I’m very pleased to announce that tonight, April 2nd, Matchmaker for Hire will be part of a story arc on the popular reality television show Real Housewives of Vancouver, (Slice TV@ 7pm & 10pm), helping one of the ladies find Mr. Right.

Knowing of my romance and dating expertise in Western Canada, RHOV approached me and my team to find a match for Mary Zilba, a.k.a. ‘the Good Housewife’. Next Tuesday, April 9th, Mary’s dream date will be revealed on the Season 2 finale.

Behind the Scenes

We were first approached by the producers of RHOV last August to see if we might play a role in finding Mary happiness.  We made two appearances on the show on two different nights, and that’s quite unusual for the hit series.

Part of my service is that I interview people in their homes, so my right hand Jill and I went to Mary’s Yaletown Penthouse to get to know her, determine what kind of partner she was looking for and meet her friend and fellow Housewife Robin Reichman who was there for support.

*And I should point out that, normally, I will NOT show up at your house with a camera crew to do the consultation!*

You’ll see much of that initial process on tonight’s show. Of course I’m certain that even though they filmed for three hours, our part in the program will probably be only about five minutes long.  We left Mary’s home with all the information we needed to find her true love on national TV — no pressure at all!

Jill and I looked at each other in the elevator when the session was over and decided we needed a regroup, and we went over to the Cactus Club for dinner.  Now that’s where they should have had the cameras rolling, as we discussed what just happened!

To be perfectly honest, I was nervous and excited to be a part of this reality TV star’s search for love.  Not finding her a suitable candidate in front of millions of TV viewers could be slightly embarrassing!

It was fun to be part of the drama, let me tell you, and it gets even better next week!  In the meantime, I’ll be tweeting about the many media events we’re participating in this week, so check us out on Twitter @matchmaker4hire for a full schedule.  There’s a lot of terrific buzz about our involvement in this show!






Well from the amount of warm emails I received and the buzz at the venue last Thursday night the Matchmaker For Hire/Church and State Singles Event was a total hit. I had a great time loved the food, loved the wine. I had a lot of fun reading  your responses to the question “What kind of wine would you be and why”  prior to the event when I was doing the matching, there were some truly imaginative narratives. Kim Pullen featured some very good tasting wine paired with some amazing appys created by Church and States Candace Hartley (the deep fried shrimp was my favourite , followed closely by the Lamb slider(s), I had a couple I couldn’t help myself.)




A shot of Jill and I just before heading to Church and State winery. I was a little nervous about the speech I was going to give that night, I’m not a natural public speaker, but I got through it none the less.





Kim Pullen helped us understand the wine parings and  little history of the origins of Syrah/Shiraz debate.



The best part of the night was watching as people went through their lists and searched out their matches.




Then watching as the magic happen as people got together.



Thanks to April Ponsford and Birgit Piskor for their gallery showing.







We even had a raptor

Here’s some more random shots of people mingling :











Here’s an article featured in the Victoria Times Colonist Healthly Living Section, Sunday September 18th, 2011:


Are you paralyzed at the thought of a first date? Do all sorts of “I’m not ready to date there’s no one out there for me anyway” excuses flood your consciousness? Would you rather sit safely behind your online persona editing witty responses to profile enquiries of potential suitors as opposed to dating them? And let’s not forget that first date fears compound the longer it’s been since you’ve dated. If this sounds like you, you may well still be single but you are certainly not alone.


Everyone feels slightly anxious at the prospect of a first date, these feelings are completely normal, what separates the stress free first time daters from the rest of us is how they deal with anxiety. In this article we will take a look at what produces your anxiety and how you can deal with it. There are basically three main facets to dating anxiety: placing way too much emphasis on the first date, fear of the unknown, and fear of rejection.


It’s easy to say that you need to place less emphasis on the first date, but in practice it’s a little harder to do. And, if you’re looking for marriage material on your first date you increase the pressure dramatically and you are most defiantly setting yourself up for disappointment. No one will fulfill everything on your marital wish list. When you’re stuck in a “marriage material” mindset every miss match on your check list will count as points against your date leading to a negative vibe that taints the rest of the encounter. Keep the first date light, don’t pin all of your hopes and dreams on a single first time encounter, relax and let the experience unfold as it will.


Fear of the unknown is also a big anxiety generator. The best way to conquer this fear is to get out there and date, you’ll find the more you date the less scary it becomes. If this fear is what’s holding you back in the first place you need to do a little more homework.


Visualization, a technique used successfully in the fields of medicine and professional sports is one way over come the fear of the unknown. Find a quiet place and a few 20-minute blocks of time to dedicate to this exercise over the course of a couple of days. Imagine going on a first date; visualize all aspects of this date and all the things that could go wrong. At each stage of the date and each calamity that you image befalling you, judge for yourself if these potential disasters -worrying about a lull in the conversation, am I attractive enough, who will pay the bill etc. – are really worth the paralyzing fear you experience.


Another benefit of this technique is that you will now be mentally prepared to deal with each of these imagined events in a positive way before they happen. For example, an office acquaintance sets you up on a blind date. When you get to the restaurant and see him for the first time you immediately know there is no chemistry. Working out a strategy before hand, you could decide to tell him right off the bat that you don’t feel the spark, politely excuse yourself, get in your car and drive home. Conversely you could choose to enjoy a meal together and see where it leads. The worst that could happen is that you make a new friend who may have a single friend who is your Mr. Right.


By far the granddaddy of all first date anxieties is the fear of rejection. The fear of rejection will keep you on the couch, behind the computer or making up excuses longer than any one thing in the dating anxiety arsenal. The harsh truth is that even if you’re Jennifer Aniston or Mark Anthony, you will face rejection in your quest for a lasting relationship. The more you date, the more rejection you are liable face. For every successful relationship there are many many unsuccessful first dates but just like first dates the more rejection you experience the easier it is to take. The good news is that the more you date the closer you are to meeting the person you will spend the rest of your life with which is your ultimate goal.


In their 2004 study for the State University of New York: Traits and the State of Curiosity in the Genesis of Intimacy, Todd B. Kashdan and John E. Roberts concluded that equal feelings of anxiety and curiosity where garnered when individuals faced a social situation foreign to the participants’ experiences (much like a first date). In the study the participants that displayed curiosity when dealing with the unknown were perceived as being more likeable and moved to intimacy in their burgeoning relationships faster than their anxiety based counterparts.


The lesson here is that curiosity was the key to likeability, intimacy and positive outcome to uncertain social interactions. Curious people engaged in conversation more deeply, listened to what the other person was saying more intensely rapidly establishing positive lines of communication.


Use curiosity to over come your anxiety on a first date, remain optimistic, don’t let your negative thoughts into the dating process and try to enjoy the moment for what it is: a chance to meet someone new and what it isn’t: a life and death situation that can only end in a wedding or complete personal devastation. Focus on the other person, make eye contact, and really listen to their words and what they have to say. All of these techniques will increase your likeability and quickly establish a more intimate tone to the relationship you are trying to develop.


Being curious opens you up to receive the message your date is trying to convey, they will, at the very least teach you something very valuable about yourself, what ever the message may be. Curiosity tips the scale of anxiety. Yes, you will be anxious on your first date. Let curiosity guide you, practice visualization, and make the encounter a time of exploration, playfulness and fun as opposed to filling a checklist, dating can be an enjoyable experience unto itself. With any luck, your “first date” will put you on a path to finding the relationship you have always dreamed of. Think it’s time to get up off the couch?

Jane Carstens is Canada’s favorite matchmaker; she is the founder of Matchmaker For Hire a boutique matchmaking firm located in Western Canada. You can contact her to comment on this article at [email protected]

Here’s an article that ran in the Vancouver Sun a few years ago that still rings true. The gentleman in the article is still happily matched with the girl I introduced him to.

“Dad It’s Time You Started Dating”

As with all life changing moments, John’s did not reveal itself as such at the time.  He was sitting in a Tsawwassen ferry line-up waiting to travel to Victoria completing work on his laptop. His mood matched the February weather: dark, wet and cold. John had just completed a long and drawn out divorce eventually winning custody of his two children, a teenage daughter and an eight-year-old son. As a survival technique John threw himself into his work and the duties of a single father. He felt he was coping well.

It was then that the rear doors of his car opened and his life altering moment began. The quick double slam of those rear doors brought him back to the here and now. His daughter and son, wet and cold, had returned from the terminal, a rain soaked woolen mitten handed him a hot cup of coffee. The unusual silence that followed was broken by the voice of his daughter, dark haired, blue-eyed Katie 17,  “Dad we’ve been talking, we know you’re unhappy, we think you should move on, we think it’s time you started dating”.

“It was an incredibly touching moment, ” says John,  “Seeing my situation through my kids eyes helped me realize that I deserved happiness in my life, just coping wasn’t enough. Their insight coupled with their acceptance of my situation radically changed the path I was on.”

“I’d half remembered seeing Jane’s ad for her matchmaking service in the Vancouver Magazine, found a copy and called her up the next day”. John continues: “We booked an appointment, Jane came out to the house and conducted a very through interview narrowing down what I was looking for in a partner. It was the science of the whole thing that appealed to me, the fact that I could sketch out the qualities of the person I was searching for. I could guide the process along as apposed to settling for whatever fate happened to bring my way.  Time was another consideration. I’m extremely busy, up early, wearing an apron cooking breakfast and getting my kids ready for school and then dropping them off. I am also a business owner, I generally work around the clock, and in my mind from a time perspective, using a matchmaker made complete sense.”

“Normally it’s a little more complicated when your matching someone with children” says Jane Carstens a Vancouver Matchmaker, ” Not only was I matching John for a potential partner, but more importantly when the time was right, how would he feel about introducing her to his children. In John’s case I had two women in mind that I thought would be perfect for him, both were mothers one with fairly young children.”

“I met with Jane’s first pick and although she was very nice, there were no fireworks,” says John, “The second match was a hit. The sparks were there from the first time we met, she has two kids, is a fantastic woman, and a great mom. We’ve been together for a little over a year now, and the six of us of spent the Christmas holidays skiing in the interior of B.C.

Thanks to my kid’s insight Jane’s expertise and the new woman in my life, Christmas was fantastic and I know that 2007 will make me an even happier dad.”