On Bravo’s newest reality show, The Millionaire Matchmaker, Patti Stanger matches her clients, millionaire men, with their potential partners: the girls of their adolescent fantasies—or, as Stanger would rather have it, the women of their grown-up realities. The 46-year-old founder and CEO of the Millionaire’s Club in L.A. calls herself a “third-generation matchmaker”: Her mother and grandmother were unofficial yentas at their temple in New Jersey. Today, Stanger’s business charges the moneyed men from 15 to 150 grand a year.
Time Out Chicago: What’d you learn about matchmaking from your mom and grandmom?
Patti Stanger: That the rules have never changed. As long as you give sex away for free, without exclusivity, you’re gonna end up single and alone and unhappy. You’re the commodity and when you learn that, men will gravitate to you. You want to be the female, you don’t want to lead in the relationship. And the only way the men are going to lead and be the hunters is if you sit back, smell good, relax and let the man drive the car.
TOC: Anyone ever tell you that’s a little sexist?
Patti Stanger: No. Here’s what happens: If the woman ends up being the breadwinner, the man is very appreciative at first. Then he starts to resent you. Then he has a sense of entitlement. And then the relationship goes south. A man feels empowered when he does good. That’s when his—excuse my French—penis gets hard.
TOC: It’s really not possible for a man and a woman to be happy if the woman makes more money?
Patti Stanger: As long as the woman is a man through and through and enjoys the control, yes. But most women say they don’t want that. I hear that all over the country. The men are the ones saying, “You call me. You chase me.” And women are like, “Where’d the men go?”… In nine years, we’ve had one millionairess join. They don’t want to date men who can’t afford them, they want to date Bill Gates.
TOC: What’s the number one reason these successful guys are single?
Patti Stanger: They want an unrealistic thing. They want model looks with a great education and pedigree, they want the girl to be smart but not have an opinion, they want her to have money but not have a job. It’s my job to give them a reality check.
TOC: And are you able to do that?
Patti Stanger: Yes, to a degree. You give them the first five hotties they want, and those women disappear after two or three dates. So then I say, “Do you want to keep getting beat up? Or do you want to go for an eight versus a ten?” And they usually end up with the woman I give them.
TOC: On the show, you come down pretty hard on the men.
Patti Stanger: Yeah, they deserve it. They deserve a kick in the ass. They’re over 40, most of them, they’re still searching for the perfect girl, they’re gonna end up like George Clooney in the nursing home. I mean, it’s pathetic. In the bitter end, the only thing we take with us is love. And the ultimate love is romantic love, whether you’re gay or straight.
TOC: Speaking of gay or straight, why do you only deal with straight men?
Patti Stanger: I’ve fixed up a lot of gay people, but I feel like it should be a gay person who really understands the mechanics.
TOC: At one point, you criticize your clients for shopping for women like they’re shopping for cars.
Patti Stanger: Right.
TOC: But isn’t that the whole idea here—men shopping for women?
Patti Stanger: Yeah, but your car doesn’t talk back to you. These are people that come with their own baggage. If you say, “Look, she’s everything I want but her right eyebrow is higher than her left”—give me a break! And I hear that shit all day long, excuse my French.
TOC: Has Millionaire’s Club made you a millionaire?
Patti Stanger: Yeah. Millionairess. A small one, but yes. I live pretty modestly. I may wear a Forever 21 dress, but I still got my Christian Louboutins on, you know?
TOC: You mention a boyfriend on the show. What does he do?
Patti Stanger: He’s got a job at an insurance company. He’s a regular joe, he’s not a millionaire.
TOC: Wait a minute. You make more money than he does?
Patti Stanger: I do, I do. He’s got a lot more invested, but he’s not liquid like I am.
TOC: Aren’t you breaking your own rule?
Patti Stanger: No because (a) we’re not having kids, (b) we’re talking about getting married and (c) I make him pay for all the dates. So he feels like a man and I feel like a woman.
Millionaire Matchmaker airs Tuesdays at 9pm on Bravo.