Matchmaking Dad Temporarily Postpones Wife Interviews for His Son but Says: 'I'm on the Right Track'
The meddling matchmaker who took out a full-page newspaper ad in Idaho last week to find a wife for his son and hopefully get himself some more grandchildren has temporarily postponed the interviews he had scheduled for this weekend at an Idaho resort, he tells PEOPLE.
All the media attention, he says, put a hitch in his plans. The resort “got a little scared about people losing their privacy,” Arthur Brooks, 78, of Beverly Hills, tells PEOPLE. “So I’ve decided now to let a few weeks go by, then we’ll reschedule.”
A few weeks ago, Arthur took out an ad in an Idaho newspaper to find a wife for his son, Baron, a 48-year-old health food broker from Salt Lake City.
Baron was shocked and irate when he learned about his dad’s mischievous deed after single women began flooding him with messages on Facebook and reporters started calling.
On June 24, Baron was preparing to fly north to see his father before he could conduct interviews with potential brides at The Coeur d’Alene Resort, when Arthur called to say he’d decided to reschedule the meetings for a later date because of all the media attention.
“I thought I might get a couple of women to respond, then I’d quietly set up a few interviews and that would be that,” says Arthur. “I want my son to be happy and I thought I was doing a good thing. But it took off in an entirely different direction.”
So instead, Baron met his dad at the Salt Lake City International Airport on Saturday evening, gave him a scolding then wrapped him in a warm hug.
His father’s response?
“I smiled and told him, ‘The world is not coming to an end,'” Arthur tells PEOPLE. “This will soon be behind us and we’ll be yesterday’s news.”
That would certainly be fine with Baron, who has dated numerous women over the years and says he doesn’t appreciate his father taking over his social life.
“I’d hoped to be married by now and have children, but it’s very challenging in Salt Lake City for a Jewish guy,” he tells PEOPLE. “Most of the women I meet are in their 40s and are done having kids. I came close to getting married a couple of times, but it didn’t work out. So I think my dad felt there was an urgency to make something happen.”
While vacationing in Coeur d’Alene one of his favorite getaways 10 days ago, Arthur decided, “This is a nice little conservative town now would be a good time to take out an ad for Baron,” he says.
He walked into the front office of the Coeur d’Alene Press, handed over $900 and an old photo of his son, then spent 30 minutes writing the ad copy.
“I am looking for a wife who is ready, willing and able to have children as soon as possible,” Arthur wrote. “I look just like my picture except I now have grey hair. You will probably be between the ages of 34-38, but that is flexible. Ideally, you will have no children from previous marriages, but that is also flexible. I am 5’5′ and if you are 5’8″ and like to wear heels, it may not work.”
After one final request “If you voted for Obama or plan to vote for Hillary, you are not for me,” he then checked out of his hotel and flew home to Los Angeles.
“I’ve wanted to do this for more than 10 years,” Arthur tells PEOPLE. “Why did I do it? Because I’m one who believes in marriage. I think it’s healthy. It would be nice for Baron to have somebody permanent in his life, and possibly even a grandchild. I have one granddaughter (from his daughter, Michelle), but I would like more. That hasn’t happened so far, but hope is eternal.”
He has a more poignant reason as well: Arthur has congestive heart failure and hopes to get a grandson to carry on the family name. Baron is his only son.
After immediately receiving more than a dozen promising replies to the ad, Arthur scheduled interviews with the women and returned to Coeur d’Alene only to decide he needed to postpone them.
The next time, though, the interviews will be held in Salt Lake City, with his son [reluctantly] present.
“He’s going to do it anyway,” Baron says, “and I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. So if any of these women are truly willing to meet me and they’re not just crazy people out for a free trip, I want to do the honorable thing. And if it happens to lead to something, well, great.”
His dad, for one, thinks the odds are in his favor.
“I feel like I’m on the right track with what I’ve done,” he tells PEOPLE, “and I even had two women call to tell me that if it was their son, they’d have done the same thing. They wanted me to know they’re on my side.”
“Jewish families and Italian families argue all the time,” he adds, “but that doesn’t mean we don’t love each other.”
Baron laughs at this, then sighs.
“People relate to my story,” he says, “because everybody is terrified that their parents will do the same thing to them. It’s like a bad train wreck. You can’t take your eyes off it.”