Photo Credit: Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

As someone who claims expertise on “selecting a husband and maintaining him in good working order,” I will have to admit my knowledge of the selection process is a little rusty.

Not having personally husband-shopped for more than a half century, I rely on third-party research to keep up with current dating customs and taboos.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve learned that blind dates have given way to dating apps and websites with their “bread-crumbing,” “benching” and “ghosting.” Break-ups via post-it notes (so old school) have been replaced by break-ups via text, DM or simply changing one’s relationship status on Facebook.

I’ve also researched and written about bad dates and really bad dates.

But I don’t think I ever appreciated how confusing and soul-crushing dating has become until recently when I discovered that “Dating Coach” is one of the hot new careers of the 21st Century.

The dating industry in the United States is big business — forecast to reach $3.2 billion in 2020.  Of that, dating coaches are a growing component. Their role is to help singles navigate the complex, high-tech world of dating.  Do a Google search for “dating coaches,” and a whole range of options will pop up, including Yelp Rankings for the best dating coaches in your area.

For as little as $1,800 or as much as $18,000, these savants offer a wide variety of services. Here are a few typical options:

Patti Feinstein, who bills herself as “America’s Dating Coach,” says she honed her skills in several boutique matchmaking offices before creating her own “dating empire” in 2002. Her services include internet profile management, image consulting and personal shopping. She also offers a lot of free advice in her blog.

Stefani Safran adds matchmaking (at $50 an intro) to her list of services.  While Feinstein gives herself a national title, Safran has trademarked, “Chicago’s Introductionista.” She began her career as a contest coordinator on “The Dating Game” and later as a “Wing Man” for Rent Mr. Right. So, presumably, she’s pretty good at pairing up the unpaired.

Australian Alex Coulson offers dating advice exclusively for men through his website Succeed at Dating.  Eschewing subtlety, Coulson offers seminars and in-field coaching on how to pick-up women. He also sells videos and training programs, with such titles as “Dating Younger Women,” “Phone and Texting Secrets,” “Conversation Master Class” and “The Attraction Summit Online.” Everything a man-on-the-make should know.

Please understand, I’m not putting down coaches. With the industrialization of dating, they provide a necessary service, giving daters constructive advice on their interpersonal style and on-line presence as well as the confidence they need to slog through all that swiping and winking.

I’m just feeling a tad nostalgic for the days when dating was a biological urge rather than big business. It was less complicated. The rules of the game were clearly defined. And everyone was too young and too stupid to think they needed help with the process.

Would you use a coach?  Have you used a coach?  Your comments here.

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