Matchmaker Falls Short

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host tries and fails to match millionaires with new yorkers

by lorraine duffy merkl

matchmaker, matchmaker, go back to l.a.

bravo's reality series millionaire matchmaker is filming this season in manhattan instead of los angeles. the show's star, patti stanger, will fit in quite nicely with those competitive new yorkers who often don't live up to their own hype.

we all know them: the colleague who sharpens a pencil and acts as though they've cured cancer; the friend who must one-up you even if it's over one more slice of bacon on his blt; and the mom who declares her child "gifted" even though his class rank or position on the team is no more impressive than anyone else.

watching the program's wacky west coasters embarrass themselves on dates has given me hours of amusement. now that it's in my own backyard, though, i'm not laughing.

first, let's define "millionaire." on both coasts, stranger's are not the high-society, captains-of-industry types, but more of the millionaire-next-store ilk. they aren't exactly inaccessible; but, as are those who work paycheck-to-paycheck, often just too busy for "the hunt."

enter the abrasive, jersey-born stanger (note: the doctor cannot heal herself, and remains unmarried), who bills herself as a third-generation matchmaker with a phenomenal record of helping wealthy people find their soul mates.

except that she doesn't. what puzzled me from watching the l.a. franchise is her abysmal rate of failure. why would anyone put their business on national television and week after week disprove their bragging rights that they are the best at what they do?

in the show's first nyc episode, her challenge was to set up two owners of a very lucrative internet businesses. the million-dollar man was 40-years-old and looking for a wife. patti honed in on the problem: his usual choice of young, hot party-girl does not a mrs. make.

she set up a mixer for him to meet more serious, accomplished, age-appropriate women, of which new york has a plethora. but also invited twenty-somethings. (why? didn't she say they were his downfall?) guess whom mr. creature-of-habit chose and whose date didn't work out?

stanger, like all those who screw up their assignments, looked for someone else to blame-in this case, her intern.

her other client, the million-dollar woman, didn't fare any better. this time though, stanger laid the fault at the feet of the single-mother, who was deemed too picky. then, like those going out of business store salespeople who can't convince you their cheap wares are "better than sony," stanger yelled at her paying customer, "there's the door. go." she declared the rejected men "great," even though they didn't meet the client's requirements.

yet none of this stops stanger from proclaiming, "new york needs me."

like we need another bagel store.

this is yet another nyc reality show that does us no justice. for her get-togethers, stanger manages to find the handful of women here who don't own a little black dress, as well as guys who don't own suits. giving her license, by the second episode, to snap with superiority, "this is the fashion capital of the world, yet no one knows how to dress." where is she looking? not at the elegant denizens on madison, or boho chic-sters downtown or the tailored execs in midtown. she also claimed that, "no one here gets mani/pedis or waxes." how does she explain the nail salons on practically every corner?

if you really want someone to help you snag a rich new york spouse, forget millionaire matchmaker and seek counsel from someone who's already done it for herself. anyone got an email address for melania trump?


lorraine duffy merkl's debut novel fat chick, from the vineyard press, is available at and

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