News & Runway

Straight Talk with Patti Stanger

Patti Stanger“New York girls are smart in business, dumb in love; LA girls are smart in love, dumb in business,” Patti Stanger says between bites of filet mignon. We’re having lunch at Porter House in the Time Warner Building, blocks away from where the Millionaire Matchmaker grew up. She’s back in town visiting family and doing business – always doing business, it seems – and blitzing the media circuit. We order quickly, as Stanger must jet off to tape Wendy Williams post-nosh, but not before she waxes poetic on dating rules, East Coast apathy, and why Europeans act their age.

“I’m a third generation matchmaker,” Stanger says. “I was always a matchmaker in my personal life and realized there was a lot of money to be made doing it.” After graduating from the University of Miami, Stanger moved to L.A. to become a screenwriter and landed a job as Director of Marketing at Great Expectations, an early online dating site before the likes of eHarmony and entered the American vernacular. Today, she is the founder and CEO of Millionaire’s Club International, an international business with over 30 employees. Oh, and a little Bravo! show that has turned her not only into a household name, but a millionaire, herself.

“These days, I’m taking on less clients, but making more money,” the entrepreneur tells me. I’m surprised to learn that Stanger’s real clients, the ones who have been with her for years, are not actually the ones we see on the show. “My clients would NEVER go on the show,” she says. “They’re more discreet, living in places like Aspen and Monaco and want to remain private.” The show seems to be more of an exaggerated illustration of Stanger, her business model and her myriad of catch phrases (MIT: Millionaire in Training). And then there are the rules:

  1. Two Drink Maximum. “Getting too drunk is the number one way to sabotage a date. If a guy is pushing for a third, fourth, and fifth drink, I’m thinking, ‘Oh yeah, alcohol runs in that family.’”
  2. Don’t Give Too Much Information. “Don’t tell me all your deepest, darkest secrets the first time I meet you.”
  3. Don’t Talk About Your Ex. “It doesn’t make a person feel special.”

My friend has a theory that in New York, girls should subtract ten years from a guy’s actual age and that’s the age they act. So my 29-year-old ex would really be more like 19, which sounds about right to me. Patti agrees: “Well, except for Europeans,” she says. “Europeans are more comfortable with relationships.” It seems Stanger has a theory on everything, including why New York women are, as she says, dumb in love. “New York women are picky, bitter, and don’t even try. Get a blow out, put on some makeup, and wear a dress!”

As a single woman herself, Stanger says she does practice what she preaches and claims to have only broken her rules once (“It was an accident,” she says with a sly smile). I told her I’d pay the matchmaking karma forward by publicly advertising what she looks for in a guy: tall, athletic, rugged looks (“no metrosexuals!”); a real man who drives an SUV, has a decent amount of money, good values and knows how to take care of a woman. 

If you’ve got dating questions for Patti (or a guy who fits the description above), tweet her at @PattiStanger. Just be prepared for a brutally honest answer…and perhaps the name of a nearby salon.