Alternative Approaches to Dating

Mairead Molloy is taking the upper hand in the dating game with her elite agency, Berkeley International. Aby Dunsby meets the dating maven.

TIRED Of TINDER? Everyone knows all that casual swiping is a surefire way of getting RSI, or even an STI if you're unlucky. If you're looking to up your dating game, and you'd like to meet someone that even your snobbish granny would approve of, then Mairead Molloy, director of elite dating agency Berkeley International, is your woman.'We are the bespoke concierge of dating" she tells me from her Cannes office. "We organise restaurants, flights, hotels, the entire date, if you want. Some people wont us to go headhunting and track down a specific person they like and are too shy to talk to. It's even been a celebrity on some occasions."The price to pay to avoid dating a wrong'un is £15,000 or £20,000 will buy you o global membership, allowing you to meet anyone from the company's worldwide books. "People will travel from the Milan office to London for a date. It's a natural thing now," she says.Molloy is taking dating back to the old school: "l don't agree with judging people on a picture. I believe in verbal communication. We have no photographs, no profiles." Instead, Molloy, who is a trained psychologist, will meet her clients one on one, and find them a date based on their requirements, or her intuition. 'Some people come in and say: 'l'm not telling you what I want. You do it for me.' That always makes for a more successful membership, because for me, the minute you meet somebody, you just know who you want to put them with; she says.Molloy describes the 5,000 people signed up to Berkeley as "cash-rich and time-poor: affluent, successful people, who want to avoid the hardship of looking for someone by using us. It's just one less thing to worry about in their busy lives."If you're looking to find someone, Molloy says the key traits are honesty and perseverance." After a date, you either like each other or you don't. I will give positive or negative feedback after each date. It's not always easy for people to hear, but you have to be transparent, otherwise the service won't work. People have to be open, and be prepared to fancy someone and not be fancied."A dating realist she may be, but Molloy still has a romantic side. What's her favourite success story? "One of our men was on a train, off to meet a date. He called me up and said 'I have a dilemma. I've met a girl on the train.' They exchanged a smile and nothing happened, but a few weeks later we arranged another date for him ... it was the same ,woman. They're married now." Turns out if you want 'happily ever after', you can buy it.