Music lover dating classical god, pussy needs
February 19, 1987|By HOWARD REICH, Chicago Tribune
He was ``5-foot-10, single, intellectual yet romantic, with a love of fine wine, beautiful women and great operas.``
She was ``5-foot-3, professional, attractive and sincere, with passionate interests in art, ice cream, bread-baking and Beethoven.`
You might say it was a match made in heaven, except that it was actually put together in the living room-office of TamaraMonaque Conroy, who has come up with a deliciously offbeat way of helping the highbrows meet each other.
When a fellow who prefers Rachmaninoff to racquetball seeks a woman who prefers Penderecki topower-lunching, he looks to Conroy`s Classical Music Lovers Exchange, America`s only dating service for the longhairs.
That`s how 5-foot-10 Henry Glass met 5-foot-3 Shar Marcus three years ago in Chicago. When Valentine`s Day came around, they toasted just over two years of making beautiful music together as a married couple.
``Before I met my classical music date, I was just going out with jerks,`` Marcus says.
``I rarely met anyone I wanted to see for more than one date, until I went the classical route,`` Glass says.
``I can`t exactly say why people who adore classical music need each other, but I think it has something to do with attitudes on life. Classical music lovers generally aren`t interested in bars and booze and party animals. They prefer culture and refinement, and they`re infinitely happier with someone who prefers the same.``
That, indeed, may explain why Conroy has barely had a moment`s rest since she founded CMLE on a lark eight years ago out of her home in Pelham, N.Y.
``I had gotten absolutely sick of the men I was going out with,`` says Conroy, a widow and passionate lover of anything by Brahms.
``I dated men who could talk about nothing but football and basketball, and who needs that? So I figured there must be other people out there with the same problem.``
Thus Conroy, a special education instructor, printed up a batch of pitch letters and application forms, placed a couple of magazine ads and soon found her mailbox jammed with responses.
She wasted no time in sending each inquirer an introductory letter that reads something like a manifesto against the philistines:
``Do you feel out of step with a world that happily subsists on a steady diet of rock, country-western or what passes for `beautiful music?` `` it began.
``Do you resent being assaulted by such music in elevators, stores and doctors` offices, at work, on subways, streets and even on the telephone?
``Do you desperately turn the dial on your radio in search of a full-time or even part-time classical music station? And if there is one in your area, do you constantly worry about its imminent demise?``
Clearly, anyone who answered ``yes`` to those questions probably wasn`t a big hit at the new wave bars, but for $42 they could buy a six-month membership into a more rarefied world. The application form queried the classically lovelorn about ``occupation, favorite types of music, preferred instruments`` and, of course, ``interest in marriage.``
In return, each member received a list of all the other members. Though names and addresses were omitted, each listing carried a brief biographical profile, and if a young cellist in Oklahoma City hankered for a witty operagoer in Dubuque, he simply wrote to Conroy for the name, address and other pertinent information.
The process might seem a tad cumbersome in this age of video dating, yet ``dozens of our members have gotten married over the years,`` says Conroy, ``and so far there hasn`t been a single divorce that I know of!``
Indeed, Conroy`s mail over the years might make Abigail Van Buren a shade jealous:
--``Dear Monique: W1516 met M0902 three weeks ago. We are engaged and will be married Dec. 21. I can`t tell you how much I appreciate your service.``
--``I find this a most felicitous alternative to the ghastly singles scene. Since it is based on a common interest rather than mere chance, personality remains paramount, and one`s dignity is not compromised!``
Of course, not all of CMLE`s members find romantic bliss.
--``I do not wish to renew my membership because I need a rest.``
--``I feel saturated.``
And then there was the fellow -actually there have been many - who yearned to court Conroy herself.
``If you`re ever in my neighborhood,`` he wrote from halfway across the country, ``I`d love to meet you, Monique! I`m so impressed with the creativity of your business.``
Three years ago, business got so lively that Conroy quit her job in special education to follow her true calling.
``It`s not making me a millionaire,`` she says, ``but I intend to do this for many more years. It`s too much fun to quit.``
Potential members can get more information by writing to CMLE at P.O. Box 31, Pelham, N.Y. 10803-0031.