By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
"She just took my breath away," he said. "I like to go to the race track, and so did she, so we did that. Hell of a nice girl. I lost track of her somehow. You know how these things go."
Then there were the four girls Rubenacker met at a recent MQI Christmas party. After the party, the five went to an LA strip club—a new experience for him, he said.
"There were a lot of women in the club—that shocked the hell out of me," he said. "But the girls were more interested in the dancers than I was! I'm actually still in contact with two of the girls. They're sisters, 23 and 24. They work as models or something. I think they said they were in the film industry."
Rubenacker easily meets Donaldson's requirement that all clients make at least $100,000 per year.
"Sure, you've pretty much got to be a millionaire to join, but nowadays, everyone's a millionaire," he said. "You own a house, you're pretty much a millionaire—it's just not liquid. I wouldn't call that wealthy anymore."
Joining MQI cost Rubenacker $25,000. To a man like Rubenacker, the benefits of membership—like a guaranteed date within 10 days of joining—outweighed the fee.
"Look at the program this way: they do the work for you," Rubenacker explained. "Most successful businessmen work 75 to 80 hours a week to get there in the first place. It's nice to have someone else beating the bushes for you. I hire consultants to do this and that—why not for dating, which is more important to me?"
Lest anyone think Donaldson merely lobs handfuls of random hotties at his clients, he and his matchmakers have an extraordinary single-page "client profile" on the men to help them find their future wives. After a couple of questions on personality and interests, the form asks prospective male members what they're seeking.
"Is obvious breast enhancement okay?" asks one question, which Donaldson says typically breaks 50-50. "Is previously married okay? Is it okay if she has children?"
From there, men have to rank three "look preferences:" Sexy/Sultry, Classy/Sophisticated and Sweet/Girl Next Door. Of the three, Donaldson says most guys put Classy/Sophisticated at the top of their list.
Other questions include "Are there any non-negotiables when selecting a lady for you?"—Donaldson says "smoking" is by far the most popular answer here—and whether the client would prefer his date already have a career or maintain a more flexible schedule so "she has the desire and time to support you in your career or to travel and play with you."* * *
The motivation for the male clients of MQI is straightforward enough: they want to marry—or at least date—beautiful women. "Men have just two requirements of women," said Donaldson. "That they be extremely attractive and have a heart of gold. Everything else can be worked out."
But the explanation for why a thousand women would join MQI is more complicated. "Girls join to get a commitment-minded successful man who will treat them well," said Holly Sparlin, an MQI matchmaker and executive director. "They join to meet someone they wouldn't meet otherwise."
Debra Winkler, Donaldson's partner who also runs a more conventional matchmaking firm, said simply, "We don't want gold diggers." Yet when asked what women look for from marriage, Donaldson listed five elements, the foremost being "financial security."
"It's just easier to match men who are affluent with beautiful women than matching non-affluent men with beautiful women," said Donaldson.
Most of the women in the MQI database are between their late 20s and late 30s. Some stay in the program only a few months; others stick around for two or three years. Maintaining such a large database isn't easy. Every week, a phalanx of female MQI recruiters scopes out high-priced bars and clubs looking for new prospects.
"We recruit at parties, bars, the trendiest places," said Sparlin, who has been with MQI since moving from New York last year. "Anywhere I am, if I see someone who fits the profile, I will approach her. Sometimes it's the Hollywood Highlands or the Sky Bar, but it has also been places like the grocery store or right here in the building. I introduce myself, tell them about my work and ask them if they'd be interested in dating our guys—successful, financially affluent gentlemen who we've already screened."
I spoke to Sparlin during one of her recruiting sessions. Her description of one of MQI's newest clients sounded almost like a personal ad.
"She looks like a cross between Cindy Crawford and Julia Roberts," said Sparlin. "She's a size four with auburn hair down her back. She's Jewish, but that's just her ethnicity. She's a practicing Christian. She's confident, happy, secure and a good conversationalist, but she's also got a mysterious side. She's a sweetheart with good morals and values. She's very even-tempered and very open."
According to Donaldson, "99 percent" of women approached by his scouts will join if they're single. Because their membership is free, there are no guarantees made about when they'll get matched.