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She’s a third-generation matchmaker, but the first in her family to make a career out of it.
Her mother and grandmother reveled in pairing up singles at the local synagogue, she tells me, and is peppered with Yiddishisms.
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.
In his video, David Sheltraw, a great-looking 50-year-old divorcé, says he’s looking for a wife — a woman with Meg Ryan’s bubbly personality — and a family. She asks Sheltraw, for example, what feedback he gets from his friends about his approach to women.
She takes chauvinists to task, and she spends a lot of her show bossing men around.
“I have probably walked up to two people in my lifetime,” he says. “A common syndrome for good-looking people, male or female, is that when they’re really that good-looking at a very young age and they grow up like that, they never have to work for it,” she says.On each episode, Stanger sets up two of her millionaire clients, usually two men, handpicking about a dozen potential women for them to choose from before asking each to settle on one for a full-fledged date.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.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.This might make her the most powerful messenger of conservative social values in popular culture, at least when it comes to sex and romance, although most social conservatives have probably never heard of her.
She often talks of doing a “mitzvah,” or a good deed, for a client, or of finding his “bashert,” a Yiddish term that means literally “destiny” but is colloquially used to refer to one’s divinely predestined soul mate.