Of course Millionaire Matchmaker is entertaining, but as a fourth generation matchmaker, I would attest to that it is not how the majority of matchmaking services conduct themselves. Here's why.
Like most reality TV, The Millionaire Matchmaker isn't really real. But unlike most shows about professions which have a wide employment base (hair dressers, chef, etc.) matchmaking is a very, very small industry. The experience of being in a hair salon or in a restaurant is common place so one is able to detect the pompousness of certain reality TV shows. Using a matchmaker to outsource your dating needs is not that common, and thus the perceived experience of using one has been produced, directed, and edited by Bravo TV.
Are matches usually found through casting calls?
Millionaire Matchmaker: The layout of the show features Patti in a room with her assistants, critiquing rounds of potential matches. The interaction with each of these matches is approximately about 2-5 minutes, shared with other ladies, and of course the probability of televised humiliation via Patti is quite high.
In Real Life: The only matches you'll find attending casting calls, naturally, are actors/models and the unemployed (redundant?). Everyone else is at work. When you use a matchmaker, you are essentially paying for their sassy personality and their deep sense of intuition to go out, socialize, and find you a match based on your preferences (and theirs). Matchmakers are professional "connectors". We're going to tap within our networks or chase someone down a subway platform with our card in tote to find you your match. We're crazy like that.
Is matchmaking only for the wealthy?
Millionaire Matchmaker: Patti's fees begin at $125,000 per year. However, if you are a client featured on her show, although it may be free, it could cost you your dignity if you're an asshole.
In Real Life: Matchmaking is a personalized service, targeted to those tired of the bar scene, sick of online dating, and the very enthusiastic who love the idea of a "Yenta" meddling in their private affairs. It's going to probably cost more than a Match.com membership, just like a personal trainer would cost more than a basic gym membership. Yes, there are plenty of "elite matchmaking services" whose rates start at $50,000 per year, which cater to wealthy men and the twenty something yoga instructors that love them, but then there's also niche matchmaking services for Jews, homosexuals, senior citizens, and other markets whose sole demographic is not based around an income bracket.
Are matchmakers always this honest about your appearance flaws?
Millionaire Matchmaker: Patti will tell her clients or potential matches without hesitation if they are fat, have buck teeth, dressed like a whore, bad attitude… the list goes on. It's not personal. It's part of her job.
In Real Life: Most matchmakers will point out your attractive qualities and your unattractive qualities. Luckily, it's in private, so your flaws aren't necessarily nationally broadcast. When you outsource your dating life, matchmakers transform into personal marketing executives just for you. They want to promote the best version of you. It's not personal. It's part of their job.
Maria Avgitidis, or "The Date Coach", provides solutions in dating and relationships. As a fourth generation matchmaker, Maria is an astute observer of how various personality types interact with each other. Together these skills allow her to find and nurture romantic relationships for her clients, and often help improve their platonic relationships as well.