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"They're usually thrilled," said Sparlin. "These beautiful women get hit on all the time. They don't want to meet guys at bars, especially if they're looking for a long-term relationship. If I'd had this service in New York, I'd have joined in a heartbeat."
Sparlin said many of the girls in the database are indeed models and actresses, but the others have a wide variety of careers. "There are attorneys, doctors, the whole gamut," she said. "We even have a real rocket scientist. But she was a little worried about us telling guys they were going to go out with a rocket scientist."
Kelly, who did not want her real name used for this story, is an MQI girl. A blonde 35-year-old elementary school teacher in Los Angeles, she easily meets MQI's requirements for her membership: be between the ages of 21 and 40, wear a size zero to six, and bring two of her similarly qualifying girlfriends into the program with her.
A member for about a year, Kelly joined after seeing an MQI ad. To her, the $25,000 fee guys have to pay to get into the program is a strong indicator of accountability and trust.
"The more the company charges the guy, the more he has to invest," said Kelly. "These guys spend a lot of money to join. Clearly, they're not in it to get laid. To me, when someone puts their money where their mouth is, they're looking for a lifelong relationship. All women want to know how long they have to date a guy before he will commit. But when a guy pays $25,000 up front—now that's a commitment!
"We're not trying to be bought, but we want to see effort on the guy's part," she said. "That's why it's important that guys pay for dates—so we can see how interested he is. Even when a guy doesn't make a lot—say he only makes $50,000 per year—he's going to end up spending at least $100 on a date. And that's not even a fancy date."
A divorced single mother, Kelly says she decided to try various dating-service options to locate a "highly intellectual, successful, substantive, conservative, clean-cut family-type guy."
"My mother tried to introduce me to her dentist," she said. "I met him. I don't know what she was thinking. I also tried meeting guys through my girlfriends. But let's face it: all girlfriends do is introduce you to their brothers or their leftovers."
She says she joined Great Expectations but was disappointed with the amount of time she had to set aside to flip through the endless books of member profiles. She sat down with a matchmaker from It's Just Lunch but decided against membership. Internet dating went nowhere.
After three months as one of Donaldson's Model Quality girls, Kelly says she hit it off with a guy from MQI and moved in with him. They lived together a few months, fully intending to get married. But because their children didn't get along, they broke up.
Of course, marriage is MQI's stated goal. "This is a G-rated company," said Donaldson. "This is for long-term commitments only."
But exactly how many MQI clients have gotten married in the past two years is difficult to say. Winkler and Sparlin said they had "no idea" how many MQI couples have gotten married. The best company president Donaldson could say was that "dozens" of clients ended up Mr. and Mrs. in the past couple of years.
"We're still friends," said Kelly, who reentered MQI soon after her break-up. "We left in a nice way. I'm sure he will find that special person just as I will."For more information, check out www.modelqualityintroductions.com or call 1-866-MODELS4.