In her most forthcoming comments to date Carolyn Salib, senior counsellor for high-end gay matchmaking service Entre-Nous, addressed a room of gay business professionals about an ongoing small-claims case against the company.
“As the case is in litigation I cannot comment on the specifics of the case,” said Salib. “Plus I am bound by confidentiality agreements with our clients.
“However we are a large organization and dating is not easy. It’s an emotional thing. It puts you in a vulnerable position. But as far as this case goes, if you look at any large organization you are always going to have instances like this. I’m going after Bell Canada right now because they’ve messed up my phone line. But I encourage all of you to follow this case.”
The lawsuit was brought by former client Terry Wong, who is suing Entre-Nous to recoup the money he paid to the company — almost $8,000 — plus $10,000 in damages. Wong claims Entre-Nous did not live up to its contractual obligations. The two sides are expected to appear next in Ontario Small Claims Court on Mon, Mar 31. Salib has been acting as the company’s spokesperson and court representative since the lawsuit was filed last year. (See Lawsuit Against Matchmakers for more.)
Salib’s comments were made at an event held by the Fraternity, a networking organization for gay professionals, on Feb 11 at the Ramada Plaza on Jarvis St. She was one of two guest speakers, alongside Peter Bochove, coowner of bathhouse Spa Excess. The event was titled “Will he be mine? The gay dating/relationship/ love/sex scene today.”
While Bochove’s talk was light-hearted, impromptu and peppered with sexual innuendo, Salib’s presentation was well-rehearsed and had the feel of a corporate pitch. She referred to Entre-Nous’ clients as “gentlemen” and painted the picture of a hypothetical client as a 50-year-old law-firm partner who likes to travel and is successful in every way but is unsure how to find a life partner. She told the crowd that Entre-Nous has more than 10,000 clients across North America who range in age from 20 to 85.
When the audience pressed her for specifics about Entre-Nous’ services, however, Salib did not offer many. When asked how many chances a client has to meet a partner, she said, “It’s not a quantitative thing. It’s different for everyone. It depends on the person. I wish I could say there are guarantees, but there aren’t. But you do get out of it what you put into it.”
The most contentious issue for the audience was the company’s fees. When initially asked how much the services cost, Salib said, “The fees vary. It depends upon the person. It’s not cheap though. It’s a significant investment.”
When someone pointed out that Wong paid almost $8,000 some in the audience gasped audibly. Salib then told the crowd that the company’s fees could go as high as $12,000. When asked what the difference in service is between $8,000 and $12,000, Salib said, “It depends on how much work or time the process is going to take for a particular client.”
Asked to sum up her presentation Salib said, “Explore it. Our services may not be for you but what have you got to lose?”
“$8,000!” shouted back many members of the audience.