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Patti Stanger, eponymous star of Bravo's Millionaire Matchmaker, is constantly offering dating advice via Twitter -- but on Saturday, that advice was accompanied by some sad personal news.
"I just ended my relationship with Andy," Stanger, 49, Tweeted. "It hit me really hard that I want kids in my life." And then the advice: "You have to agree on the non-negotiables."
Stanger had been gushing about her engagement to real-estate executive Andy Friedman for the past year (he proposed in July 2009). And although it was satisfying to see the famous matchmaker find a match, we have to confess -- we had a bad feeling that the wedding would never happen. Maybe it was the fact that they were together more than five years before he popped the question; we got the sense that marriage-minded Stanger was pushing for a ring, telling the press, "I feel like it should have happened years ago, so I'm kind of shocked." Maybe it was the fact that they never set a wedding date.
Or maybe it's the fact that Stanger seemed so professional about the whole relationship. Any time she talked about her engagement, it seemed like she was either bragging about the size of the ring or saying something to the effect of, "See? Matchmaking works!" (The couple met through a matchmaker.) We can't remember her ever seeming starry-eyed and head-over-heels over Friedman -- it was more like she checked off all the boxes in her "want" list when she met him. Even the breakup sounds like it was mostly a matter of math: He doesn't want kids, he gets a minus, he now has a negative score and he's out of there.
We're not saying it was marriage as publicity move; we have to think that if she was with Friedman for six years, she probably liked the guy. But maybe Stanger's breakup reveals a fundamental flaw in the matchmaking process she preaches on Bravo. Anyone who's seen the show knows that the women Stanger sets up, be they millionaires or (more often) potential matches, are put through the ringer. The men are often asked to get a haircut or choose a different restaurant, but women are frequently told to lose weight, dye their hair, not talk too much (Stanger puts a big value on "mystery"), and let the guy be in charge. There is a very definite script in place for women who want Stanger to marry them off, and it involves being docile, skinny and agreeable... not exactly traits one would use to describe bold, curvy, take-charge businesswoman Patti Stanger.
So, are women like Stanger doomed to be single, then? Not at all -- but the kind of guy who comes to the Millionaire's Club for a bride may not be the right type for her. To attract that "perfect guy" -- or perfect according to her business-minded checklist -- she would logically have to do what she asks her clients to do, and change herself to be "marriage material." And what kind of relationship is it if one person has to pretend to be somebody else? That's not worth all the millions in the world.
When iVillage interviewed Stanger in February, she complained that her mother, also a matchmaker, set her up with terrible dates. "She fixed me up with a stutterer... I actually was almost engaged to a blind man, so thanks, Mom!" Stanger said. Well -- maybe the stutterer and the blind man didn't meet all of Stanger's criteria, but is it possible her mom picked them because they were really nice guys? Or because they like strong, funny women? Maybe mother did know best. We hope Stanger finds a real match for herself, even if he's not a PR-friendly millionaire. She's certainly smart enough to be her own matchmaker -- but she should probably throw away the checklist first.
Are you surprised that Patti Stanger called off her engagement? Chime in below!
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