The man and woman on the cover of the brochure have that chiseled, unblemished look found on Calvin Klein models and TV anchors. Above the drawing, like a promise, are two words followed by three dots: "Single Life . . . ."
Inside the flier are more drawings: Men with strong chins and broad shoulders; svelte women; palm trees.This is New Expectations, "a professional singles organization and dating program," one of four dating services in the Salt Lake Valley. Some of the other dating services have brochures, too, with pictures of men and women, sometimes in silhouette, embracing or dining in restaurants with tablecloths.
And sometimes, apparently, it even works out this way in real life. Oh, maybe his shoulders aren't so broad and he has large child-support payments and she hasn't lost those 10 extra pounds and their first date was at Denny's.
But, according to the owners of local dating services, most of their clients are dating, and some are even marrying.
Some 1,500 Utahns are currently members of one of these dating services, proof, in case you needed it, that you can't always rely on your sister-in-law to introduce you to the man/woman of your dreams.
These are not desperate people, says Mary White of Latter-Day Ideals, a dating service catering to LDS clients. "It's a matter of selectivity. They want to be picky." Indeed, "the books" of local dating services are full of attractive aerospace engineers and teachers with interests, according to their personal dossiers, that range from aerobics to Zen.
Looking through the books is an intriguing but somewhat exhausting procedure not unlike looking through books of wallpaper samples. The other night, Jay, a forty-something man in cowboy boots, was leafing through the 35-to-45 book at Singles International.
"I do shift work," explained Jay, "so my social life is limited." You can meet all the women you want just walking down the street, "but how many are going to talk to you and be truthful with you?" he wants to know. The books, he says, are a way to narrow down his choices.
"You've got your height, your weight," he points out. "And I'm at an age where I don't want little kids. I have all that right in front of me."
There are no longer any video dating services in town (they apparently proved too expensive, not to mention intimidating). The fax dating service launched last fall didn't pan out either. A third innovation - Bumper Buddies ("Utah's new and exciting bumper sticker dating service") may or may not be in operation. For the past week a recording has been telling callers that "the secretaries are at lunch."
Salt Lake's four other dating services offer the following:
Continental Marriage Bureau: Unlike other services, there are no pictures to look at. Owner Rae Levesque, 75, is an old-fashioned matchmaker who uses her intuition and interview skills. She has 225 members, most between the ages of 27 and 42, and men outnumber women 2-to-1. Levesque says she averages 45 to 50 marriages a year. Cost: $300 (unlimited membership until you marry).
Latter-Day Ideals: Members must be verifiably single and current members of the LDS Church. The service averages about 500 members (more as spring approaches), most of them mid-20s to 50s. Female clients outnumber males 2-to-1. Members fill out a four-page questionnaire (including questions on goals, family background and child discipline). Latter-Day Ideals averages a marriage every few weeks. Cost: $119 (six months); $169 (one year); $289 (two years).
New Expectations: Both a social club and a dating service, with 250 active members, and an additional 30 new members a month. Because it is not just a dating service, it also attracts people who are just looking for group activities. These include dances, golf, river trips and skiing. In the past four years, about 30 couples have gotten married or engaged. Cost: $79 (two months); $129 (six months); $169 (one year); $269 (two years).
Singles International: Around since 1979, the service now has about 700 members, in a ratio of about four men for every three women and an average age between 35 and 45. Members fill out a short questionnaire and supply at least one picture. Cost: $125 (three months); $155 (six months); $185 (one year). All plans are currently half price.