Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How One Guy's Colorism Turned Off A Potential Love Interest on Millionaire Matchmaker

I guess this is my week for reality television reruns. I've been watching Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo. It's a high-class dating service in Los Angeles where the owner, Patti Sanger promotes love matches and encourages marriage. She charges a minimum of $20K to clients and has a 99% success rate for those that take her advice. Usually the millionaires are picky, have unrealistic expectations and require a certain amount of maintenance. Her standards are very high for the behavior of the millionaires as well as in recruiting potential mates. She typically arranges for clients to have a date with someone of their choosing out of a pool of candidates and one of her choosing.

One of Patti's clients is 36 year-old Xander. He's biracial and is set up with one young white woman (22) who eliminates herself by telling him she doesn't know what she wants out of life yet. She was the warm up to his date with Violet though - who was chosen by Patti. She is also younger - but they don't mention her age. She's also biracial and seems like a nice woman. He picks her up in a limo and she's innocent enough to be impressed and tell him. He takes her to the Hustler Club for gambling. She doesn't gamble though and lets him know. He made a quip about "corrupting" her but should have immediately adjusted his plans for their date to something she felt comfortable with. 

Later on they have a meal and he proceeds to compliment her repeatedly. If I was on a date with a guy who hadn't bothered to plan something romantic or even inquired some basic information from me and then fawned over me excessively I'd think he was trying to get me into bed as quickly as possible. I wouldn't think he was sincere or really interested in knowing me at all. I had to search for video, found the show available for purchase but with a Zune media player that isn't compatible with Mac. Oh well. I did get reaction interviews from them on Hulu which I've embedded.

Xander was enthralled (by her appearance) and wanted to see Violet again. Earlier in this episode he explained that he was still single because he'd put work first. Plus he has a three-year old daughter. He said he'd met the mother of his daughter "at Spring break". Now why a man in his 30's is picking up undergrads tells me a lot about his character, but he seems like one of the "nicer" clients. Compared to the men in their 40's who still only want to date 18-25 year olds this is mild. It just shows that a caliber mate requires so much more than looks, money and relative youth.
Violet told Patti she wasn't interested in a second date. She discusses the date here. She's very diplomatic on camera and seems like a real class act. Now how many black men would put her on the pedestal until she demanded to be treated with a level of respect they don't feel black women (even biracial, light-skinned exceptions) deserve? I'm thinking of music artist Kelis and how many of her male peers who made her the "exception" are trashing her now because of the terms of her divorce settlement with Nas is more than what they think she "deserves"! 

Patti had a follow-up with Xander he was taken aback that Violet wasn't interested in a second date. Patti told him he'd gone overboard, but of course the underlying issue would never be examined. He was fawning over Violet's lighter skin shade and she knew it. That's why she didn't want to go out with him again. He'd also complimented the first date but not nearly as much. The first date was cute but I could see this was one of those "blond hair makes you pretty" scenarios - but he'd chosen her! 

He was too superficial and despite having lots of money there are some women who simply want MORE. They don't want to be objectified even if they're getting the long end of the stick. I don't know if I'd classify Xander as a DBR but he is someone who has serious flaws. I was curious why he was having such difficulty with dating being that he's wealthy and not unattractive. He presents a low value caliber despite his obvious appeal. Even though Patti told him telling a woman that she's beautiful 15 times is creepy he was prepared to discard her advice until the other male client whose date had been more successful informed him that two times in one night was sufficient.

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ZionFulfilled said...

One thing I love about this blog is the way you are not afraid to address how colorism effects women of color. Colorism is more than bitter dark women who are jealous of lighter women. Colorism hurts everyone. This young woman recognized that she was being objectified even though she was on the receiving end of compliments, this time. I also applaud her for not being seduced by what Xander had. Too often, women of color (in spite of shade) end up being labeled as these hoochies who are only out for what a man can give them. Therefore, we still end up an object of hatred for black men (or in Xander's case bi-racial). I'll be interested in seeing the other comments for this entry.

Nia said...

Good for Violet!
He should have offered suggestions prior to them meeting about where he would like to take her for their first date and ALSO find out from Violet (via Patti) if there was anywhere SHE (Violet) would prefer to go for a first date.
The Hustler's Club? Spring Break? Ugh! The sad thing about it is that he would be considered by many to be "a catch".
And yes, a man who compliments a woman 15 times on her appearance is not genuinely interested in her as a person and is only interested in the superficial.

Anonymous said...

I saw this episode when it aired and I was so happy bc it confirmed that I was not insane.

Liz Dwyer said...

I remember this episode vividly and thought this dude was SUCH a loser on ALL levels. I was surprised he didn't start telling Violet she was a pretty redbone or some other crass reference to her skin color. I feel sorry for his child and found myself hoping he didn't have custody.r

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

ZionFulfilled: You changed your profile name. Oh yes we discuss all racism at this blog including the much more harmful black on black skin shade racism. One can speculate Xander is only acting as a progeny of a black man trying to escape it by marrying a white woman. They pass their disdain onto their children and so on and so on. Like I said Violet seems like a nice young woman so she wasn't going to tolerate being treated like a piece of meat.

Nia: Yeah...it's interesting watching this show. The 2nd season there was a guy who didn't want to walk back to his house and peed behind bushes with the camera crew filming him! He also kept eating junk food and offering it to his date even after she'd refused. The money these men have (and some women) cannot replace common courtesy - or common sense!

Aphrodite: Yeah it's interesting what a shift in perspective and clarity does for one's outlook.

losangelista: Hey Liz! Yeah this guy needs a reality check. I'd be very curious to know IF he's even capable of actually LOVING a woman where it has more to do with her character or if his main impetus is skin shade.

freethinker said...

FaithBlog: (I'm thinking of music artist Kelis and how many of her male peers who made her the "exception" are trashing her now because of the terms of her divorce settlement with Nas is more than what they think she "deserves"!)

I wish you would do a full story about this. I saw Redman and Methond Man go off during an interview when asked to comment about the settlement she got.(search youtube if you haven't seen it). Why all the name calling and contempt when they claimed they were speaking hypothetically. It seems that any black woman that demands accountability from a black man becomes viewed as an opressor. I guess anyone who demands accountability from a black man gets accused of it. I just wonder who created this mentality in many black men, and sadly I think black women play a major part in it.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

freethinker: Welcome. I'm going to approach my reply to you as someone who's still confused instead of someone coming to this forum to not so subtly trash black women.

No it is NOT the responsibility of women to train boys how to be men. That is the role of the father. It is normative, human and regular behavior for a male to provide and protect the women and children of their group.

The reason why so many black men display anti-social, anti-family behavior is why the entire structure of the family has been destroyed. At some point someone had to DECIDE to abandon black women and children and it was REINFORCED by other men not stepping in to stop it on a mass level. It benefits many to do so.

Many black men are solely focused on resenting white men for being dominant and acting out by mating and bedding white women AND trashing black women who most closely resemble them.

The entire knee-jerk reaction of focusing on black males as victims in ALL situations is part of the problem. There's too much "begging", complaining or settling and not enough strategizing, discipline and focusing on goals. This is also much more of an issue amongst African-American blacks, not Africans/Caribbeans.

This was the failure of Civil Rights in training people to rise together. Women started taking on more and more because the men failed. They were still focused on tying themselves to black men instead of quality, available men. The lack of ethnic pride amongst AAs, coupled with the cannibalization of life affirming choices perpetuates a cycle of destruction.

A sick mind doesn't realize how ill it really is.

Khadija said...


You said, "Plus he has a three-year old daughter. He said he'd met the mother of his daughter "at Spring break". Now why a man in his 30's is picking up undergrads tells me a lot about his character, but he seems like one of the "nicer" clients. Compared to the men in their 40's who still only want to date 18-25 year olds this is mild."

I disagree. Both categories of men are predatory, as far as I'm concerned. Age disparities don't matter as much when both partners are fully grown, fully functional adults. In other words, peers.

But a 35+ year-old man chasing after college kids? And chasing after the sort of college kids who are still running around at Spring Break?

[What I recall is that by the time I and most of my friends had turned 21, we had all matured out of being particularly interested in excessive drinking, and the rest of that kind of stuff.]

This guy sounds like an absolute creep across the board. Colorist AND looking for an immature girl-woman that he can run over.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Khadija: I hear you but I've watched a few of these episodes and so many of these men are in their upper 40's are STILL chasing after 18-25 year olds. Even though they're given advice that if they want a lasting relationship they need to date women over 30 amongst other things - so many visibly blanch.

It's ridiculous and the recurring theme. I'd say most of the men who are matched are still creeps on some level unless they change. It's not from enlightenment but their survival that they finally adapt. I paid more attention to this guy because he's black but so many of the clients are jerks. It's why they have to go to a professional service after years of failed or non-existent relationships.

In one season I think less than a handful of these millionaires actually sustain relationships. This guy had an extra layer of crap due to his colorism but at least they aren't broke on top of it! When you think about how so many AA women settle for nothing at all: ex-cons, no place to live, no job.

Of course I see these men as problematic on many levels. I think this show actually does a great service to women who can see past the glitter aspects they try to introduce as a distraction. These men have issues and a lot of the women seem to have much more character and are attractive on many levels. Yet they have to make a lot of effort to be appealing to a potential mate. I don't know if that's due to the wealth or due to being in LA.

Octogalore said...

I'm in LA and briefly was part of a club similar to Patti's, but focused around group events. Well, briefly being one party -- it wasn't a fit for me. It was diverse racially, which was nice, but not at all in terms of age (the men) and looks (the women). At least the guys on Patti's show are sometimes cute (like Xander) usually not too far off in age from the women.

It became clear, though, that it was softcore prostitution -- at least the party I was at. A more subtle, but evident, trade of looks for money. Which I have nothing against if everyone's happy, but typically a relationship that starts that way is premised on one partner with a diminishing asset and another one with one that's increasing in value. So if there isn't more glue, it doesn't stick.

That's why I wonder if Violet should've been surprised that her looks, and the status derived from her skin color, drew the most attention from Xander. This kind of dating service is set up as a commodity trade... because the men have to be millionaires, they typically expect to get the corresponding (in our culture) female attribute in return: conventional good looks.

Patti seems frustrated often with how many of the men want a 15+ year age gap, but many single LA millionaires have entitlement complexes.

Oops -- sorry to go on and on. I was single in LA for four years before meeting my husband in 2000, so this rang some familiar bells.

Khadija said...



Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Octogalore: The length of your response is okay. Your insight here is very useful. I was also watching an episode that featured Dave Koz's brother who was short and divorced. He was in his 40's and had been married for less than 10 years. He'd married an 18 year old when he was in his 30's! They had 2 kids and he had to admit the age difference amongst other conflicts undid the marriage. EIGHTEEN!! I mean at least he married the woman but she was barely legal. He also ignored the advice given him and choice a woman who ended up being bored on the date. It was wonderful what he did (flew her to Tahoe, took her to see Dave) but it just proves that unless the woman really is just looking for a guy with money that she knows she'll have access to, she's looking for compatibility and these men are looking to live out their sexual fantasies.

I bet you're glad you found a suitable mate.

Khadija: Haha!!

Octogalore said...

"He'd married an 18 year old when he was in his 30's!"

Wow. I can see 28 and 40-something (although that wouldn't be my choice), but with the "December" being 18, that's ripe for an office pool on how long it lasts.

"it just proves that unless the woman really is just looking for a guy with money that she knows she'll have access to"

But does she really know? I know women (like my senior partner's wife) who married for $ or gave up their own jobs to marry, and are kept on strict allowances, like children.

"these men are looking to live out their sexual fantasies"

Just shows how goofy those guys are. Most of us are more fun in the sack at 30 than 18. Unless the fantasy is specifically about being with a schoolgirl, in which case...

"I bet you're glad you found a suitable mate."


Ultimately, it reminds me of that joke, can't remember where I heard it, about the guy driving the flashy lamborghini and the woman saying "sorry about your penis." Identifying oneself as a millionaire for dating purposes seems a bit like that. Along those lines, my husband doesn't drive a lamborghini.

Are you in LA as well?

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Octogalore: Those women who get "allowances" did not select a quality mate. Those types of men who control the purse strings like that are not in a real romantic partnership but a lop-sided arrangement to their advantage. They're looking for a "trade" to the next shiny object. Yuk! I'm SF based but will likely be leaving CA until that economy stabilizes. Ah-nuld has gutted so many necessary programs from the state - partially do the economy but largely due to his total incompetence as Governor. It's going to take years to fix CA if it can.

modest-goddess said...

I went through a similar experience, not the millionaire part but I had a date with a guy that kept bringing up my looks. The first time it is a compliment but 5, 10, 15 times at one dinner is creepy. I declined the offer of a second date. Someone started playing on my phone late at night. A few months later I ran into him and didn't recognize him, he reacted very angrily and grabbed my arm.

The over complimenting thing never did sit right with me but when I try to explain it to other women they don't get it.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

thelady: Welcome and thanks for contributing. Now you can explain to these other clueless women that you didn't like being objectified. Good for you to turn that jerk down. Clearly he offers no value and is violent.

Octogalore said...

"Those women who get 1allowances' did not select a quality mate."

I agree with that. But in my experience whether the strings are loose or tight, they're usually there where there is a situation where the man is fully responsible for the revenue stream. I've seen strong, smart, perceptive women choose stable, loving men -- and then when the romance and initial glow of new love wore off, their economic vulnerability was held against them.

I think the sucky, unfair part of it is that in our society, a good looking woman is viewed to grow less desirable and a man with money, as long as he keeps making, gets as or more desirable as his wallet grows. Even where there is more basis for the attraction, if these items are a big motivation going into it (which is true for many of Patti's couples), the woman has a distinct disadvantage as things move forward.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Octogalore: Patriarchy is here to stay. The best choice for the average woman is to select the highest quality mate she can find for companionship and family if she wants children. A woman should never fail to plan to be self-sufficient and the person's she with should know that if they step out of line she can and would leave. Otherwise the relationship is imbalanced and not in the favor of the woman.

Octogalore said...

Yup. I've been both without and with leverage in relationships, and the latter feels much better.