With thousands of American military members and personnel in the Wiesbaden community, there is a huge market for American singles looking to settle in. And that's where US Love Wiesbaden’s matchmaker Jessica Dreyer steps in.
When Wiesbaden native Jessica Dreyer started working at US Army Europe (USAREUR) in her hometown some years ago, she noticed an interesting phenomenon. At work, her American mainly male colleagues were eager to find out if she had any single, German friends that they could meet. And in her personal life, her female German and European friends inquired about the potential availability of any of her US army co-workers.
“I thought, ‘I could make a business out of this’,” Jessica tells The Local.
And so she did last summer, launching her matchmaking service under the name “US Love Wiesbaden”.
Business started to really boom after a few months when local media noticed the novel dating firm, and now she receives many new inquiries every week from German and American singles looking for an inter-national partner.
While she gets calls and emails from all kinds of people, including men seeking men and women seeking women, Jessica’s biggest client base is European women who want to meet members of the US forces and vice versa.
This, she says, is simply because of the numbers: USAG Wiesbaden counts 3,100 soldiers, 3,900 American civilian workers, and 1,100 retirees as part of its Wiesbaden Garrison. And around 85 percent of military personnel are male.
For a city that has a long history with the American military, such pairings between American soldiers and German women are also well known. Wiesbaden was captured by US forces in March of 1945 during the Second World War, and remained under American occupation after the war’s end. Troops have been present in the Wiesbaden area ever since and Wiesbaden’s locals know the Americans are a big and important part of their city.
Even beloved American superstar Elvis Presley spent some time stationed near Wiesbaden - a fact which the city proudly boasts about online – met his wife Priscilla here and made sure to carve his and wife’s initials into a Wiesbaden tree.
Plus, Jessica also works with clients in nearby Kaiserslautern, where tens of thousands more American armed forces and government affiliates live in the largest US military community abroad.
But even though Germans and Americans have long lived with one another in the area, stereotypes on both sides persist, which perhaps drives some of the mutual interest.
“A lot of German women want to meet an American because they say they love the idea and special romance of an inter-national partnership with an American, they like the culture, the way of life, the music and the easy-going personalities of Americans… They find a man in the US armed forces very attractive,” Jessica explains.
“The way American men look and act, they seem like fun people and they will be good partners because they are easy going. They think German men are often not so easy going in life, and are too picky with things and sometimes too traditional in their role models.”
And Jessica’s American male clients sometimes have just as many preconceived notions of German women - including quite romantic ones.
“American men say they like the women here, their looks, they’re taller on average and seem a little more natural. The men who contact me say they love the idea of an inter-national romance and partnership. They might like the accent, or the different heritage.”
Jessica also makes it clear that she’s not doing this to help arrange marriages for legal purposes, like gaining citizenship. And for the most part, neither are her clients.
“To the people who say they just want to meet and marry [for citizenship], I say I’m not a marriage agency. This is about inter-national dating and relationship, not about getting a green card or something.”
To set up the matches, Jessica meets with prospective clients in person or connects via Skype to get a sense of who they are, as well as to ask them what they’re looking for in a mate. Her customers tend to be aged 35 and up, which she attributes to the fact that older singles are looking for more discreet and direct ways of dating someone than dating apps with online profiles. Another aspect of her personal and rather traditional way of match-making is that there is no public online posting of her clients’ profiles or photos to protect everyone’s privacy and confidentiality when it comes to the search for a new partner.
Dreyer charges men €189 for their first match in person - €50 more than she charges women, who she says she charges less because they generally earn less than the men. Fees for subsequent matches in person are then the same: €95. If clients review profiles up front which they do not like, they just let her know and Jessica keeps looking. Her fee is based on success – only if two candidates have reviewed each other’s profile and decide to date in person, she charges her matching fee.
An important factor in the matchmaking though, is that the Germans and other Europeans will almost always have to speak English: her American clients rarely speak German well enough to have a conversation, if they speak it at all.
“Most Americans don’t speak German well, but most Europeans speak solid English… but if they say they don’t speak English, I have to tell them to consider how they think they can have a relationship with an American this way.”
But when it comes to dating norms, Jessica says there aren’t the same barriers. Germans and Americans tend to have similar views on courtship, such as questioning who should pay on the first date. Just as in the US, in Germany the answer to this depends on the individuals, Jessica says.
One thing that is a bit different is the question of marriage. Still, given that her business kicked off less than a year ago, Jessica hasn’t had any couples get to this point yet.
“Americans expect marriage to come sooner. In Germany we tend to wait years before getting married. We want to make sure we have the right person on hand. But there is always exceptions if it just feels right.”
Besides the more expensive individual match-making service, Jessica now also offers ice-breaker singles events which she hosts in the Wiesbaden region. “American and German singles interested in meeting each other can sign up for the events. I offer various themes like a regional wine-tasting, “Hello Frollein” sightseeing tour of Wiesbaden, bowling, special movie night and other get-togethers”. The options are endless. She organizes the event and makes sure that her clients can enjoy a fun, relaxed evening. The big bonus to clients is that the events are hosted exclusively to meet American and German singles interested in an inter-national partner. Americans who attend can be assured that the women they meet that night are all singles interested in an American for an inter-national relationship. On the other hand, the German singles know they have the option of meeting US singles interested in a European for an inter-national partnership. Possibly a perfect match!
The next ice-breaker, bowling this time, is on May 5 at 8 PM in Wiesbaden. Interested American and German singles can sign up with Jessica for free membership at US Love Wiesbaden. The exact location will be revealed upon registration as this is not an event open to the general public. The admin fee to this bowling ice-breaker is 29 Euro and includes the bowling and a free drink.
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