Why I Am Not The Millionaire Matchmaker

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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 https://www.evanmarckatz.com/coaching/” target=”_blank”>dating coach instead of a matchmaker to the rich and clueless.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    A-L

    Curly Girl and bdsista,

    Let’s look at some of Evan’s advice.

    -If you don’t have a ton of dating options then you need to be more flexible. If you have tons of dating options, then you can be more choosy.
    -If you’re a guy the key is being nice and confident.
    -You can tell how much a guy likes you by how quickly he makes arrangements to see you again.
    -To be more successful in online dating look for the people who are interested in dating you rather than those whose criteria you don’t meet.
    -If you’re a strong, assertive, opinionated female then you may want to tone down those qualities if you’re seeking an alpha male.
    -If you have to ask a guy out, he’s generally not that interested in you.
    -Don’t be afraid to initiate contact on a dating website.
    -Do the mirroring technique. If he calls you, then call him back. If he doesn’t call you, don’t call.
    -Focus less on external qualities and more on the internal ones that largely determine the long-term success of a relationship.

    Which of these things are not applicable to a dark, curly, overweight, religious, foreign, or other special type of woman? What type of advice do these special women need that is not relevant for the rest of the population?

  2. 22
    Curly Girl

    Hi, A-L: First off, I’m not looking, I’m all set, so I’m merely observing.

    Re: bdsista–people from different cultures have different concerns about dating/mating that mainstream advice does not address. I can appreciate that if you are an African American woman who wants to date an African American man you will come up against certain cultural things that white people don’t and maybe can’t understand. Black women have to deal with different circumstances from white women: For example, black women are usually the head of the household, so the “tone it down” advice isn’t going to work and nobody is going to believe it anyway. Also, a larger percentage of black v. white men are incarcerated, underemployed, undereducated, etc., and flexibility and “settling” will not work in these instances. I am not slamming black men here; this is a disturbing social reality that affects all of us and (in my view) needs to be addessed. The black family system was destroyed by slavery, and this is a trauma that has not yet healed. This legacy of course affects that way that black men and black women relate to each other, and there is a lot of discussion about this in the black community and about what is the best way to heal. The people who are most directly affected by it hold many different points of view (assimilate? champion black identity? fight back?).

    But if a black woman wants to date across races, the situation isn’t necessarily any better, especially in a country that fetishizes blondes and youth and skinny hips. You can focus on internal qualities all you want, but if the guys (including available black guys) are all looking for younger, compliant, what is considered “hot,” as EMK seems to suggest they are, it’s not the same dating scene for those who aren’t mainstream.

    The point that bdsista was making was that you don’t see Millionaire Matchmakers using black people on their shows. Her point is well taken, and it’s useful to us because maybe we’re being mindless in our consumption of these media presentations of “reality.”

  3. 23
    Steve

    @A-L post #21

    + 1

  4. 24
    Passion Flower

    First thank you Evan for your wonderful blog and fantatsic insight. You are appreciated more than you know!~

    Regarding Black women and dating… currently I (Black female) am in a monogamous relationship with a (white) man who contacted me after I posted F to M on Craigslist.

    I had used numerous paid dating sites with no success or rather, if I wished to have fun-time flings, dating sites were perfect for that…

    Then I said, why NOT try Craigslist so I used many tips from Evan (my subject line rocked!), and was swamped with responses…from men of all ages and races!

    After dating a fair number of men from CL I chose “Mr.” whom,
    I at first rejected since was a bit younger than I preferred. But he won me over with his confidence charisma and sweet nature.

    Curlygirl wrote:” But if a black woman wants to date across races, the situation isn’t necessarily any better, especially in a country that fetishizes blondes and youth and skinny hips. You can focus on internal qualities all you want, but if the guys (including available black guys) are all looking for younger, compliant, what is considered hot, as EMK seems to suggest they are, it’s not the same dating scene for those who aren’t mainstream.”

    Ha. Girl, hush your mouth! 😉 Not only am a I bit older than my (white) BF, my hair isn’t straight and blonde and furthermore Black men were chasing me, too. Granted, I am slim and beautiful (or so “they” say), still, I am Black have never lacked men to date!

    My advice to any woman is don’t believe the hype! project confidence, have a “life” reject men who don’t fit your desires and keep going till you find someone to fit with you… women have the power. More power than we know and nothing is more of a turn-off than a defeated attitude.

    PS
    Mr. is large, Tony Soprano large, and stated that most white women rejected him due to his size.

  5. 25
    Curly Girl

    Hi, Passion Flower! I’m happy that you and your guy are happy and that EMK has been a good resource for you. But I still hold that a large number of relationship-seekers face cultural realities that defy mainstream dating advice and that add to the challenge of pairing off. A lot depends on where you live, your profession, what your dealbreakers are, etc.

    And there’s something s*xy about James Gandalfino, despite his extra poundage. Hope your guy is the same. 🙂

  6. 26
    Curly Girl

    Also, slim and beautiful always gets a guy, no matter what the ethnicity. But maybe a “just regular” person would feel the sting.

  7. 27
    Cilla

    The issues Passion Flower, Curly Girl, et. al., have been discussing about interracial or cross cultural dating are the same ones I have been facing about dating in general: you can’t take hard and fast rules and apply them to *every* situation. As much as we want to make dating a science and talk about pheromones, oxytocin, male/female roles, etc., there is still an element of mystery to it. Call it God, fate, serendipity, whatever–it’s not an entirely quantifiable, objective discipline. You can call yourself a 5 or a 10–somewhere in the world there are probably people who would call you both, and every number in between. Some people will have problems dating outside their race, due to geography, upbringing, you name it. Other people find it a breeze.

    Do “slim and beautiful” girls have an advantage? Definitely, at least in many Western cultures. Do they always get a guy? No way. I (a white woman) dated a black man from a much bigger city near mine. I was stressing a little because I am what I suspect the dating sites were originally thinking about when they created the “curvy” category for body type. I’m not using it as a euphemism for fat–I just feel it describes me better than “athletic and toned,” which I think is reserved for the uber buff, or “average,” which implies a less defined body type. Anyway, this guy confessed over dinner that he almost didn’t go out with me. Why? Because in my pictures I looked too skinny for him. Was he overweight himself? Lord, no! He was a calendar model for his city’s fire department!!!

  8. 28
    Passion Flower

    Slim and beautiful to some are average size and plain faced to others, beauty is subjective. Some people may think I look like a monkey’s butt, Mr. says I am beautiful and I feel good inside…

    Also I am over 40- in a youth obcesssed culture. Stand me next to a 25 year old woman… of any race…

    A fair percentage of men don’t care for my cocoa skin tone nor appreciate my natural hair (no hair weave/perm). Many others do! Those are the people I spend time with.

    Personally, size doesn’t matter (unless, I think, someone is tragically underweight or morbily obese), it is the attitude projected, personality. Mr. is overweight no doubt about it. He experiances size discrimation all of the time (mainly by whites [he says]) and yet he put himself out there on the dating scene and of the scores of men I’ve dated in the last 3 years of being single, including hunky handsome types with six-packs, he’s the most confident and sensitive.

    More importantly we share similar hopes dreams desires.

    Think it’s ridiculous to say that Black women in general have a harder time finding a man.

  9. 29
    A-L

    I’m a biracial (black/white) female of average to slightly above average weight who abstains from premarital sex (and sometimes wear my hair curly/wavy). And using Curly Girl’s reasoning, I should be in need of tons more advice than the general population because of these factors.

    But Curly Girl mentions nothing that Evan’s advice doesn’t address:

    CG wrote, For example, black women are usually the head of the household, so the tone it down advice isn’t going to work and nobody is going to believe it anyway.

    I would imagine that many of the smart, strong, successful women don’t like the idea of toning it down and feel they shouldn’t have to. And nobody has to. It will just make getting (and keeping) a guy easier. But to suggest that all black women have to have loud, domineering personalities/attitudes? Umm, not so much. Most of the kids I teach are poor minority students with long disciplinary histories and poor academic achievement. I keep excellent control of my class and I rarely yell at them (no more than twice/school year).

    CG wrote, Also, a larger percentage of black v. white men are incarcerated, underemployed, undereducated, etc., and flexibility and settling will not work in these instances.

    If you don’t like your options, reconsider your dealbreakers to be more inclusive. Go for the blue-collar guy who’s sweet and treats you like gold. Date the financially successful college grad who is not as physically attractive. Date someone who’s younger or older than your originally wanted. Or, novel idea, date someone of a different race! And if you’re not willing to do any of these things, then don’t complain that there aren’t any men available.

    Though I’ve never seen Millionaire Matchmaker I will say that I agree with you that there should be more minorities included in such shows, but that’s still a major issue with the media in general, not just this show.

    Curly Girl
    In response to your #22, I was not trying to say that you were necessarily looking for a guy in my #21. When I used “You” it was the general you and not you specifically. Feel free to replace with the impersonal “one.”

    And though I don’t want to get on a tangent I will also say that I don’t agree with your assessment of “how the black family system was destroyed.” But that’s a discussion for a different board.

  10. 30
    moose

    The show’s success, I think, arises from simultaneously catering to each sex’s classic fantasy. For women, finding that prince charming who will sweep her off her feet and turn her into a lovestruck lottery winner; and for men, acting like a sultan who can choose from a menu of beauties each of whom is eager for his attention and ready to satisfy his every desire. But Patti gets to have it both ways, glorifying this shallow calculus of dating while calling everyone out for it. She lambasts the men for looking to fulfill the very fantasy they hired her to give them. Indeed, her “speaking truth to power” style is what really resonates with the female audience. And then she rips into the women for chasing the millionaire prince charmings her show bases itself upon. Patti hypocritcally turns the dating game into its most noxious extreme, crassly capitalizes upon it and then chastises everyone for exhibiting the very behavior she herself has encouraged. From a commercial stand point, kudos to her for pulling it off and pulling in audiences. But most obvious to me is the sad character at the center of it all: Patti Stanger. She’s still waiting for her Prince Charming even though she’s smart enough to know he’s just a fantasy but emotionally she can’t accept it so she channels her bitterness about it towards the very men she says she wants to help.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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…

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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*.

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