Lianne Tregobov has been making matches for 27 years. As it turns out, not even a global pandemic can stop Cupid’s arrows.
"As people isolated alone and restrictions were lifted, we got busy," says Tregobov, the owner of matchmaking service Camelot Introductions. "It gave them time to reflect and to realize that they know who they are and that they want to share life with somebody.
"The first isolation was very, very difficult on a lot of people, so, believe it or not, my December 2020 and January of this year were far busier than what they were last year, pre-pandemic."
Tregobov typically favours an analog approach to her work — Tinder this most definitely is not — which means lots of face-to-face meetings with clients to get a deeper sense of who they are and, therefore, who they might match with. Video chats via Zoom have been helpful in allowing her to continue to serve her clients, who range in age from 28 to 92, but she’s found that her matches are benefiting from having to connect virtually as well. It’s encouraging people to slow down.
"What this pandemic has done is forced people to get to know one another without the physical intimacy, and that’s fantastic," she says. "Because often physical intimacy interrupts the ‘getting to know people’ process. And we always recommend that people wait a significant amount of time before they introduce the physical intimacy."
Matches have had to get creative with their in-person dates, too, so that they aren’t breaking public health orders. "One fellow ordered flowers, had them delivered to her door with a bottle of wine, and then ordered each one of them the same dinner, and they had a Zoom date," Tregobov says.
"And people have walked and walked and walked, for sure."
“What this pandemic has done is forced people to get to know one another without the physical intimacy, and that’s fantastic" ‐ Lianne Tregobov, owner of Camelot Introductions
That said, there has been the odd client who has flouted the rules, which Tregobov wasn’t exactly thrilled about. We want sparks here, not COVID-19.
"I had one client who pulled up to the fellow’s door and said, ‘Hey, I’m outside.’ Just threw caution to the wind, just wanted to meet him and see him and spend time with him," she says. "She didn’t know enough about him to determine whether that would be a wise idea or not."
Meg Gray’s husband died eight years ago.
A friend of Gray’s owns Whitetail Meadow, an events venue south of Winnipeg; Tregobov had left business cards at the opening (Tregobov is also a licensed marriage commissioner). "My friend who owns it grabbed one of the cards and gave it to me and said, ‘Keep this for future reference,’" Gray says. "And that was probably about four years ago. It took me a good couple of years to call her."
In fact, Gray, 63, only started working with Tregobov three or four weeks ago. Gray says embarking on this process during the pandemic is a positive thing.
"I think it relieves some of the pressure," she says. "In normal times, I might have expected a match or to be contacted quite quickly. I know that’s not the case right now, and I’m actually very OK with that."
Mostly, it’s giving her something exciting to look forward to. There’s always a thrill in possibility.
"This pandemic has caused people to pause and take stock of their lives and determine what do they have, and what would they like to have," Tregobov says. "For many people who are alone, the answer was an amazing partner. And fortunately, I can help facilitate that."