Friday, 11 August 2017

Hopeless dates

A woman from Philadelphia is suing a dating agency on the grounds that the men they offered her weren't properly screened, and were incompat-ible and unsuitable.

Darlene Daggett, a retired businesswoman, paid £115,000 to sign up with the supposedly elite dating agency, which promised ideal matches from around the globe.

One took her to Panama and then jetted off with his ex-partner the day after they returned. Another, nicknamed the "Serial Lothario", spent Christmas and Thanksgiving with her, and then abruptly left her. A third said he was waiting for his terminally ill wife to die. Yet another was a compulsive liar and stalker.

The dating agency has denied any wrongdoing, saying thousands of its clients have got married, but "it doesn't always work out".

I have no experience of dating agencies, having grown up at a time when people still relied on fortuitously meeting their future partner at the pub or the office or someone's party. We regarded dating agencies as strictly for the desperate and socially inept who just weren't getting anywhere.

Nowadays dating agencies are commonplace and nobody thinks twice about using them. But the results can be pretty hit and miss, and it's normal to get a few weirdos and arseholes along with the more appealing contenders.

So I think Darlene Daggett is being a bit absurd accusing the dating agency of offering her unsuitable men. Such is the occupational hazard of dating. Has any woman been spared the usual ration of slimeballs?

Presumably the dating agency's defence will be that however diligently they check a person out, there's always something they're hiding - maybe something pretty unsavoury. That's the risk you take going out with a total stranger.

And the agency can't be responsible for people's sordid secrets.

Pic: Darlene Daggett (right) and actress Cynthia Garrett

27 comments:

Blogoratti said...

Incredible story to even fathom. But that's a huge amount to pay to sign up to a dating agency.

Nick said...

Blogoratti: Isn't it just? She obviously assumed that by paying so much she would only meet the creme de la creme of possible partners. But surprise surprise she ran into the usual bunch of arseholes.

roth phallyka said...

that's a huge amount to pay to sign up to a dating agency.


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kylie said...

For that amount of money they would want to be introducing her to royalty!
She probably can afford to sue them and they most likely deserve it but she was pretty naive.

Bijoux said...

Screening is probably just a $100 background check with the FBI that would only turn up arrests. Did she really believe they were going to do character studies on potential dates?

Nick said...

Roth: It is indeed. That's an unusual last name....

Nick said...

Kylie: Absolutely. As a former businesswoman, you'd think she'd have met hundreds of eligible men in her travels. And it wouldn't have cost her a penny. There's more to this than meets the eye.

Bijoux: Quite. Did she expect they'd hire a private eye to tail prospective dates and check they were okay? As you suggest, they probably did a few rudimentary checks and that was that.

Dave Martin said...

115 grand for a dating agency membership?!?! I don't care how 'exclusive' it is, that's daylight robbery and she clearly has more money than sense.
A business like that is on a par with those 1000 percent interest payday loans they advertise on TV - seriously, how desperate can someone be?

Nick said...

Dave: More money than sense is about right. Whoever owns the dating agency must be laughing all the way to the bank. I do wonder why she was desperate enough to fork out such a mind-boggling sum.

Ursula said...

"Nowadays dating agencies are commonplace and nobody thinks TWICE about using them", you say. If so, more is the pity.

Let's leave aside that I took myself out of the market a long time ago, I'd not even think ONCE about using a dating agency. Never. I am sure they are convenient in as much as that there is potential to spend a fun evening with people you may have never met otherwise. Yet, and I believe it a peculiarly American thing having taken a foothold in Britain, I don't even know what "dating" means exactly. Behind the word "dating" there seems such a heavy weight of expectation, don't you think?

I might suggest to someone I meet apropos of nothing to have a drink - I wouldn't call it a date even if we had agreed, beforehand, on a time and a place. I find it all very odd.If anyone suggested to me to meet for a "date" rather than just "meeting up" you'd find me running in the opposite direction.

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tammy j said...

thank god i'm not out there anymore. I wouldn't want to try that hard!
like Ursula...
I decided it's not for me a long time ago now.
I dated for 5 years after bob died. and mostly were men I met through my work. the only one I ever met at a bar (we all went there one night after work) ... turned out to be the abuser. not saying anything in particular but just find it interesting. I suppose he could be an abuser at church just as well!
I have a good friend who lives in Dallas with her husband. they met on the internet through a dating service and it has worked out well. I suppose there are a few success stories. but she had to endure many strange and some downright disasters before finding him.
it's just not worth it! wouldn't be for me anyway.
and to me there's a little bit of a fear factor there also. who REALLY knows these people?

Liz Hinds said...

It's a chance she had to take I'm afraid. Really dislike this suing culture.

Nick said...

Ursula: Well, of course there are still plenty of people like yourself who don't like dating agencies for one reason or another. I don't see the problem with the word dating - it just means meeting someone with the aim of starting a serious sexual relationship. But there's nothing to stop you simply "meeting up" with no such aim in mind.

Nick said...

Tammy: That's what would put me off dating agencies - the knowledge that you'd have to deal with a load of creeps and oddballs before you met someone who was actually worth seeing again. As you say, all a bit scary because you never what the guy might be hiding from you.

Nick said...

Liz: I agree, it was just her bad luck that she came across so many jerks. Suing the agency is stupid. But I'm not sure there's a suing culture. The media promote the idea of the "compensation culture" by publicising the chancers and scammers, but I think most people who sue do so for good reasons and not just on some sudden whim.

CheerfulMonk said...

I would hate to have to date that way. I met my boyfriend in college in my Freshman history class, and after I graduated I met Andy at my summer job at the university. Being a physics major made it easy to find compatible guys.

joared said...

Hiring a dating service doesn't appeal to me -- there are too many weirdos out there. Guess I'm too old fashioned in my thinking but there are so many ways to meet new people -- activities that weren't as available in my younger years, especially for a single young woman.

Nick said...

Jean: Youngsters at college have plenty of possible partners to choose from, so I doubt they need dating services! I guess it's usually later in life that it's not so easy.

Joared: Absolutely, the lurking weirdos are probably a big deterrent for some. And yes, there are probably lots of opportunities to meet people if you look around.

Rummuser said...

The defence that you suggest will be used by the agency does not wash. What deserves a fee of GBP 115,000?

Nick said...

Ramana: She could certainly argue that for a fee of £115,000 they could afford to run exhaustive checks on potential dates, and even the services of a private eye.

Treey Stynes said...

It's too much money that they've charged her She'd have been better off paying £40 for a quick grope than that sort of money.

Nick said...

Treey: I think she's looking for rather more than a quick grope. Which she probably gets quite enough of already in a society full of male bum-pinchers and tit-grabbers.

Ms Scarlet said...

I also think 'dating' is an odd term.... sort of dated in itself. When I was younger, we used the phrase 'going out', as in: who are you going out with? Thinking about it all is making me rather fretful, so I'll shut up now... also. my dog has his paw in my pocket... so I'd better sort that before there is an incident....
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet: Can't remember what term I used when I was young, though I did know the term "going steady" was hopelessly old-fashioned. Nowadays people are just girlfriends or boyfriends and that's it. I hope your dog is now behaving himself....

Secret Agent Woman said...

For that kind of money, it seems to me they do have an obligation to more thoroughly screen potential dates.

But if you are including all online dating services (which generally are either free or not very expensive), I don't think there is anything wrong with them. Once you are out of school it is difficult to meet people. I met my first husband in grad school but when I divorced I was in a private practice in a small town with no great way to meet people. I met some really nice guys online. And some not so nice ones, but that could as easily be true if I'd met them at a bar or some other event. I didn't happen to meet my current husband online, but I have no regrets at all about the online dating I did. I think people love to be judgey and sanctimonious about things they have no experience with, so I'm going to withhold judgement on the woman in this story. I can't imagine putting that much money into a dating agency, but I'm sure she had her reasons.

Nick said...

Agent: I agree, I don't see anything wrong with online dating. As you say, it just throws up the same mix of good guys and bad guys as any other means of dating. I would love to know why she thought it was worth spending such an incredible sum to meet a few guys, especially when it was always likely she'd take against all of them.

Hattie said...

She could have spent the money on things that really enhanced her life or saved it for her old age. But people love their dreams and drama. Never changes.