Lisa Guennifa, associate director of Elect, said: ‘Alex was super-eager to be matched.

If you are 25 you can have two dates a week ,but when you are in your 40s with specific requirements it is more difficult.’Asked whether she accepted that while he may have paid another less upmarket agency a fee, that was not the same thing as having paid to join Elect, Ms Guennifa said: ‘We don’t judge people on their assets.’‘I don’t personally take credit for successful relationships between two people,’ she said.

The second is that some men are apparently hoping Linked In is the new Ashley Madison.

Like many women (and men), I signed up to Linked In to connect with professionals in order to enhance my career prospects.

The first issue with this is that there are already a number of social networking platforms that exist for people to connect with other people romantically, and the fact that Linked In is the only one older men know how to use doesn’t make it okay for a career-oriented site to be co-opted in this way. Linked In, unlike Ashley Madison, has plenty of actual women as members who are actually looking to further their careers by meeting actual like-minded people in similar industries.

But it also apparently has a plentiful number of older men looking to use their career success to impress ambitious young women with their “mentorship” potential.

The evidence for this is both anecdotal (everyone’s dad loves Linked In) and statistical (37 percent of Linked In’s users are over 50, users skew predominantly male, and fully 85 percent are 30 or older).

The knowledge of this used to be vaguely comforting—on any given day, you could log in, and find a wealth of posts detailing “Ten Tips for Talking Technology” and “How to Pursue Lifelong Learning.” But this week, after the 27-year-old English barrister Charlotte Proudman tweeted a Linked In message sent to her by a much-older partner at a law firm complimenting her on her “stunning picture!!! The first is that senior partners in law firms overuse exclamation points just as much as Millennial women purportedly do.

Impressed by this apparently rigorous approach, Ms Fontaine, 44, rang up to enquire about joining and a consultant invited her to an interview, not at the company’s registered offices in the City of London but at the Charing Cross Hotel on The Strand.‘I thought it was a bit strange but was quite happy because it was on my way home,’ says Ms Fontaine. She was given his email address and sent him a message. They emailed her some more details, for a man with a Persian-sounding name, who was 56 and worked in financial investments.

They met at 5pm in the upstairs bar and spent an hour and a half talking about what she wanted in a partner.‘I asked her about the sort of men they had on their books and she told me she had two men immediately in mind for me. I asked specifically if these men were looking for a quick fling or a long-term relationship and she said, “If they’re paying upwards of £500 for membership, then they’re looking for a relationship.” ’She then enquired about meeting Tim but was told that he was now in a relationship and had come off their books. A strange email exchange ensued in which he informed her in pidgin English that while he was ‘very happy and excited to meet a person of such attractive profile’, he was ‘only a novice in the single life’.

He informed her that although he did have a car, he couldn’t afford to run it.