Jaimy Blazynski is a local woman with a knack for matchmaking. She’s set up hundred of speed dating events and been the reason for dozens of successful couples, but she believes it’s time to show the world – and when Oprah is involved, you know it’s going to be big. Jaimy is one of thousands of people to enter Oprah’s “Your Own Show” contest, in which the winner will be the lucky new host of their own national talk show. With a hearty smile and plenty of laughter, Jaimy talked about her dating website, three-minute video entry and what drives her to marry off everyone she meets.
(Jaimy Blazynski with her sons, Matthew and Trevor, and husband, Erik, in front of her family's West Hartford home.)
So, I was reading up on your website, got5minutes.com, and I was checking out the Oprah site about all the rules and the video, and it looks like it was quite a process to go through. Even getting Damon Scott to tape for you, and the woman who was with you on the video, Gina J. You’ve known them because you do a segment with them on his station?
Yes. I met him at Murphey & Scarletti’s. We had a speed dating event going, and Murphey’s had a battle of the bands events going. There were 4,000 people in there, and I didn’t know this was happening on the night of one of my speed dating events. So at first I was like, “Oh my God, my speed daters aren’t going to find us, this is going to be so hectic!” And then Damon Scott walked right in the room and was asking questions about my event, but I didn’t know it was him. One of my staff were talking to him, and then I was like, “All right, guys, you gotta go outside, it’s too loud,” and I pushed them out. And then he came back in and said “Oh, that was some guy, Damon Scott,” and I said “Oh, that was Damon Scott? I want a radio show!” I walked right up to him and I said, “Damon, I want to be on your radio show.” And he was like, “Okay, you need to commit to every Friday.” And so I’ve been going every Friday for I think six weeks, except this Friday he’s doing a concert on the air, so this is the first Friday I haven’t gone.
Must be nice to have a little bit of a break, though. A nice Friday off to relax, and what a beautiful day to have off, too.
Yeah (laughing), it is beautiful.
So people may already know, but who is Jaimy Blazynski? How did this start? I was kind of getting a feel for you from your site, and it seems like you’ve been through a lot. Give me the Cliffsnotes of “you.”
Well, I was born… no, I’m kidding (laughing). I had a tougher childhood than a lot of people. I was probably the most, what I thought was the most insecure. I hardly had friends, I was so insecure, so uncomfortable with who I was. I look back and I didn’t even know what kind of pizza I liked because I was so shy, I couldn’t figure out what my interests were. I was too insecure, and it carried on through high school. College was a little bit better, but I never really felt good. I never had dreams, never knew what I was going to do. I went to college because that’s what you did, and then after college I got married – well, I met my husband immediately after college. It was my first husband, and it was not a positive relationship, and it ended 10 years later. We were together for five years and we were married for five years, and shortly after we had Matthew, we split up. I can remember the day that I had the epiphany. I was walking through Westfarms Mall with Matthew in his stroller, and I was so angry that I was feeling panicked; I was so angry that I was going through this divorce. I was so angry about a lot of things, and I was looking at other couples and thinking to myself, “They’re all really miserable,” and I was convincing myself that everybody was miserable. And I remember specifically walking by a mirror and saying, “I don’t want to be this person anymore. I am done. I can’t be this angry, depressed woman for the rest of my life.” And I went home that night, and that’s when I started looking into Match.com and Internet dating. My husband was my 13th date, and it was at that moment where I just decided that I wanted to be a happy person. I wanted to love life, I wanted to go for things and go for dreams, and meeting him…marriage is amazing the second time around. It’s great, I still get excited when he walks in the door, and it’s pretty happy, it’s pretty wonderful. And then came Trevor, who will be 3 in July. So about six years ago I had this idea that I wanted to help other folks find love and have families and all these great things, so they can experience what I have. That’s when I started “got5minutes,” and my husband, fortunately, is a web guy, so he built my website and manages that whole end of it. I just started recruiting, giving out coupons and talking to every person I possibly could find. And it’s been five years, and for the past six months or so, every event has been sold out to capacity. It’s great.
That’s fantastic. I have to say, I’ll be honest - I was not expecting such an amazing website for a small town kind of thing. I was blown away, so congratulations to your husband for that.
A lot of folks have said that, like they’ll look at the other dating companies, national dating companies that have pilots all over the place, and they say that my website exceeds all of those.
It really is incredible. I was really just expecting that a local woman has a dating website, so it would be a little local website, but it really looks like something professional that you would expect someone to spend a lot of money to do.
That’s a big part of it. That’s part of what helps make this company successful because a website is reputable.
Absolutely, and people unfortunately judge the look of a website, too.
So you guys have that catch-your-breath kind of love now? Your heart kind of skips a beat? How long have you guys been married?
I think so, yeah. It’s been great. Six years? I always mix it up. (laughing) Six years.
That’s great. So there’s hope after divorce?
There really is. I was lucky and happy to meet him, but a big part of it was the change in my attitude because I always say the most unattractive quality a woman can have is insecurity. And I’ll tell women at the speed dating events prior to coming, just fake it. Just pretend you’re confident; walk in the room with your shoulders back and a smile on your face, and eventually you’ll believe it, and the guys are going to believe it and you’re going to be much better.
So it’s that “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality, right? You fake it for long enough and you start believe it yourself.
Yep, that’s it exactly. It helps, it really does. And I lived that in my personal life, so I really believe that.
You said on the site that the reasons you started it were to help others learn from your mistakes and the challenges that you met and because of the excitement you got from making successful matches.
So what then is a mistake or challenge that you find people make or meet the most often when it comes to dating and relationships?
Well first I’ll share personally, my mistakes way back in the days, I was just too available, and I didn’t know how to conceal it. If I had my own interests and my own hobbies and things that I liked to do, then I would have just naturally been less available. That was the big mistake - I was always waiting for the guy to call. As you can see on the video on Oprah’s audition, I asked Gina how long she waits for the guy to confirm a date. My tip is, if something better comes along and if you have other options, you need to go for them and give the message to the guy that other things are important, too. That’s more attractive than the person who’s sitting there waiting for the phone to ring.
I think that’s a mistake we’ve all struggled with because you think “Well, I want to be open to a guy who wants to do something.” You don’t want to miss an opportunity, and you want to make it look like you want to hang out with them and you can make time for them. But then it does seem that for a lot of people it bridges too much time, and you’re too available, as you were saying. You think that’s something that people do a lot?
Yes, I think that to some degree you can fake that, but when you create a life where you have other interests – what happened for me was I had this little boy, and that was sort-of my first outside interest from finding a relationship. All of a sudden, I have this little boy, and that’s all I really wanted to do. So he was my priority, and that helped me to find my first outside interest. Then finding other moms, other moms with kids and that whole social network was part of getting me there.
That’s a great priority to have.
Yeah, it still is.
So how many speed dating events over the last five or six years, since you started this whole business, would you say that you’ve had?
Wow, hundreds, I guess. Lately, the past year, we’ve been doing them every two weeks, and then we slow it down for the summer. We have one big event in June, it’s a wine tasting, dating game party/social event at the Noah Webster House. Then we slow it down, and we’ll probably do one in July and one in August. People are away, and I’m away a lot. Then back in September, we start up every other week. At the beginning, I remember having them every six weeks, and I remember having eight men and eight women and thinking that was a big event. Now I’ve got 14 and 14, and they’re looking in the doors, asking if they can sneak in and if there’s space. We have to turn them away.
That’s got to be a really good feeling, knowing that people are trusting you, and knowing that your reputation is one that people believe in.
It’s been so much fun, and I, on the side, without even charging people, am constantly introducing folks on Facebook. I have a couple from West Hartford, and they kept missing each other. She was at one event, and he got sick and wasn’t there. They were the exact same age, they were both Jewish, they knew what they were looking for. They lived far away from each other, distance was about an hour and that was a problem, but they’ve been together since October, and that was on the side. I just had a feeling, so I said for them both give me their e-mail addresses and they could run with it, and they’ve been together. Then I had a woman in her 60s, and I can’t quite get that age group, but I set her up, just for the fun of it, with my neighbor, who’s a widow in his 70s and lives across the street. They’ve been together, well, March was two years. He got her a diamond ring, and they’re very happy, and they’re perfect for each other.
I think I saw that on your site. You said you had a 60s couple, a 50s couple and many others. So what do you think that your matches appreciate the most about your service?
I have a couple folks that run my events for me, and I always go to every event. I give a dating tip and do a welcome, and I greet everybody, but I have staff that stay and ring the bell and tally the matches at the end of the night. The most common thing that we hear when we’re compared to our competitors is that I do this out of my heart. I love it. It’s not so much that I need to make the money and I need to pay the mortgage and things like that, I absolutely get so excited to meet everybody. It’s hard when there are 30 singles, to remember who everybody is, but I can almost tell when they walk in the door who they are, even if I haven’t met them. And they’re always like, “How did you know?” Well, I have a meet-up group, so a lot of folks, their pictures are on the meet-up group. A lot of folks request to be my friend on Facebook, so I see their pictures that way, or I Google them and I figure out who is who and pretty much remember. I’ve had conversations with almost all of them prior to the event, whether they call me up and say, “I keep making the wrong mistakes,” and “I keep meeting these guys that are unavailable, what am I doing wrong?” or “I’m so nervous.” And when they’re really nervous, I say I’ll wait out front for them and walk them in, whatever they need. That’s why I have staff that can do registrations and explain right when they get there to break the ice. That’s what they do, so I get to talk to everybody.
So you seem really approachable, and that’s something I was wondering, if people who register for your events do have access to speak with you about the event, and you said they do. You don’t want someone who’s just there as a presence, you want someone who’s there as a friend.
I love it, and like you saw when you called, I’m sure I answered right away. It’s always my cell phone, it’s a Blackberry, and so if they send me an e-mail, I can answer immediately. And of course after the events, I get a dozen phone calls. “Help me, I can’t remember which one so-and-so was!” when they met 15 women. I have to remember who everybody was, and then I can say, “Oh, she was the one with the long blond hair!”
So what types of events do you usually hold? I saw that June 17th is when you’re doing the wine party?
Yes, it’s a fundraiser for the Noah Webster House, actually. We do a wine tasting at a wine cellar on Farmington Avenue, and sometimes a beer tasting, too. We do ice breakers and play a really funny dating game, so they’re drinking wine, they’re playing games and eating snacks, and it’s just a big social time. The past few times we did it, we hit capacity at, I think, 68 people, and I had a waiting list. That was really exciting. The dating game is really fun. I love to create games and ice breakers and funny things. So the way this game works, we do it with the guys and the girls, but I’ll give the example of the woman. The woman stands up and she’s blindfolded, and all the guys line up like they’re going to be catching the garter at a wedding, from one wall to the other wall. One is Wall A, one is Wall B. I say I’m going to yell out two words, and they have to walk to the wall with the word that describes them the best, and if they’re somewhere in the middle they have to pick one. Maybe I’ll yell “Gilligan” and “Skipper,” and all the guys that feel more like Gilligan go against Wall A, all the guys that feel like Skipper go to Wall B. Then the bachelorette will kick one and pick one. She’ll say, “Wall A, I kick you. Wall B, I pick you,” and then Wall B will be the only ones left and we continue the game. They keep going until she has one left, and that’s who she wins. They win a date out, we give gift certificates that are donated from the Rockledge Country Club restaurant, Angelo’s. What’s nice about that is we send everyone there afterwards, so they donate the prizes and I send the crowd over there, so they really appreciate the big bar crowd coming on.
It sounds like you really bring a lot of fun into it, and for some people I think dating is so daunting. People really get scared, so it seems like you help break the ice and make it a fun time.
We make it a fun time, and my staff’s primary responsibility is just to make sure that if anyone looks uncomfortable that they talk to them and they mingle. We do another game where everybody gets a card with a word, and the first group of people to make a complete sentence out of the word all win free speed dating passes. They’re all moving around with their cards and trying to make a sentence, so immediately everybody has to move around and talk, and that gets people talking to other people.
How many successful matches have you made?
I have no idea, a lot! I’m sure there are many that are at least still dating. I have one that e-mailed me that they just hit their six-month mark, and I didn’t even realize it had been six months. That’s the nature of the business, you know, you lose your clients because you want to marry them off. The more success we have, the better our reputation is because then they all tell their friends. The first couple I ever matched was years ago, their baby is probably 2 or 3 years old now. They did get married and have a baby from that, so I just hear all the time through e-mails, “You can take me off your list now, John and I have been happy for almost a year and things are going great. I know how to find you if anything changes.” And that’s perfectly fine.
Do you know of any of your other matches getting married like that couple?
I know of two that have gotten married and maybe three that are engaged and have rings and commitments, and I know of dozens that are still dating.
So your idea for the Oprah show – I know that there are a few types of shows that you can do, cooking shows, interior design shows. Are you looking to do a talk show?
I think a traditional talk show. It’s always focused for me on dating and relationships, personal growth and development and just feeling great about yourself. So when I envision it, I envision having guests on the show, whether it’s celebrities, successful people or even just folks who have had major changes in their lives and have grown from their experiences instead of being angry and scorned by that. Anything that inspires others to believe that they don’t have to get stuck in a rut. I’d like to have couples on; I’d love to have debates with a girl panel and a guy panel debating different issues. Anything that can help folks to find happy, successful relationships.
So it would be more so about advice and not like the show “Millionaire Matchmaker” on Bravo, where you see people going on these dates. It would be more about love and relationship device?
Right. Bringing couples on that have started dating, and the girl getting herself comfortable. The girl has to be comfortable to tell the guy what she needs because if she feels like she wants him to be around more on the weekends or something and she doesn’t speak up, his message is that it’s acceptable. And if she speaks up and he says, “Well, then I’m out of here,” then it was never going to work anyway. So, I think that girls just need to be comfortable enough to say, “Hey, this is what I want, this is what’s important to me, and this is what I need in the relationship,” and then they can have that. So even bringing people on the show that are uncomfortable doing that, putting them in front of their guys and saying, “Let them hear this,” and if they back out, you don’t need them!
Like a classier “Jerry Springer” or “Maury” kind of show, but bringing things up as a healthy way of being able to finally confront their issues.
Right. And it would be mixed with humor. I would want my audience to laugh, cry and have Goosebumps in every episode.
That’s a great expectation. Then what are you hoping to do with this sort of venue? What is your driving goal?
My driving goal right now is just to catch up on votes! My biggest mistake was that it took us two weeks to get the video up, and I should have done it the very first day because the day that contest opened, videos came in one by one, and I was watching all of them as they were coming in and so was the whole world. Now mine’s up and there were already 1300 videos up, so you can’t find me! The next step is that the top five voted videos go to Hollywood, and they’re competing for one spot on Oprah’s reality show, which is to win their own talk show. There are other ways, too, like live auditions. But if I could actually have the show, my vision is that it would be here, or even Boston, because there aren’t a lot of shows that hit this area. I could reach so many of the people that I know and I’ve worked with and just bring real, genuine stories on the show to inspire other folks. I think that my story is inspirational, and I could have still been that angry, insecure girl my whole life and that would have been so awful. I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience this life. So whatever it takes to help other folks get to that great point where they can love everyday. People have liked the video and they’ve laughed, and if I can make the show, that’s it – just to make people laugh and happy and take a break from their days.
It’s a cute video, and three minutes may seem like a while if you’re just sitting around with nothing to do, but that’s really a short period of time. You have to do a lot in a short amount of time, but I feel like you covered it well.
I really appreciate that. My goal was just to try to make people laugh and relate to what we were talking about, and I think Gina J. did a cute job with that. She’s there, she understands that.
Did she and Damon Scott say they want to get in on the show with you if you make it to Hollywood?
They haven’t mentioned it, but I certainly would have them! They would both come on the show and it would be great. People joke, “Don’t forget us,” but I don’t forget anybody. I have thousands of speed daters, and I’ll be walking through the mall with my kids and people often know me. Sometimes they were even from four years ago, and I’ll have to try to think of their name but I’ll always recognize them. Sometimes I can even shoot out who their match was, and people are like “God, how do you remember?” But that’s the most exciting part of the night, when the speed dating is over and when my staff get home and enter the matches, then I can log in and look at them. It’s so fun. When you enter the matches, the program automatically generates an e-mail based on the information you registered with and sends it out to everybody that got a match. It’s quick! Everybody gets a match that night; they never have to go to bed without knowing if they made a match.
That’s even more exciting because first you’re looking forward to going on the date, then when you get home you look forward to finding out who was interested in you.
Right, and we’ve had events where we’ve had, like, 40 matches, and everybody walks away with multiple matches. It’s not every time, but it’s amazing the number of matches we walk away with. I’ve matched up a bunch of girlfriends, too, who meet at the speed dating events and then become best friends and come back together.
That’s a really great way of meeting people. It seems like a lot of people are turning to Internet dating because they don’t know ways to get out there anymore. The bar and club scene is just not the proper way to meet a person.
It’s hard because you don’t know if they’re single. So you look across the room and you see a guy who looks great, but then you’ve got top figure out if he’s single. And then you’ve got to figure out if he’s interested. And then you’ve got to figure out a way to break that ice. It’s pretty tricky. But you mentioned Internet dating, and the big difference between Internet dating and speed dating is that with Internet dating you can find out right away what religion they are, how much money they make, what education they have, if they smoke, if they have kids. You can find all your deal-breakers out, whereas with speed dating, you can initially find out the chemistry. I always tell them to throw out their list of deal-breakers, just spend the five minutes and laugh and have fun, and if you make a match, send an e-mail later with 27 deal-breakers and ask them what they think (laughing). Don’t waste the five minutes with a list of questions because you’re just going to ruin it. I did Match.com, and I knew in five seconds as they were walking toward me. It was either, “Please let this be him,” or “Oh no, don’t let this be him.” So they both work, but it’s either chemistry first or deal-breakers first. Either way you get there, with either one of those venues.
Seems like you have to throw the list out the window, at least temporarily, and give yourself the opportunity to make a real match. Is there anything you want people to know about you as they’re going to watch your video and vote?
I think just that I absolutely love doing this, and if they laugh and smile when they watch the video, then I’ve done my job. If they vote, even better! But my mission is to get folks smiling. I would say that if I don’t make it with Oprah, I’m still never going to stop setting people up and introducing people. We do workshops in the fall too, so it’ll never stop, but it would be nice to reach that national level.
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