Some reviews

Why is it so difficult to meet somebody today?

In spite of all the networking possibilities and social media?

If you are Single, Divorced or Widowed and want to get back into the Dating game, if you're looking for that elusive partner, you will be interested to hear how a pro went about it. I was a matchmaker in Ireland and had my own dating agency. I'm sharing my experience and insider views with my readers. For more info see my book's website:!

I had the honor of being asked to come on the local NBC show First Coast Living twice in the last week to give dating advice. If you missed it, you can read all that stuff in my book.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The odds are stacked against us!

The response to First Coast Living's featuring me, the former Irish matchmaker was overwhelming. They said I was burning up their FB page! No harm in a bit of an exaggeration. Truth is we hardly had time to answer the many questions the viewers had and sent in again. So they invited me back directly after Valentine's Day.

In specific two women in their fifties and early sixties wanted to know where to look for love "once they were over the dating scene"?

This presents us with the typical conundrum for many females. They don't want to hang out in bars and clubs anymore, understandably. If they mean, however, that they are over any type of "dating scene", let me tell you that they are missing out on many opportunities.
You should never be over anything  at any age-- unless it has proven to be a bad thing for you.
My advice that followed was quite specific and mentioned activities to almost any age. That may include that love seekers may have to extend their comfort zone and try new things! Because the old venues have not proven successful, have they?
Let's also face an inconvenient truth: population statistics are stacked against women: in older age groups there are almost 3 women to one man depending on where you live. Have you ever considered moving someplace where there are more males...:?

                                       See my second interview in full on Youtube 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

As seen on TV

First Coast Living featured me, the former Matchmaker from Ireland on 6 February on their program.
Why is it so difficult to meet somebody these days? With a busy life and time restrictions on their hands, many viewers had this and other questions for me. Honestly, they keep popping up as they did in Dublin where I had my agency:
- Where are all the good men?
- Where do you go once you are over 40?
- How safe is online dating?
- Why do people lie online?
- Where is my soul mate?
- How do I know that men don't just want a hook up for the night? etc.

TV segments are notoriously short (3-5minutes usually), so it's impossible to answer all these questions. My book Next Time Lucky:How to Find Your Mr. Right offers many answers and the new step by step guide gives invaluable information about how to get back into the dating game, especially when you're over 40 and coming out of a long relationship.
Available on Kindle and Nook too, it's just the price of a cup of coffee and has longer staying power and more entertainment value.
See the reviews on my site and trust the experience and advice of Ireland's former Chief Cupid.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

HER…and him?

No lover for Valentine's? No soul mate in sight? Alone for Valentine's?
Forget about relationships and the heartbreak that goes with it! Get a robot!

Robots have been with us since before Star Wars. They have been cleaning, repairing and some more sophisticated bots will soon be available to cook for us, do the laundry, even babysit or tend to our elderly parents. Last year, a NJ based company introduced a talking, touch-sensitive robot “companion”.
A Japanese robot developer, H. Ishiguro, in Kyoto who also teaches at Osaka University created a silicone doppelgänger so that he can interact on the internet in two places. “You believe I’m real”. If you can’t tell the difference, does it matter in the end whether you’re interacting with a human or machine?  

Welcome to the future of dating, living and companionships!
The movie HER (directed by Spike Jonze) opens a window into this future when a withdrawn writer (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with his computer's highly advanced ─sentient─ operating system (Scarlett Johansson's voice): A futuristic sci-fi romance?

Is it an odd, sad love story, combined with a meditation on technology as an accelerator of social loneliness? Not a small part of it seems to be an allegory of lonely guys and their fear of women.
Does the movie force us to consider what constitutes a 'real' relationship in a world where every interaction is filtered through technology, making it feel like a vital contemporary romance?
One critic found “The romantic intimacy is remarkable considering the two main characters never kiss, or share an embrace, or even look at one another.”
Jonze is playing with hefty concepts here: loneliness, longing, the nature of consciousness, the need for human connection - and, increasingly, the fear of it. Her is a wistful, wonderful meditation on where we are and where we might be going ─ another reviewer said.
As a former matchmaker who was always faced with the task of finding the perfect match for very client, I wished I could clone them or grow them in the garden according to their specifications. Maybe a silicone-enhanced computerized replica of a human is the answer to our dreams?  
Happy searching, dating, loving. This Valentine’s and every day hereafter!

Be yourself! Never give up! And remember: Thelongest relationship you're going to have is with YOURSELF!

Siggy Buckley, former matchmaker from Ireland.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Arranged Love Marriages: Part II

Arranged marriages work on the principle that every man or woman should be the family’s responsibility, especially when it comes to marriage. You might fall in love with this concept at first sight if you are from a European or American background. Parents would always stand by for their children and their newly formed family. When the grand children are born, their grandparents babysit them. This is a real cost cutter too, and you might want to try.

In the pre-50s era, families were established in the joint tradition, where members from one family lived in one house, with their children, their partners, and their partners’ partners. The downside of this “joint family” system is that the individual never got his voice heard. The elder in the family is always the decision maker, the dictator. If you fall in love with another person and if your family, especially the eldest member did not approve of your relationship, you would be ousted from the family. Caste, religion, social background and other rivalries can cause the older men or women to decide against your will to marry your sweetheart. Finally, you might have to shout like the Spartan king, in a Hollywood movie about 300 warriors, your insanity.  

During the late 90s this familial set up transformed to give way entirely to the “nuclear family” system—husband, wife, one or two kids. In such families, marriages mean breaking away from one family and forming another atom or nuclei of a family. Parents who love their kids are reluctant to let them make decisions for themselves, especially in the case of choosing life partners. Somebody’s someone cheating someone else is a news item our newspapers and Television channels love to celebrate on a daily basis. This inevitably invites parents to step in the decision making process during a wedding proposal. Most families suffer severe emotional trauma and depression close to a marriage, anxious over the future of our family member getting married, and I myself have been through this great emotional turmoil during a marriage in my own family. This is the case of arranged marriages.

The so-called love marriages involve a direct infusion of individual rights with the ritual of marriage. In love marriages, parents’ consent would generally be lacking, due to caste, religious, or other issues. Two individuals choose their partners out of their free will and tie their relationship in the wedding knot. Wedding would still happen, but probably within a registrar office or in a temple of church, in the presence of their friends. The psychological trauma of the family on such an occasion should not be undermined, with the prejudiced media, caste, religion, and communal order on the other end with their mind-control games.   

It is, however, merely a hypothetical question whether the involvement of parents assure marital happiness. At least, from the individual’s point of view, they could understand each other and learn to appreciate mutual values better through a love relationship.

When even their dating is pre-arranged by their respective families, it is a question to what extent one’s independent creative self could harmonize itself with the mechanical processes involved. What should be an organic process of meeting individuals turns into an orchestrated ritual guarded safely by the family.

I made my students promise, nothing in our discussion should go out of this class. Then our discussion continued. However, I still noticed some reluctance on their part to use explicit terminologies such as “love marriage”. Some of them had other ideas of marriage to discuss too. So I invented this quick metaphor. I said, “Let’s consider arranged marriages ‘ration shops’, where one has only limited choices. Also, consider love marriages supermarkets, where you have plenty of options to choose from, on your own.”

Then I urged them to suggest their ideas. I was looking for what each of them thought about the second question. Which form of marriage do you prefer? When family arranges marriages, proposals reached the man or woman only through the family. In other words, the individual’s say was only limited to the later part of the selection process; the first selection would already have taken place. This was the reason why I used the ration shop metaphor to suggest arranged marriages.

One of the students stood up. He said smiling, “Sir, I would like to go to a ration shop inside a supermarket.”

What he mentioned was a phenomenon the late 90s have witnessed in the culture, popularly known “arranged-love marriages”. Though it sounds a bit paradoxical, this super baby is born out of the nuclear family culture. The nuclear families could not afford to lose their only son or only daughter just because they had made their own choices in selecting their life partners. So the boy and girl would come to their parents and talk about their relationship, as usual. Here is the blessed part: after much word-battle, in some cases, if the family is traditional or orthodox or due to some psychological reason with the father or mother figure, the parents consent.  

The good news is that within urban societies in India, “arranged-love marriages” are gaining popularity and acceptance. So love, finally, is on the march

Anu Lal

Author, Lecturer in English, and blogger

Anu Lal is the author of Wall of Colors and Other Stories. He lives in Kerala, South India. He blogs at The Indian Commentator 
You can catch up with him in Facebook too.