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Matchmaking is the process of matching two or more people together, usually for the purpose of marriage, but the word is also used in the context of sporting events such as boxing, in business, in online video games and in pairing organ donors.
Social dance, especially in frontier North America, the contra dance and square dance, has also been employed in matchmaking, usually informally.
However, when farming families were widely separated and kept all children on the farm working, marriage-age children could often only meet in church or in such mandated social events.
Matchmakers, acting as formal chaperones or as self-employed 'busybodies' serving less clear social purposes, would attend such events and advise families of any burgeoning romances before they went too far.
The influence of such people in a culture that did not arrange marriages, and in which economic relationships (e.g.
"being able to support a family", "good prospects") played a larger role in determining if a (male) suitor was acceptable, is difficult to determine.
It may be fair to say only that they were able to speed up, or slow down, relationships that were already forming.
In this sense they were probably not distinguishable from relatives, rivals, or others with an interest.
Clergy probably played a key role in most Western cultures, as they continue to do in modern ones, especially where they are the most trusted mediators in the society.
Matchmaking was certainly one of the peripheral functions of the village priest in Medieval Catholic society, as well as a Talmudic duty of rabbis in traditional Jewish communities.
Today, the shidduch is a system of matchmaking in which Jewish singles are introduced to one another in Orthodox Jewish communities.
Matchmakers trade on the belief that romantic love is something akin to a human right, and the modern online dating service is just one of many examples of a dating system where technology is invoked almost as a magic charm with the capacity to bring happiness.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating