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Beforehand, and at the outset of each episode, she reviews a one-minute introductory videotape the men have submitted; then she sets off to meet them in person.
After watching these tapes, Stanger usually, but not always, diagnoses her clients: delayed adolescent, control freak, commitment-phobe. There’s something really wrong with him, otherwise he wouldn’t be here.” At an initial meeting, Stanger pushes, probes, and challenges on matters both profound and petty.
She’s also built a multimillion-dollar empire from the ground up: Her line of romance-friendly wines, PS Match, is the latest in a litany of Stanger-themed products. But fundamentally, there’s a growing frustration, among Millennials in particular, that there simply are no rules governing relations between the sexes, and Stanger offers some. They must act masculine but well-mannered, and women must give them the space to do so, by allowing them to plan and pay for dates, by containing their own aggressive impulses, and, of course, by withholding sex until the man has made a monogamous commitment.
These are the sorts of unwritten cultural norms that the feminist movement did away with and that, on her show, Stanger is trying to put back in place.
I don’t like that the other side needs to have looks. Stanger regularly doles out beauty advice that many women are resistant to hearing: “Curly hair is like redheads — they just don’t get a lot of play,” she told the The age-old system in which women exerted great control over dating and romance by making men wait for sex has largely vanished. The men hold the reins: In a culture saturated by casual sex, there’s little incentive for them to learn how to romance women. Without rules, religious or social, to guide them, many women — and some men, too — find that dating has devolved into groping around in a dark closet, a confusing and often painful search for principles to guide the interactions between the sexes. She is the doyenne of what Alexis de Tocqueville called mores, which he defined largely as the “habits of the heart.” In America, Tocqueville said, “it is woman who shapes these mores,” through her clear-eyed view of the “vices and dangers of society.” The American woman, unlike the European, wasn’t sheltered or protected, so she developed a “singular skill” and “happy audacity” for navigating these vices and dangers, and an ability to steer her “thoughts and language through the traps of sprightly conversation.” As a result, “she is full of confidence in her own powers.” Though Tocqueville wrote in the mid 19th century, his words aptly describe Stanger.
Stanger’s goal is to get them married, and that requires the delivery of some harsh Stanger truths. You guys didn’t even know each other, you moved too fast.
Men must become “hunters.” Women must curb their “male energy.” And the use of her services (which, depending on the client, can include personal coaching, therapy, psychic readings, and lessons in flirtation) requires adherence to a sacred rule: No sex, of any sort, before monogamy. ” Well, Stanger discovers, he said he might want that “eventually.” “Okay, well, that’s a bunch of baloney,” the matchmaker says. You could spend more time buying a house or a car in this economy or a mortgage than doing something like that. You should have slowed it down and done the courtship thing.” One can almost visualize the women of America nodding in appreciative agreement.
Her father, she says, “hated when my mom worked.” Stanger was raised Jewish — she calls herself a “food Jew” — and her show has a Jewish feel.
She’s a third-generation matchmaker, but the first in her family to make a career out of it.