THE CATALYST: Eileen Messier, a traditional matchmaker in Chicago ( THE CATALYST:, the largest of the online dating services THE CATALYST:, a social networking Web site
An adventurer who likes to hike, cycle, and ski, Cathy Muszynski, 58, a VP at JPMorgan Chase, had been alone for eight years after her first husband died. “One day I woke up and said, I’m ready to start dating,” she says. The matchmaker set her up with a divorcé named Homer Cox, 62, a self-employed stocks and options trader who shared Cathy’s interest in the outdoors. “Prior to dating Cathy, I had only dated skinny blondes,” Homer says. “She’s dark haired, Italian, and curvy. I liked her personality.” Their first date was an “OK” lunch at the Drake. But over the next few months, the two kept running into each other at social events. Finally, in June 2006, after they saw each other at the Green Dolphin and talked until 3 a.m., something clicked. “Somewhere around November I started thinking I could live with this man for the rest of my life,” Cathy says. The happy ending? They married last May in Wilmette. Up to a few years ago, Stacey Freshour,  the public relations manager at Park Hyatt Chicago, was enjoying dating around; but a few years ago, she signed up for Match as part of a deal with her mother, a divorcé: “I said to my mom, if you go on, I’ll go on, too.” One of the first men who contacted her was Andrew Derr, 31, the Midwest director for Sports Illustrated Digital. After hearing a coworker talk about Match, he had put up a profile without a picture; his well-written profile caught Stacey’s attention. Their first date was an awkward sushi dinner at Bluefin in Bucktown. “He was nervous, and I was on first-date defensive,” says Stacey. The happy ending? Their second date coincided with a snowstorm, and Stacey got to see Andrew’s gentlemanly side as he helped her in the snow. They began dating seriously; moved in together in Lake View; and became engaged in April 2007. They plan to marry in California this April. A Swedish native who has lived in Asia and Australia, Evelina Boga signed up for the social networking site Facebook as a student at Florida State. One night, she plugged in a search for “Sweden” and “Florida State University.” Her search netted her Phillip Svehla, a Lake Forest native who was studying business at FSU. Phillip had never visited Sweden, but he had posted a joke with the country’s name on his profile. After a month or so of chatting via the site, the two decided to meet at a fraternity party. Their first date took place at the circus—something Evelina playfully suggested and organized. “It says a lot about someone when they agree to go to a circus with you,” she says. The happy ending? After Evelina graduated from FSU, the couple moved to Australia for several months, then to Chicago. Three years strong, they recently moved in together in Lincoln Park.


Photography: Courtesy of the couples