Sydney-sider Drew Wade is still single at 40 and has decided to go bigger and better than dating apps like Tinder and Bumble in the hopes of finding someone suitable. Although Drew isn’t opposed to apps, most of her advice to dating effectively involves filmmaking, demographics, meeting mutuals and taking radical leaps of faith. Taking her own advice, Drew took matters into her own hands and created MatchDrew.com where she showcases a number of personal YouTube videos expressing her interest in creating a life with someone, a.k.a. crowdsourcing a hubby!
Before creating the website, Drew said her dating life has been ‘famine to feast.’
“I didn’t learn to date effectively in my 20’s. In hindsight, I held cultural and religious views, particularly that were about men, that were unhelpful and sincerely misguided.”
Drew’s brother died tragically in her late twenties and it took her a few years to recover and process. She says she wasn’t her best self and she was very depressed and grieving about both the death and her parents divorce at the same time. It wasn’t until her early thirties when Drew got involved in the dating scene and learned to date effectively.
“I got a guy who’s America’s number one date coach, Evan Marc Katz, and took his program to learn ‘how to’ date. In the process I learned skills about healthy dating and how to make a connection. I had a couple of great relationships in my thirties, but ultimately the men weren’t ready or willing to commit. I was then unfortunately 40; I had been proactively dating for six years and then I realised it’s time to go big. With all these dating skills I really needed to take it up a level and so I created Matchdrew.com.”
Drew received a wide variety of responses. To name a few, there was a personal trainer, another an IT manager, as well as a lovely guy with two kids. There was also a man who was very mysterious about his life, and Drew didn’t feel his interest was a match for her openness and vulnerability. Since being on Channel Nine’s Today Show, she’s had 20+ suitors reach out, all interesting and wonderful.
“Many kinds of offers coming in, including unusually, an incredibly creative girl I went to uni with.”
Drew says she has been unsuccessfully dating for decades and is now an unfortunate type of expert. The methods of dating having evolved dramatically over the last decade, just like her dating practices, lessons and understandings, Drew also comments on how “It’s always easy to go swiping, but effective and healthy dating is different altogether.”
“I’m not sure which apps are better or worse, however it’s all like dating in a crowd.”
Relationships Australia says that the highest chance of meeting your partner, across all age groups, is by meeting through friends. While the trend of online dating is growing, Drew really encourages women, especially older women, to meet through mutuals.
Then there’s also dating agencies. Drew shared the downfalls of going through a dating agency, especially as it’s pretty steep; you’re looking at anything between $3000-$8000, and she says that this alternative is something that she wouldn’t encourage.
“I looked at three agencies and asked them for personal referees of their work and all of them were really dumbstruck by that question which was surprising to me because in my industry (branding and public speaking coaching) personal endorsement and genuine recommendations are essential. I was struck by the dating agencies inability to answer that question and it was only one of the agents that got back to me a few days later with one referee.”
Drew also can’t stress enough on the compatibility drought in Sydney, saying there’s an oversupply of women in Bondi and Double Bay, and an oversupply of men in Bankstown and Lakemba.
“It’s geographically and socioeconomically a mis-match. These demographic results are in a report by Australia’s favourite demographer Bernard Salt. It’s also tough for men in the country where there’s a sheila shortage, but most difficult would have to be women professing a committed faith in the church where the eligible women are fifteen to one eligible man.”
Bernard Salt, the ‘data curating cupid’, created a man-map of Sydney for Drew and her unique man-hunt.
On that note, Drew shared a story about how a friend of hers found the love of her life from understanding the importance of man-mapping.
“Years ago I had a friend who was a makeup artist, blonde and gorgeous, and she disappeared; I didn’t know what happened. I phoned her up and she was all loved up in another town. Basically, she turned 40 and she had been chronically single, as I have been, and she realised that living in Darlinghurst, she was sharing the path with her gay friends and women who are widows. As wonderful as they are this was not the life that she desired.”
Drew’s friend did a search and discovered the highest proportion of men in oversupply which led her to get on a plane and set up a new life. “Naturally, a few weeks later she found a great man and they are now happily married.”
“I remember thinking how radical that was, and not to mention courageous. At the time she was five years my senior, and I thought ‘this won’t happen to me’…”
Drew also found journalist, Sami Lukis, to be a huge inspiration. Sami courageously made a documentary called Sami’s Baby.
“I believe she got a lot of professional flack for it, but I learned so much from Sami and her exploration of wanting to create a family at 40 and I really appreciate what she did.”
Drew also spoke up about reality shows like The Bachelor and Married at First Sight.
“I like them. I was shortlisted for the first season of The Bachelor with Tim Robards; unfortunately he wasn’t my man, but it was excellent to watch. I think that under all the fairy floss of reality shows it’s at least inspiring discussions amongst people across Australia about what it takes to find and create a partnership.”
However, Drew did appear on a blind date TV show years ago, Perfect Match. “Hilarious! I’m quietly pleased I did not get picked.”
Drew’s attempts at finding a suitable partner and creating a family does have a fantastic back up plan. Her selected known donor, who has been her biggest cheerleader on this journey, has changed her dream to create a family to be not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’.
“He is totally supportive of me in this unique man-hunt and is cheering me on in the hopes that whatever happens I’ll be able to create the life I’ve dreamed of with his generous donation or not.”
Drew trying alternative methods to finding the one for her may just get her lucky. It’s almost 2019 – There’s no rules with love, so do what you gotta do!