Why I Am Not The Millionaire Matchmaker

millionaire showing off his money

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!”


Let’s just say I’m glad I’m a dating coach for smart women instead of a matchmaker to the rich and clueless.

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  1. 1

    I personally like Patti’s no BS approach with the male millionaires. For the record, she only sets up the men with bimbos if they insist on dating young airheads, and only to prove that if they want a real relationship, they need to look at older, smarter women. In the audition scenes shown on the show, she makes a concerted effort to choose women who have advanced degrees or who own their own businesses.

    Are there some bird brains mixed in? Yes, and it does provide entertainment value for the show. Does she emphasize appearance? Yes, for both men and women, because as most people would agree here, it’s a major factor in the early stages of dating, especially in LA. Is there some drama on the show? Of course–it’s a reality show, which means even clips of Mother Theresa would be edited and shown out of context to make her look like a shrill, divisive harpy.

    I guess I like the schadenfreude, the fact that many of the men on the show come off looking like idiots. Maybe it’s not in the best interest of matchmaking (although I think there is no hope for some of these guys), but there is definitely a lesson to be learned. Patti Stanger provides a much needed balance to the it’s-all-about-the-guy, me-me-me attitudes perpetrated by many men, including so-called dating gurus.

    I enjoyed Patti Stanger’s book, as much as I like her show, and found the “Dating Detox” section to be most effective. It’s my recollection that the quote you used above regarding finding a lawyer at the courthouse was an analogy suggesting women who want to meet men live need to actually go to where the men are: golf courses; auto shows; sports bars; etc. Basic dating advice, indeed, but apparently still needed by many women.

    Sorry, I tuned in to Season 1 purely for entertainment; by the end of Season 2, I was a fan. I find so much of the dating advice out there to be in the service of making men’s lives easier, at the expense of women and their self-esteem. (“You’re a goddess. Now, go wait in the corner for a man to approach you, and then feel lucky when he does, regardless of whether you’re attracted to him.”)

    While I don’t think Patti Stanger has all the answers, I do appreciate her point of view. One person she DID debate was Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. While I haven’t seen the entire debate, I’m intensely curious about it, because I always thought Stanger was much closer in philosophy to Rabbi Shmuley than he thinks. And if you really want to hear a discourse on how off kilter the dating world has become, check out Shmuley’s dialogue from earlier this year with Deepak Chopra, “Integrating the Masculine And Feminine.” It made we want to go live in a cave until we all become a little more enlightened.

  2. 2
    Curly Girl

    I think there should be a reality show called “How To Marry The Biggest Loser and Survive.” It would be hosted by Donald Trump and Paris Hilton and all participants would have to sing Burt Bacharach songs and we’d all phone in to say who should be together based on their performances and their off-stage interviews. Then they’d go live in a big house built especially for them and get makeovers and cameras would follow them around for a year while they eat bugs and go bungie jumping and stuff. Then because they’re fighting in front of the camera and the kids, they’d go see Dr. Phil, who would set up marriage counseling for them in their home town. Then they’d stay together/break up, and write a book about what they learned there in reality, and be in the Oprah book club. But then it would turn out that they made up a bunch of stuff that wasn’t reality, and Oprah would take them to task right on TV. And then they’d fade into obscurity, whence they came, and cease to exist. Again. Because, as we know, nothing really exists unless it’s on TV.

    Good call, EMK. Of all the stupid reality shows (apologies to the followers) that has got to be the stupidest.

    And who wants to marry the likes of Donald Trump, anyway? Ick. Or Paris Hilton, for that matter.

  3. 3
    Curly Girl

    Good points, Cilla. Didn’t know some of that stuff. I agree with you that most dating advice seems to be in service to the guy as “buyer” and the woman as “seller.” Even in the language around dating/mating: men “pick” a bride, and women “catch” a man. When do you ever hear of a woman “picking” her husband?

    But about that: A friend of mine is an editor at a popular entertainment magazine. About the reality TV dating shows she said, “Did you ever notice that when the woman picks the man they stay together and when the man picks the woman they’re usually broken up about six months later?”


  4. 4

    And let me be the spoiler, as an African American woman, I have yet to see a show that matchmakes the men and women I know. All I see on reality TV are the minstrel shows featuring Flava Flav and New York, none of which represent the majority of intelligent, educated Black people. Unfortunately, the percentage of educated, professional women marrying is dropping more and more. If dating/matchmaking professionals want a real challenge, then, help some Black women get married. EMK you got it right, but I would like to know what Patty and you do when faced with Black women looking for love.

  5. 5

    Money increases your options but it doesn’t make you any happier. There are an awful lot of messed up rich people out there.

  6. 6

    @ bdsista

    Didn’t she help the singer Farrah Franklin. She’s Black.

  7. 7

    So what do you think of the reality show “Tough Love” on VH1? Now there was some real drama on there!

  8. 8

    Patti is in demand because there is a niche that requires her services. How many millionaires have the time to comb through bar scenes? Not everyone is capable of finding love on their own, which is precisely why matchmakers are in business in the first place.

    Also, I don’t think that by watching her show that we’re sinking to a new low. Entertainment is entertainment. Shows like millionaire matchmaker will skew reality. It’s just up to us to mentally filter the content of everything we watch.

  9. 9

    This is precisely why I don’t watch tv. The term “reality tv” is an oxymoron. If you want reality, turn off the frickin’ tube and go out and find people, volunteer to help someone in a more desperate situation than yours and get in touch with “real” reality. Or join a discussion group, or read more, and you may just have a brain storm about how your own behavior impacts others you’d like to be intimate with. Or don’t. But just don’t expect to find any kind of wisdom on television or from rich people or celebrities unless you’re one of them. Personally, I don’t give a rat’s ass what rich people do to find happiness. That’s their problem to figure out, not mine. I’m more interested in finding out why Joe the carpenter down the block thinks being a mate means more than last-minute weekend booty call with home-cooked dinner provided. I’m not one to get a thrill living vicariously through Stories of the Stars. And as others have already pointed out, they don’t seem all that much happier than us common folk. But make no mistake: unless it’s public television, tv’s goal is, and always has been, to sell advertising, not to educate.

  10. 10

    Correction: I meant to say “why Joe the caprenter down the block thinks being a mate means nothing MORE than last-minute booty call. . .”

  11. 11


    What advice has EMK given that is not applicable to a black woman, or a woman of any ethnicity? What kind of race-specific advice do you expect to receive from anyone?

  12. 14

    I saw one episode of that show while over at a friends house. If you take out the “reality show”/voyeuristic aspects I would say Patti & EMK are on the same page with dating advice. They both have a “lets cut the bull shit and work with reality because here is where you are” approach.

  13. 15

    From the one episode I saw I was amazed with both how ordinary the rich men seemed and how totally inept some of them were in managing their happiness.

    The episode I caught followed the youngish looking 40 something poorer fitness buff millionaire who had a mental block with “settling” for any woman close to 30.

    Patti found a truly incredible woman who was a perfect match for him in every way. Once he found out she was over 30 he dumped her. The number “30” in this case was just that, just a number. It didn’t reflect anything about the palpable reality of what this man could have had with her.

    Despite my envy for his opportunities the episode ended with me feeling pity for him.

    In a way it reminded me of many of the stories here of people depriving themselves of happiness over some foolish consistency with has nothing to do with the actual people they could be happy with.

  14. 16

    Evidently being rich doesn’t make one smarter either.

  15. 17
    Kelly O'Neil


    Patti is speaking at my event in october

    Having personally spent time with her, we all have to remember this is a reality show that relies on ratings.

    Her no BS approach is certainly attractive to many people.

  16. 18
    Curly Girl

    I don’t watch TV either, just for the record, though I’ve seen some of these shows. I like what Zann has to say–my sentiments exactly.

    And I do get what bdsista is saying, which relates to what Zann is saying. If you are dark, or curly, or overweight, or speak with a regional accent or a dialect, or have a certain kind of job, or a certain kind of religion/spiritual practice, a lot of the mainstream dating advice just isn’t going to work. Dating is like TV–same values apply. Look good (acc. to mainstream aesthetics), fit in (no Ren Faires), don’t have values outside the norm (like keeping your virginity till marriage, etc.). If you are a woman all you have to do to find dates, I am convinced, is get very thin, do whatever you have to do to get straight, blonde, hair, wear fashionable, sexy clothes, and say yes to everything the guy says. If you’re a guy, just get a good job and pay for everything. (Not saying any of this leads to good relationships, but it does lead to dates in the TV-driven world.)

    What does any of this have to do with love? Isn’t that supposed to be the cornerstone of the LTR and not the guy’s resume or the woman’s headshot (metaphorically speaking)? Resumes and headshots are what you might consult for a fling. See, it’s all backwards, in my view.

  17. 19

    I LOVE the Millionaire Matchmaker and think that actually EMK and Patti Stanger are almost exactly, precisely the same both in the advice that they give and in their brutal honesty towards people who only think about looks.

    Actually, if the Dr. Phil thing had gone down, I think it wouldn’t have ended up a “debate” but actually a giant love fest where the two of you agreed with everything each other said.

    Absolutely the only differences that I see between the two of you is that 1) Patti isn’t quite as articulate, and 2) she has chosen a slightly different client base (though as others have pointed out, they are not as different as you think – most of the millionaires come off precisely the same as the letters you answer on this blog). This different client base probably offers her the opportunity to make twice as much money with half as many clients, which is a pretty smart business model.

    Honey´s last blog post…Vegas Memorial Weekend Sextacular: Preview

  18. 20

    The reason why I am not a matchmaker myself is as simple as this. It doesn’t matter if you bring two people who are unbelievably perfect together, it doesn’t matter. If neither have the right dating skills – or personable skills, at that – then the relationship will not amount to anything.

    I like the idea of matchmaking, because of the database of people and constant screening that is taken place. But there also needs to be an element of coaching that’s involved.

    Patti does give honest and blunt advice but it’s not really good coaching. Some of those rich guys desperately need someone to tell them what they are doing wrong and what’s keeping them from finding the love they are looking for. They are so rich and used to being told yes because of their money that they would be more difficult to manage but still…

    Coaching is needed here, not matchmaking.

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