Politics

Cyber Cyrano helps online daters

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(Image by Flickr user Kelly Schott (cc: by-nc-sa))

This story is adapted from a broadcast audio segment; use audio player to listen to story in its entirety.

As more and more people try online dating services to search for love, they're finding it takes a good amount of work to manage their dating profiles and woo potential matches. Wouldn't it be easier if they got someone, say a professional, to help out?

Matt Prager, a therapist and life coach from Brooklyn, is that professional. Prager helps clients craft their online dating profiles and manage their online dating lives. He thinks of himself as more avatar than Cyrano.

"Online dating went from being something that was a creepy way to meet people, to the only way to meet people," said Prager. "And I think in the course of that transition, it has become like a second job. The managing of the contacting people, the going through the profiles, the writing of the profiles and all of that, and basically my service started up to offload that work."

When he was first approached to do the work, Prager was hesitant. But then he realized that it combined the two things he had been doing professionally all along: writing and therapy.

His clients are "very rich men in their late 30s, mid-40s" who are divorced or are too dedicated to their work to spend a lot of time on finding dates.

As for whether he feels there is a certain disingenuous bent to his work, Prager says it's no more deceptive than what many are already doing with their online dating profiles.

"For the millions of people who put up a picture that's five years and 20 pounds ago, I don't know that my deception is much more beyond that," he argues. "And the other thing is, the women of the world should be praying it's me on the other end, because at least I'm actually reading their profiles."

He says he's had success in helping his clients get dates and improve their social lives.

"I believe with online dating, it's all fake until you get to the real," Prager cautions. "For all I know, I'm talking to someone else's proxy. My goal for my clients is to get to the real, get into the room with the person and make your assessment. And then they're on their own. Make you're own decisions about whether you want to pursue something."

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