By Dan Avery
Originally published on Advocate.com May 04 2009 12:00 AM ET
Judging from previous episodes of TheMillionaire Matchmaker, Patti Stanger's client list is composed almost exclusively of wealthy Peter Pan types -- middle-aged men who run from commitment and mature women like a cat from a vacuum cleaner. But on the show's May 7 season finale, we're introduced to a different kind of lonely heart -- Kevin Grangier, a successful workaholic looking for a stable relationship.
Grangier's different in another way, as well: He's the show's first openly gay bachelor.
A publicist who's represented many Fortune 500 brands, Grangier decided it was time to get his love life in order.
"I'm in my mid 40s and have spent years on my professional life, maybe to the neglect of my personal life," he says. "I decided it was time to take a different path, and going on the show was the quickest way to that end." He approached doing the show like any business decision: "I analyzed my options and then chose something that would help me grow as a person." Though Grangier opened his heart to a chance at love, he's hardly what you would call sentimental.
In the episode Grangier is first taken to a mixer where he meets some 20 eligible bachelors. After spending a few hours weeding through the group, he whittles his choices down to two or three men and then picks one lucky gentleman caller to go on a longer date with.
Though he has homes in both New York and L.A., Grangier opted to take his date back to his home state of Kentucky. "I wanted to get away from the hectic urban scene," he says. "I believe if you really want to learn about someone, there's no better way than seeing where they came from."
Ultimately, though, he says dating isn't about where you go or what you do: "I enjoy the spoils of what I've accomplished, but I don't enjoy fancy restaurants more than, say, a taco. A person I'd be with has to feel the same way."
Stanger is no-nonsense when it comes to telling her clients where they don't stack up, and Grangier took her advice in stride. "Part of her role is determining what hasn't worked in the past and trying to fix it -- to show you what's holding you back," he says. "I lose points for spending too much time on work." Stanger agrees, adding, "I think he needed confidence, he needed to be open, and he needed to loosen up."
We can't divulge whom Grangier chose to go out with, but he says his decision wasn't based on firm abs or a bubble butt. "We had great conversations, and that's what's really important to me," he says. "Living in multiple cities is taxing -- I need a man who understands that's just a part of who I am."
But is it even possible to make a love connection when a television crew is trailing you? As a high-level publicist, Grangier is used to being around cameras, but he says he bristles at being the center of attention: "I've taken the Myers-Briggs test five times -- I'm an introvert." Eventually, though, he learned to ignore the cameras.
Stanger is a third-generation matchmaker with more than a decade of experience, but she admits working with a gay man required thinking outside the box.
"I tried to approach it the same way I do all my clients, but I realized that gay men especially want to get the sex out of the way quickly and often whip out their pickle before they even share a drink," the bosomy yenta says with her trademark candor. "Getting them into courtship versus tasting the candy was the hardest thing to curb."
Grangier says he had to school Stanger a bit as well. "Patti put me in a box, like most straights do, about how we spend our time and what we're about," he says. "I had to spend some time helping her recognize that some gay men are fems, some are clubbers, and some are homebodies. We're not monolithic. "
She may be a novice to same-sex love, but Stanger's heart is surely in the right place. "I believe, gay or straight, everyone deserves love," the veteran cupid says. "I was horrified of Prop. 8 passing in California and wanted to take a stand, as I believe in gay marriage and gay love."