It’s Just Lunch founder Andrea McGinty dishes on online dating in Las Vegas - Las Vegas Weekly Published February 12, 20121 by Las Vegas Weekly
Back in the pre-internet dating era, romantic disaster set Andrea McGinty on her life course. Her fiancé broke things off just weeks before their planned wedding, and McGinty’s efforts to meet somebody new led her to found the mega-successful matchmaking service It’s Just Lunch. If you’ve ever flipped through an in-flight magazine, you’ve probably seen her ads.
Fast-forward a quarter century. McGinty sold that business, relocated to Las Vegas five years ago and founded a new company: 33,000 Dates. The name comes from the number of dates she estimates she has set up over the course of her career.
Las Vegas Weekly spoke with McGinty about first dates, finding love and the best way to spend Valentine’s Day. She’s the expert as an online dating coach, from online dating profile writing to being your dating consultant cheerleader.
How would you rate the Vegas dating scene? The Las Vegas market is hopping. We have population growth—so many people move here from Southern California and other parts of the country. So people don’t really have that network of family and friends that they grew up with, and online dating becomes very, very prevalent. We’ve got a solid single population. I also see a lot of cross-dating between Vegas, Orange County and LA. because they’re fairly close together and some people have second homes here.
What services does 33,000 Dates offer? I help women and men in their 30’s-60s’s navigate online dating, from the perspective of writing their online profiles and vetting their photos, which is really important. But even more important is choosing the right dating site for them.
How long would you say it takes, on average, to find love? There’s no average. But of the three packages I have, two months is the most popular. Around 60% of my clients have met somebody and aren’t actively dating right now.
People get bummed out in online dating, because they’re doing it wrong. It’s a great pool of people, [but] is everyone great online? Of course not. But it’s a big pool of people, and if you work the system right, you’re going to meet people that you really like.
Where do you suggest people go on first dates? Make it somewhere fun … [and] somewhere safe, somewhere where you can still keep 6 feet away from each other … anything experiential … the Pinball Hall of Fame, Topgolf, just walking around the Strip, Container Park.
After a long marriage, you’ve reentered the dating scene. How’s that going? I was married for 25 years, and 20 of them were great. I have no complaints. I met somebody [local] online that I’ve been dating for almost 10 months. I was the proactive one; when I saw his profile, I reached out to him.
Where did you go on your first date with your current partner? Mon Ami Gabi [at Paris Las Vegas]. It was a great date, because we were sitting [on the patio] looking at the Bellagio Fountains. It was just fun to talk.
What should single people do about Valentine’s Day? Don’t schedule a date on Valentine’s Day. It puts too much pressure on both of you. Don’t be sitting around on Valentine’s Day night with a bottle of red wine DM’ing people online—not a good move. Go volunteer instead; go do something else. Now, if it’s a second date, sure, go for it.
Any good anecdotes from your years as a dating coach? When [my daughter] was 5, she came home after the first day of school and said, “Mom, you’re not gonna believe this. There’s three kids in my kindergarten class whose mom and dad you fixed up.”
ANDREA MCGINTY’S DATING TIPS
Be proactive. Set filters for what you’re after and reach out. Ignore the random people who reach out to you, unless they happen to fit your parameters.
Be specific. Avoid sending generic greetings to new matches. McGinty says to try a timely conversation starter based on similar interests. For example, “I saw that you just finished The Queen’s Gambit. I loved it. Let’s talk.”
When in doubt, use Match.com. Tinder requires too little effort from potential dates, McGinty says, but Match is like the Target of online dating. “Everyone shops there. In the parking lot, you see rundown cars to Porsches.”
Don’t be pen pals. “You want to get to a real date [or FaceTime during the pandemic] as fast as possible,” McGinty says. Even a five-minute video chat will reveal if they look like their photos and show you their mannerisms.
Be wary of height. If a guy says he’s 6 feet tall, he’s more likely to be lying than if he says he’s 5’11” or 6’1”. That said, non-tall women should lay off the height requirements. “It’s just not fair when the short women want the tall guys. We got to save those for the tall girls,” McGinty says. “I’m kidding … but kinda not.”
AND FOR THE MEN ...
McGinty offers this advice to men putting together dating profiles, based on feedback she has received from her thousands of clients.
Keep your shirt on. “Unless you’re waterskiing, don’t post pictures of you in your swim trunks. We can see that later,” McGinty says. “If you’re athletic and you want to show it off, you can in other ways.”
Don’t zoom in too much. Women don’t go for pics just focused on a tattoo or bicep.
Skip the auto show. Women are turned off by that photo of you surrounded by “your five cars or motorcycles.”
Share current pics. Granted, the pandemic lockdown has limited recent photo-ops. But McGinty says to share “good photos that are within a year old.”
Tell the truth. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to weight, height and age. Besides, do you really want to start a new relationship based on a lie?
So, need help? Use a high end online dating coach like Andrea McGinty.