Marla Martenson Interview – Guide to Where the Boys Are and How to Get Them
“Good Date, Bad Date”
Jasbina Ahluwalia interviews Marla Martenson
Marla Martenson found an outlet for her love of writing in two relationship advice books Excuse Me, Your Soul Mate Is Waiting and Good Date, Bad Date, and in 2010 her memoir, Diary of a Beverly Hills Matchmaker.
Marla has appeared on the Today Show, WGN Chicago Morning News, San Diego Living, KUSI San Diego Morning, Better TV, Urban Rush and over 40 radio shows including Coast to Coast AM, Playboy Radio and The Cooper Lawrence Show.
(00:50): Hello everyone and welcome to Intersections Match’s Talk Radio, a monthly holistic lifestyle show focused on the continual evolution into the best versions of our authentic selves. We and our guests discuss relationships and health and wellness, each of which contributes to meaningful and fulfilling lives.
This is Jasbina, your host. I’m a former practicing lawyer and the Founder of Intersections Match, the only elite national personalized matchmaking company focused on singles of South Asian descent nationwide in the US.
I’m very excited to welcome Marla Martenson to our show tonight. Marla is the author of three dating books, a professional matchmaker, life coach and speaker. Tonight we’ll be discussing Marla’s books, Excuse Me, Your Soulmate is Waiting and Good Date, Bad Date. Welcome, Marla.
(1:43): Hi, how are you doing?
(1:46): It’s great to have you on. As a professional dating coach and matchmaker, I’m fascinated by insights and perspectives regarding relationships.
I’ve enjoyed reading your books. I’d love to explore some of the insights that you share. Marla, what prompted you to write this book in the first place?
(2:07): I always wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. I was a very creative soul. Since I came out of the womb, I think I was tap dancing. I was an actress for a while. I studied dance. I loved to write. I always had in the back of my mind to write a book one day. However, since I didn’t know I was going to be a matchmaker, I had no idea that it would be in the dating field.
I became a matchmaker 10 years ago by a fluke. I got into the business looking for a different career path. I came out to Los Angeles to be an actress and ended up waiting on tables more than acting. When I got into the matchmaking field, I realized that I had so much insight and information. These singles were telling me what they were looking for. I got feedback after the dates.
I thought, “I really have some great stories, advice and insight to give people. I’ll write a book about dating and dating advice.” That’s what I did. I wrote Excuse Me, Your Soulmate is Waiting first. Then the publisher wanted a follow up book, so I did Good Date, Bad Date.
(3:22): Towards the beginning of the book Excuse Me, Your Soulmate is Waiting, you mention the comments and feedback that you received from your matchmaking clients with respect to what men and women do and do not want in a soulmate. I know our listeners would love you to share a couple of the “do” ones and a couple of the “don’t” ones.
(3:48): When I started out in the field, I was working for a video dating service. I was the videographer. I would do a five to eight minute video of each client. I would interview them. I loved it. I felt like I was a producer or director doing a little film. If it was a woman, one of the questions that I would ask is, “What are you looking for in a man? What are the most important qualities for you?”
The top three things would usually be a great sense of humor, a gentleman and someone successful. They wanted someone who could make them laugh, have fun and take care of them if they wanted a family. The next thing after that would be looks.
I’d ask the men, “What are you looking for in a woman?” About 99% of them would say they were looking for someone attractive, slender and good-looking. Then they would also say a sense of humor and easy going. It was very interesting how it was completely flipped with the men and the women. The men are hardwired to be visual. Sense of humor was high on the list for both men and women.
(5:08): In that same book, you have a series of questions that you suggest readers ask themselves in order to determine whether or not they’re truly ready for a committed, long-term relationship. Will you share a few of those questions with our listeners?
(5:28): You want to find out if you’re ready to love. Maybe you’re bitter from a past relationship, you had a bad breakup or a trauma in your life. You don’t want to bring that baggage or negative energy into another relationship. You want to take a look at yourself. Ask yourself if you see a pattern in your life of floating from one relationship to another, never really spending time alone to get to know yourself or work on yourself. I used to do that.
I would jump from relationship to relationship. After my divorce in the nineties, I took five years. I was alone. I did a lot of work on myself. I did spiritual work, workshops and reading. When I met my husband five years later, I was so glad that I did that. It’s really important.
Do you tend to be attracted to the same kind of person over and over? Maybe it’s someone who neglects your emotional needs or is never around. Do you still grieve a past love and hope he’ll come to his senses and want to reunite?
(6:39): I found a statement in Your Soulmate is Waiting particularly compelling. I’d love to share it with our listeners and then have you expand. You state in the book, “It’s imperative to know what you’re looking for in a potential mate. At the same time you’re assessing others for the qualities you desire, the people that you come into contact with are assessing you to see what you bring to the table. Have you considered what you might have to offer a potential partner?
Do you have the qualities that will be on someone else’s do/want list? We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Sure, in a perfect world, a partner would accept us exactly as we are. But that’s not the way it is. If you want to up your chances of finding a partner, you need to take a realistic look at yourself in order to enhance your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.” I thought that was a great quote. Can you tell us more about that from your experiences?
(7:38): You might experience this as a matchmaker. Let’s say that you have someone come in who is out of shape and could lose 30 pounds but they want someone with a perfect body. I had a guy who had to lose at least 50 pounds. He had a big stomach. He said, “I will only date a woman with a flat stomach and a body like Madonna. She has to be perfectly toned.”
A woman who is really health conscious and into working out and keeping herself fit will be looking for something similar. She’s not going to want to date a guy who is out of shape. Look at yourself. You might be looking for qualities that you don’t have. Maybe you’re looking for someone wealthy and you’re in credit card debt and don’t know how to take care of your finances.
You might want to look at that. You want to be the person that you want to date. You will be a better match and have a better chance of finding that person. It’s not fair to ask for all of these qualities that you’re not willing to step up to the plate and be yourself. You want to be a great person as well.
(8:46): I definitely have run across that as well. I do agree with that. In your book, Good Date, Bad Date, you have a chapter entitled Living Your Truth to be the Best You. I love the title of that chapter. Share one or two highlights from that chapter with our listeners.
(9:16): I mention to take your time for spiritual growth. Live your truth with integrity. I mention that when I was a little girl I loved to read and write poetry. I loved to draw, although I wasn’t very good. I wanted to be in a creative field. We have to be ourselves, live our truth and figure out what we want for our lives. We need to be an original, be the best us that we can be and not try to be someone else.
I had a friend who was trying to figure out who to be. She had a neighbor who lived upstairs. He was really gorgeous. She had a crush on him but he had a girlfriend. She would literally put her ear to the wall because she could hear their conversations upstairs. She would say, “This girls seems like a bimbo. I think he likes that. Maybe I should become a bimbo because that’s what he likes.”
I thought, “Are you nuts? You will have to be like Sybil with a few personalities.” You don’t change yourself to attract someone. You have to really be your authentic self. We have to be the best we can be. I talk about working on ourselves or improving ourselves because we all have things that we can do better with. It’s great all around for our lives, not just to attract a mate. I love to tell people to be their authentic selves, and the best version.
(11:20): I love that part. I use that as well. You might be able to carry it off for a couple of dates, but at the end of the day, you really want to be with someone who you can be yourself with. Otherwise, it’s pointless.
In the same book, you have a chapter titled What Do Men Want? I encourage our listeners to read your books. Do you have a couple of highlights to share with our listeners from your experiences as a matchmaker and dating coach? What do men want?
(12:15): The biggest challenge for me as a matchmaker is that men are hardwired from the caveman days to be visual, to look for signs of youth and fertility. The first thing that they’re interested in is, “How does she look? Is she pretty? Is she gorgeous? Does she have a good figure? Is she voluptuous?” That’s something that is hard for women to wrap our heads around.
When I met my husband, I had very short hair. I loved that gamine look with the short hair. He’s a Latin man. He loves long hair. I grew it out for him. Now he just loves it. About 99% of the men that I would interview and ask if they had a preference, they would all say that they liked long hair. That’s their first concern.
Men love a woman with a sense of humor. If they’re going to get up in the morning to take a hike, she’s not going to take an hour to get ready. They love a woman who can be casual, look great for a dinner out but then just put their hair in a ponytail and go. Those are some of the top things. They also love a woman who has something passionate in her life.
A lot of times, women will say, “Does he care if I don’t make that much money or what kind of career that I have?” The men usually tell me that they don’t care what a woman does, as long as there is something she’s passionate about, whether it be volunteering, being an artist or a career woman. It doesn’t matter to them. They love a woman who has something to talk about that she’s excited about.
(14:06): It really dovetails with what we were discussing before in terms of living your truth to be the best you. If your lifestyle does reflect your passions and what makes you tick, it’s going to reflect in the way that you present yourself when you meet those men.
In your book, Good Date, Bad Date, you mentioned to seek abundance, not money. Tell us about that.
(14:38): I wrote that chapter because I work in Los Angeles. The men want the hottest women they can find and the girls want the richest guys they can find. The girl would turn down the date if the guy wasn’t driving the right kind of car. How much does he make a year? Does he own a home, and where? They won’t date a guy if he lives in the Valley, only Beverly Hills. I deal a lot with this mentality.
Chasing that is not going to make you happy. You want to seek abundance in your life in health, loyalty and your emotional and spiritual quest. You want to seek abundance in your life, not just money. There’s nothing wrong with money but you don’t want to make that your main focus on choosing a date or partner. That was the motivation for that chapter.
(15:47): I found this to be very insightful and universally helpful. You have a subsection that is cleverly titled Mind Reading is Not a Communication Skill. I have discussions about this all the time. I would love for you to share with our listeners what you mean by that.
(16:21): That goes with communication. A lot of people will just assume that the other person should have known or already know. Women especially will think, “He should have known that I wanted him to do this.” Guys aren’t mind readers. We have to communicate. I dealt with a big communication mess-up with a couple the other day. They were scheduled to meet at a restaurant on Friday night at 7:00. The man called to confirm but she didn’t get reception in her apartment.
He emailed her and she didn’t get it. She was there. She paid for a valet. She sat there and had a glass of wine. This is Beverly Hills so it was expensive. She emailed me and said, “I was there at 7:00 and he never showed up.” Then he said to me, “I confirmed but she never did so I assumed it was off.”
She said, “A gentleman would have been there.” Their communication was off. You really have to communicate what you want and what you’re thinking. Don’t assume that the other person just knows what you’re expecting.
(17:34): There is something that I think is related to this. I’m talking about cautioning readers about jumping to conclusions in the dating process. Can you give one example, in matches you put together, where jumping to conclusions was not helpful in the whole process?
(18:13): I know a gentleman who is always jumping to conclusions. After a date, he emails me and says, “Melanie was perfectly lovely. I had a great time but I could tell she wasn’t interested so let’s move on to the next match.” Then when she emailed me, I asked, “How was everything?” She said, “He was fantastic. I definitely want to see him again.”
He jumped to the conclusion that she wasn’t interested. When people are going on a first date, especially when they’re going through a matchmaking service, it is a blind date. Maybe you chat on the phone first. On the first date, you might be a little bit shy. That goes with internet dating. You’re meeting for the first time on that first date. Cut each other some slack if it’s a little bit awkward.
If there are any sparks at all and you think they’re interesting, go ahead and give the person another chance. People are quick. It’s like a throw-away society. You feel like there’s a never-ending supply on the internet or that the matchmaking service will just match you with someone else. You really should slow down a little bit and not be so quick to discard someone for a little mistake or miscommunication.
(19:36): I say often that, when you’re meeting or speaking for the first time, you really don’t have a database on each other. You don’t have context. It is so easy for us to take every word a certain way that might lead to a misimpression. You mentioned cutting the person some slack. I have to echo that.
You mentioned online dating. I know in your book Good Date, Bad Date you have about a dozen online dating do’s and don’ts. Can you share a couple of them for our listeners who may be trying to navigate the online dating world?
(20:34): the big things that I hear about online dating are about people misrepresenting themselves. A picture is so important. When I used to look on those online dating sites, I would see men with a side view of their face, sunglasses or a blurry picture. You can’t even tell what they look like. It’s pointless to put it up. If you don’t have one, get a digital camera and have a friend take a few photos of you.
Use something close up enough where they can see your face. You don’t need to do a glamour shot where you look way better than you usually do, but you don’t want to put up your worst shot either. You want to put something up that looks good and represents you, something current where you smile and look friendly.
Ladies, don’t use a photo that’s too sexy, but don’t put something up that’s too uptight either. When I worked at the video dating service, people would look through books of pictures.
I remember that my cousin came in and joined. She had on a business suit. She came straight from work and took her pictures. I think only one guy selected her and she’s a beautiful girl. The ladies that were wearing something a little more form-fitting that showed a little cleavage, the guys were picking them like crazy. It’s because guys are visual. The photo is very important.
Don’t misrepresent your age or weight. The person is going to find out when they get there. It’s embarrassing. You can’t hide that.
(22:05): One of the means to the end goal of finding someone is to meet them in person. It confounds me when people misrepresent themselves. I’m not sure of the mindset. You really can’t get away with it for that long.
(22:32): I think sometimes people think, “I know that I’m older or heavier than they want but once they meet me, they’re going to see how young I look for my age or how fabulous my personality is. They won’t care.” They usually do. Then the other person is angry that they wasted their time. Just be yourself. There is someone for everyone. It’s better to be you. If you feel that you need to get in better shape, get a more updated look or whiten your teeth, then go do that.
Start working towards that. Your age is your age. I don’t subscribe to the line about the age. I’ve never met a person who thinks they look their age. Everyone claims eternal youth. Everyone thinks they look so much younger than they are. I know that aging is hard, but it’s the life process. We have to embrace it and be proud of who we are in our journey.
I don’t subscribe to the line about the age. I think there is someone out there for everyone. My aunt met someone. She is in her 60s. She met someone online and they’re as happy as can be. I matched a guy in his 80s. There is no age limit to love.
(23:43): I really appreciate you sharing your insights with us, Marla. Do you have any last thought or take-home message that you’d like to leave our listeners with?
(23:58): A lot of people get down, discourage and feel like they’re never going to meet the right person. In Excuse Me, Your Soulmate is Waiting, I teach people how to use the law of attraction in finding their soulmate. You always want to have a good, high-frequency vibration. I teach people how to do it in the book in order to attract someone.
If you’re thinking in your head that there are no good men out there and it’s not going to happen, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. You really have to train yourself to think positive and know that the right person is out there. They’re on their way to you.
(24:38): I’d like to thank Marla Martenson for joining us today. It’s been a pleasure.
(24:45): Thank you, Jasbina.
(24:47): Once again, if you’d like to learn more about the insights that Marla has shared with us today, check out her books entitled Excuse Me, Your Soulmate is Waiting and Good Date, Bad Date. There is also a third more recent book, Diary of a Beverly Hills Matchmaker.
(25:06): Yes, that’s my memoir.
(25:15): In case you joined us late or would like to share this show with people in your life, I’d like to remind you that today’s radio show will be archived and available as a podcast on Intersections Match’s website, which is www.IntersectionsMatch.com.
Marla, would you like to share a website with our listeners?
(25:35): Yes, my website is www.MarlaMartenson.com.
(25:47): I can be reached at email@example.com. I appreciate you hanging out with us. Do email me with topics you’d like discussed in future shows. Make sure to join us for next month’s show. Thank you so much.
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