About five years ago, Joe Ragusa, a city Sanitation employee who works in the Bronx, got fed up with traffic and construction and all the other stuff and decided to move out of the city. He bought a house in the country, in the hamlet of Mahopac, and moved in with his girlfriend.
Naturally, they broke up. Now Mr. Ragusa, 36, has an hour commute to his garbage route in Throgs Neck. He often wakes at 4 a. He has tried dating apps, like Tinder and Bumble, but the responses have been underwhelming. Ragusa said. He knew he needed help.
After an online search, he found Style My Profilea company started by Alyssa Dineen, a fashion stylist who, at the age of 41, found herself divorced with two young children. Dineen is part of a network of women in New York City who have transformed their divorce experiences into careers, helping others navigate splitting up and starting over. When Ms. Dating apps felt awkward.
Dineen said. They were good-looking but put up selfies in the mirror with their shirt off. After two years, she met a mate. It sparked a business idea. Drawing on her experience styling models for photo shoots, she started Style My Profile in Amy Nobile, 49, takes things a step further. But she had friends who were struggling to click with people.
More on collins
So she started experimenting with writing text messages on their behalf. She had become a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac. A business, Love, Amywas born. Nobile said. Nobile finds matches and sets up dates, taking over the initial back-and-forth messaging with clients looking over her shoulder. She hands everything over once dates are set. I can maintain the dating rhythm for months until they can get used to it.
Nobile recently worked with Jenni Luke, 46, the chief executive of Step Upa nonprofit mentorship program that links professional women with girls from under-resourced communities.
The best dating sites and apps
Luke, who is single and who has never married. During the first month working with Ms. Nobile, Ms. Luke said, she went on eight dates, more than she had in a year of swiping and texting on her own. Luke is not worried about telling men that they were initially communicating with a hired gun, she said.
She credits Ms. Nobile with willing her confidence forward.
Luke explained. Some men — fathers, in particular — need an overhaul of their real life before they can start to tackle the virtual one. Her male friends, she said, were successful professionally, but began regressing as humans.
Dreyer said. So for divorced men, Ms. Dreyer provides full-service home management. She will find and decorate an apartment, get laundry and groceries delivered, work with the ex-wife to organize a digital calendar, buy birthday presents, plan vacations, hire a nanny and a cleaning lady, and buy extra sets of pajamas for the children.
Newly divorced women have their life issues too, like simply asking for help or advice, which can affect their dating confidence, said Liza Caldwell, a former stay-at-home mom from the Upper East Side who divorced 10 years ago. Caldwell said.
Caldwell knows about this firsthand. It never happened.
As a divorce coach, Ms. Caldwell thought her profile looked great, but Ms. Dineen, of Style My Profile, whom Ms. Caldwell had hired, insisted that she get new photos. Ragusa, the garbageman, was more involved.
Before he got new photographs, he would need a new wardrobe and some grooming. On a rainy Sunday afternoon, Mr. Ragusa, whose shift was scheduled to start at midnight, drove to SoHo to meet with Ms. After two hours, Mr. Ragusa emerged from the dressing room in a tight fitting cotton shirt and gray jeans.
Dineen asked. Dineen told him. Back at Ms. Ragusa posed for some photographs. Later he said he was cautiously optimistic that the time and expense would be worth it.