Bay Area Dating expert

Office Romance – When is it time to get down to business?

Two young business people working on computer in the office. There are people in the background.

Office hotties – there’s at least one in every company. Men turn their heads when she walks down the hall, and women linger in the office kitchen when he’s filling up his water bottle. Interacting with an office crush can make the workweek fly by.

It’s no surprise that a ton of married couples meet at work since we spend so much time there. How did these couples know that pursuing a relationship with their office crush was worth the risk of being the subject of office gossip and having to work with an ex after a potential breakup?

Consider the questions below before taking an office crush to the next level.

  1. Does your company allow interoffice dating? If not, there are certainly ways around it, but you will have to be very sneaky. One of my favorite couples met while working at a company that didn’t allow interoffice dating, so they had to keep their relationship under wraps for several years until they got married. If your company allows it, make sure you are allowed to date someone in your crush’s role. Some companies don’t allow employees to date direct managers, subordinates, or colleagues on the same team.
  1. Is your work crush marriage material? If so, give it shot! He or she may be the one. If not, there are plenty of other fish in the sea. You are likely to get a reputation if you hook up with multiple people at the office, and if your current work crush isn’t your future spouse, maybe a future hire will be! Don’t let a short-term fling ruin your office reputation and your chance of meeting your future spouse at the office.
  1. Do you both have the same relationship goals? Are you looking for love while your crush is just looking for a fun night? Make sure you’re on the same page and have thought through the consequences before you get to first base. A girlfriend of mine was head-over-heels for a close guy friend on her team at work. When he made a move after a happy hour one night, she was ecstatic…until he never pursued anything further. Their friendship fell apart along with her dream of dating him. As with all things in life, clear communication is key.
  1. Does your work crush have a good reputation at the company? Is he or she known for their solid work ethic and integrity or for taking credit for other people’s work? Does he or she treat the office staff and janitors with respect and appreciation? Are they trustworthy? Do your due diligence by observing their behavior at work and asking others for their impressions of the person. A major plus of meeting someone in the workplace is being able to do a light background check on him or her.
  1. If it doesn’t work out, will you still be able to work together? Ignore your hormones for a moment and spend time thinking about this before dipping in the company pool. If the answer is no, how important is this job to you, and will you be able to find a new job that’s as good as the one you have? Consider your long-term career and relationship goals, your crush’s reputation, your company’s policy on interoffice dating and your shared relationship goals before engaging in business time at the office.

Here is another thought… Just because the bar should probably be high for you to date someone in YOUR workplace, why not join forces with friends from other companies and be your own matchmaker and host/hostess.

We’d like to suggest that you invite 5-8 friends from your company, and 5-8 colleagues from another company, out for a happy hour one night.  Mix, mingle, and see what happens!  Playing host and stepping outside of the office might allow some sparks to fly for you (or others) with someone whom you had never really met or thought about that way! How is easy is that?!?

Geek is Chic: Guys Get Your Glasses On

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Think of Bono, Karl Lagerfeld, Spike Lee and Elton John. These gents are iconic, and so are their spectacles. In fact, you probably wouldn’t recognize them without their signature frames.  Glasses have become extensions of their faces, if not their personas.

The frames of the rich and famous are not only synonymous with the people wearing them, they have become fashion fixtures embedded in popular culture. The stylish eye wear of celebrities are often so iconic in their own right, they transcend time and continue to set fashion trends. Some may simply be fashion accessories but, regardless of their purpose, they have become part of our culture. You don’t have to be a fashionista to sport some trendsetting glasses.

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Pop Chart Lab, Inc. in Brooklyn, New York produces an eye chart of famous eye wear. So if you are out shopping for a cosmetic touch, you can first test the look of some famous frames, including Benjamin Franklin’s bifocals, Elvis’s sunglasses, Maverick’s aviators and even MC Hammer’s oversized glasses.

It is always interesting to us that so many people seek elective corrective eye surgery only to later adorn glasses for cosmetic purposes.  But the data speaks for itself and it says frames are “in” with or without anything in them, literally. LeBron James has popularized eye wear sans lenses at press conferences. And curators at the London College of Fashion, where the exhibit Framed received much acclaim, asserted in recent years that overt design has replaced a trend of minimalism when it comes to eye wear.

But you need to pay attention and stay current as it seems minimalism is back for the Fall of 2015 along with some audacious rims. Sleek seems to be chic with retro-90’s and 60’s looks designs making their way into fashion publications, but so too are bold, thick frames from the 70’s.

Three years ago Harris interactive conducted an online survey on behalf of the new eye wear retailer Ditto.com. They found that 87% of women find glasses on men to be sexy and 91% of women found that sunglasses on men were sexy.  Indeed, everyone looks (fill in your favorite adjective) -> hotter/sexier/bolder/mysterious/polished/hip/cool/trendy in sunglasses.

BUT, before you head out to the nearest retailer, heed some of our advice on what frames to consider and what to ignore. Not all spectacles are spectacular. And just because you think Will Smith’s sunglasses look great on him in Men in Black, it does NOT mean they will look great on you. They don’t have to fit your face, but they do have to fit your look. If you are bold enough they can even MAKE your look. 

If you can’t figure out what to consider buying, you can’t go wrong with the classic black rim glasses. They are simple, yet sophisticated and are perfect for just about every occasion. But if you aren’t looking for something safe, but really slick and avant-garde, we’d be remiss if we failed to introduce you to Tom Ford’s Hugh Polarized Square Wayfarer Sunglasses

Beyond those glasses, we also love Tom Ford’s Marko Aviator Polarized Sunglasses. If you’re thinking you want to mix up your look this Fall and try a new optical look think Oliver Peoples. Our top Oliver Peoples Optical frames include: Jack Huston RX, Executive I, and Calidor.

Don’t Date Like an Antelope!!! Leave the Bar behind…

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Sometimes it helps to provide some metaphoric imagery to get our point across when it comes to dating.

Imagine yourself on the African savannah. If you were a male antelope, you might very well be the type to line up alongside other male antelope, in discrete “mini-territories,” waiting for females to arrive on the breeding grounds, so that you could court them.

It is not unlike when men line up at a bar waiting for a prospective date to walk through the door.  The scientific term for this is called arena or “lekking” behavior.  It’s a strange word—so it’s no wonder that it hasn’t caught on, or yet found its way into Urban Dictionary. But a handful of animal species do it, and human males attempt to do it all the time, especially at the bar.

In breeding season, male antelope and males of other species have a few options when it comes to courting potential significant others.

They may defend and protect harems, or guard property and possessions.  Some may choose to dominate other males. If those options don’t appeal to them, they may choose to “lek”, just like you would at the bar.  In fact, if you walk in the bar and aren’t already accompanied by a bevy of attractive women, didn’t just leave your Bentley with the valet, and aren’t an alpha male, you may consider it your only option.

And if you do choose to lek, like an antelope, you will have to do your best to look as confident and attractive as possible, while females approach at the bar.  You may even have to look like Matthew McConaughey or have game that defies logic to get the attention of women at the bar.   Although the lekking or bar option may be of benefit to a handful of species of antelope, fruit bats, and sea lions, it doesn’t seem to be working too well for a lot of men out there these days, and it is certainly not an atmosphere in which many of our clients excel.

Yes, many women may converge upon the bar, but meeting them at such a venue rarely leads to something substantial like a relationship.  We hear about unsubstantial, and perhaps, sordid flings all the time, but even those are usually few are far between, in reality.

Without getting into too much detail concerning mating systems of the animal kingdom, the occurrence of lekking seems to be density dependent. By that, we mean that finding success by sitting at the bar stool is really a numbers game. Hence, the success of lekking depends on how many men vs. women show up to a given venue. It seems to work as a courting strategy when there are a lot more females than males converging upon a given location.  Reality-based TV shows like The Bachelor showcase the benefits from lekking when there are 20 girls to each guy. Real life—not so much!

Most men tell us here at Linx Dating that on any given weekend evening there are usually a lot more men hanging out at bars than women. Even if there are just a few more men than women, the most confident alpha male still has to work really hard to attract and court a prospective mate. This is why lekking at the bar is generally a poor strategy for humans out on the dating scene.

If you are back on the market, we suggest that you extinguish the arena behavior and leave the lekking venue (i.e., the bar) behind.  One way to do this is to develop a hobby or passion that draws a particular type of person to an event of mutual interest.  Trust us, if antelope had time for hobbies they would much rather lure a date to do something fun and of mutual interest, than try to prove themselves on the one day out of a whole year that the females are in heat.

These hobbies and passions could be literally anything from: coed hiking clubs, coed book clubs, embracing your inner geek with continuing education at Stanford University,  or sailing class. Maybe it means sweating your way through regular spin class at Soul Cycle. Bring your A-game and friendly attitude and introduce yourself around the room. If you’re a novice at something like spin for instance, admit it, smile, ask for help getting set up, and make new friends. Survey the room and plant yourself next to someone of the opposite sex. Adopt the mentality that he/she might not be “the one” for you but maybe that new spin buddy has friends and can open your world up to new opportunities and connections. You gotta work it and work at it to get ahead in your personal life!

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If you have always wanted to learn how to cook or perhaps are already an experienced cook who enjoys learning new techniques and recipes and you live in the Bay Area check out cooking classes through Sur La Table or Dragers Market.

As you make plans this weekend to grab drinks at the local wine room with your single friends, remember to not date like an antelope! Leave the bar behind and try something entirely new. You might very well meet that special someone you never expected!

New VIP search for a world-class LA based gentleman…

Shot of an affectionate couple enjoying the summer sun. Woman is holding flowers.

We are thrilled to be representing a world-class gentleman, in search of the love of his life, who is handsome and distinguished, is 75-years old, but has the looks and energy of a man in his 50’s.

Most people never have the fortune to cross paths with someone so intriguing.

He is the CEO of a company that remains at the very top of its industry, and believes that founding this company decades ago was the best professional decision of his life.

He is in excellent physical shape and spends a significant amount of time piloting his plane and engaging in world champion gliding competition. Though he enjoys a cosmopolitan, cultured lifestyle, he also devotes a good portion of his free time to focusing on those aforementioned heart-pounding types of adventures. This pursuit in high performance aviation derives from his passion for science and adventure.

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He resides in the coastal area of Los Angeles and spends his mornings running before heading to work.

He is, of course, extremely intelligent and having an intellectual conversation over a delicious meal is his idea of the perfect evening. The list of restaurants he frequents is lengthy. He also loves good entertainment and will likely have tickets to the major companies’ season performances.

It’s not easy to find someone so ambitious who can balance business and pleasure so well- our bachelor maintains a flexible schedule that very intentionally keeps his weeknights and weekends open for an active social life.  As such, though our bachelor is very content with his life, he is looking to find someone with whom he can share affection and those adventures that are so close to his heart.

At his core, our bachelor is a sophisticated, assertive and take-charge gentleman, but these traits are well complimented by his easy-going attitude and flexible nature- he is faithful, giving, and chivalrous and is hoping to meet a woman who appreciates, and takes interest in, all that he has to offer.

At the very bare minimum, you will be on the edge of your seat listening to his incredible stories.

His ideal match would be Caucasian or of European heritage, maximum 5’6”, petite or slender, very attractive, and someone cerebral who enjoys spending her evenings socializing, entertaining, dining out or attending the opera. Ideally she is based in Los Angeles like our bachelor.

In a nutshell, she is pretty, petite, social, and not shy about her inner nerd! If you or anyone you know might make a great fit for our VIP, please contact Amy at: amy@linxdating.com. There are ZERO FEES for this.

How Do I Let Him Know I Am NOT a Gold Digger?!?!?

I hate to use that phrase but it’s the big elephant in the room in the media regarding dating in Silicon Valley – and, unfortunately, we have to address it head-on because it has serious implications.  This is a somewhat nasty blog entry but it’s also a nasty problem.

As just one example, yesterday, I screened a female prospect for one of my male VIP clients, and she asked for my advice, as she’s met a couple of guys out there who clearly have a chip on their shoulders about this issue, assuming that all women are after for them for their money.

My first observation… let’s not be naive. As a relationship between two people grows, money will eventually become a practical consideration, and an important conversation to have, because it does affect lifestyle, planning, and all of the rest.

But… let’s not get ahead of ourselves.   It really should NOT be much of an issue at all in the early stages of dating.  You’re just getting comfortable, having fun, establishing chemistry and rapport, and all of the rest.   Frankly, you don’t know each other well enough to be broaching that subject and if money stuff is polluting things this soon, it’s almost certainly not the right person and you can cut bait if you are getting bad vibes.

Trust your intuition – if you are a well-intentioned woman dating a guy who has ANY emotional intelligence whatsoever, he will pick up on the fact that you are not only down to earth, but non-materialistic as well.  And if he doesn’t get it, well then…

That was the stock advice that I used to give to women on this topic.  And I still do believe it, for the the most part.

HOWEVER, let’s reverse roles, go a bit deeper and try to understand the guy’s point of view a bit.

Many of these dudes have had bad experiences with women who were with them for the wrong reasons – we all know women like that. The guys then build a bit of a calcified shell to protect themselves from being burned and that can be really unpleasant to deal with.

A lot of guys have a tough time, in social settings, picking the right girl.  “He” could be a good guy, but also be wildly attracted to someone, typically thinking with his ‘other’ brain.  But “she” could be precisely the type who quickly discovers he has deep pockets and is in it for the wrong reasons.

So… how can you tell if the guy is being an overly judgmental arrogant ass, or if he is really just a good guy who is a bit jaded with a protective shell, but who has a wonderful core?

Well, build trust and, over time, peel back your layers to be a little “raw” and even a bit vulnerable.  Allow him to see this more exposed side of you and hopefully he will feel comfortable opening up so that you all can get at what is causing him to feel this way, and then you go naturally on from there.

But understand that, by opening yourself up this way, you could get hurt.  That is always a risk when you are getting to know someone.   And so you MUST rely on every bit of emotional intelligence that you have.

Just the way some really good guys have a disturbing habit of being attracted to the wrong kind of women, some guys are also just general douche bags who lead with chauvinism and a strong materialistic overtone. They flaunt their wealth and peacock with their possessions to attract women and this has nothing to do with calcified shells to protect themselves.

This “shiny sports car” sort of guy typically ends up with the wrong women and keeps this pattern going through relationships, or sometimes even marriage after marriage. He does this to feel worthy, wanted, desirous, and like the big d**k in the room.

Those are the guys you obviously want to avoid.

So what do you do, net net?  I say don’t be scared to put yourself out there and to show your kind heart, should your intuition be telling you that you’ve found a good guy who happens to be somewhat impenetrable.  But you need to hone your asshole detector so that you don’t get your heart ripped to shreds by the coyotes who are looking for an easy dinner.

This Week at Linx

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As Memorial Day quickly becomes a distant memory, I hope you all had a tremendously relaxing and special holiday weekend. Perhaps some of you headed for the beach for days filled with BBQs, cold beer, sandy toes, and sun-kissed noses, while others of you hopped on a plane to see family or to hit some exotic destination. Or maybe it was good down time just chilling, while others packed in socializing, shopping, and fun brunches out with friends.

Every time I started to write a new blog entry over the weekend, I somehow get completely sidetracked by an urgent client email that required an immediate response, or a new match that I needed to make. Such are the realities of running a small niche business.

It’s been a whirlwind last few weeks at Linx as we have onboarded some truly exceptional new clients – interestingly, a heavier concentration of 45 + individuals in the last few weeks – all extremely successful in their own right, refreshingly down-to-earth, candid about what they seek in a match, and ready for love now! I look forward to doing some new blog entries in the coming weeks to announce a few of these key searches.

I have also been squeezing in some date coaching and even a wardrobe consultation, and I believe there are lessons for everyone in these sessions.

During this particular stretch, though I worked with my clients on a variety of techniques, we focused primarily on early stage dating. For one young woman in technology, I discussed the art of “Flirting 101.” My main lesson was that being too eager or overly sexy can lead a man to discount you as a potential mate and love interest, but not enough flirting can leave even the most intuitive guy confused and unclear about how to proceed. I find it very surprising that so many people see this as a black and white thing. It’s actually very gray. As a woman, you don’t have only two choices.   It’s all about subtlety – each individual has to build an awareness and confidence that allows her to almost unconsciously calibrate a situation and then react naturally in a way that smoothly and metaphorically telegraphs what she is feeling. I’m not saying this is easy. In fact, it is hardest for my clients that come from very analytical backgrounds. Tapping this art means being in touch with your softer, more emotional side and also getting experience across a wide range of interpersonal situations (whether it is at work, with friends, family, or ideally dating.)

For another client, I helped strategize about how to combat shyness. One of the hardest things about building dating confidence can be overcoming stranger anxiety…  you know, the stuff that sets in when we’re about 18 months old, and (for most of us) never really goes away?  The ultimate goal is to build enough confidence to approach strangers you find attractive AND to carry that undeniable confidence over into real life dating. I gave this client homework where her goal was to have small, simple interactions each day with people she does not find attractive, for example asking for the time, making chitchat while waiting in a grocery store line, etc. Seem counter-intuitive? Well, the stakes are low and it is a lot less pressure especially for an exercise like this that can be pretty nerve-wracking regardless of how “hot” or “not” someone is.   Start on the easier end of the spectrum, build up, and don’t immediately try to boil the ocean.

So I can sit here and preach all of this advice and speak in generalities… but I can just hear a reader saying, “that’s great but how do I actually DO this stuff and improve?”

Well, one option is to let me date coach you. LOL. And then you get a ton of individualized attention and narrowly tailored practice. Another client who is doing coaching work just sent in this feedback this morning, “all these efforts have been wonderful in putting my focus on the future, and rediscovering the happy person I am naturally. The coaching process has been very helpful to dig into what is real and make sure that my best self is visible.  It feels good to make an investment in myself.  I appreciate all your help.” It is always nice to receive emails like this where the effort and hard work clients are putting into this process are not only rewarding but they feel as if they are entering a new chapter in their lives with the gusto and confidence required.

A cheaper option to Linx coaching, and I know this may sound corny, is to watch emotional movies (they could, but need not be, romantic comedies) or to read a classic romantic novel, even if you aren’t getting a lot of practice in the real world. My husband uses, to great effect, literature and movies in his Stanford courses on entrepreneurship and leadership because those topics have so much to do with people and even fictional material like movies or books allow a whole class to experience the same people and situations with their diverse real life lenses and to have a productive discussion about all of it. I believe the same thing applies in improving in your artistic dating skills.

On a lighter note, I also did a quick wardrobe consult for one client this week. This 30-year old entrepreneur needed some nice dress shirts, a sport coat, and some pants that were alternatives to jeans. He mentioned that he had a gift certificate to Nordstrom so I headed over there and spent a hour pulling a few select items for him with the help of one of their personal shoppers. I think my client will be pleased with my picks – classic yet with a youthful modern twist- Hugo Boss, AG pants, J Brand pants, and a few dress shirts too.

Beyond all of the coaching this week, we also have screenings for new prospective clients, a couple of new client interviews, and… drumroll… a Dutch media company visiting Linx this week, flying out from the Netherlands to meet with me. Germany has always had a love affair with Linx and Silicon Valley but perhaps the Dutch are catching the virus as well. They will first interview me, and then (this is the best part) set up one of my young male clients with the host of the show – a gorgeous 24-year old who apparently is edgy, vocal, and hip! This will all air in August in a short documentary.

Have a spectacular weekend ahead!

When Harry Met Sally

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As a professional matchmaker, I experience more than my fair share of moments of serendipity, coincidence, and bizarre irony. If only I could share the details of all the crazy stories and situations from the last 12 years of running Linx Dating…

Today, I watched a very interesting situation unfold from within my network, and see a great opportunity to illustrate two very important points about dating.

The story goes like this. A former female client of mine (let’s call her “Sally”) moved last year from the Bay Area to Boston for grad school. I had worked closely with her when she lived here and had actually matched to her someone with whom she had had a significant relationship. She arrived in Boston, single, and has been dating there with mixed success. Though I am not regularly in touch with clients who have moved, I do keep them on my radar, in my database, and in my mind, should a tailor-made opportunity arise.

Separately, my husband has a friend who recently referred a prospective male client to me who is based in Boston (let’s call him “Harry”). After corresponding with the candidate, we both realized quickly that I am probably not the best day-to-day matchmaker for him, given his plan to stay in Boston. However, I offered to do whatever I could for him with my limited Boston network, including introducing him to friends who might have tips about being single in Boston.

It then occurred to me that “Harry” and “Sally” could be a great match and beyond this should no romantic connection transpire, “Sally” could help strategize about ways to date intelligently in Boston.

I immediately reached out to “Sally” to see if she was still single – delighted to hear from me, she said that she, in fact, was still single and would be open to an introduction. I provided a very high-level overview of the potential match – basic biographical information, age, etc. She almost immediately interrupted me and said, “this guy’s name isn’t ‘Harry’, is it?” I said, “well, yes, it is Harry… wow… you know him?” She went on to say that she had had a first date with “Harry” months and months ago, had been interested and attracted to him, but had never heard from him again, then figuring that he had no further interest in her. She asked me to find out from him if she had done “something wrong” that had subsequently “turned him off.” I agreed to ping him to conjure up any intel I could.

I turned around and reached out to “Harry” and asked if he remembered “Sally,” explaining that apparently they already knew each other. “Harry” immediately remembered their date, described “Sally” to a tee, and said he had been interested in her, but had not followed up because he thought that she had no romantic interest in him. I couldn’t believe what I was reading right before my eyes!

After a few emails back and forth, both “Harry” and “Sally” were game to pick up the pieces where they left off. I proceeded then to “broker” a new meeting so that “Harry” could meet “Sally” again and now we’ll see what happens.

What lessons are here for those of you who are single and looking?

  1. COMMUNICATION, SIGNALS, AND GAMES

I live this every day through my clients. Most of you probably know that there is a whole school of dating thought out there around strategic game playing, veiled communication, pickup artist stuff, etc. At the end of the day, no one wants to be bored and find complete predictability in their romantic dating – and it can be very hard to be transparent, vulnerable or open about your feelings early on in dating because you put yourself at risk to be hurt, and you also might worry that revealing too much too soon could either scare off the other person, or make them feel it is too “easy” and not enough of a challenge.

I won’t deny that there can be truth to all of that. But you have to follow your instincts – if you are out with someone and you honestly believe that there is something there, you don’t have to let it ALL hang out, but give the other person a bone. Show them SOMETHING. Whether it’s a flirtatious comment, touch, look, or whatever… or maybe you just say something if you are comfortable. If you don’t, you run the risk of being in a situation that “Harry” and “Sally” were in. And you might never have known what could have been.   So be aware of how you are coming across, and if you are “feeling it”, don’t get too cute or play it too cool or you just might miss out on something special.

  1. THE POWER OF TRUE NETWORKS

Networking is a brutally abused term. It conjures up images of cheesy salespeople exchanging business cards over a superficial exchange of pleasantries and promises to follow up on whatever they might have been discussing.

But true networking is a long-term investment and I am reminded, on almost a daily basis, how hard anyone, whose career is based heavily on networks, has to work to expand, maintain, and nurture the network.   And I believe you have to build your network with TLC over time, with no regard as to how it might benefit you or anyone else in the future. In other words, it is often a selfless labor of love where you must enjoy the journey and know that it will bear fruit in the most unexpected ways.

The most successful real estate agents work hard over years and years to build meaningful relationships that result in repeat business and high-yield referrals. Moreover, they skillfully mine their specialized markets as arbitrageurs of even the smallest tidbits of information. And, in the process, they have hundreds of prospective deals that never happened, thousands of tidbits of advice they gave that netted them no money, and countless moments of frustration. But all of that work nets them a great reputation and plenty of wonderful deals to secure their business.

Linx Dating, in many ways, is no different. Had I not spend the last 12 years building my network this way, I would never have been in the position to allow my brain and my database to lead me to (unknowingly) reconnect “Harry” and “Sally.”

Everything else aside, it is the power of the Linx Network, that sets us apart in the matchmaking world.