Matchmaker Paul Brunson,CEO of One Degree From Me matchmaking service, is known by many as a real-life "Hitch." Brunson recently held his popular flow-dating event in the District and dished exclusively to Niteside on his life as the pair-off pioneer.
How did you end up in the matchmaking business? I actually started out in finance, managing money for a wealth family in Turkey. Because of that job I had the opportunity to travel all over the world and what I always noticed is that no matter where I was the conversation would switch to two things: sports and relationships. It fascinated me that no matter where I was the topic of relationships was always poignant.
What made you quit a lucrative business like finance and jump into matchmaking? I was actually helping out with a summer program for African-American and Latino students when I noticed that all of them, every one had come from a single-parent home. It effected them emotionally, mentally and sometimes physically. I stared reading books about relationships, family and my culture. It made me realize how important a child’s foundation is. After the program ended, my wife and I had this idea to invite all of our single friends in the D.M.V. to our house and it kind of took off from there.
When’s the first moment you realized you hade successfully made it as a matchmaker? About a year ago we had our first huge matchmaking sessions in D.C. and New York. There were hundreds of people and lines wrapped around the corner. I thought to myself, 'Wow, we really have something special here.'
Do you think men and women can be friends? Yes! When you say that no man can be friends with a woman, it makes men seem as if they have no self control. I believe that to be emphatically untrue.
You’re a D.C. resident and you hold your flagship events here. What’s your take on D.C.’s dating scene? I think that no matter where you are your belief drives your perception and your perception drives your reality. I can talk to 10 residents who say the dating scene here is wonderful and another 10 who say it’s awful. Fact wise, D.C. has the lowest marriage rate in the country. If you think about it, you don’t go to cities like D.C., L.A. or New York to get married. You go to those cities to work, not to get married or start a family right off. However, there are millions of single people that are commitment ready in the District, Maryland and Virginia area. It could be a rich experience if you make it that way.
How do you match people up? Most people come to my Website out of curiosity. They state that they’ve tried all sorts of things to meet the right person but just aren’t having any luck. My team comes in to help with the match making and the coaching. We do self-analysis with friends, family and exes. We talk about how we can alleviate to becoming the optimal self and we go from there. I match up characteristics based on the persons past and future. However, I don’t accept everyone -- you have to be ready.
How do you know if someone is ready to use your services? It’s obvious after a few sessions if a person is still carrying around a bunch of weight from past relationships. If you haven’t let go it’ll negatively impact the next relationship, so I’ll know if the person is more than likely not ready.
Many identify you as the real-life "Hitch." Are you? That’s not a bad comparison, so I’ll take it!
Any advice for singles out there? Yes, keep hope alive. Your time will come.