The Millionaire Matchmaker Show - Revealing Traditional Stereotypes About Men, Women, Money, And Love
Published 2/19/08 (Modified 3/8/11)
I can't help it. I'm attracted to and fascinated by trashy reality television shows - the bigger the train wreck, the better. My newest reality fixation is Bravo TV's new millionaire dating show called The Millionaire Matchmaker. This show could easily be the next logical step up for those party girls from MTV's Super Sweet 16, which I previously wrote about.
The Millionaire Matchmaker features feisty Los Angeles matchmaker Patti Stanger who runs a modern and high end business of helping rich men fulfill their dreams of finding true love and potential wife, and helping gorgeous women marry into millions. On the show, her clientele of wealthy men pay a high fee to be introduced to an exclusive selection of beautiful and smart women, pre-chosen based on their compatibility factors. The men are given access to an array of high end staff of date coaches, personal shoppers, and interior designers to help them improve their personal self appearance and to spruce up the presentation of their millionaire dollar homes. Many of these men are workaholics who are usually too busy with their own careers to find time to date for themselves.
For women, joining the club is free so long as they can pass the high physical appearance requirements and aren't red flagged as possible gold diggers. From the start, Patti makes it clear that she is no Heidi Fleiss madam and that her agency is not an escort service as she strictly prohibits sex until both parties have entered into a committed, monogamous relationship.
Progressive Female Liberals Need Not Apply
You're not going to find any feminist trailblazers on this show. What you'll get is no-nonsense traditional views of what men and women want when it comes to love and relationships, especially when money is no limitation. Caveman tenets of lust, love, and attraction apply - with men being attracted to beauty, youth, and fun; and women being attracted to material possessions, confidence, and power. It's the age old swap of money for beauty. Just from watching a few episodes, it's clear that millionaire dollar men feel entitled to a higher standard and quality of women than common folk. As the show astutely points out, millionaires choose women the same way they would order a new car off the lot - they want the perfect, newest trophy model gift wrapped to suit their existing lifestyle without the flaws.
The most entertaining and fun part of the show comes with the crazy bits of wisdom (if you can call it that) that flies out of head matchmaker Patti Stanger's mouth. She's a rambunctious firecracker who doesn't hesitate to lecture and verbally slap her male clients around for their own tough love good, whom she views as misguided little children. I really like her and even though much of what she says can be considered abrasive and shallow, I think there is much hidden truths in what she has to say. She also seems to genuinely care in shaping her eligible millionaire bachelors into successful relationship putty - even if that means she has to ruthlessly critique their flaws to make them understand what's wrong with their views and why they are unable to settle down into real relationships.
The Show Strongly Reinforces Stereotypical Male and Female View Points
The show perpetuates a timeless and traditional view of men and women that frankly, remains alive and well today. It is this very return to tradition that has been one of Patti Stanger's keys to success as a matchmaker. She is harsh on both men and women, screening both for the perfect traditional matching qualities. The men are checked to make sure they are truly worth millions and the women are screened carefully to maintain a high physical appearance standard. Many of the show's millionaire clients come to her with a particular female look already in mind that's partial towards the young, model-type look. Perhaps as a genuine reflection of the unspoken views of society, the show perpetuates the understanding that what men want the most in women is beauty and youth. What women seem to want the most from men is power and money.
According to Patti's values for there to be matchmaking success, this means men need to be chivalrous, they need to be generous with their money, and they need to take charge and be confident with women. Females on the other hand are encouraged and taught that they must accentuate their physical qualities - if they have nice "assets" they must flaunt it, they must dress alluringly to appeal to male tastes, and they must show a little leg here and there - basically don't dress like you've just left work. Another disturbing but perhaps real life lesson is that she also lectures women on the need to downplay their own professional accomplishments - basically if you are a doctor, never introduce yourself as one initially - because when it comes down to it, men don't want to compete in that department.
I Find The Show Entertaining Because It Reflects Many Unspoken Facets and Truths About Societal Views Towards Dating and Relationships
Whether the traditional values promoted by the show are right or wrong is not for me to say, but I think the reality is that despite the modern progress men and women have had in terms of human relations, in many ways we've stayed the same. Many commentators have blasted the show for perpetuating traditional stereotypical views of women and I understand why they are upset. But at the same time, the show is about hooking up men and women who want love, not about political correctness. Love is a crazy thing where traditional ideas still hold true.
Even though I think matchmaker Patti Stanger has a narrow view of what men want, I think she is frequently right on point when it comes to her true life assessment of male and female preferences when it comes to dating. Of course her traditional views may be controversial and humorously offensive to some - such as when Patti chided one of her prospective women for having red hair, because as she put it, red hairs are "not the freshest produce in the aisles" (presumably implying that red hair is old school and outdated). Dye it brown she ordered, because men don't like red hair. If you have curly short hair? Grow it long or get hair extensions and perm it straight because men like hair that is long and straight so they run their fingers through it.
However, the show does seem to promote a worthy abstinence requirement as a way to keep the men's dating motivations on the up and up (so to speak). Patti imposes a strict no sex policy until a committed relationship has been established. While this almost puritanical policy tries to inject some standards, it doesn't detract much from the inherent meat market circus of matching up nearly two dozen attractive women with one rich man for his choosing. Then again, is it really all that much different when people post their personal profiles complete with physical attributes onto online dating sites like Yahoo Personals or eHarmony?
The Show Does Teach A Valuable Lesson - Money Does Not Always Buy Love and Happiness
As an ordinary non-millionaire Joe, I actually find some guilty comfort knowing that even millionaires have major trouble in the dating department despite their massive financial fortune. The show reveals that even millionaires can be fault ridden in the love department. The Millionaire Matchmaker's stars are not the peddled and pimped out women who willingly submit themselves for selection, but rather the sleazy, cocky, and pathetic men that do the picking. In one episode you had one man in his late 40's who despite his noble assertions of wanting to find true love with an educated and marriage-minded mature woman, still ended up picking the young co-ed nearly 20 years his junior out of the female selection pack despite having nothing social in common with her. Then there was the episode with the one rich guy who ran a successful online sex toy business who could not give up his player lifestyle of throwing female laden house pool parties or removing the "non-offensive" stripper pole bolted in his living room.
Their money might provide them housing comfort and material joy, but it's also the same corrupting influence that clouds their proprieties and explains why they insist on finding their trophy sugar babes rather than their more age appropriate soul mates. Entertainment aside, the show does demonstrate that money doesn't really buy true happiness. However, it will allow you to buy access into the Millionaire's Club to meet plenty of long and straight haired young women, who are eager for you to lavish them with material attention - for the short term at least.
Check out Patti's Commandments Of Dating for both men and women. Prepare to be entertained, offended, and dumbfounded at the same time. Her views really reflect on the current dynamics of male and female wants and expectations. Here is a sample of one of her thought provoking dating tips directed at women:
Once you have decided you like a specific male and you have gone out with him four times, it is important to show your appreciation and reciprocate. But do not offer to outright pay for something: once a woman touches money/credit card in front of a male she becomes masculine energy, which is undesirable. But this does not preclude showing thanks by purchasing him a CD, book, theater or concert tickets, just don't do it in his presence. Offering to cook a meal for him is an exceptional, appreciative gesture. The number one small request a wealthy man makes of a woman is a good old-fashioned home cooked meal.
Masculine energy? Haha! Great stuff! :)