THE OTTAWA CITIZEN                               SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2001


Dave Brown
Brown's Beat

Headlines scream about divorce rates, domestic violence, deadbeats of both sexes, zero tolerance, gay rights and endless problems in man-woman relationships. It’s enough to inflame Cupid’s hemorrhoids and give Valentine’s Day a bad name.
Meanwhile, a detail goes un­reported. The great majority of men and women are either hooked up and fairly deliriously happy, wishing they were, or trying to get that way.
  To get a look at that end of that human condition, I called Linda Miller. When I last wrote about her in 1998, she was  emerging as Eastern On­tario’s most successful match- maker. She runs a business out of Carleton Place called Misty River Introductions. In that first story, she had a staff of
two, a client list of 1000  and the going rate was $375.
There’s now a staff of eight, a client list of 8,ooo, and those people are willing to pay $550 each in the hope Ms. Miller can find a cure for what ails them -  loneliness.
Yesterday, she was in Pembroke starting a weekend swing through a number of communi­ties in which she would con­duct 70 face-to-face interviews with men and women who still believe it takes one of each to make a happy unit. I was look­ing for a love story and she passed the call along.
Katberine and Dwayne White, in their 30's live in rural Perth. Two years ago, both were registered with Misty River. She signed on because she wanted somebody to care­fully screen candidates before she met them.
Be was a Misty client because relatives convinced him it was the modern way to meet Ms.
Right. As a busy self-employed carpenter, he wasn't meeting many available partners.
 
She was Katherine Young then, managing a retail store in Ottawa, divorced and weary of searching for a partner. What drove her to Misty River was a bad experience on the Internet.

"She liked his nervousness"

  “We communicated by computer and suddenly he was demanding to know where I was. If I wasn’t at the keyboard when he sent a message, he was upset.   He seemed to think he had ownership. And that was in less than two weeks. It was scary.”
   She studied Ms. Miller’s profiles and one of the first she called (only women can initiate contact) was Dwayne. “I loved his voice. And he seemed ner­vous. I liked that too.”
  Meeting him in an Ottawa restaurant was a shock. It was just before Christmas, and he was sitting alone, holding a single red rose and shaking like a leaf. Katherine, at five-foot-one and 100 pounds, always felt vulnerable meeting men. Here was a man almost six feet tail, about 200 pounds, muscular, wind-burned and with a great black beard whose nervousness was his biggest selling point. She sensed no danger. She admits that within minutes of meeting, she was making imaginary design changes. The beard should go. “But we compromised. He grows it in the winter.” She thought of clothes he would look good in. She saw he was open to suggestions.
   She wanted to meet his friends and family. “You can tell a lot about a man by the reactions of those close to him"
 
The big man was well-liked, respected and people were happy to see him when he introduced his new friend.
   Lady Luck went into a foul mood4or Katherine and, in the next few weeks, she was in a serious car accident ~d there was a fire in her home. She discovered she had a calm and capable friend. They married to months after the
first meeting. When I asked her to put him on the phone, there was some quiet chatting  in the background, then she giggled, and he picked up the phone 

laughing.  Being a romantic, that’s all I had to hear. I didn’t have to ask if he was hap­py. My first question was: Gotcha, didn’t she? “Oh yeah.”
   He felt very much the rustic in the company of a city woman. Things started to fall together when they learned they both loved animals and rural living. He has the skills to keep the phone ringing as a carpenter and contractor, and she has the business experience to handle the paperwork.
   Now if they can just avoid the armies of publicly funded experts lining up to tell them how wrong they are.

Dave Brown is the Citizen's senior editor. Send e-mail to dbrown@thecitizen.sotham.ca. Read prevoius columns by Dave Brown at www.ottawacitizen.com 

Katherine and Dwayne White were married 
10 months after they first met.


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