ADVICE from A BEVERLY HILLS MATCHMAKER
It's rumored that there's a fundamental difference between men and women and that it's the cause of all the world's misery. What might that difference be?
Is it that women are ingenuous and emotional, hence are generally exploited, seduced and abandoned and men aren't? In fact, MEN WELCOME SEDUCTION?
Is the unspoken truth that women should not just put on perfume when they go out on a date but should put on armor and gear up for battle? Or is the big new change the fact that today, men are looking for wives and women have changed their minds?
Rumors have it that increasing numbers of women are not interested in being tied to a stove and crib. They're unwilling to abandon the marketplace and high salary and just breed willynilly and in exchange, get a widow’s pension from an Social Security Administration that may not even be here!
Women are concerned enough about their own survival to be very choosy when it comes to picking a man because settling down is just too close to settling!
Full of questions and in search of these answers, I have come to meet the Queen of L.A. Matchmakers at Le Dome Cafe in Hollywood. The lady is a startlingly tall platinum blonde, once a Columnist at the Hollywood Reporter and before that a Beverly Hills meter maid. She gives me her card. DIANNE BENNETT with a big pink pair of pulsating hearts next to the name. "See? Three sets of double letters, did you ever see that before?" She raps the N's and T's with a pink fingernail. "I'm about pairing off and pairs, see?" And in truth, on her ample bosom, two 24 karat turtle doves coo with diamond eyes. A happy pair.
She orders fish and white wine. "See, it's all about basic battle strategies," she says, sipping her wine and changing gears. "Who ever told us gals the real truth? The real skivvy? Were our aunties, the goldiggers of 1926 onto something when they told us 'higamaus, hogamus, woman's monogamous; hogamus, higamus, man is polygamous!" Our flapper aunties warned us that we girls would just foolishly give away our valuable youth, and attract nothing but poverty and pregnancy. Were they right? Or is the truth what Mother told us, that men basically do not want to be married, and that women have to be trained like geishas in the art of gentle, invisible trapping to even nail one? It's confusing but what's clear is that the basic metaphysical question can be proven by statistics, or disproved, and those numbers, those final numbers must occasion the final tactic. Can you see that? Probably not. You're a man". She seems to lose interest and dives into the tapinade with a slab of sour dough. A girl who loves her carbs, I can see. She doesn't talk for a while. She loses interest so then, I have to convince her with fifteen minutes of my writing credits that I care about women's issues. Finally, she comes around.
"If women could examine and answer these questions, we'd solve the world's greatest riddle which is this: 'if men and women want the same thing, to find 'the one' --- that mythical person who fulfills all their hopes, dreams and desires --- and if both sexes want that, then why is dating such a bloody, damn nightmare?"
"There are countless books written on the dating scene, the RULES, The Bibles, the do's and don'ts of dating. The hit HBO 'Sex and the City' show ponders these questions and is a must see in the single sector. There's no question that today's youth goes through all these dilemmas daily in a hands on, grueling way and they want answers! "Well I've got 'em and I aim to give it to women before they lock me away. With my book, " she holds up her manuscript "Confessions of a BEVERLY HILLS MATCHMAKER" I scan a few pages. It follows a week in the life of this most savvy, professional cupid as she prowls Rodeo Drive, her very own matrimony row.
Just scanning its pages, I see that Dianne Bennett (Four N's, Two T's) has a different slant on life. She believes that beautiful women should only fool around with wealthy men. She doesn't even bother to paraphrase Marilyn Monroe's old line, 'beauty in a woman is like money in a man.' She says it outright, in clear terms and says it to the world's most beautiful girls, a hundred times a day. "What you've got there is like 24 karat gold. Don't waste it on stupid pretty boys." And her maxim. "Only stupid women give to men. Smart women TAKE!"
Dianne's mission is to remind beautiful women that God gave them their gift for one reason. To unlock all that stuffy money from dusty bank vaults so the gals can create businesses that employ many, and create Keynesian "trickle down" by starting international import/export businesses that buy artisanry from the impoverished villages of the third world, not the big city middleman. No, leave them out of it. Directly with the starving villages. So you gotta learn basic Swahili, I guess”. I blink. Apparently Dianne Bennett with two T’s wants her girls to be a mixture of Mother Teresa and Bobo Rockefeller.
That’s dangerous. I say. “YEP but don't you see? Planetary conscience is the only real beauty and it shows in a woman's face. Look at Audrey Hepburn. Worked for UNESCO for years and she just got prettier as she got older. Look at Princess Diana and the landmines. Her causes made her immortal. Made her look better to us, didn't they? Sigmund Freud used to ask, what do women really want? I'll tell you what they really want. A life of MEANING. To save the planet is what they really want and that takes MOOLA! A poor man will give you an hour of pleasure but a rich old man will give you a lifetime of joy via a business, which can employ hundreds and last a thousand years and change the world. A thousand years from now Exxon will be here. Business. That's heaven on God's Capitalist earth except Exxon pays its native drillers a dollar a day. I teach my gals how to pay four times the national pay rate in that third world country and send the workers clinics, doctors, schoolbooks, well drillers, generators with any additional profits. UNESCO will help them do all that. Girl that works with UNESCO on one hand, her husband’s money on the other…she’s going to become very high profile.”
“That’s a good thing?”
“Sure! Not boring like Saks and Magnins. Face it. Women get old! How long can a Chanel make them happy? But saving the planet through an artistic enterprise --- workers in starving villages who are like family. Nigerian or Yemeni babies that get a meal once a day from her charity, OR her PARTY FUND RAISING, Those kind of good works...That's what matters.
I evince surprise. She smiles. "You thought you were going to take a saucy old madam out to lunch? My dear!" She shakes her head, and I flush beet red.
It turns out that Bennett teaches her girls, the most beautiful women on the planet, that dating disco hunks is a total waste of time. "Beauty in a man is like stupidity in a woman" and the knuckle raps the desk once more. The world according to Marilyn Monroe. She must be right. The cell phone in her pocket never stops ringing. The little book is being filled with names. Girl after girl, shipwrecked in Hollywood ----where the poor dolt thought beauty alone would give her stardom ---- asking if she could somehow get onto the LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT website, and discovering that for free, she can. They are in good hands. Dianne Bennett is not going to put them on the block at a slave auction. A double Moonchild, the sign of motherhood itself, Dianne Bennett is a surrogate Mom not only to these ravishing, orphans girls who are at the end of their tethers but she has foster children. She shows me photographs of her current foster child, a 10-year-old Armenian orphan who lives with her. The photo has the child sitting next to a posh Christmas tree opening gifts. No different from my dating girls. I take them into her home or if they’re over l8, I find them a roommate, a good apartment. I feed them, get them back on their feet, finds them a job and teach them the horrible facts: that beauties who would make Marilyn Monroe die of jealousy are today mud-wrestling in smoky Hollywood bars. Too many beautiful, demented women have come to California, for too many generations. Their offspring wander the street starving, dating pond scum and still haven't put it together. The way out I mean.” She taps her wedding ring finger, which is bare.
So Dianne teaches them the Rules for modern life. She educates them and then she introduces these re-trained, indoctrinated women to her wealthy, male clients. They pay $1,000 for a dozen dates. They pick the girls from photos. Dianne asks the girl, ‘would you date this guy?’ and shows her the guy’s picture and sketches out his resume.
The male client comes to the matchmaker from all walks of professional life, and are of all ages. The common thread is that they're very rich and in search of 'the one perfect girl.' How does Dianne know that? "I have a nose for scoundrels," she says. I have a built in bullshit detector. If I think some wolf just wants to break hearts I happen to have a few girls that will tear his out of his ribcage ---girls whom I save just for a guy like him. That's easy. The real question is ---when I find a man who really wants a wife, how do I match him up with a beauty who has decided to give up career and finally settle for marriage. How do I tell when a GIRL is ready to get off her addiction to the idea of being Madonna.
Her brow wrinkles. The key to her matchmaking skills, she believes --- is heart. She claims she listens with a third ear. And then, she interferes a lot. She is hands on, the ultimate mother-in-law. If the guy's a playboy, I'm on him like white on rice. I've been known to give fees back just to get a louse out of our hair. "And I guide. " Bennett says she has to banish men's prejudices about girls with startling beauty. Some guys think that beauty goes with cruelty, sluttishness, abandon, wantonness, avarice, greed, aren’t those the seven deadly sins?
“Well, whaddya want, it's a Christian era but sin is sin after all, so in my girls I don't encourage any of that. See, there are not only men's prejudices against that kind of materialism, there are women's prejudices, prime among these being that to marry a man just because he's wealthy is prostitution. Do you know what it takes to reorient that kind of thinking?
Dianne tells her girls that brains, skill, determination and bravery went into that man making that fortune and in Darwinian terms, contributed to making an Alpha male. And an Alpha male is a thing of beauty. You have to really love men to let a buck be a buck.
Dianne claims she peers into her girls' souls and past lives and repeatedly has found that most of these 'lost girls' had 'beta' males for fathers, and that these frustrated beta men took it out on their families, abused them, ignored and scorned their daughters and did not father properly, hence these girls have no clue as to what makes a real man a man.
The Lost Girls tend to embrace phony values and have no radar to pick up genuine, free thinking brilliant men of worth. Dianne sighs, saying she really has her work cut out for her. She has to retrain minds. And some of these minds are pretty damaged, others are dim and some are in horrible ruts. " But I don't put the girls out on the matchmaking circuit until I think some sense has been drilled into them. "
She obviously has the mental tools. And the other kind. A website with thousands of color graphic scans of beautiful girls, and their bios. And on the first meeting with the male client, Dianne Bennett will meet the man, satchel in hand and proudly plunk down a thousand photos of 'her girls.' The man examines the goods, is impressed, then writes the check and Dianne produces phone numbers and photos. The client is thrilled. The dates start and he is amazed at how fast this lady works. "Sometimes I have to retrain the men, too. Like last night. We were out at a club having a drink and viewing a sea of some of Hollywood's finest parade by. The guy remarked that one might as well pay for it. He confessed he felt that these girls wanted one thing, money, so wouldn't it just be better if they just visited a bank? I could see he was cynical, and had been hurt. So I found myself reprogramming a man's head.
"How do you do that?"
"Men have to come to terms with the fact that beautiful women have something very rare, which God has created for the planet, not just for one man. And that such women deserve to be placed in a setting that enhances their beauty. Jewels, clothes, hairdressing, cars and not having to mop floors was a part of the responsibility that these museum quality gals had to their own beauty and that a man who sensed what needed respect and respected it would be a good custodian for such a woman. After all, you wouldn't have cement trucks fill in the Grand Canyon, would you, and turn it into a parking lot?" I laughed at the picture.
After sitting with this woman and hearing her tales of Hollywood, one could begin to believe that maybe she had all the answers to hunger, war and joblessness. "Wouldn't the world be a better place if compassionate women rant things? All women are liberal democrats at heart. They want orphans to have welfare, the jobless to have training. Now, how can women get the power except to marry it and inherit it? Look at Queen Noor. Look at Princess Diana. Give a woman the power and she can beat Gandhi at his own game."
As she sipped her wine, the bon mots just ripped off her tongue. "Beware of three things, sonny, pick-ups, single bars and blind dates." Not just disappointing--- disastrous!"
"But aren't you selling blind dates, basically?
"Not even hardly!" She leaned over. "Do I look blind? Well, I'm not and I'm doing the arranging!" A girl in a mink coat ran over and hugged her. "Thank you, Dianne," she leaned over, a cloud of Joy Perfume flooded our noses. "Dianne found me my husband. Come visit us in Barbados in December, stay 'til New year's if you don’t get seasick cause our home floats." The girl went off with an elegant, elderly man who guided his young wife's waist with tenderness as they left the cafe.
"True love and no pre-nuptial." Dianne sighs, finishing her chardonnay.
"Garcon?" She held up the empty glass.
"I should have ordered a bottle," I said, ashamed.
"It's alright. You're poor. You don't have mutuals, do you." I shook my head. Changing the subject, I said, "Don't you get lonely? All this true love around you and you're single, yourself?"
"I may be alone but I have to go back to Moscow next week to arrange for fifty women to come meet their American husbands and she began regaling me with tales of Russian 'arranged' marriages. "Aren't these just green card marriages?"
"Oh no," and she began counting happy marriages on her fingers. "Tatiana, Ludmilla, Svetlana,"... The waiter brings her a second glass of wine and her fish.
I don't want to spoil her appetite but I bring it up. I must. I'm a journalist. "On a TV show recently, the host accused you of procuring." Dianne shrugs. She can't understand what all the fuss is about. She has the trump card as she sees it as she has the 'girls.' The playboy centerfolds, the beauty queens who have been used and abused not BY their AUNTIE DIANNE but UNTIL they FOUND their Auntie Dianne. "My male clients are old enough to be very stable. They aren't going to cheat on this beauty with their secretary. They aren't going to run off on the babies. Unless they leave the babies with a pair of Nannies and take
Mom to Paris for the spring collections. My girls get treated right. So does that make it WRONG? HUH? HUH?" She spears the air in front of my nose with a fork. Heidi Fleiss was a big madam. I'm a big MOM. Big difference." The fish disappears along with some potatoes.
I page through her manuscript and see it is about dating and mating at the top of the food chain, romance and finance, beauty power and hopes.
"I don't know if these rules apply to guys in the film industry. Coals to Newcastle, isn't it?" "So what if it's Hollywood. Don't people everywhere really want a love relationship? A permanent twitter of excitement in their veins and hearts? A real marriage or is being a permanent shopper more exciting and somehow less responsibility? Didn't BILL GATES marry some little programmer for gawdsake? A guy like that doesn't have to get married but he did!"
I see the book is full of interviews with celebrities, top models, multi millionaires, porn queens and everyday interesting people who share their hopes, dreams and desires for finding the love of their life in the 21st century. "Everyone wants a great relationship, better than the one Mom and Dad had, but how do they intend to go about it? Money certainly helps the men and good looks helps the ladies but as so many in L.A. and New York have money and looks why aren't all the rich and beautiful people happily married to each other? "
Dianne smiles as her chocolate Napoleon arrives. "Because they needed me, to get them together. To prepare their heads for one another. Rich men are spoiled rotten. And way too cynical And beautiful women are 'scarred stiff.' "
"Scarred stiff?" I ask, not certain I've heard her. "Yes --- hurt so many times, pounced on, manhandled that they feel like bloody raw meat but then they heal, and they heal tougher than dragons. Women need to be lasered down to new skin before they can be thrown back into the fray. I'm the dermatologist." She sinks into the napoleon and conversation dies to a silence. She wipes whipped cream off her lips daintily. "That's not all. I put them on a pedestal when I make the introduction. I give them star billing. I am the David Belasco of making an ordinary woman into a super star. Men think they're getting Sarah Bernhardt by the time I'm finished describing the woman, in the introduction period."
Dianne Bennett isn't a Peter Pan for the lost boys, she's a Wendy, for the lost girls. Hollywood needed her and she came. We stagger back to her office and her Russian maid brings us black coffee. "Are you going to marry her off?" I ask. "I tried to. She picked some utterly dreadful Russian, working class stiff. Hey, I didn't say I can convince every woman of my vision. I never said that! And Paulina speaks very broken English. What could I do? Besides, she wouldn't be my maid if she married one of my guys, would she?" We peruse Dianne's website. As she has told me, thousands of beautiful girls. On her desk is a Catholic Santo, a relic from an old Mexican church, and in his arms, uplifted to God, a sheaf of about twenty, five-dollar bills. Real. "Oh yes, always hang money in the Far left corner of a room. The Fire corner. Attracts the money right back. (I believe her. Doing matchmaking and singles parties, Dianne bought a 30's Spanish mansion and turned it into an HOTEL which makes huge money. People come from EUROPE to stay there and it is SUMPTUOUS.)
This lady preaches a definite message: that money is the only thing that matters and to make certain that her female clients only meet and date the best, it costs her male clients a thousand dollars to get ten dates. "It certainly weeds out the slugs," she says, tapping a jeweled knuckle on the huge, antique desk of her West Hollywood office. And on her desk, a sign: "Truth" in capital letters. And in between the letters, the anagram, "That Real Understanding Takes Heart". She nods. It takes heart to face the truth. To understand. To accept reality. And love it. God made it this way. Could it be bad? Surf the wave the way it's rolling. "
I have no answer. It's been a startling day. When I get outside, I notice that my car is definitely ratty looking. If I'm going to find a wife, I'll need another one. But maybe it would be smarter to drive the old car for another decade, and invest the money that I save in stocks. As I drive down Fountain, I'm thinking about mutuals, bonds, emerging markets and comparing the two and trying to decide which'll make me richer faster.
Presently, I find myself whistling. It's going to be a fantastic choice, when I make it. And it's already a fantastic day. Maybe a fantastic life follows. Question, when it comes will I owe it all to DIANNE BENNETT?
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