Making time for ‘Love’

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Ben Patton grew up in Denton, started a private hospital locally, and then turned 31. His friends had married and started families, but the handsome doctor and business had poured his 20s into his career. He’s pictured here from the reality television series he appear is, ‘Ready for Love.’ "Meet Ben and Ernesto" Episode 102, airs 8 p.m. on Tuesday on NBC.

Local hospital CEO gets another shot at TV dating

DALLAS — It’s hard to believe that Ben Patton needs help from a TV dating show to find a mate.

He’s a successful business pro, currently the CEO of Integrity Transitional, a private hospital in Denton. He has matinee-idol good looks. And — this is very important — he’s not afraid of commitment.

In matchmaker terms, he’s what you call a real catch.

Yet Patton, 31, is one of three men culling through custom-made lists of 12 desirable and marriageable women on NBC’s Ready for Love, which premiered at 8 p.m. last Tuesday. (Patton will be featured in this Tuesday’s episode.)

“I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you I found someone,” he says. “But I can’t tell you who it is.”

Patton, who grew up in Denton and now lives in Dallas’ Victory Park, discussed his reasons for letting a TV show play Cupid.

What compelled you to become one of the Ready for Love men?

It’s funny how I got here. The producers of The Bachelor had asked me years ago — in 2008 or something — if I was interested in doing the show. But the idea that I would have to propose on the air was intimidating. Plus, I was working in the Middle East, in Dubai, at the time. It was a phenomenal business opportunity that I didn’t want to leave. So I said thanks but no thanks.

However, the company kept my details on file. And one day in 2011 they shot me an email. “Hey, are you still overseas?” I said, “No, I’ve just moved back to Dallas.”

But I told them I still wasn’t high on The Bachelor. For one thing, the romances on that show don't ever seem to work out. Then they sold me on the fact that this show is different.

Different in what ways?

The way they introduce you to the women is 100 percent different. This show has professional matchmakers who met me and asked what I’m looking for in a spouse. Then they searched using my criteria. That’s very different from the Bachelor way, which is done through a casting agent.

Also, this show doesn’t require a proposal. Less pressure. And actually a lot more like real life.

Is it also safe to say the timing is better, that you’re in more of a settling-down frame of mind?

When I hit 30, that’s when I started to reflect. I had spent the better part of my 20s cranking it out on my career. And there’s an upside to that. I really got ahead. But the downside is all of my friends have moved on to the next stage in life where they have wives and kids, and I don’t have anyone.

So I thought, “This is maybe worth trying.” I know it’s crazy. It’s not the conventional way of meeting someone. But I also knew I didn’t want to be watching this show a year later and see a girl that I’m like, “I could have met her. She might have been the one.”

How comfortable are you having a film crew following you, sometimes in intimate moments?

In the first week or two, it’s never comfortable. But after you spend some time with the guys in the film crew and the sound crew, maybe grab a few brews together after filming, it gets better.

My big problem was feeling self-conscious about my hands. I was like, “Do I put my hands in my pockets? Do I put my hands around my girl when we’re kissing?” I never knew what to do with them.

David Martindale is an Arlington freelance writer.



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