I hate TV. Other than my unhealthy obsession with LOST and unwavering devotion to travel writer/personal hero Anthony Bourdain, you’ll rarely catch me watching anything longer than it takes me to finish a bowl of creamy chicken Ramen. (Yes, I realize it might be time to let go of the dorm room staple and graduate to real food.) Due to recent events, however, I have been spending an uncharacteristic amount of time apathetically gazing at the glowing screen in my living room, catching up on a splattering of shows I usually prefer the fine folks at "The Soup" to sum up for me. So you can imagine my surprise when a show like Bravo’s “The Millionaire Matchmaker” helped turn the grey mush formerly known as my brain back into matter.
The reality show – I’m sorry, “docu-series” – follows third-generation matchmaker Patti Stanger and the clients of her elite, LA-based matchmaking service, The Millionaire’s Club. The clients are very wealthy, often approaching middle age and disguising their loneliness behind a veil of plastic surgery and designer jeans. But what makes Patti – and subsequently her service and her show – great is her ability to peel away those layers with a kind of brashness rarely found in the people-pleasing personalities of southern California.
What Patti has discovered over the years is that many people fail to have successful relationships because they are simply attracted to the wrong people. The qualities they are attracted to in a potential mate are often the very ones that tear them apart. And that’s when I began to wonder: Am I just as disillusioned as Patti’s clients?
I have always been attracted to a certain kind of man: a creative, hopeless romantic who despises mediocrity, has a deeply introspective mind and will never settle for a life less than extraordinarily unconventional. A man with I-just-fell-out-of-bed hair, an effortlessly sexy shadow of scruff, and a closet full of jeans and vintage T-shirts. Career aspirations? Nah. He's got "dreams!"
What I'm failing to see, however, is that successful, motivated, occasionally (and might I add, delightfully) high-strung women like myself don't always mesh well with these super laid-back men I'm typically attracted to. Sure, it's nice to think that we'll balance each other out, but over time, the very things I initially loved about my free-spirited significant other become reasons to not like him so much anymore – just as Patti predicted. “Laid-back” becomes “lazy.” “Drama-free” becomes “apathetic.” “Unconventional” becomes “immature.” And trust me, the realizations go both ways.
While I probably won't be trying to score a date outside Bank of America anytime soon, I'm also starting to see that seeking out a bit more structure and drive in my potential mates is a good thing. After all, if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then maybe it's time I started dating outside my comfort zone.