By Michele Deluca<br><a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">E-mail Michele</a>
TWO BY TWO: Ken-Ton matchmaker advises the nation on matters of romance.
By Michele DeLuca
Patti Novak is making national headlines for her skills as a matchmaker.
Owner of Buffalo-Niagara Matchmakers Inc., located in the Town of Tonawanda, Novak has been recently featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Rachael Ray” and last year, had her own show on A&E; called “Confessions of a Matchmaker.”
With a new book coming out in December and another new TV show in the works, her matchmaking career is smoking hot. Even her love life has fallen in place as she readies to marry the man of her dreams.
She recently took a few moments to talk with Niagara Living about her jet-setting adventures of the heart.
QUESTION: So, what was it like being on Oprah?
ANSWER: I hate to compare it to having a baby ... because there was nothing like having my daughter ... but you know how you don't remember having the baby? You have the baby but the whole experience is so surreal? That's how (being with) Oprah was. She was awesome. If you like her, you should like her ... and we had 4,000 fresh hit on our Web site after the second appearance on Oprah’s show in July.
Q: What happened to your A&E; show?
A: There’s a lot of stuff that people didn't know that went into the show. It was a decision ultimately made by A&E; (to cancel), but I think it was a decision that was really truly, ultimately the best for me.
Q: How on Earth did you ever start being a matchmaker?
A: I would say I started in grade school ... I was voted to be the next Ann Landers. I wasn't the cutest girl in the world. I had a little “fugly” stuff going on, but my girlfriends were beautiful. I kind of lived through them vicariously.
Q: I bet you’re not doing that anymore?
A: No, now they’re living through me! (Big laugh.)
Q: In the movies “Hello Dolly” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” the matchmakers are rather old-fashioned. You don’t really strike me as an old-fashioned type girl.
A: I'm more traditional than you might think. I was taught by my mother, clearly, how to treat a man (editor’s note: Patti’s father was the former Buffalo streets commissioner during the Blizzard of ‘77, James Lindner). She treated my father well. They had a great marriage. If you don't have that in your background, then how do you know how to treat people?
Q: You told Oprah that women need to rely on men a little more. Are you kidding?
A: I call it the “pickle jar effect.” You can Google that! Oprah goes, “Come on girl, you want us to be submissive?” I said, “No, I want you to be creatively brilliant like you are and understand one of the things that’s not going to change on this planet is men.” I want you to let him open up the wine ... If you’re standing around the kitchen talking, hand him the bottle and say, “Honey can you open this for me?” Men still feel a need to be needed.
Q: How many couple have you matched so far?
A: Oh, my gosh, hundreds, thousands maybe, I don't know. I’ve never counted them. I'm in the high double digits for weddings. I've had a couple babies (another big laugh).
Q: Can you tell me about your intended?
A: His name is Kurt Williams. He's from Idaho. He came here on a factory project nine years ago ... we met at a canal concert in North Tonawanda two weeks after my dad died. It's like my father hand-delivered him ... I was married 17 years, then there was a man in between, and he wasn't a very good man. He hurt me heavy. And that’s how I actually met Kurt, through my ex-boyfriend. I said, “God is good.”
Q: So, you have a book coming out in December, a TV show in the works and you just expanded your company. Tell me about that.
A: There are two companies now. I opened one up in western Michigan — Kalamazoo, where God left his shoe but he keeps going back to find it. Then, maybe an office in Chicago next.
Q: I know you call your company Buffalo-Niagara Matchmakers, but with all this exposure, don’t you have to go national?
A: No, then I'm a manager, not a matchmaker. I still love what I do. But I have been contacting matchmakers all over the country and do my own little interview with them. If they share my philosophies, I send them my referrals.
Q: Are you really expensive now that you are famous?
A: I haven't changed my prices in 10 years. I've kept my “Buffalo humble.”