Originally created 07/12/97

80-year-old suing dating service



SAVANNAH - Norman Nash wanted to meet 24 women in hopes of picking a future wife - and at age 80, time clearly was of the essence.

But after several unsatisfactory dates with "some old women," Mr. Nash is suing Couples Introduction Service, the Savannah branch of a dating service that promised to help him find that special someone.

Mr. Nash said he paid Couples $2,750 in October to introduce him to 24 women. However, the firm connected him with only three potential brides, not counting a fourth woman uninterested in marriage and a fifth who dodged his phone calls, he said.

The retired widower is suing Couples for $2,406 in Chatham County State Court, which is about what he figures 21 more women would have been worth in his contract.

"They say they don't have the women right now," Mr. Nash said Thursday. "I could drop dead before I get those introductions."

In its defense, Couples officials said the firm uses detailed psychological tests to match people with an appropriate partner. In its contracts, Couples warns clients it can't promise to deliver a specific number of dates by a deadline without sacrificing the quality of candidate matchups.

"We don't live up to a quota and say we're going to introduce you to 24 people in 24 months," Couples branch manager Ken Wood said. Nor does Couples guarantee its clients a marriage proposal.

Part of the problem is Mr. Nash's attitude toward the women referred to him, which "has not always been mannerly," Mr. Wood wrote in a response to Mr. Nash's complaints, filed with the lawsuit.

"Based on feedback, we discovered that the first question he was asking women was, `Will you marry me?' " Mr. Wood said Thursday. "Whether you're 25 or 80, that will put people off."

Mr. Nash says the women he met didn't impress him.

"They certainly weren't very attractive," said Mr. Nash, who lost his wife several years ago and decided to remarry about the same time a Couples' advertisement turned up in his mailbox.

"They were decent women, but there wasn't any empathy between us," he said. "Of course, they probably felt the same way about me."