Beau Brummell Introductions, an agency for gay men, is seeing a surge in new clients facing a few home truths during COVID-19.
Covid is not all doom and gloom. With the new normal has come an oblique turnaround in the way many of us approach our love lives and our futures.
Company co-founder Vinko Anthony says he’s been caught off-guard by a wave of unexpected growth in his gay matchmaking service, Beau Brummell Introductions, which he runs with his partner in business and life, Andrea Zaza.
Being forced to keep ourselves company has made many of us think long and hard about why we’re alone. As one of his clients said: “I never wanna be alone in lockdown again!”
Being locked in on our own exacerbates the feeling of being single.
“Exactly,” Vinko says via Skype. “When we’re busy with our lives and friends and family, it’s not that noticeable. But right now, so many are coming to us in covid saying: ‘I’ve been wanting to do something about this for a long time, and it’s time.’
“Clients in lockdown have had meetings on Zoom or FaceTime or Skype and at least 70 per cent more than usual, have gone on to second, third, fourth meetings, ready for when restrictions ease — which will come.”
And clients are younger than pre-covid and one of their most important relationship requirements is the prospect of children. The 25-to-45 age group is growing, and wanting kids.
The company’s client list just hit a new high of 2,648 guys.
But it’s not cheap, and it’s only for men seeking long-term monogamy. And, for the most part, children.
Sign-up costs a once-off $7,500, so it’s mostly aimed at, but not limited to, professionals and business men. “Guys have told me they’d spend that on 20 wrong dates. And we don’t call it a success until they’ve been together a year.”
If things don’t work out, you go back on the books for free.
The goals of the agency fly in the face of the perception that most gay guys are only after a deep and meaningful relationship of six or seven minutes.
“There’s no right or wrong way to find guys, or have relationships. Sure, all my clients have been on Grindr or Scruff but eventually they say it’s time wasted for little result. You can never go above your number. If I’m a 5 it’s no good winking at a 7.
“People rarely contact us unless they’re after long-term monogamy. We get 87 per cent success rate because our clients want the same things.”
Life now is far from normal. Grindr has covid alerts, some saunas have signs on cubicles saying no more than one person at a time.
“Yes [smiles], life is very different. And so many are truly suffering due to covid, but we’ve never been busier. I had no idea what would happen when the pandemic hit. It’s reconfirmed and reinforced to so many guys just who, and what, is important. That’s a covid positive. Guys are deciding they want to invest in having someone look out for them 24/7.
“Pre-covid, we’d never exchange contacts between international clients unless they could meet within five months. Travel will be an option again. For now, men say they’ve got time for three or four Skype meetings.
“Berlin is really busy for us. Berliners are connecting with Sydneysiders. I just got an amazing client in New Delhi who I just introduced to a guy in New York. His work takes him there, normally. They’ve gone gaga for each other. We’ve had incredible successes linking Perth and Sydney.
“We’ve been urging people to do this for 10 years. Suddenly, this pandemic has made guys face up to some life decisions.”
Note: Beau Brummell occasionally advertises with DNA. This story is published primarily for its news and human-interest value.