Last night marked the end of the latest season of Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker, which features Patti Stanger hooking up wealthy millionaires with eligible clients. But this season finale had Patti playing matchmaker to Kevin Grainger, her first gay millionaire. After some decidedly awkward questions about Kevin’s sexual preferences, as well as Patti’s professions of her “love of the gays”, viewers got a ring side seat to how Patti goes about her business.
AfterElton.com had the chance to chat with Kevin about meeting Patti, what it’s like to be a millionaire and more.
AfterElton.com: How did you end up being a client for Patti?
Kevin Grainger: Well, you know, I’m in my mid-40s right now and I’ve suffered through all the dating traumas that every one of us has suffered through and I figured I wasn’t doing such a hot job myself so I would seek out someone who made a career out of this. That’s pretty much the story.
AE: What did you think of Patti when you met her?
KG: Oh, I thought she was brutal. I thought she was brutal and I had not, well that’s not true – I had only seen bits and pieces of the show prior to meeting her, but Patti has a reputation for being very tough and for being very candid, straightforward, and for calling it as she sees it and I was very scared that I wasn’t going to be positioned the way that I would hope to be positioned.
So Patti and I got along very well. I have much respect for her. I think she’s very bright. She’s very talented. She obviously has built a great brand as a result of this, of her skill, but it doesn’t change the fact that she can be very brutal and very hard-hitting. A lot of guys … come off of there with a good outlook or a good visual of really what some of the issues are. She tells it very straightforward.
AE: A few of her questions about sex were quite blunt and you seemed a bit taken aback by some of those.
KG: Yeah, we went through a long education period. Typically Patti’s clients are straight, and so the types of questions she was asking of me, I had to position them also as – somehow I had to reference them as, you know, in a way that she could understand from a gay perspective. So I did spend a lot of time thinking and concentrating about my answers and some of them – I wouldn’t say shocking to me…
AE: I was shocked a couple of times!
KG: It’s all about television and shock value.
AE: How does one find a matchmaker for millionaires? Did Bravo get in touch with you?
KG: Well, I wasn’t specifically looking for a millionaire matchmaker. I did a little research and that’s what came up and so I was definitely out looking and the opportunity was there to meet with Patti and then from that came the opportunity to do the show, which I agreed to.
AE: Were you a little nervous about doing this so publicly?
KG: Oh, absolutely! I wasn’t so concerned about the things that I did. I was concerned about what the other 13 guys or 15 guys did. You know, I’m a PR guy. I can kind of control myself. But airing your laundry on television was another thing.
AE: When you started looking for a matchmaker, it was because you wanted a long-term relationship?
KG: Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the things that I’ve not been able to accomplish – professionally, I’m very successful – but on the personal side, I wasn’t so successful. I’ve had a number of relationships that, you know, have been very positive with great guys, but work has always gotten in the way and for whatever reason, they have fizzled out. I was not specifically going into it for a long-term relationship.
I was going into it this way to navigate a new way of finding someone, and as you know, whether that ends up being six months or a year or five years, is generally not the objective when you first start dating someone. It’s finding someone you like and just spending some time with them then, letting everything 100% play out.
AE: Going to a matchmaker seems like a very practical way to find romance and as a businessman I’m sure you’ve got to be very practical and pragmatic. Do you see yourself more as a practical person? Is romance something that you have to work at more?
KG: Yeah, I mean I am very pragmatic and I operate my life very practically or try to. There was a time in my life where I was very sensitive and very free spirited and I made decisions based on that sensitivity, but over the past 11 or 12 years, I’ve become a little hard and a little cold, just from running a company and having it be the main focus of my life.
One of the things that I recognized in this process is how important it is to take a step back and look at really everything that life has to offer and how walking around with this business attitude and this sort of cloud over you all the time is not a positive thing. There are a lot of things I wish I could do differently that I’ve done over the past ten or twelve years, but that’s the way life has played itself out and it’s been such that I’ve grown a couple of very successful companies as a result of that focus, but other things have definitely suffered because of that.
AE: Do you think the two are almost mutually exclusive? Is it possible to reach the kind of success you have with your business and also develop a relationship at the same time?
KG: Well, I think anything’s possible. I think the difference in the way I started my company, the first one – it was just me. There were no backers, no investors and no partners and it grew very, very quickly and anyone who has started a company will tell you, even with partners or backers or what have you, it takes every element of dedication you can possibly muster, but doing it on your own I think elevates that even more. I’m not sure how practical it is to think that one could have a solid relationship growing a business at the same time. I think that would be a very, very difficult thing to do.
The relationships that I have had, I can very specifically point to the day I said I can’t focus on you because I have this huge thing over here growing and this big drama that’s happened and that has to be my dedication, that has to be where I’m focused. And in every case the person has said, and rightfully and I agree with it, this isn’t right for me right now and it’s best that we put this on hold, and that’s fair. I absolutely would have done the same thing. So no grudges.
AE: What’s the most common misconception people have about millionaires?
KG: I have the great ability to be able to say that I grew my company and I developed my net worth myself, so I’ve experienced life on both sides and I’ve experienced many years of dating when I was making a normal salary like everybody, so I speak with an understanding of both sides of the fence. I think the greatest misperception is that we aren’t normal. You know, that we have everything given to us and we can do anything we want and you can buy happiness and you can buy love and you can buy whatever.
AE: Does being a millionaire complicate dating? Do people know from the start that you’re a millionaire or is that something that comes up eventually and how does that sort of income disparity affect a relationship? That seems like it would be very complicated.
KG: Well, it is complicated and no, it’s not something I bring up. Even when Patti would ask those types of questions of me, it was very difficult for me to answer them in terms of what you have and what your net worth is and some of them I didn’t answer because it’s not comfortable for me to answer that, those types of questions.
Not because I think it’s private; that’s not what I want me to be about. And for people who date me for that to be the focus or the key takeaway. I think you’d have to be pretty naïve to go out with me for a few times and not recognize what I have because it is what it is, although I will tell you that it’s not ever a focus of conversation or that’s not the type of guy that I would even want to go out with if that were the focus of the conversation. It absolutely comes up because when you start talking about living in three or four different places, it becomes pretty apparent.