Patti Stanger, Millburn native who now lives in Los Angeles, is known for her matchmaking company, the Millionaire’s Club, and its accompanying reality show on Bravo, The Millionaire Matchmaker. Stanger, 52, spoke with New Jersey Monthly about how she met her 42-year-old mortgage-broker boyfriend, David Krausse, and her thoughts on online dating, New Jersey men, and the do’s and don’ts of Valentine’s Day.
Do you believe in online dating?
Yes! I wrote the book Become Your Own Matchmaker a few years ago, and it recommends online dating, especially for women over 40. It basically works if you work it. But you’ve got to be really smart about it and really vet these people. Most people think, “Oh, he’s cute, let’s go!” and they don’t really look under the hood of the car.
I went to Arizona for a women’s convention, and we went to three different major hotspots and there were no men there. Men don’t really get out of the house at night, but they go out during the day. Men are day people. They work out, or play golf or tennis. I said to the girls, “Stop going out at night, go out during the day!“ A lot of girls complain about online dating and I said you know, that’s probably the best bet for you right now, considering that men like to date one on one; they don’t like to date in packs or groups at the bars.
How did you meet David?
It used to be when I ran marketing for Great Expectations [the oldest dating service in the country] in the ‘90s that online dating was seen as desperate, and now it’s the only way, really. One day out of the blue I decided to go on the website Plenty of Fish. David had just switched three hours before from Match.com over to Plenty of Fish.
What is different about the New Jersey dating scene compared to California?
Men in New Jersey are quicker to the punch. They want to definitely get married quicker; they don’t like being alone. The problem is, you have Manhattan close by where the ratio is five women to one man. New Jersey women say they want a city guy, but what’s wrong with a suburban guy? All the guys in the city are metrosexual; they’re not rugged.
I agree. I’m into men who chop wood and wear flannel.
Yeah, I’m into the woodchoppers too.
How frequently do you try to come home?
I try to come home as much as I can because I love the Short Hills Mall and no taxes on clothes. Last time we were there, we cleaned up; we had four hours to kill and we got off at Newark Airport and hit the mall and shipped everything home. All my cousins still live in the area, around Livingston, South Orange and West Orange.
I miss the energy and the mentality too. People are quicker, they’re faster, and they get things. They’re not as physically driven, they’re not jaded, and they aren’t all about looks. You can actually walk around with no makeup on and a pair of sunglasses — with lip gloss, and feel ok. You don’t have to be a size two, you can actually eat a bagel or a Jersey sub. And I miss whitefish salad; they don’t really have that in California. And we miss the Millburn Deli.
When you stopped by the Millburn Deli on season four, you said you were craving a Friday Special.
The Friday Special is my favorite. It’s tuna fish, egg salad and Russian dressing with lettuce, but the way they cut it is the secret. They cut the bread in three pieces, and no one ever does that.
When I went to Millburn High School, for 30 cents we used to get a hard roll and their Russian dressing; no beef, nothing, and that was our snack. They also had the best iced tea and the best Manhattan clam chowder. I’m just waiting for a millionaire from New Jersey to be on the show and bring me a Friday Special.
If you could have the Millburn Deli make you a signature sandwich, would you call it the Patti?
Yeah, we should make one! It would have Russian dressing for sure, but would be gluten-free since I’m gluten-free now and I don’t get to eat all that good stuff anymore. But I also love their pretzel bread.
Do you have any tips for Valentine’s Day gifts this year?
I still believe that men need to buy women flowers. I’m a pink-roses girl, and it’s very hard to find pink roses, so my boyfriend would grab them whenever he saw them, and he never thought it was a big deal but it still means a lot that he would take the time to do that. Flowers go a long way, but the statistic shows that women buy flowers, not men. Women are the first ones to buy flowers, whether it’s a funeral, a birthday, or an anniversary. Men are last-minute thinkers, and you have to plan with flowers.
Have red roses become cliché?
No! Red roses are iconic. Would a diamond go out of style? I don’t think so. Red roses say passion. Women are never going to lose interest in roses.
Is there anything to avoid on Valentine’s Day?
I’ve always thought stuffed animals were the weirdest thing to give.
The strangest thing I love for Valentine’s Day are orchids, because they never die. You can keep it alive for a very long time if you take care of it, and the buds can sprout and you can replant the buds. I love purple and pink orchids. But a rose is a girl’s best friend.
What’s a great date idea for Valentine’s Day?
I think the most unique thing is to plan something. I think a girl is shocked when a man says, “Put your best cocktail dress on, I’m going to pick you up at seven, don’t ask questions.” Make it about the girl. All the man wants is to be appreciated. It’s her day really, not the guy’s day.
What about Valentine’s Day ideas for singles?
They could throw an Opposite Sex Party, where everyone brings someone of the opposite sex that they aren’t interested in romantically and sees as a potential candidate for someone else. Theme parties are hot right now. One of my friends last year had a “Come as Your Own Reality Star” party on Valentine’s Day. Avoid things like hearts and red.
Anything new happening this season on the Millionaire Matchmaker?
A lot more themed parties. Since I never went to the prom at Millburn High School, we are going to have a prom this season on the show. I went to the Junior Prom, but I didn’t have a boyfriend senior year. I didn’t want to go stag, so I went to New York instead and had a fun time with my aunt. I didn’t even go to the Shore with everyone afterward.