Recently the TV show on Bravo, The Millionaire Matchmaker was brought to my attention. The premise of the show is the business of Patti Stanger, The Millionaire’s Club. The goal of which is to match up millionaires who have perhaps been too occupied with their business lives and have neglected their personal lives. The principle of the show seems to result in Patti setting up couples where the men are self-made successes and the women appear to be primarily interested in the financial gains. While she publicly and firmly asserts that this is not the case, even the name of her business implies that the money is fundamental. If she didn’t want people to think the millions mattered, she might have wanted to not print it on her business cards. Well done.
So many things about this show bother me, firstly, Patti Stanger comes off as a self-obsessed harpy who completely believes that her ideas about women and men and interpersonal relationships are the only ones which can facilitate a successful dynamic. She’s very ready to criticize everyone’s ideas about love in favor of her own ideas. The most horrifying thing I’ve seen is that when people don’t respond to each other favorably or don’t like her selections she loudly, obnoxiously berates them. What’s incredibly amazing about this is that these people pay between $25,000 to $50,000 for this “service”, turns out the verbal abuse is free.
Her firm ideas about gender standards are frightening. Frequently she begins her investigations of her clients by tearing everything about their appearance and personality apart, (shave your beard, your hands are too small, you’re not humble.) The most amazingly thing about her is that she is obsessed that men and women conform to absolute gender types. Men MUST be “rugged”, “manly” and “hunters” while she seems to hate the idea of women being less than “hot” and god forbid they be “rugged”. Meanwhile, Patti herself is a woman who undoubtedly makes her living off her killer instincts and her ability to play the dominant role in any situation. If men are anything but the standard, conventional type of clean shaven, short haired, square jawed manly men she demands they change their appearance, they must transform themselves into her standard. Furthermore, she really doesn’t like men cooking. painting, enjoying music or being “ugh, he’s a Renaissance man!” Obviously in Patti’s world men break cans on their heads, are 6’4 and ripped, they enjoy football and “hot women”, while women like to chat, shop and look cute (not creative, cute). I wonder who will do the cooking in Patti’s household once she marries (yes, someone is engaged to her…)
When choosing women to set up with her millionaire clients she tends towards only sticking with very young, pretty, quiet women. She really doesn’t appreciate any woman who would challenge her dominance, sending older, taller, or socially aggressive women on their way, even one girl in a creative, couture dress. She fundamentally ignores any preferences men might have about women (brunettes over blondes, etc) and instead substitutes her perception of acceptable, datable girls (skinny, conventionally pretty and desperately desiring a millionaire!)
I could point to several things in every episode that turn my stomach. Her perception of men having to be “hunter” is really the grossest thing about her (aside from the raccoon eyes and faux-tan – she looks like she eats it!) They have to choose the most beautiful women, and the ones that will make them appear most masculine. When matching male millionaires she always has head shots of the girls available (so that at the last moments of discussion they are able to judge the women by their appearances). While when female millionaires are seeking men, she firmly maintains that she doesn’t have any photos – often throwing women into set ups with men they’ve never seen, and encouraging those men to push sexually as quickly as possible (one sadly manipulated chap sent a gaudy red gown to a woman he’d never met!)
All in all, I don’t know how I feel about these people thinking they need this service. While it’s difficult to manage a major business and one’s personal life, the idea that people would bring in someone like Patti to bully them into a social code is disturbing. The people on the show are invariably socially awkward, some are kind of snotty (Patti seems unfazed, “baby, this is L.A!”) but what’s really disgusting is Patti and her hyperactive ideas about what is and is not acceptable in male and female behavior and in relationships.
Forcing people out of their personalities and into your narrowly defined, archaic gender ideas does not a good matchmaker make, Patti.
And I haven’t even cracked open the Jewish stereotype of interfering, matchmaking women – Bravo, seriously?