I am Susan Trombetti, celebrity matchmaker, relationship expert and investigator. Although, it may not seem like a serious career to many of you, I have actually been matchmaking for about six years now. People always wonder how I wound up in this business.
It is important to remember making matches can be difficult, exhausting, frustrating and costly. Just look at your picky friend and why you really know she is single compared to why she thinks she is single and you will immediately see the dilemma so many matchmakers face.
Sure, there is a real art to matchmaking but there is also an even more real business aspect. First of all, it is important to take note of the fact that most people you would love to fix up can’t or won’t pay you. They may have seen Patti Stanger on TV and therefore have a preconceived notion of how it works. Professional matchmakers know this field doesn't typically involve charity, and that turning a profit is ultimately the goal. Successful matchmakers have plenty of practical knowledge and know-how about running a business.
Then there are others who think having a business means getting business cards and an office space. For me, however, it is all about thinking like a business owner, which means getting matches for clients, and turning a profit.
I also think a lot about what sets me apart from my competition, and spend much time reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses. It’s a personally challenging business that has helped me grow professionally in too many ways to even state. In short, it kicks my ass everyday. The institute that governs us is very collaborative and willing to help, but one has to have a knack for business, which no third party can impart to you.
While I may not have set out to become an entrepreneur, it’s been good for my daughters and friends to see what becoming self-made looks like. Through this process I have learned that I am a fast learner, with the ability to acquire whatever skillset I am lacking. I've also learned that trusting my gut instincts is key; both for the business and the matching.
My first business, which I personally operated, was an investigations/skip tracing company that I still have but now only use in conjunction with my matchmaking service, which had a unique starting point.
As is usually the case for great women entrepreneurs, the business didn't come from a traditional place. One day, I was relaxing on a beach with my Cosmopolitan Magazine. I read an empowering women’s article about starting a business and how to do it. It was so basic, but also brilliant and I realized that most people don’t think like this. The article said “what is the thing that comes to mind that is easy for you that everyone says you are good at and is difficult for them”? I immediately knew what that was – finding people.
I've always had great investigation skills and could find people anywhere. So, I decided it was time to turn it into a full-time lucrative business. I was so good at this business, in fact, that I never lacked for work. So, again I thought, 'what do I want to do that I am good at it that comes easy to me and hard for everyone else'? Again, I thought people. I then remembered when I found a little old lady the love of her life (a gentle chap from WWII).
From then on out, I knew my career would be centered around people and love. In short, if I could find people, I could find matches for people.
As a woman in matchmaking, I have to tell you it’s even more challenging than the other businesses. Making someone happy, and seeing babies born as a result of your work puts a smile on my face everyday.
How do I do it exactly? To be honest, it’s part secret magic potion and it's part basic people skills. You have to know how to market yourself, network with everyone, manage a team, handle social media, and put yourself out there and go for it.
Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.
Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.
That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.
Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.
Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.
Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.
With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.
The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.
Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.
As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.
Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.