Matchmaking for Love in the Modern Age with Joseph Dixon and Paris Denise

Episode 03

We’re bringing you all the goods with our For the Love of Dating, Sex and Relationships series. So if you’ve ever tried dating as a fully grown adult, you might have a few feelings about it. Maybe you’ve been swiping and swiping and swiping (and if this makes no sense to you, it’s okay–you’ll know what it means by the end of this series) and you’re just not connecting with anyone who sets your world on fire. It can really be the wild west out there in the digital dating world,  but we’re here to help. Perhaps you’ve perused the dating sites and maybe you’ve even joined a site, created a profile, or taken the leap to go on a date. Dating sites have successfully brought millions of people together, but as they say, you might have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince or princess (no offense to frogs). But there are more than a few ways to find love if you’re looking for it.  And this week we are excited to talk about the world of matchmaking–a way of bringing people together that has a long and storied history–and is still alive and well in our digital age. Founder of RBL (Real Black Love) Matchmaking service Joseph Dixon is on the show with his colleague Paris Denise to give us the  finer points of finding love through a matchmaker. . Joseph and Paris entered the world of matchmaking after seeing negative experiences that were affecting long and lasting relationships in their community. Since then, they have been focused and dedicated to connecting people for committed relationships in and for the black community.  Matchmaking has come a long way since the Victorian era (and even since our 70’s favorite, The Dating Game)  and now with experts like Paris and Joseph at the ready, you can take advantage of a deeper way to find someone to share your life–the art of matchmaking has led to thousands of successful relationships!

Episode Transcript

Hey, everybody. Jen Hatmaker here, your host of the For the Love podcast. I’m delighted to have you. Welcome to the show, you guys. Right now we are in a series that I am loving called For the Love of Dating, Sex, and Relationships. Right? Hm, I wonder why Jen wanted to talk about this. Look, I can use my own podcast to work out my own life stuff if I want to, okay?

Now, having said that, I’m not the only person embedded in the dating, sex, and relationship space. That’s basically almost all of us. Whether your relationship has been with the same partner or spouse forever, if you’re dating, if you’re single, all of it. The whole thing.

Now, today we’re going to dial a little bit into dating. Oh, the dating world. Oh, what a deal. What a deal, right? Of course you know, for me, the thought of jumping into dating after 26 years of marriage was like, “No. No. Just, I won’t. I can’t. I don’t even know. I don’t even want to. Somebody help me. Somebody save me.” But, of course, who knows when and where love will find you. I am a living testimony to that, but more about that in a later episode, okay? More about that.

Now, honestly, when love doesn’t find you, there’s a ton of avenues to pursue it yourself, but it is not for the faint of heart. Between the apps and the swiping and the dating services, and well-meaning friends and family and colleagues, it really can be overwhelming. It absolutely can overwhelm a person’s life. And what do you look for, really, in all of those presentations of potential dateable people? What are the red flags? What do we need? What do we want? It can all be very daunting.

So, for those of you who are about ready to stop swiping, or scrutinizing people’s profiles, wondering if their picture’s real, wondering if their occasional smoking, quote, “habit”, is four packs a day actually, if they’re being honest about anything; their age, their life, their job, maybe there’s an alternative for you.

I was lucky enough, I guess, to have a friend as an unwitting matchmaker. She didn’t even mean to. Again, I’ll talk more about that later in the series, so hang with us, but lo and behold, it worked, and it’s been quite a match. But there are professional matchmakers who are doing the good work of bringing people together, and then taking away the pain and confusion and chaos of having to parse through it all ourselves.

Matchmaking actually has a long and storied history, and in some cultures even today, it’s a required rite of passage to bring couples together. I think we’ve traditionally viewed matchmaking’s purpose as helping folks find love, to connect people to each other who have common values, like common lifestyles; and ultimately help establish long-lasting relationships. But it’s evolved, actually, in a bunch of ways. For example, you can be matched up with roommates for college or for young adulthood. You can be matched up to players of your same skillset in a local sports league. It’s even used for matching organ donors to someone who needs them, right?

But, for our purposes today, we’re talking about the kind of matchmaking where skilled professionals look at the backgrounds, desires, goals, education, ages, preferences, all the other factors that play into how we connect to people for the potential of romantic love. And you guys, today we are talking to absolute leaders in that space, and even inside that space, they have a niche place. They are blazing a trail for people of color to find love, okay? But listen, if you’re not a person of color and you’re listening, hang in, because there is so much to learn from this episode. There is so much to hear, so much great food for thought, and plus, this is so entertaining, and they are the cutest and the best.

As always, let me just drop this in real quick. If ever you want to watch any of these episodes, you can go to my YouTube channel, because we record them all visually, not just in audio. Of course, that’s the way that I experience every podcast, so I don’t think there’s anything better than that, but you can watch our conversation over at YouTube, on my YouTube channel if you want to. 

Today, we have Joseph Dixon and Paris Denise. They are the co-owners and the matchmakers at Oh, you guys. Okay, first of all, Joseph spent his adult life studying communication and interpersonal relationships, which has obviously served him well as he connects people authentically and effectively. And then Paris entered the space as a journalism major with a sales and marketing job, never really knowing that she would enter the matchmaking space, where her product essentially was people.

So, the Real Black Love app was launched in 2014, originally to provide a safe dating alternative for the Black community. And since its inception, half a million people have created a profile because of its incredible over-the-top success. Oh my gosh, we talked about so many cool stories in this episode, you guys. But this duo began offering private matchmaking in 2015, and in 2019 Joseph was chosen as one of America’s top matchmakers by iDate, and in 2021 Paris was chosen as one of the nation’s top dating experts, and you will see why. This will become very apparent to you.

Paris and Joseph are absolutely dedicated to bridging the gap and making it easier for singles to find quality relationships, and even experience a satisfying dating life. They are in a quality-over-quantity game here. Paris believes that some of the issues causing low marriage rates and rising divorce rates within the Black American community can absolutely be overcome with the right guidance. I mean, she mentions things like the wealth gap, monogamy, underemployment, mental health, social stereotypes, and so their work is very holistic with their clients. It’s not just, “Let’s get you to have a good dinner with a guy,” or, “Let’s just find you a pretty girl.” It is this mental health, whole person approach to matchmaking.

So, Joseph and Paris came in at a time where, according to them, this population was woefully underserved in the love and dating space, and so they’ve used that knowledge to create loving, meaningful relationships in the Black community. Oh my gosh, you’re going to have to follow them online, because of their Instagram feed. It’s just happy story after happy story, beautiful match after beautiful match. And then of course there’s this whole genre of, like, “And look, here’s our babies. Here are the babies that are being born out of these incredible relationships that are strong ” It’s good news. It’s good news in a world of bad news, and I so enjoy what they’re doing. I love how much joy and happiness they are bringing to their clients’ lives, to their growing families, to this entire demographic, and really just to the world. I love this conversation. You will too. I’m so pleased to share this really fascinating discussion with matchmaker extraordinaires Joseph Dixon and Paris Denise.


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