Are marriages made in heaven? In reality many people need a little help in the arrangement of such matters, whether from Jewish shadkhans (matchmakers), go-betweens, computer or video-dating agencies, marriage bureaux, Asian arranged marriages, gay dating agencies or personal ads. Originally published in 1984, the author’s clear-sighted look at the mating trade takes some of the mystique away from the subject and is the first serious and detailed account of the ‘third party’ in marriage.

Dr Mullan looks at the ‘singles scene’ and the ‘arranged marriage’ historically and cross-culturally, and makes it clear that there is nothing necessarily odd or deviant about the mating trade. It is a business like any other, and as long as people continue to want ‘perfect partners’, marriage, permanent relationships, dates and sex, and while evolving social structures make such demands ever more difficult to meet, the business will thrive. It could even expand and grow, but the author believes that first it will have to clean up its act!

Introduction: Choosing Partners  Part One  1. The Arranged Marriage  2. The Shadkhan and the Nakado  Part Two  3. Overview of the Industry  4. ‘Marriages are Made in New Bond Street’: The Traditional Marriage Bureaux  5. Electronic Cupid: Computer Dating  6. Introduction and Dating Agencies  7. The ‘List’ Technique  8. Video-Dating  9. Specialisms: Asian Marriage Bureaux and Gay Dating  10. ‘Social’ Introduction Agencies and Others  11. The Cheap Mediator: Personal Ads  Part Three  12. The ‘Psychology’ of Attraction  13. Litigation and Controls  14. Alternatives? Conclusion.  Appendix: Personality Questionnaires and Projective Techniques.  Notes.  Bibliography.  Index.