I love and, recently, a house to renovate. But if I’m really honest, this time of year leading up to Christmas can make me feel lonely.