The year 2020 has taken away so much in our lives. But, one thing it cannot take away is love. LastFirst is a bespoke matchmaking club headquartered in Manhattan that is proving this to be true.
Serving clients in cosmopolitan cities worldwide, LastFirst offers a luxury alternative to make dating less random and more meaningful. By carefully screening all candidates for these criteria, plus some secret ingredients, LastFirst has built a dynamic, diverse community of eligible people. The mission is to send these people, once vetted and accepted, on their last first dates.
LastFirst founder Emily Holmes Hahn recently answered some fruitful questions for us to understand how we can continue to thrive in the love game during the pandemic and beyond.
There are many online dating companies like this, but truly what is it that makes your platform different? Many online dating companies and matchmaker services, what truly makes yours different?
There are— the dating industry is massive right now. The main thing that sets LastFirst apart from the apps is that we have a team of actual humans, using a combination of relationship science, people’s on-paper criteria, and most importantly, our intuition, to match couples successfully. It’s the opposite approach of an app’s totally impersonal algorithm!
Our selectivity with clients and match candidates also sets us apart. We turn down many people who apply to be matched and attract a very different demographic from our more old-school competitors. We are turning matchmaking into something that young, smart, stylish people are pursuing and promoting.
Love during a pandemic seems impossible for many. How do you even approach the topic on rules of engagement on how to date ‘safely.’ Is asking for your test results within the last day just a horrible thing to ask?
There are so many schools of thought on pandemic safety now, so my advice is always personalized. For clients who are high-risk or just very careful, I encourage several phone chats to make sure you sense intellectual chemistry, lots of photo exchanging to sense physical chemistry, and yes sometimes, having an antibody test prior to meeting in person. For those who are super relaxed, I think they can meet straight away now, as long as they follow the basic COVID dating rules— wear a mask walking into the date, say hello with a warm smile and wave, and stay ‘distanced’ across a table until you both feel comfortable to move closer, whether that’s on the first date or the fifth.
Describe what has become a normal ‘date’ for your client during the pandemic – at least the first few dates – since this is all so new in this crazy modern times.
Our typical pandemic first date is a FaceTime, but with a special vibe. We recommend scheduling for an evening after 5pm, wearing a great outfit, burning some candles, and enjoying a drink as you get to know your match! I think this is a wonderful way to first meet because you have fewer distractions and can feel totally relaxed in your own space.
How do you make clients realize what is true love vs a feeling of not wanting to be lonely during the pandemic? There certainly is a mixed bag of emotions out there. What is the difference between falling in love with a viable life partner vs just battling a sensation to not be the one locked up alone when the second wave of lockdown possibly sweeps the nation?
I tell them, tune in and trust your instincts. If you’re having a pandemic romance just to be physically connected with someone, you won’t be thinking of that person much in your free time, you won’t be making an effort to do “little things” for them or plan dates in advance, and you probably won’t tell your friends and family about them. If it’s a serious love connection, the opposite applies. I think both kinds of relationships are amazing and healthy, but I’d encourage transparency (even if it’s just telling your partner that you don’t know what you want yet!) so you are on the same page.
Again, when you know, you know! Your body and mind will tell you when you are truly excited, enamored, and in love with someone. I wish there were a litmus test but it’s all about being present with yourself. If you are unable to read your own signals, try reflecting on, “If there were no pandemic and I could date anyone I wanted, would I still spend so much time with this person?”
When looking for clients why is there such different protocol for women vs men. It’s universally known that a perfect matchmaking services can be incredibly difficult to find especially when many women feel pressured to have to be a perfect image/age. I’ve interviewed other to be nameless sites and was frankly told if you were not thin don’t even bother to apply as a woman, which seemed offsetting. We all want to find positive love in our lives. How is your company breaking this stereotype?
That is definitely off-putting because I think there is a match for everyone. We’re a small agency so if we don’t accept an application it’s just because we don’t have a client for that person, but there is certainly no one physical type or age range that applies to all daters. Our vetting process for men and women is the exact same— we want to learn about their backgrounds, values, match criteria and long-term goals before agreeing to work with them.
Do you deal with clients of all ages and all sexes? I think especially during the pandemic we are seeing men and women shifting career focus to wanting to couple up after years of just working. Usually people who would never think about a matchmaker might be now.
I have seen a very positive shift in our clients’ mentality since COVID started. Everyone is craving romance now more than ever, so they are more open to our match ideas even when the person doesn’t ‘check all their boxes’ in terms of superficial criteria like age, religion, education, appearance, et cetera. This is so exciting for me as a matchmaker because it allows me to work more creatively and intuitively. Plus, most of my already-married couples are definitely NOT perfect on-paper matches— they are people who value chemistry above all and are willing to compromise on the other stuff– so I sense a lot of wedding invites for my team and me in the next year!
I’ve also taken on many new clients who say that they never thought of using a matchmaker before now. The pandemic has given everyone an opportunity to soul search a bit, and most are realizing just how important it is to have a complementary partner in life. Plus, people value their time outside the house more and don’t want to waste it on bad dates!