BY: Lara Rabinovitch
“One good orgasm and you could be bonded to a loser.” So says Patti Stanger—better known as the star of Bravo’s highly rated reality television show, “Millionaire Matchmaker”—and among the theories now expanded in her just released DVD, Married in a Year. This 73-minute long infomercial (“your action plan for finding LOVE”) aims to help every eligible girl find her carats, ahem, mate, in less than 12 months. Or, as Stanger says, “No more feeling sorry for yourself. No more drowning your sorrows in a half-gallon of Haagen-Dazs. I’m going to show you how to make it happen.”
Stanger’s a twenty-first century Yenta, and we can’t seem to get enough of her. Besides the DVD and show, her mini empire extends to books, celebrity endorsements, and any other place she can spread her gospel. Yet when the 49-year old third-generation matchmaker gives wonky advice such as, “Wear colors like red and blue that will stand you out from the crowd, and draw him in” or “A girl who shares an interest in cars or boats is every man’s fantasy,” we love her even more. She’s bossy, opinionated, and she has no patience for picky daters (although she herself will only date men over 6’2″).
Yes, she’s also famously single. Is it any wonder that the woman who claims, “A great place to meet a man with the same interests as you is in continuing education classes.” Or, “men love to put their hands through long, silky hair. Make sure your ends are perfectly straight and flat-ironed” has yet to find her match? (last I checked bedhead is pretty hot and most straight men aren’t into braiding their dates’ hair anyhow.)
Of course, she’s not the first cultural figure—or religious leader—to not practice what she preaches, but most don’t so obviously fly in the face of their own rhetoric. Although Stanger’s no rabbi, the Short Hills, NJ, native sure takes herself seriously—but that only adds to her charm: “Think of me as your Moses of Matrimony,” before listing off commandments such as, “Though Shall Let The Man Take The Lead.”
At the outset of her DVD Stanger promises we will find our soulmates, and she offers plenty of staid—and, in character, unintentionally laughable—advice throughout. She tells us the less jewelry you wear, the more he’ll want to give you, and she recommends printing “bio cards” for your friends and family to distribute with your “essentials” such as: “height, weight, education, job, passions, and interests,” as well as a “full frontal” professional photograph of you. She also tells us where to find the millionaires (wine tastings, natch) and educates us in the art of the 5-second eye-lock flirt, after which a guy should approach you, unless “he’s not interested, not straight, or not a hunter, in which case you’re not interested.”
Fans of her television show will be disappointed, however, because without the Bravo team behind her, the DVD comes off as amateurish (yet not enjoyably trashy) and mainly features footage of Stanger lecturing to a crowd of middle age women or lounging around a Malibu mansion giving advice to the camera, and not, as in her reality show, on location at her company headquarters along with her team of quirky elves. And instead of seeing actual matchups (or, better, explosive failures) we only see poorly dramatized relationships and an endless slideshow of fake-happy couples set to a muzak soundtrack.
Even more disturbing is the promotional advertisement and material insert included with your DVD for the diet plan, Sensa—a product you sprinkle on food to suppress your appetite and through which Stanger recently lost 25 pounds. So, before she even begins to explain her 12-month step-by-step plan towards “negotiating the ring,” Stanger tells us with a smile, “True love is a Sprinkle Away.” We can’t help but click our heels and fall in love with the fantasy.