Patti Stanger on the Little Mermaid and Unrequited Love

14 Feb

So I have a deep love for reality television, I can’t help it, and I am a fan of The Millionaire Matchmaker, Ms. Patti Stanger, who sets up lovelorn and often deeply offensive millionaires and millionairesses with lowly folk who have a high tolerance for basic unlikability and lots of ca$h. She’s outspoken and funny and possibly psychic.

Now, Patti has no real connection to mermaids, I know. But if you want to talk about lovelorn would-be lovers who have a whole lot of bad luck and might need the help of a tough-talking professional matchmaker, one need not look much further than the little mermaid herself, and I am talking about Hans Christian Andersen’s little mermaid and not that flame-haired harlot Ariel. Because as you should know, in the original little mermaid story the mermaid doesn’t get her man at all, she just swoons and longs for the hot human prince—and his soul—and she lets a witch cut out her tongue, and takes a potion to change her tail to legs so she can leave the sea behind and stare doe-eyed at the prince who never loves her back and ends up marrying someone else altogether.

It is not coincidental that Hans Christian Andersen himself was rather spectacularly unlucky in love as well, always falling head over heels for ladies and gentleman alike who never loved him back. He was always heartbroken, most likely forever celibate, and considered deeply unattractive by his peers, even when he was totally rich and famous and hanging out with people like Charles Dickens, who posted the following sign on the guest room door after Hans came to visit him: “Hans Christian Andersen slept in this room for five weeks which seemed to the family AGES.” Poor Hans. He actually wrote The Little Mermaid in a fit of heartbroken despair when his good friend Edvard Collin was off getting married to a ladyfriend rather than giving it up to Hans.

So I thought a professional matchmaker and love expert like Patti Stanger might have some advice for the woeful Hans and his lovelorn creation—not to mention for those among us who might follow in their unrequited pathways this Valentine’s Day morning.

So after talking to her assistant over email, I called Patti one bright morning a couple of months ago and caught her at the breakfast table, where she and I had the following conversation.

So Patti, I’m wondering if you are a fan of mermaids?
Yeah, I am a fan. I think they’re mystical and magical and sexy and romantic and I kind of wonder if they exist.

Do you think humans can use mermaid allure to attract the opposite sex?
Probaby… if they exist. To be honest, that’s kind of a stupid question. I mean it’s kind of weird. But I do believe there’s something magical about them.

Are you familiar with the original Hans Christian Andersen story?
Umm yeah. They fall in love and she gets legs or something?

In the original story she makes all these sacrifices to get to the human world to be with him. She gives up her tail for legs, she makes an exchange with the sea witch where she gives up her most valuable asset, her voice, for a potion that will allow her to change her tail into legs. She gets her tongue cut out, she leaves her world, she goes up on land and has this painful transformation and the prince actually never falls in love with her.
Oooh. I don’t like that story.

It’s actually very beautiful, but it’s very sad. And Hans Christian Andersen, who wrote it, also had a very sad life where he was very unlucky in love and he fell in love with everyone, men and women, and no one ever loved him back. And he never had sex, ever. And so I was wondering, and I know all these questions are kind of silly.. but I was wondering if you had any kind of advice for humans who wanted to avoid those kinds of fates, or for the little mermaid specifically?
Well I think you have to stop living in a fantasy world, and fall in love with someone who falls in love with you. Stop going after people where it’s unrequited. He was obviously obsessed with unrequited love.

He was, yeah.
He dated out of his own league. Maybe he went for too pretty girls instead of for someone in his own comfort zone.

Is this something you come across a lot?
Oh yeah. Everyone wants somebody they can’t have. Absolutely. It’s everyday life.

How do you deal with those people?
There really is no way to deal with anybody. You basically just have to grow up, stop going after people who don’t want you. I mean that’s basically the case.

As a professional matchmaker, what do you think a more appropriate match for the little mermaid might have been?
How about a male mermaid or a pirate? Are there male mermaids?

Yes, they’re quite underrepresented but there are some, I believe.
Well if they’re there, she should go for someone in her own world.

What about for women who kind of share that problem in the real world, that over-fantasized approach to love?
I think you have to stop it, stop pining away for someone who doesn’t want you. The more you keep doing it the more fucked up you’re going to become, to be honest with you. It doesn’t serve you any purpose to be hurt every single time. You’ve got to be crack crazy if that’s what you’re going to do.

Well then what do you do? How does someone refocus that energy on more appropriate people?
You have to learn your lesson. It’ll take some time, but you’ve got to move on. One time should be enough. I mean, you need to find a fit. Sometimes people will like you and you don’t like them back and that’s okay. There just needs to be a fit. It’s not just go for someone who likes you, you need to go for someone who likes you who you like, too.

But that’s part of what you do, right, to figure out what that fit is?
My job is to make revibrations. Maybe there’s a matchmaker for mermaids out there in the ocean, I don’t know.

What is revibration?
What people don’t say. The subliminal things. That’s vibration. What you’re thinking or feeling but you can’t really see. It’s kind of ethereal. See, it’s being psychic, its being psychic. The little mermaid needs to see a fortuneteller. Or better yet an astrologer, that’s what I would say. An astrologer who can look at your planets to see why you keep attracting people who don’t love you back and tells you what the problem is.

So you need to seek outside help?
If Hans Christian Andersen kept going for women who were out of his league and never had sex and never made love with anyone, someone needed to set his ass straight, he lived in a fantasy world. Seek outside counsel, is what I would say.

Well I guess that’s everything, unless you have any other thought about mermaids that you would like to share?
Well. Has anyone ever captured a mermaid?

I don’t think I’ve found that yet. But there’s a town in Israel where they’ve been sighted and the mayor is giving out a million dollar reward. I’m interviewing the town’s spokesman soon.
Oh! What’s the name of the town?

I can’t remember. It’s near Haifa, but I’m not sure…
Near Haifa?! Wow. That’s wild.

The mayor’s giving out a million-dollar reward for the first person who can provide a photograph.
Tell them not to kill it. Don’t kill her.

Okay, I will.


Then Patti asked if I wanted to talk to her best friend, world-famous astrologer Terry Nazon, who happened to be sitting across the table from her. So there was more talk on mermaids and love, but that will be part two of this interview. Maybe later this week. If you’re lucky.

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2 Responses to “Patti Stanger on the Little Mermaid and Unrequited Love”

  1. Quiet Riot Girl February 15, 2011 at 3:59 AM #

    lovely blog Caroline. I read your piece on Warren Ellis’s site but he doesn’t allow comments. Maybe that is another trait of cold-hearted mermen. I imagine mermaids are more chatty and open to other people’s ideas…

    • Heh. February 19, 2011 at 3:02 PM #

      I think Patti’s advice about not living in a fantasy world is quite interesting, considering her job it to create little Hans Christian Andersen’s in every episode of her show. Is it me, or was her advice essentially to avoid hopeless fantasies about Millionaires?

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