Why I Am Not The Millionaire Matchmaker

For the past few months, everywhere I go, people ask me what I think of “The Millionaire Matchmaker” – both the show and the woman starring in it, Patti Stanger.

So, for the record, I have only seen one episode – the first one – because a friend of mine was one of the millionaires showcased on it. Like most reality shows, it did not make him look great. But the other millionaire on the show looked even worse. From what I recall, he was a man in his mid-40’s from Malibu who wanted to settle down with a woman in her 30’s – but couldn’t help the fact that he was attracted to one of the brainless 24-year-old hotties. Hilarity ensues, as he ignores Patti’s sage advice (“Don’t go for the bimbo I set you up with!”) and goes on an awkward horseback ride with the young model, who, predictably, has nothing to say.

Without seeing any of Season 2, I’m pretty sure that this is the plot of at least half of the episodes. Which makes me wonder aloud: what’s the appeal of this show?

Do you view it as pure entertainment, like watching Desperate Housewives?

Do you view it as therapy, where you learn something about the universal problems of dating  from an experienced matchmaker?

Or is it, as I suspect, pure schadenfreude?

Do we just like watching rich men and beautiful women look bad to make us feel better about ourselves?

It’s impossible for me to say why Patti Stanger is a phenomenon right now. My guess is that it’s the same reason that Donald Trump is a bigger “star” than other real estate moguls. While not uniquely qualified – and believe me, I’m not “uniquely qualified” either –  her ego – and business model – is strangely magnetic.

We’re fascinated with the rich. We’re consumed by celebrity.

We pay attention to those who speak the loudest (Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Jim Rome), and anoint them royalty.

What results is a world in which insight takes a back seat to volume and self-promotion.

And while we’re better off on an entertainment level, I’m pretty sure we’re losing on a deeper level.

Last month, the Dr. Phil show called me to ask me to “debate” Patti Stanger on their show. It never came to pass, but when I was gearing up, I asked a producer for an example of the kind of advice Patti gives. Here is what I was told she offered to one woman who stated her desire to meet a wealthy man:

“You want to meet a lawyer? Go stand outside a courthouse!”

Ahem.

Let’s just say I’m glad I’m a http://www.evanmarckatz.com/coaching/ instead of a matchmaker to the rich and clueless.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Curly Girl

    First off, I’m not black and I’m not looking for anything, so I’m not complaining about a lack of men or a lack of men because I am black. Everything I have said about black culture–that there are fewer black men in an “available” state b/c of certain sociological factors, incl. the state of the black family as a legacy of slavery and black women as heads of households–I have either read in academic literature on sociology/history/anthropology or been told by black friends themselves. And I also said that there is a lot of debate among those most affected by these things–blacks themselves–as to what the issues are and how to address them. Most of the black women I know want to date black men, so that’s a specific desire that sets things in a certain direction. If you are the breadwinner and head of a household that sets things in a certain direction, too–and not in some “loud” and “domineering” way–I never said that and didn’t even imply that. I can understand someone wanting to remain within their culture or tradition and I can understand someone being outside of their gender stereotype (being a noncompliant female, for instance). But no, I don’t think that requires more dating advice. I think it requires DIFFERENT dating advice, which has been my point all along.

  2. 32
    downtowngal

    Evan, it seems you have a different perspective on Patti’s show being a matchmaker in LA. But for the rest of us, it’s great. Sure, a lot of it is ‘reality’ show-induced drama (I’m sure they hand pick the guys), but many of the guys have the same issues as the non-millionaires I’ve dated. And as Moose said above, she calls them on their nonsense.

    What I like about MM is that it focuses on the guys issues. There’s all this media coverage about the woes of single women, as if it’s our own doing, but many of these guys have to step up to the plate.

  3. 33
    Steve

    downtowngal May 31st 2009 at 05:47 am 32
    What I like about MM is that it focuses on the guys issues. There’s all this media coverage about the woes of single women, as if it’s our own doing,

    Isn’t it?

    No disrespect intended. I don’t mean this about you specifically but other women who have similar opinions.

    If you as an adult human being aren’t responsible for the outcomes of your decisions, who is?

    I think it behooves independent adult human beings to think through what they want, how to get it and how to handle things if the don’t/do get it to maximize their happiness.

    It seems like there are people who are psychologically children in some areas of their lives. They are waiting for someone to come along and make things happen for them. If that doesn’t happen, if they aren’t happy it is someone else’s fault.

  4. 34
    downtowngal

    Steve, I’m not sure what you’re getting at, but I think we’re on the same page. I agree with you that people should be responsible for their own actions. My point was that there are all these self-help books geared toward women on how to find a man, etc. and the reason is because women are more apt to seek self-improvement, whereas it doesn’t seem that as many guys do the same.

    Many of the guys on MM have exhibited the same behavior I’ve experienced on dates, and they’re still single. These guys are successful and thing they can just get whatever they want, without realizing it’s not always the girl’s fault.

    I guess you can say in some ways it is if the girl puts up with it, but what can we do if you have a great date and he never calls? Or insults/disrespects you? Or only wants to sleep with you and has no intention of having a real LTR?

    Hiring a matchmaker doesn’t exempt you from working on yourself/getting out of your comfort zone.

  5. 35
    LC

    evan…

    patti is a realist, and is doing the best to help her clients find love…or what they think is love;-) . Her book was great. I think patti i s a great matchmaker, and it’s great she is helping people with their person and interpersonal issues…outside the millionaires club, lol.

    hey! most people can’t find love on there own evan! a matchmaker is a very good idea…

  6. 36
    A-L

    I finally saw the show for the first time the other day during a Millionaire Matchmaker marathon on Bravo. And I have to agree with those who think that Evan and Patti often give similar advice, though I prefer Evan’s delivery myself.

    But on one of the episodes I watched there was a millionaire who was afraid of being taken advantage of by a golddigger and so he tested her by showing her a tiny house with no real furniture, driving around a pickup, telling her he had a gambling problem and wasn’t really a millionaire, and going to a hamburger joint for dinner. The girl passed his “test” and at the end of the evening he takes her back to his mansion, shows her his lamborghinis, and reveals that she unknowingly passed the test.

    The girl ends up being upset that she was tested, even if she did pass, and so was Patti. But Patti was particularly ticked off that he took her to a hamburger place and had the audacity to doubt the true intentions of any of the girls in her Millionaire Club. And apparently the two never went on a date again, though the guy had wanted to after the girl passed the test.

    My question is, do you think it’s okay to test someone this way?

  7. 37
    Honey

    @ A-L, #36 – In that situation, he not only proved that he was untrustworthy, he made Patti look bad since she verifies everyone’s income who joins the club. The girl knew that either he was a liar or Patti was, and she tried to give him the benefit of the doubt but ended up feeling stupid herself. That’s pretty crummy.

    I think that IRL, if you made a lot of money (let’s say) then you’d be well within your rights not to talk too much about it in the beginning or go to places that you felt were in a comfortable price range for the other person. But to flat-out lie, and say that you’ll only keep dating a girl if she still wants you after you’ve gone out of your way to create a vision of yourself that would indicate that you can’t even support yourself and would probably steal her money? No, I think that there’s a HUGE difference between choosing not to emphasize certain aspects of yourself right away and just lying to see what the other person will do.

  8. 38
    Cilla

    @ A-L

    I saw that episode, too, and I was a little taken aback by how far the millionaire guy went with his test. I think he could have stopped after the burger joint and ‘fessed up. I don’t think he needed to take her back to the fake house, etc. Also, the name of the show is “The Millionaire Matchmaker.” If I were one of the girls going out on a date set up by Patti, I’d assume the guy had been vetted by her or her staff.

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to intentionally test your date in this manner. It’s one thing not to reveal everything about yourself right away (as discussed in another thread: how much money you make, how much debt you have, health issues, etc.). It’s another thing to purposely mislead someone. I remember loving the film “People With Money” where Jennifer Aniston falls for the guy who looks like he has nothing but is actually quite wealthy. He wasn’t intentionally hiding his assets; he was just being himself and that’s who she was attracted to.

  9. 39
    Jennifer

    @A-L #36- absolutely not. I would not have gone out with the guy again either.

    While I understand his intentions, I guess, it’s a crappy thing to do to someone to test them that way. I may not be a golddigger, but does that mean I want to date someone with a gambling addiction? That can’t pick a decent place for dinner? And if he’s so paranoid about finding golddiggers, perhaps he should not search for dates through the millionaire matchmaker. Just a thought.

    And is she supposed to be happy she passed his ‘test’? wtf? All he’s done is proven that he’s a liar from the start- why in the world would she want to go out with him again?

    I didn’t see that particular episode but maybe it’s a good thing- ‘tests’ really burn me up! Good question A-L.

  10. 40
    Steve

    @downtowngal, post #34

    DTG, it just seems to me that there is just an endless stream of whining about men by women. There isn’t any cosmic “fair” out there. If those women don’t like what they see in any given guy they should just not date him then try, try again.
    Yes, it is *frustrating*.

  11. 41
    Steve

    @A-L post #36

    But Patti was particularly ticked off that he took her to a hamburger place and had the audacity to doubt the true intentions of any of the girls in her Millionaire Club.

    The only reason I can see for those women not being gold diggers is that they are aspiring actresses who are looking to network and be seen on television.

    If they are just looking for good men they can save themselves a lot of money,time,trouble by going on Match or buying some of EMK’s books :)

  12. 42
    A-L

    I actually think the millionaire on that episode got a bad rap. Was the test a nice, honest thing to do? Absolutely not. But I think he sort of got confused between downplaying his status in real life versus meeting someone via the Millionaire Matchmaker.

    If a millionaire didn’t want to attract the golddiggers then I would expect them to lead rather normal dating lives, at least for first phase or so of dating before starting to give off a clue that they might be slightly better off than average. What I mean by this is go to a hamburger place, or a minor league baseball game, or whatever. Don’t rent a ski mountain or go on a yacht cruise or splurge on 5* restaurants on the first date. And downplay the money stuff (I have enough, or I get by when the subject comes up).

    Because even if we don’t like the word test, you do need to figure out someone’s intentions. Same way if a foreigner wanting to emigrate to the U.S. falls violently in love with you once they find out you’re an American. Is it you that they’re interested in or their legal entry into the U.S.? Same thing if it’s fame, celebrity, power, or whatever.

    And many daters view dating as a series of tests. How are they with their family? How do they treat the waiter? What are they like after a bad day, or after I’ve had a bad day, or we’ve spent a week together on vacation by ourselves? If they pass the test, you still date them. If they flunk then they’re out of the picture, or at least on the way out.

    So even though the millionaire’s test was pretty stupid since he’d presumably already been vetted by Patti and was meeting this girl through her, I don’t think the idea of testing a date is totally out of line with current practices. This one was just badly planned and executed.

  13. 43
    downtowngal

    In that MM episode the guy went too far; by testing her he made his wealth as much of an issue as a golddigger would, but came across as phoney and pretentous. If a woman’s a true shallow golddigger I’d think any guy who’s smart would figure it out soon enough.

    And Steve #40, you’re right. My point was that it’s kind of refreshing to see guys given good advice for a change, whereas much of the advice out there seems to be geared towards women.

  14. 44
    Jennifer

    @A-L #42, since I haven’t seen this episode I have to tread lightly here, but I think there is a difference between observing how people behave (a test as it were) and setting up false circumstances to force a reaction out of someone.

    Non-millionaire guys tend to put their best foot forward on a date- no ski-lodge dates of course but they wash their car, pick a decent place for dinner, don’t drag all of their skeletons out of the closet at once. Based on what I’ve heard this guy did, he behaved extra ‘badly’ on purpose. He out and out lied.

    I’m all for observing people’s behaviors, and feel you have to do since the point of dating to get to know someone, but I can’t do the false tests thing.

  15. 45
    Steve

    @Downtowngal, post #43

    And Steve #40, you’re right. My point was that it’s kind of refreshing to see guys given good advice for a change, whereas much of the advice out there seems to be geared towards women.

    I agree with EMK’s usual line. Women are the *frequent* subjects of constructive criticism because they are the ones paying for dating advice. The guns are turned on the men in MM, because in that circumstance the men are paying for the help.

  16. 46
    Valhalla

    I’m left with the feeling it is more about ratings and her ego than helping the guy out. Example:

    There was a young christian midwest farmer for an all white community. On the way to meeting him she goes on and on about how narrow minded he will be (isn’t that kind of narrow minded in itself, since she hadn’t met him at that point). She obseses about the fact that he’s never had a in depth conversation with a black woman. It came down to a black girl, patti was pushing, and a blonde with a farming background who seemed to be a perfect fit (patti grudgingly admitted the same), but rather than making a good match she kept pushing for the black girl.

    Giving the guys exactly what they want isn’t neccessarily good matchmaking but suckering them into making bad choices doesn’t help either.

    Also the girls all seem to be aspiring actess/models. A few get labled enterpeners and profesionals but when you look at them and how they talk, they come across as airhead models.

    Then there is the issue of 99% success, which is never defined and has since been changed to a much more vague very high success rate. What is the definition? A second date, engaged, married, married for a certain amount of time? Do they still count as success if they divorce after a year? This “third genration” matchmaker has only been in the buisness for 9 years.

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