Rosie Bowie, a modern matchmaker, was born, educated, raised a family and started a business in Wellington.
Rosie fell into matchmaking when she met another woman while on a tramping holiday. Previously, she had been running an event management company but knew that she wanted something more. On a rainy day, when both had decided to skip days waling, a conversation struck up and it transpired that a friend was selling her dating agency. “I was so excited I couldn’t sleep that night. I knew I wanted to buy it.” Rosie says “I’ve now had my business as a Matchmaker for 16 years.” She loves her work and has had many successful clients over the years. Naturally, with today being Valentines Day, Rosie seemed like the perfect Resident. “We always see an upswing after Valentines Day” Rosie laughs.
What was Rosie’s education and own romance like growing up in 1970’s and 1980’s New Zealand in Wellington?
“Growing up, I knew I wanted to be a teacher and a mother. My mother wouldn’t let me be a teacher, however,” Rose explains “I had been to Marsden Girls School (a very proper private school) where all my family had been, and we were taught girls could do anything. So I went to University and studied sociology and psychology. I learnt what makes the world go around, people and relationships.”
Raised Jewish, Rosie says she was taught that if you married you married for love. “I studied Jewish families at university and the divorce rate was always very low” she explains. “Judaism and many other religions have a history of using a matchmaker for courtship, which is often very successful.”
In those days, marriage offers came quicker than expected in these modern times. At fifteen, Rosie met a Jewish boy who wanted her to leave school and get married to him. “That obviously didn’t work out” Rosie explains. “The only way that you met other people in those days was through other friends. In my youth, I had several long-term relationships, one over four years. I discovered I didn’t want to marry him because I didn’t want to choose the ring he wanted me to buy, a sapphire and diamond ring. I didn’t want commitment at that stage in my life. I wanted to see the world.”
Rosie finished her University degree, saved up for a year, and then moved to Europe. “Between 21 - 23 we’d go overseas” Rosie explains. She and her friends chipped in for a Kombie Van and drove around Europe. She also says it was the first time ever that there was freedom to meet others because of the Pill, which had only been out for about 10 years.
Rosie was 25 when she got married, just six weeks after getting engaged. Rosie had already met her husband John before she went travelling with friends in Europe over two and a half years. “He said he didn’t want to get married. But we just felt secure and when I got back he was waiting for me” she says.“We weren’t like the kids today where they hang around, waiting for the spectacle. My mother had died the year before, so I organised my own wedding. There wasn’t a feeling we needed our wedding to be the best. These days, it is more about making sure a wedding looks perfect and therefore there is often a huge expectation around getting your wedding day perfect.”
What is different for this new generation of daters?
“Back then, there were more opportunities to socialise with people who have the same values and educated,” Rosie says “Now, you’re thrown into a much bigger mix of people. It can be difficult to steer your way through to find the person you want to connect with. People are time poor and communicating differently. People don’t spend as much time getting to know about people.”
Rosie also agrees that a proliferation of media, both mainstream and social media, has influenced our expectations around relationships and what that looks like for us “We’ve been brainwashed by media” she says. “When we were younger, you had more energy to put into making a relationship. These days, I think females have high standards when it comes to finding a boyfriend - like Sex and the City.” Rosie explains. “We didn’t know about all those aspects of life. We just accepted people for what they were. The new generation has a much more specific idea of what happiness and love look like.”
I ask Rosie about anxiety, pointing out that the younger generation is more anxious than previous, due to climate change, housing shortage, lack of pay rises, political unrest and social media. Does she think we are more anxious because we are the first generation to be ‘worse off’ than our parents? “Definitely. Yet you need to remember that my parents came from a war zone in World War Two” Rosie reminds me. “There’s a cynicism, and people questioning whether it is right to raise a family in this age. In my opinion, you have to see every generation has had its difficulties. It is not so clear-cut. For instance, we might have had cheaper houses but we had to pay far more interest.”
Rosie certainly has seen a few things occur between the opposite sex over her time and drawn some opinions. She thinks that the women have changed, rather than the guys, that young women tend to look the same as one another, and that the art of flirting has diminished. “But I think the mood is changing and that priorities are changing back again,” says Rosie.
She also has her challenges with men. “Men think that they can do it all. It takes a bit of persuading to show them that maybe they can’t just meet a girl at the pub” Rosie says. “Sometimes, you need to forget the list you drew up. You need someone else’s opinion about who you are and what you’d be attracted to. The idea we know it all might not be perfect. You wouldn’t take your own tooth out! You’d hopefully go to the dentist.” Rosie believes asking for help in love shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
What is the process to meet someone through a matchmaker?
The first step is the client getting to know the matchmaker and the matchmaker getting to know them. “I need to meet them to understand their values and what makes them tick.” Rosie then explains that she can’t manufacturer a person out of thin air. “I need to explain that if they are prepared to wait, I will find the people to meet. I won’t be able to find them ‘The One’ but I will find them, people, to meet. At that stage, it’s all about them. I find people I think will be suitable."
What does she think about new technology like Tinder?
Rosie is surprised Matt and I met on Tinder (which she doesn’t use for her clients). “My understanding was that it was more about seeking short-term relationships,” Rosie says. “To me though, the medium isn’t important. We simply need healthy, loving relationships.” We agree that it comes down to the user and how you market yourself (i.e. whether that is for a short term fling or seeking a proper relationship.” I also say to Rosie I think it appeals because it doesn’t have the stigma older dating platforms online have.
What does Rosie think about Wellington as a city to date in?
People are more accessible in Wellington as a city, rather than if you were in the country. It has an intellectual base and is a university town. People live here because they want to be here, not because they have to be. So as a city it is a good place to go out on dates.
Familiarity has kept Rosie in Wellington. “Wellington has been through a huge cultural growth period,” says Rosie. “It has given me everything I could want. I love that I can easily connect.”
Rosie's website for her business is here.