Online and offline, Emily Romano nurtures single men and women into embracing the wild world of dating.
Emily Romano brings the tools and tactics of 21st-century marketing to the dating world, where, she says, “You need to make yourself a commodity and position your brand.”
First, foremost, and above all, Emily Romano is not a matchmaker. She announces this emphatically over an Arctic iced coffee at a Coolidge Corner restaurant. “That’s a misnomer that gets applied to me a lot,” she says. Romano is an architect of romance, a resource for the reborn single looking for love in all the wrong first-date places, using unflattering profile pictures to boot.
It’s a far cry from law school, where the North Reading native first staked her ground: “I hated everything about law. I dropped out.” And dropped into the dating industry, where she discovered that, as Pat Benatar belted out, love is a battlefield. So Romano rolled up her sleeves and got to work. “Being single may be a symptom,” she says, “but the problem may be you lack confidence, you don’t feel comfortable talking to people. You’re not getting out of your comfort zone.”
In 2012, she started Dateover, a dating consulting firm that coaches the lonely and lovelorn. Her goal is to groom clients—75 percent of whom are 40-something divorcees—and educate them on the realities of Dating 2.0. “It’s the same as when you go to sell a product: You’re going to present that product in the best way you can,” she says. “While I think it’s important to be genuine and honest, this is an opportunity to sell yourself. You need to make yourself a commodity and position your brand. If you’re going to be this new, vibrant person entering the dating market, you have to look the part.”
Typically, Romano meets with a new client for two hours to assess his or her personality, interests, and comfort zones. Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Is a makeover and wardrobe overhaul necessary? Is a bar or a chess game your scene? From there, she proposes a form of attack: role-playing a mock date, writing a profile bio (“Don’t write a book!”), or shooting a great profile photo (“It is worth the investment”). For the super-shy, Romano will even serve as a clandestine chaperone. “I can act almost like a wingwoman on a date.”
“I wanted to update my look as well as my attitude,” says Susan Altwater, a divorced client in her mid-50s who works in human resources. “Emily was a great coach and really gave exceptional attention to helping me with hair, makeup, online profile, clothing suggestions, and setting goals for helping me find time in my overscheduled life to date. She gave me a fresh start.”
Once Altwater and other Dateover clients graduate, they can look forward to Romano’s newest venture: Vattri, an online resource that offers multiple apps for verifying your date’s background. Says Romano, “It will be a technology that could help thousands of people.”