White lies on the road to love

Making a good match requires subtlety, explains a shadchan
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The Independent Online
Working in a business which is intimately concerned with false impressions, Alex Strom knows he is not the stereotypical matchmaker, or shadchan, writes Vanessa Thorpe.

"It is regarded as a woman's job and traditionally it has been done by old ladies, like the one in Fiddler on the Roof. "But I do it because it gives me a buzz."

Mr Strom, 45, provides an introduction service for the Orthodox Jewish community of north London, where the sexes are rarely permitted to mix socially.

Customers who candidly confess to Mr Strom that they are penniless will often be matched with someone who has a little more. "Because you really need money if you have to live in an Orthodox area, and there is no family planning." (Mr Strom has 13 children.)

He tells both parties what kind of families are involved and whether they have a history of good health. "I can let couples know whether they would be genetically compatible before they even meet."

He believes his skill lies in the fact that he knows just what to suppress. "I am an inveterate liar. It is not helpful to know too much about people."

He bemoans a triplefold surplus of women on the market. "There are lots of fine women, but the men are all oddbods."