Thanks to her uber-successful Bravo show "The Millionaire Matchmaker," Patti Stanger is the go-to girl for wealthy people looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right. The fast-talking, no-nonsense love doctor is notorious for putting divas (both male and female) in their places and pointing out character flaws that contribute to some peoples' neverending singledom, so that one day they might find a true partner in love. The energetic 49-year-old, who is partnering with the Cottonelle brand to launch the "Make the Ultra" sweepstakes, recently took time out of her busy schedule to chat with Wonderwall about the dating scenes in New York and Los Angeles, about which celebs she wants to hook up and she gives advice to men for Valentine's Day.
WONDERWALL: You're teaming up with Cottonelle to revive couples' love lives. Can you tell me a bit about your partnership?
PATTI STANGER: They came to me and they wanted to revive people's love lives, especially, you know, with relationships going stale. And there's a really great website they created called cottonelleultraswitch.com, where they're gonna give away 90 prizes in 90 days. Everything from mani-pedis to massages to free Cottonelle for a year, and what they want people to do is go onto the website and blog about how you're reviving your relationship and then other people can learn from you. So it's a great tie-in to matchmaking, because matchmaking is no different, when you're dating it can still go stale, even if you're not married.
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WW: Valentine's Day is coming up. What are some of the biggest mistakes men make when they're planning a date?
PS: They forget it! They're like, "What? It's Valentine's Day?" If you can't do Monday night because it's kind of like a dreary, you know, bloody Monday, then you do Saturday night. But you make sure you make it apparent that you care about your honey, and you're gonna step up the volume. And if you don't have a lot of money, there's a little old place called the Olive Garden. You know, just the fact that you're taking me out to dinner and, you know, we're doing massages, or we're going to the movies, or we're doing something fun that's out of the ordinary is enough for a girl. And the best dang gift they can give is something that's not expensive; it's called the words "I love you." You know, "I love you," because we don't hear that enough.
WW: You did your show "Millionaire Matchmaker" from New York this season. What's the difference between the L.A. and NY dating scenes?
PS: High-maintenance women. Women are much more easy-breezy in L.A. We really don't have the luxury to expect more, because the men are so passive-aggressive. Whereas the men [in New York] are hunters, it's just there's not a lot of them for the women. So the women were very diva-like, and I was really shocked at their attitudes. They were very demanding.
WW: People are using dating sites a lot more often these days. What are some do's and don't's of online dating?
PS: The first thing is protection. At least have $100 dash cash in your purse or in your zippered compartment, and make sure you meet him in a public place, because you don't know who you're meeting. Don't think because you had great texts, great emails and great, you know sexting or some friskiness on the phone, that all of the sudden he's your husband. You don't know this person. I see a lot of people fall in love over the Internet, and I'm like, "You never met the dude; how do you know?" And the other thing is that pictures are deceiving. People do put up old pictures, they do lie about their age and their weight and their height, you know? If that's the case, you gotta, like, allow for the wiggle room that it may not be 100 percent what you expect. And don't get angry about it; it's just another avenue to meet people. It should only be 30 percent of your search.
WW: How can you do a pseudo-background check on someone before you meet them for the first time?
PS: You know I have a site that I own with JDate called psxoxo.com for the thousandaire, and you really can't do background checks other than criminal activity. You can't look at someone's bank account; you don't know their credit rating.
WW: Which celebrities are you dying to hook up?
PS: Probably Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock and all the girls that have been cheated on. I'd really like to help them find true love. And maybe Kim Kardashian, even though she's never been cheated on. I'd like to find all those girls that are working and doing their jobs and, you know, are successful at it but just haven't found the right guy.
WW: You're back on the dating scene now. Have you ever thought about using a matchmaker?
PS: Actually, I'm hiring one right now to help me out. It's been good. The dates have been interesting. It's very hard for me to teach people what I do. A lot of people just don't have it, you know? A couple of them haven't been that great, so we'll see what happens. But, you know, we put them in boot camp, and you either have it or you don't. It's pretty much a gift.
WW: You have a new DVD "Married in a Year." Is that basically like an extension of what you do on your show?
PS: Well, it's a little more visual. We did a book last year called "Become Your Own Matchmaker," which was really a success. So for those who've read the book, this is the extension. Basically what it's saying is that the YouTube generation, the twentysomethings, they're all visual now. Reading has gone out the window. I wanted to make a DVD they could keep in their family, and be a staple for generations to come, on how to find true love. You know, you could whip it out 50 years from now, and it will still stand the test of time.
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WW: The divorce rate in this country is really high. Does that ever get you down when you're setting people up?
PS: No, that part I don't care about, because I don't believe in divorce. Like in the sense of, like, everyone's gonna get divorced someday. I believe that that's great that we have divorce, because you can get out of it. But I also believe that when it's right, it's right.
WW: What about when you hear about people like Jesse James who cheat on their spouses?
PS: I think that type of guy, when a guy crosses to porn, he can't come back. I think that it's best to keep porn on the screen. When you start playing with the porn chicks, you get what you pay for at the end of the day. And, you know, they get twisted. Real women don't look like that.
WW: Do you believe in the idea that people find love when they're not looking for it?
PS: No, I believe what it means is that it's like you want it, it's in the back of your mind, but you're not obsessed with it. You know, you're not addicted to the outcome. It's like you kind of like let things happen, but you're always hoping.
WW: Can you tell us some of the No. 1 red flags to look out for when you're dating someone?
PS: When a guy says he cheats on all his girlfriends and he doesn't want a relationship, that's a red flag. With a girl, if all she talks about is money and she doesn't talk about the person, that's a red flag. There's a million red flags. They both do TMI, too much information. Drinking excessively on a date -- red flag. Or being cheap on a date. You know, if a guy asks you out for dinner or lunch, he's paying. Do not whip out your credit card.
WW: You're bringing your show back to L.A. in March. Are you happy to be back on the West Coast?
PS: I am, but I'd like to see Miami. I think we should've gone all over the country. That's my opinion.