dating expert

The incurable new Bay Area bachelor

I wanted to post this story that was written many years ago on Linx Dating because it’s such a fascinating journey into human psychology and the extents that we go at Linx for our clients. The reporter traveled with the Linx team to New York to document what you will read below and spent many weeks studying us and understanding the art that is Linx matchmaking….enjoy!

By Natasha Sarkisian | July 21, 2009 | San Francisco Magazine

THIS IS THE STORY OF PETER KUPERMAN, a handsome, slightly crazy, oddly endearing 37-year-old who wants nothing more than to marry a girl who went to Penn. The romantic obsession of his life began in a crowded Chinese restaurant when he was visiting the University of Pennsylvania campus during his senior year of high school. The line of hungry students was long, so Kuperman asked the hostess if he could claim the one empty spot in an eight-person booth filled with seven cute girls. They were members of an all-female a cappella group called the Quaker Notes, and for the next half hour, they bubbled with excitement for music, for their school, even for him. For dessert, they serenaded him with four-part-harmony versions of “A Hazy Shade of Winter” and Cheap Trick’s “The Flame.” 

Nearly 20 years later, Kuperman still hears their siren song. After a show that night featuring Penn’s famous all-male drag revue, Mask and Wig, young Peter made two vows. He would catch the troupe’s spring extravaganza every year, no matter what. And one day, he would fall in love with a Penn girl, and she would watch those Mask and Wig shows with him. 

As it turned out, Kuperman’s infatuation with Penn was not immediately reciprocated, but he refused to consider another college, and after two rejections, he got in. He majored in computer science and economics, graduating in 1996 and becoming one of those earnest alumni who get all worked up about eccentric causes, like fixing high-rise elevators in the undergrad dorms. After Penn, instead of heading back to his native Toronto, he spent six years in the Bay Area training as a long-distance runner with other Olympic hopefuls on the Nike Farm Team. When that didn’t pan out, he moved to New York, returning to San Francisco in 2006 as the sole manager of his own hedge fund, QED Benchmark. It was such a money machine, Kuperman bragged, “I could travel three weeks a month…and still maintain my income level” ($1 million–plus a year, he said). For fun, he hosted cooking party–salons at his SoMa loft, where local luminaries chopped herbs and talked green technology or stem-cell research. But he was still searching for his Penn girl—and something much more. His perfect partner, he once emailed me, would embody “this whimsical vision of ‘movie love’ where I get so entranced, I would go around the world just to be with her.”

The first time I meet Kuperman, he has just made the 30-minute drive to Palo Alto to consult with his professional matchmaker, Amy Andersen. He is trim, with brown hair flecked with gray, and he has the hypersuccessful Bay Area bachelor look just right: lavender button-down shirt; distressed Diesel jeans; shiny black loafers; intense, unwavering gaze. He seems like the picture of confidence. As he tells me his story, though, his voice quavers and his blue eyes well up with tears. Unsure whether I’m more touched by him or embarrassed for him, I feel my eyes misting over, too. It’s rare that anyone around here ever admits to having a dream, for fear it might not come true; rarer still for a man to pour his heart out about something so goofy and private to a complete stranger—a reporter, no less. It’s clear that, as much as he cherishes his Penn fantasy, it isn’t what he really wants; disappointment seems inevitable, and I’m torn between wanting to hug him and wanting to shake him.

Across the room, Andersen taps away on her laptop, unfazed. She’s worked with hundreds of Bay Area bachelors, each in his way as quirky and mixed-up as Kuperman is, trying to help transform them from dorks or jerks into somebody’s soulmate. It’s a process that gives her unusual insight into the counterproductive longings of the single, spoiled Bay Area male who has become too picky for his own good, yet demonstrates time and time again that he is powerless to change, mostly because he doesn’t think he needs to. Andersen’s job is to help these Lost Boys—Peter Pans, if not Peter Penns—do something they may never have had to do until now, which is open themselves up to compromise, and then to love. The process is painful, sometimes excruciating. No matter how wealthy or self-assured or self-deluded they are, at some point, Andersen says, “most of the guys who come in here cry.”

Blond and svelte in little silk numbers
 and Gucci boots, Andersen looks like one of the Real Housewives of Orange County and thinks like a Silicon Valley CEO. She’s never without her BlackBerry and her Louis Vuitton scheduling tome, every page filled from 9 a.m. to midnight with meetings with clients—650 over the past five years. The founder of Linx Dating—as her website describes it, “an exclusive, by-invite-only Bay Area–based dating service created for the ‘marriage-minded’”—is 32, sweet, shrewd, and relentless in her pursuit of her clients’ happiness. Combining the ana­lytics of eHarmony, the social networking of Facebook, and the strange, self-absorbed glamour of The Bachelor, her concept is so tailor-made for the Bay Area and the times that in certain Marina and Peninsula circles, she’s practically a household name.

Andersen’s fee starts at $6,000 for eight carefully matched dates with other great-looking, high-earning Linx members; for $30,000, you get 15 introductions, a nationwide out-of-network search, and a cocktail party straight out of The Millionaire Matchmaker, where a dozen fawning “eligibles” show up to be checked out and vice versa. For those who need it, there’s also date coaching, mock dating, a dermatologist referral, and a fashion and home-decor makeover (in the case of her male clients, Andersen has been known to personally throw out grungy toothbrushes and moldy bath mats). Though she is the matchmaker to the Web 2.0 gene­ration, she advocates a retro version of romance, in which men open doors and women do not talk about their careers.

The familiar stereotype about the Bay Area dating scene is that it’s the women who are dying to get mar­ried. A former member of their ranks, Andersen admires single women here for their intellect and independence but believes they often sabotage their chances by approach­ing a prospective romantic partner the way they would a business partner—reciting their résumés instead of being flirty, asserting their ballbuster side instead of their vulnerability. Andersen counsels her female clients—they make up half her roster, and unlike most matchmakers, she charges them the same as men—to wear pastels rather than black, play down their accomplishments on the first few dates, and admit that horror movies scare them. “It’s kind of pathetic, but it’s true,” says Mary Ann Mullen, Andersen’s sidekick, a sensible, motherly type who’s been married for 18 years and speaks frankly about how men respond to powerful women. “Their pee-pee feels castrated”—here, she lets her pinky droop—“and we want it to feel happy.” 

Yet as I hang out in Linx’s knickknack-filled offices—conveniently located between those requisites of modern-day marriage, engagement-ring central (Diamonds of Palo Alto) and a couples therapist—I’m surprised to discover how many Bay Area men are desperate, too. Mar­ina guys in Tom Ford sunglasses who’ve spent a decade or more jumping from windsurfing to heli-skiing to kiteboarding, and to younger and younger girls, suddenly start feeling creepy and pathetic. The wealthy tech­nology wizards look up from their turretlike workstations and realize that their world is devoid of, and even unwelcoming toward, women and that their social and emotional development ended with their first programming job. Online dating doesn’t work for this high–net worth crowd. “To avoid gold diggers, people downplay themselves in their profiles,” Andersen says. “The end result, when you’re finally face-to-face with someone you met online, is that you’re a liar.” Meanwhile, the social media they rely on to stay connected—texting, instant messaging, tweeting—reduces actual human contact and further stunts their ability to interact with the opposite sex. That’s where Linx comes in. “It’s what we say over and over—dating is a skill,” Andersen tells me. “We’re like grad school for finding your future husband or wife.”

Andersen dreamed up Linx at the height of the Internet boom, after many a night spent downing beers at Nola, in Palo Alto, with her then boyfriend and his single pals as they bemoaned the dearth of available women in Silicon Valley. She knew where the girls were: “They were all up in San Francisco in the Junior League, desiring the same thing I wanted: marriage!” When she and that boyfriend (aka that “noncommittal, cheating boy trapped in a 35-year-old’s body”) broke up, she fled back to the city. One failed long-term relationship later, Andersen was in no hurry to couple up again. “At one point, I had, like, five amazing guys courting me with massive bouquets, gifts, and trips, walking across fire for me, and I thought, ‘This is pretty cool.’” 

It was also great research. A born entrepreneur—as a kid in Mill Valley, Andersen cut flowers from neighbors’ yards, wrapped them in tissue and ribbon, then resold them to the people she had stolen them from—she fleshed out her dating concept while working in private client services at Merrill Lynch. (Even for someone with so much natural chutzpah, cold-calling rich people—up to 225 a day—provided “an incredible skill set,” she says.) Andersen quit that job to launch Linx in 2003, operating out of a Starbucks on Russian Hill and meeting with as many as seven “high-caliber” clients—attorneys, doctors, venture capitalists—a day for free. She earned her first paying client, a VP of marketing for a web company, in February 2004: eight setups for $1,200. “When people stopped blinking at $2,600, I went to $3,000, $3,200. Then I realized this demographic was not concerned about price at all.” Indeed, matchmaking turns out to be recession-proof. Last fall, even as the economy was crashing, one of Andersen’s clients upped his “marriage bonus”—many of her contracts include a fee for matches that make it to the altar—from $25,000 to $100,000 because he couldn’t face the thought of turning 40 alone.

Before a friend referred him to Andersen a year ago, Kuperman had already sought professional help in finding his Penn mate. He’d had plenty of girlfriends, but his enthusiasm (or theirs) usually waned after a few weeks. Online dating was no help: “It’s like walking through an airport or a mall and talking to strangers,” he says. So, in 2004, he consulted semifamous New York matchmaker Samantha Daniels (the 2003–2004 NBC series Miss Match, starring Alicia Silverstone, was inspired by her career), a gorgeous Penn grad with a great network of alums to draw from. 

In his Linx application, Kuperman admits to having blown the first match Daniels arranged, with a Penn grad who was getting her MBA from Columbia. The second introduction, to S., went much better, but within six months, they were kaput, too. One of his biggest gripes: S. was not sufficiently enthusiastic about his favorite movie, Love Actually. (“She said at the end, ‘Cute movie,’ implying, ‘That’s now over; let’s move on,’ and not, ‘Wasn’t that story about the 10-year-old kid so unbelievably romantic?’”) 

Much of what I know about Kuperman comes from his 14-page application, which he shares freely with me a few days after we meet. I have to admire his guts for letting me see it; god forbid anyone should ever see my wish list for a husband. One section asks clients to check as many adjectives as apply to them from a list of 78 possibilities, including “Darwinian,” “loquacious,” “narcissistic,” “life-of-the-party,” “autophobic,” and “wise.” Andersen wants to know: What is the worst decision you’ve made at your current job? How is your relationship with your family? Do you hold any patents? Besides helping her understand her clients, the answers weed out the losers, like the 42-year-old Google exec who’s still living with his mother. She’s equally on guard against commitment-phobes—guys who pull the breakup card just when you’re starting to look at rings—and people who are just looking to hook up. Half of her applicants don’t make the cut.

For his part, Kuperman shares the average guy’s interest in sexy underwear and Rachel McAdams, though not in Jennifer Garner or Scarlett Johansson. He answers yes to children, no to a nanny, picks private over public schools, and reports an IQ of 162. His favorite food is “freshly picked sweet corn on the cob bought at a roadside stall…on the way to cottage country,” and his favorite pastime is swing dancing: “I can see us dancing every day for the next 100 years.”

The most surprising question for me is “Describe your ideal wedding.” I’d assumed this is something only women fantasize about, but Andersen insists, “Men usually have it completely mapped out.” Kuperman proves her point: “Formal black-tie ceremony, nonreligious setting (e.g., estate, vineyard, etc.), bach­elor/ette party, but not too wild (i.e., no overt sexual contact with me or her, but strippers are okay), we share the responsibility of planning, I pick the band.” The first dance will be “a showpiece of excellent dancing ability…the language of the conversation that happens when two great dancers get together and let their bodies speak to the musicality of the song.” As the music fades, the crowd will leap to a standing ovation. “That’s really important, too. :-)”

Reading the application makes me squirm, as if I were sneaking a look at someone’s diary or eavesdropping on a session with his shrink. I always suspected Bay Area single guys were impossible to please; now I have proof. Kuperman’s fantasies, like those of so many men I’ve met here, are right out of a silly romantic comedy. He comes across as lovable in some ways, immature and irritating in others. I can feel his genuine longing for a deep connection, but I also see the internal hurdles he erects—so many that I wonder whether he really does want to fall in love and settle down. 

The best evidence of his ambivalence is a remarkable document he appends to the standard Lynx application: eight single-spaced pages of “musts, shoulds and what do I have to be,” along with a two-page discussion of his two most significant recent relationships. The musts include “all-natural body parts,” “love celebrating New Year’s Eve,” and “be okay with a shower with two heads on opposite walls.” On a sweeter note, he expects his dream girl to be “really close with at least one family member” (his own relationship with his two sisters is “one of my biggest areas of happiness,” he writes) and “be someone who constantly says ‘I believe in you’ to their children.” But she also has to “allow me to indulge in a luxury sports car and be willing to fill the car with premium gasoline to extend the life of the car and increase resale value.” Maybe he’s joking, but I don’t think so. 

Kuperman’s words make me wonder
 about Andersen’s pro­cess. Is it really prudent to encourage people—especially Bay Area singles who are used to having their own way in almost every aspect of their oh-so-perfect lives—to spend so much time and energy focusing on what they want in a mate, as if they were configuring a new computer or ordering coffee at Peet’s? Doesn’t this just close off their options and fuel their self-defeating fantasy that a relationship is all about them

But after reading hundreds of these applications—brain dumps, really—Andersen has learned what to take seriously and what to ignore. She sees Kuperman’s blatherings as therapeutic, rather than alarming; the whole point is for him to get stuff off his chest so that she can help him examine every tiny piece of his fantasy, recognize what he really wants, and come to terms with how to achieve it. Andersen spends her days listening to male and female clients check off their lists of “musts” and “shoulds”: no shorter than 6 feet, no smaller than a C cup, no professors or accountants, no kids, no salary under $500K a year. By comparison, Kuperman’s Penn dream strikes her as substantive, even old-fashioned. People used to grow up in small villages and marry their neighbors; the truth is, you might have more luck finding your soulmate in a pond of 50 than in an ocean of a million web profiles. The Penn requirement, Andersen optimistically concludes, “will be a fantastic catalyst and accelerator for a happy relationship.” 

Andersen has facilitated dozens of such relationships over the years, including four marriages and at least 30 long-term couples. She suspects her success rate is actually higher: Once they’ve met someone they really like, “clients often go radio silent,” she says. (She found out about one recent engagement by stalking the lovebirds on Facebook.) But helping clients find lasting love often means Andersen must be brutally pragmatic—and force them out of their comfort zone. “So many frustrated people say they want to meet ‘the one,’ but they don’t change their patterns,” she says. “They stay in the Marina. They keep trying the same places—Encore, Symphonix, the Matrix—where, no surprise, they run into the same people. You have to do something drastic.”

Andersen speaks from personal experience. Not long after she started Linx, she found herself in her own rut, dating up a storm (including at least one prospective client), but no closer to marriage and kids. On an impulse, she decided to move back to “target-rich” Palo Alto and take a six-week dating hiatus. She got a nutritionist and a stylist, did an ashram diet and cleanse, “and then I was in the right place.” In the end, she needed her own match­maker, a friend who introduced her to Alex Gould, a Stanford economist and media consultant. Ten months later, he stunned her by proposing in front of 125 of her clients at a Link & Drink networking party at the Four Seasons Palo Alto. “I woke up at 5 the next morning and looked at the ring and thought, ‘Ohmigod, I’m engaged!’” (The enormous sapphire gets so many yearning looks from clients that Andersen and Gould, who sometimes helps with the business, ought to consider writing it off.)

Still, after months of watching Andersen in action, it’s hard for me not to conclude that her female clients are expected to make the most drastic changes. (Is there anything more depressing than telling an attractive, accomplished woman to pretend to be less than she is so men won’t feel threatened?) For her male clients, Andersen advises basic good manners: Pay for dinner, never text or email to arrange logistics, spend time listening to your date instead of just talking about yourself, give every setup at least a second chance. Anxious or nerdy types can have a dating coach attend events with them incognito and give them real-time feedback and support. Ander­sen also works on the Too Much, Too Soon syndrome—“prob­ably the most common thing we see,” Mullen says—and the closely related male tendency to go on and on and on about themselves, their jobs, their hobbies, their exes. The solution is a strategy known as KISS: Keep It Simple and Succinct. Andersen coaches her clients to think of first-date conversation as a tennis ball they want to keep lobbing back and forth. “We help them narrow it down to 15 sound bites. Then we have them visualize a tape recorder: Press play. And now press stop.” They also work on what Andersen calls “strategic positioning”: “I hate my job and am on the verge of chucking it—along with my six-figure income” becomes “I enjoy tech but have thought of trying something new.” 

Andersen decides that Too Much, Too Soon is also Kuperman’s biggest problem; he’s “the kind of guy who writes a girl a 14-page letter after one date,” she tells me. For his part, Kuperman seems to trust her judgment completely: “When I met Amy, I had an extremely strong guy reaction that said ‘WOW! I just met an incredibly important person in my life,’” he recently wrote. Over the weeks, they work mainly on taking things slower—“not jumping in because he feels a lust or attraction,” Andersen says. He appreciates all the rules she sets. By “laying down the protocols,” he says, Andersen eliminates much of the second-guessing that can make going on a date—especially with a stranger—so nerve-wracking. When both parties feel comfortable, it’s much easier to connect.

But when I meet Kuperman, two months into his Linx experience, he still hasn’t connected with anyone. Andersen has scoured Northern California for Penn grads and sent him on several dates, but no one has set him on fire. After every fix-up, he sits down with Andersen and Mullen to rehash the encounter and plot their next steps. They’ve just about exhausted the eligible pool of Penn women in the Bay Area, and Kuperman knows it. “It’s like a Venn diagram,” he finally tells them. “There are smart girls and hot girls, but not a lot of intersection.” 

In the past year or so, Andersen and Mullen have added another tool to their arsenal: the VIP mixer, where one or two clients (usually male) are surrounded by a dozen or more “eligibles” recruited from Facebook and other sources. The idea strikes me as both demeaning and a significant departure from the original Linx concept of carefully matching couples and striving to make their interactions as stress-free as possible. But many of their clients love feeling like the stars of their own reality show—plus, even if no individual candidate bowls them over, the whole experience does. Kuperman, who’s considering moving back to New York—with the exception of Philly, the Penn grad capital of the world—likes the idea of holding his party there. So does Andersen, who’s dying to introduce Linx to the East Coast. Even if Kuper­man doesn’t meet “the one,” she figures the event might help him overcome his Too Much, Too Soon issue; with so many candidates to choose from, it should be impossible for him to get overly attached to any of them. 

The next few weeks are a blur as the two Linx women make the arrangements, aided by Gould (Penn class of ’93). They set the date (mid- to late October), book the celebrity-magnet Carlyle hotel, and cold-email more than 350 New York–based Penn graduates, 200 of whom reply. Phone interviews narrow down the final list to 19 sensational candidates, including an advertising executive and a pediatrician. For the first two days, Kuperman will have a series of one-on-one meetings with 12 women, followed by dinner dates with each day’s “winner.” Day three will consist of the final one-on-ones, then a cocktail party with a new bevy of candidates. By my conservative estimate, Kuperman’s tab for the whole trip will approach $40,000.

Arrangements are in the final stages when the global economy implodes. Then Kuperman, who went to Can­ada to visit one of his sisters over Labor Day, has a problem with his work visa that delays his reentry to the U.S. by several weeks. The day before the Linx entourage is supposed to check in to the Carlyle, he finally talks the U.S. State Department into giving him a seven-day tourist visa. 

When Andersen arrives in New York, Kuperman has another surprise: His mother is in town, visiting his other sister in Brooklyn, and the two women want to meet his matchmaker. Over breakfast the next morning, Mrs. Kuperman pooh-poohs her son’s outfit, which Andersen picked: Nordstrom shirt, blazer, and pastel pocket-square combo. He changes as soon as he returns to the hotel. Otherwise, his mood is upbeat—almost strangely so. This is the week of October 20, and the stock market is having a psychotic breakdown, swinging up and down by hundreds of points every day. But Kuperman the hedge-fund manager seems largely oblivious. 

Meanwhile, Andersen and Mullen set up a makeshift office at a table in the hotel’s gallery tearoom. A butler stops by regularly to replenish the tiered silver trays with little sandwiches, tartlets, and scones with clotted cream and jam. The first day’s prospects chat with Andersen and Mullen for 45 minutes or so before being ushered around the corner for a coffee, lunch, or afternoon champagne date with Kuperman. “Peter is more Gap than Ralph Lauren, more hybrid car than Ferrari, more Nestlé cocoa than Scharffen Berger,” Andersen explains, nailing her client’s brand. She tells candidates about her own romantic success, how she met Gould, and how her father proposed to her mother seven days after they met. 

A sophisticated 26-year-old brunette named E. emerges as Kuperman’s favorite of the day. Her parents met at Penn, and her family includes 33 alums. Andersen arranges a candlelit dinner for the couple, complete with calligraphy place cards, Veuve Cliquot, lobster bisque, rack of lamb, and chocolate soufflé (ordering dessert is another of her first-date rules), and when she and Mullen return three hours later to spy on them, they’re still at the table, flirting. “I had chills riding the elevator back up!” says Mullen. “I was like, ‘Babies are being made right now!’” (For the record, she uses the phrase “I have chills” at least three times a day.)

Day two’s winner is M., a high-ranking ad exec in an elegant shift dress and three strands of giant pearls. Andersen has a waiter interrupt M.’s one-on-one with Kuperman because his next date has been waiting for half an hour. As Kuperman walks up the steps, he turns around and tells the duo, “She gets my pretty-underwear thing! She wears pretty underwear!” Andersen, half exasperated, half excited, gasps, “Peter!” as he runs off with his next date. 

By day three, Kuperman is worn out, and his seams are starting to show. He snaps at Andersen and seems overwhelmed by the number of, as he calls them, “connections” he’s making. (So much for hoping the weekend blowout will cure him of his tendency to plunge into things too quickly—it seems to be having the opposite effect.) The second of his back-to-back meetings in the afternoon goes so well—or he’s feeling so rebellious—that he and his date sneak out of the hotel. Andersen receives a text from the woman saying Kuperman will be back 15 minutes before the bachelorette event, but as the guests arrive, he’s a no-show. The next day, we find out what happened: He and his date walked through Central Park to Balducci’s to buy vodka, chocolate, and popcorn, then headed back to her apartment on the Upper West Side.

Though clearly irked by Kuperman’s rudeness, Andersen is composed, smiling and making sure the champagne glasses stay full. Once again, I’m blown away by the quality of the women she’s managed to assemble, though one overeager candidate has donned a Penn skirt with icons of the Liberty Bell and the Philadelphia Inquirer. The chef has prepared some of Kuperman’s recipes, including chocolate-vanilla pots de crème served in espresso cups. Peach roses and hydrangeas overflow from vases. Several of the women remark offhandedly, “This is so much like the TV show.” When Kuperman saunters in, 45 minutes late, he acts as if he’s right on time. He regales his guests with a story of bringing a girl back to his Penn dorm room, innocently changing into corduroy PJs, and telling her he was going to bed without her. 

M.—the only one of the previous day’s dates to be invited—marvels, “This is every man’s dream!” She makes a clear attempt to distinguish herself from the other women by standing apart and talking with the pianist or Gould. It takes a while before Kuperman finally greets her, but less than five minutes later, they retreat to his bedroom, posing seductively for a magazine photographer, his hands all over her legs. After the impromptu photo session wraps, Kuperman, Andersen, Mullen, and Gould break into golly-gee renditions of “New York, New York” and “Night and Day.” Eventually, Gould forces everyone out, leaving Kuperman and M. alone in the suite.

Kuperman, Andersen, and Mullen meet over coffee and crois­sants the next morning to decide what to do with their girl glut. Every candidate but one has already emailed or texted to say she hopes Kuperman will be interested in seeing her again. I’m shocked; assuming they aren’t all gold diggers, maybe the idea of vying for one man has brought out their competitive streaks. In the suite, dozens of votives from the night before flicker eerily. Mullen is in her sweats, sans makeup, but Andersen’s hair is still in the French twist she wore to the party.

Andersen pushes Kuperman to share his thoughts. “Could you close your eyes and see your wedding with one of them?” she asks. “I don’t close my eyes and see weddings after one or two days,” Kuperman replies. “That’s your job. My job is courting someone and just having fun. But if I ask M. on this trip to London, and we end up going to New York together, and we end up doing a couple other trips, then it’s a different story.” 

“Oh!” Andersen exclaims. “So you’re talking about a London trip with her? That’s great! You drop these things like hydrogen bombs.” 

Kuperman decides to put all the women other than M. “aside,” but he tells Andersen and Mullen to messenger each one a single flower unique to her personality. “This isn’t just some random coffee at Starbucks with some random person from Match.com,” he says. “We’re going to take care of them.” With that proclamation, he dashes out the door to catch a train to his beloved Philly, to meet yet another Linx setup, a med student who wasn’t able to attend the New York soirée—leaving what must have been a $20,000 hotel bill behind him. And after 100 hours of not setting foot outside the confines of the Carlyle, Andersen packs her bags. 

A week later, in Andersen’s office, Mullen prods Kuperman to explain why he’s picked M. “She’s hot, and she has nice energy,” he responds. Mullen then asks Kuperman what M. likes about him. “I have a great sense of style and fashion,” he replies. It’s unclear whether he’s serious. “Thanks to us,” Andersen interjects, and everyone laughs. He meekly concurs: “I’d be showing up in flip-flops at the Carlyle without you.” 

Kuperman then voices concern about having to do all the work in the relationship—the flying back and forth to New York, the dinner buying, and so on. He feels like M. isn’t putting in enough effort. “We all know how valuable you are,” Andersen retorts. “But we also know that she represents the gold standard. Sometimes you have to put yourself out there, even if you get shot down.” Gould encourages him to “embrace the uncertainty,” and Mullen suggests he write in a journal whenever he feels hesitant about taking the next step. 

Gould adds that Kuperman needs to get to know M., which has been the problem all along—he leaps in and out of relationships, never hanging around long enough to become truly intimate with a woman. When I hear Gould’s words, I’m tempted to shout, “Thank you!” Finally, someone is standing up for the women—and it’s not Kuperman’s female matchmakers, it’s a guy who isn’t getting paid to hold Kuperman’s hand and indulge his unattainable quest for female perfection. Like so many Bay Area single men, Kuperman has always fantasized about a relationship on his terms. But M. is “a woman who can pretty much do and have most things,” Gould points out. “I would argue that the reason she doesn’t have a huge ring on her finger is that she hasn’t found a guy who can unlock her. If you can intuit her, that will send you miles.” 

It’s great advice, but Kuperman doesn’t seem to hear it, and Mullen is beyond frustrated. “Um, is there some com­moditization of the girls going on?” she finally asks. “No,” Kuperman insists. “Good, good,” Mullen jabs back. “Love to be wrong.” 

But as we get up to leave, Kuperman says, “We can do this again in Chicago in February, right?” 

It’s nine months later, and Andersen’s business is booming. Economic instability has made the Bay Area’s lovelorn more eager than ever to find solace in a committed relationship; singles in Seattle and Los Angeles have also been seeking her out. I wonder how many of them are truly willing to do what it takes to meet their match, and how many will continue to insist on having it all—even if it means ending up with no one.

Meanwhile—surprise, surprise—Kuperman has yet to find his perfect Penn girl. After a few rendezvous in New York, including one spontaneous “booked on Friday, see you on Saturday” trip, Kuperman and M. decided there was no spark. But the quick demise of that relationship is the least of his problems. This past March, the U.S. immigration authorities concluded that Kuperman had overstayed his tourist visa by more than three months, and banned him from the country. Andersen has continued to set him up with Penn grads, including an “amazing” woman who met him for a fling in Venice, but this can’t go on forever. 

In June, I email to find out how he’s doing. His response is rambling and reflective, even sad. Thinking back to New York, he says, “The real story is that I was completely discombobulated…. I had immigration stress, not-being-at-home stress, and a situation where I was not at all centered and balanced…. I just wanted to get home to San Francisco.” The trip was “fantastic and so much fun,” but, because of his state of mind, ultimately fruitless: “No girls really stood a chance…. And that is a major shame, because I met some incredibly high-quality, amazing, sexy, intelligent, and grounded women.” 

What has he learned from working with Andersen? His answer is unexpected. “It seems that I am a very confused, dysfunctional, and indecisive man. I want this WOW! exper­ience…. I am not going to go forward with a long-term committed relationship until I find myself madly in love.” He con­­fesses, “I’ve presented myself to Amy as this person who is totally ready to get married, and intellectually, that is true; but practically, that switch is definitely not turned on.”

He mentions a woman he’d been seeing for a few weeks right before he sought out Linx. She wasn’t a WOW! either, but her kindness to him during his Canadian exile has made him think. “What if I should just grow up, pick someone, and doggedly and determinedly stick with that choice because she is good for me?” On the other hand, he adds, “What if I spend my entire life constantly doubting and tweaking and tinkering and thinking and am never able to just go for it and take a leap of faith?
“Biggie enough answer for you? :-)”

‘I’m Just Being Honest’ Podcast….A deep dive on dating and being proactive to meet your ideal mate. You don’t want to miss my powerful insider dating tips!

On this episode of the I’m Just Being Honest Podcast, I chat with host Alexandra Ayers. With over 18 years since Linx has been established, I have gathered an abundance of data on finding an ideal mate and in this episode I share my best tips and answer the most commonly asked questions – including what men look for in a partner and being proactive to meet your ideal mate. Thank you to Alexandra Ayers for putting together this great podcast and interview. Let’s elevate dating to a whole new heightened level!

As an alternative to the YouTube chat above, here are the podcast links in Spotify and Apple Podcasts

Announcing our newest Bay Area bachelor… He’s 39, tall, fit, successful, philanthropic, and so much more…

We are thrilled to announce a new search for a Bay Area based client. Our bachelor is an intellectually curious, philanthropically inclined 39-year old with a passion for cycling and Bay Area outdoor living. He’s 6’1″, with a lean, fit musculature, full head of salt and pepper hair, piercing blue eyes, and well-groomed facial hair. 

He grew up on the East Coast and came to California for grad school, and his sense of style is understated but refined, reflecting his affinity for both coasts.

As a successful technical consultant to an established client base of energy and logistics companies, he works with a small team to develop algorithms and analytics to improve operational efficiency.  This candidate has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago, a masters from a top tier university, and a PhD in engineering from Berkeley.

Work-life balance is tremendously important to him, and he makes plenty of time for his hobbies. He’s currently reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s recent novel Klara and the Sun, and Patrick Sharkey’s study of the moral complexities of violence and policing, An Uneasy Peace. He also enjoys movies, cooking for friends, hiking, running, swimming, and road cycling, to name a few. 

With his flexible job, he’s been known to work remotely while pursuing outdoor adventures from the Caribbean or the Mediterranean, or just spending a few weeks with his family on the East Coast. This could also give him the ability to date outside the Bay Area, for the right woman.  

Post-pandemic, he’s excited to get back out and enjoy cultural offerings, whether it’s at the museum of modern art, the symphony hall, or an indie music show at the Fox Theater. He actively supports charities that work in global poverty and disease, Covid relief, animal welfare, and more.

These days he’s getting involved with an Oakland charity that prevents violence by intervening in moments of crisis. He is politically moderate and is open to matches of any political persuasion that does not divide the world into good and bad people.


A few years ago our bachelor turned to meditation and therapy to reach a new level of self-awareness and elevate himself as a human being. He finds that it has helped him a ton not only knowing more about himself, but to be open to other people’s values and experience, and to communicate effectively with honesty and emotion. That’s the aspiration, anyway — he will always be a work in progress and is excited to meet someone with a self-awareness about herself and others as well. 

Our client is looking for a woman in her early 30s or late 20s who is intelligent, thoughtful, athletic, and motivated by growth, learning, and enjoyment, rather than by status and material things. He’s ready to enjoy the good life with that special someone and hopes to build a strong partnership, marriage, and family one day.  🙂

If you feel you or someone you know could be a wonderful fit for this darling guy, please email Amy at: amy@linxdating.com and as always, no fees for qualifying candidates.

It’s 2021…Ladies Make Your Move

I met Jon Birger seven years ago, over lunch in Palo Alto.

A Fortune Magazine writer working on his first book Date-onomics, Jon wanted to talk about Bay Area dating — specifically how the region’s rather unique oversupply of educated men impacted people’s love lives.

Published in 2015, Date-onomics argued that shifting sex ratios among the college educated are behind the rise of the hookup culture and the decline in marriage rates. In nearly every other part of the country, it’s the college-educated women who are in oversupply. Nationally, one-third more women than men have graduated college since 2000.

This might not matter so much if we were more open-minded about whom we date and marry. Thing is, college grads still like to date other college grads, and this preference leads to lopsided sex ratios in the dating pool. And lopsided sex ratios give the scarcer sex the upper hand.

For Jon, San Francisco and Santa Clara County were the exceptions that proved the rule. The Bay Area is the one well-populated region of the country where educated men outnumber educated women. Yes, we’ve still got our share of playboys. But generally speaking, the Bay Area boasts some of the highest marriage rates and lowest divorce rates in the country for college-educated women.

As you can imagine, Date-onomics generated a ton of buzz when it was published. Glamour, Time, Good Morning America, The Washington Post, National Public Radio and countless other media outlets all produced stories or segments about Jon’s first book.

Now he has a new dating book coming out in February — MAKE YOUR MOVE: The New Science of Dating and Why Women Are in Charge. I read an advance review copy of Make Your Move, and it’s terrific. So terrific that I asked Jon if he’d answer a few questions about it for the Linx blog. He obliged.

AMY ANDERSEN: Jon, what inspired you to write another dating book?

JON BIRGER: It had a lot to do with being on book tour with Date-onomics.

The first book was more pop science than self help. Yeah, there was a little bit of advice tucked into the final chapter, but it was only there because my editor demanded it.

My primary goal with Date-onomics was simply to explain why dating had become so hard for young, successful, college-educated women. I wanted to shed light on this strange phenomenon so many of us are familiar with — this plethora of fabulous women in their thirties and forties who cannot seem to find a decent guy.

When the first book came out, I had it in my head that women would be relieved to hear that their dating woes were not their fault. I thought the knowledge-is-power thing would be enough.

Well, you can probably guess what happened when I got out on book tour and started taking questions.

Women still wanted you to tell them how to find a husband.

Yep.

I’d give speeches to mostly female audiences or go on radio shows with mostly female callers, and they wanted advice on their love lives. They wanted me to explain why other women whom they considered no more attractive or successful didn’t have the same problems they did.

I didn’t have great answers, and that’s what prompted me to write Make Your Move. Backed by the latest research on dating, Make Your Move is all about solutions and strategies for hetero, marriage-minded women who are navigating an unfair dating market. There’s a lot of fun storytelling too. I interviewed all these amazing women with romantic stories about how they found their partners by ignoring the traditional dating rules and norms that had been holding them back.

A lot of your advice in Make Your Move involves encouraging women to make the first move, right?

That’s definitely part of it.

I don’t want to give away too much, but I do believe our culture is at an inflection point. Young women are kicking ass in education, sports, business, media, politics and so much else. So why the heck would anyone tell these women that they’ve got to wait for a man to ask them out? 

Do you think men are changing too?

I do. I think the whole culture is changing — which is why this new generation of singles needs a new dating bible!

If you think about it, nearly every best-selling dating guide written over the past forty years — from The Rules to Ignore the Guy, Get the Guy — has told women that in order to bag a man, they must commit to a very complicated game of playing hard to get. The message these books ask women to send to men boils down to “not interested means keep trying.”

I don’t think this was ever a helpful message, but in the post-#MeToo world, it’s really, really unhelpful.

Men have learned important lessons from #MeToo. Maybe we’re not learning as fast as we should, but we are learning. Nowadays if a woman indicates she’s not interested, most men will just take her at her word and move on. 

Do men actually want women to make the first move?

Most do. A woman who makes the first move takes away a man’s fear of rejection. She makes it easier for him to be himself around her. There’s less peacocking. More conversation.

I’ll give you an example from the book. It involves a 29-year-old named Becca — someone I know pretty well because she was our Saturday-night babysitter years ago. Becca is attractive, but key thing to understand about Becca is she has a huge personality. She’s a real cut-up. My kids loved her.

Of course, some men find the extrovert thing intimidating. When I mentioned the new book to her, she started telling me the story of how she and her boyfriend first got together. They met at a party. They were talking, having a good time, but it was apparent he was too nervous to do anything about it. So Becca just blurted out, “Hey, are you going to ask for my number?”

That’s how it started for them.

I know there are women out there who will never believe this, but the whole key to understanding men is that men like women who like them. Too many women have been raised on the notion that men love the chase and that a man will become less interested in her the moment she’s too interested in him.

Perhaps that was true once upon a time, but I’ve yet to meet the man who broke up with a woman he liked simply because she was too enthusiastic about him. I’ve also yet to meet a guy who enjoyed guessing which women are playing a game and which just want to be left alone. This is why assertive women willing to make a first move have such an advantage over women who sideline themselves by waiting to be courted.

Is there such a thing as too assertive?

I don’t think the first move has to be anything dramatic.

I know that the rule-followers always conjure up images of women throwing themselves at men any time someone suggests women making the first move. But that’s not at all what I’m talking about. Think about what Becca did. She didn’t grab the guy’s butt. All she did was open the door wide enough to make him feel confident about walking through.

In the book, you urge women to take a break from online dating. Why?

Just to be clear, I’m not opposed to all online dating. There are some niche dating apps that I like a lot, and I do write about them in the book. I also recognize that in COVID times, online dating may be only dating some people are comfortable with.

Still, I think many singles would be happier if they ditched the apps and tried asking out people they actually know instead. Over the past year, the dark side of online dating has really been coming into focus. According to Pew Research, 57% of women report experiencing harassment on dating apps, and 19% say they’ve been threatened with physical violence. Overall, 55% of women believe dating is harder now than it was 10 years ago.

So tell me about the “Make Your Move Offline Dating Challenge.”

It’s one chapter in the book. It’s essentially a step-by-step plan for dating in the real world instead of the digital one — for finding more meaningful connections.

The reason I created the offline dating challenge is there’s too much anxiety surrounding dating right now. Online daters don’t trust each other. The whole purpose of the offline dating challenge is to make people more comfortable about dating. Less jaded. Less fearful.

When I was in my 20s, blind dates with complete strangers were pretty rare. Nowadays, most online first dates are blind dates with complete strangers. What’s so difficult about this is you have no idea what kind of person will walk through the door. Everybody who knows your online first date knows him better than you do, so you really are flying blind.

Now compare the online first date with a stranger to going out on a first date with someone you already know and like — a co-worker or a neighbor or someone from church or maybe a friend of a friend. It’s a much different experience. It’s much easier to fall in like or in love when you share common experiences or common friends — and when you’re not worried the person across the table from you could be an axe murderer.

When I was dating up a storm from online sites in my 20’s, the biggest problem was lack of filtering. Lots of good guys but those guys were looking for only fun in the here and now. Their goal was getting laid over actually finding a compatible partner. 

Hah. That’s obviously a familiar experience for lots of women, though I have seen research showing women use apps for sex as often as men do.

I think a fundamental problem with dating apps is the anonymity fosters miscommunication and mistruths — especially on that all-important question of whether the other person is looking for a hookup or a long-term relationship. It’s just easier to behave badly with strangers than with people connected to your daily life.

A woman I interviewed for the book described online dating to me as “a doubter’s game,” and this struck me as a really interesting turn of phrase. Based on past experiences, she just assumed most men on dating apps were lying to her. She’d spend first dates trying to poke holes in their stories.

Needless to say, that didn’t lead to a lot of second dates.

Well, this woman is now engaged to a man she met through a mutual friend. Before her first date with the now-fiancée, she didn’t even bother googling him. She told me she didn’t have to because she knew her friend would never set her up with a man who was unkind or untrustworthy.

“It’s more of a believer’s game,” she said about old-fashioned dating. “I was just more inclined to find the positive. It was actually the closest thing to love at first sight I’d ever experienced.”

In the book, you cite research showing that couples who meet at work, in college, through friends, in church, etc. stay together longer than those who meet on the apps. Why do you think that is?

Human beings evolved as social animals, and we bond through shared experiences. Those shared experiences — those fun stories we like to tell and re-tell — become building blocks for deeper connections. This is why couples who know each other tend to have lower breakup rates than couples who first meet online.

What’s your opinion of professional matchmaking?

I put matchmaking into the “met through friends” category.

I have no doubt that your best clients view you as confidante and friend more than as a paid advisor. The only difference between being set up by a close friend and being set up by a good matchmaker is the matchmaker has a much longer list of single men and women to choose from. (I’m always reminded of that scene from “When Harry Met Sally,” when Carrie Fisher pulls out her rolodex during lunch and tries unsuccessfully to come up with men she can set up Meg Ryan with.)

That being said, not everybody who’ll read Make Your Move can afford to spend five figures on a high-end matchmaker like Linx. Most can’t. But I still want them to know that there are other, better ways to date than swiping on Tinder.

2020 was a challenging year for everybody, but finding your dream partner can make even the darkest times seem brighter. Have you seen anything that should give people hope in 2021, at least when it comes to love and romance?

Absolutely. Maybe it’s all those “How it began … how it’s going” memes floating around social media, but I see plenty of reasons for optimism. I love all the videos of women proposing to their boyfriends, for instance. I love the then-and-now photos of couples who started out as friends — and not as Tinder matches! — and are now celebrating anniversaries.

Those are the kind of things that gives me hope.

When does Make Your Move go on sale? Where can people buy it?

Make Your Move comes out Feb. 2, but it’s available for pre-order now from all the major retailers and independent booksellers — AmazonBarnes & NobleWal-MartBooks-a-MillionIndieboundIndigo. There’s an audiobook version too.

FYI, I’m usually willing to meet virtually with book clubs that buy and read one of my books. For info on the book-club Q&A’s — or on anything else related to Make Your Move or Date-onomics — folks can reach out to me via my author website, jonbirger.com.

Have you ever believed that you were preordained to meet your soulmate?

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Have you ever believed that you were preordained to meet your soulmate?  

In Jewish culture, the word Bashert (or beshert; Yiddish: באַשערט) means “destiny”.  I had never heard of this word until a lovely woman that I matched to her beau explained it in full color to me. 

She explained that when two predestined souls find one another in their lifetimethey have met the “Beshert.”

Upon hearing this, she understood intuitively and knew deep down in her heart that this is what she would wait for…

Over the course of her twenties and thirties there would be several marriage proposals, however, she never experienced ‘the feeling’ that she was in the presence of her “Beshert” and so she waited… Before falling asleep at night she would visualize that when in the presence of her soul partner she would recognize him instantly… additionally, whenever she saw a happy couple she would be reminded of this deep connection and send “him” love from her heart chakra. She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that when the time was right he would appear in her life.

In the interim, she started seeing a skilled therapist who helped her clear the pathway for meeting her Beshert. The therapist recommended that she take off six months of dating to examine her patterns, blocks, etc so that she would be the best version of herself and be ready for “him.” That Christmas, (and five and half months into her dating sabbatical) she experienced a deep loneliness like something was missing. She texted her therapist that she KNEW this would be the last Christmas that she spent without her life partner. 

She was committed to expanding her world and began Googling ways to connect with eligible men and found Linx Dating in Silicon Valley. She submitted her information like many women do in the hopes of meeting their match and was paired to a wonderful man shortly thereafter. She shares that she has never felt this way about anyone, the way she feels about him.

From their first conversation, there was an understood mutual connection and then when they met in person, it was this total feeling of familiarity, ease, fun, and attraction. This particular couple started their Linx match based on establishing a strong foundation of friendship. Multiple dates, many weekends, shared meals, walks, talks, and only escalating to holding hands for the first many months.

After a solid friendship had developed rooted in trust, integrity, and a lot of laughter, they were ready to deepen their relationship and become monogamous and romantic. They continue to fall deeper in love every day and consider this one of their greatest journeys… and they both agree that the connection that they share was worth the wait. 

Life works in all sorts of unexpected ways and every day is a gift for which to be grateful. According to her therapist, I became part of the Bershert process when she contacted Linx Dating. It’s been an honor and my pleasure to help two incredible people find each other and be each other’s Bershert.

For those interested, Dr. Judith F. Chusid, has worked with over 48 couples on finding their “bashert”. She is a relationship specialist and performance coach on the East Coast. Look for her book coming out next month on Amazon titled: Success Is An Inside JobStop Playing Small ~ Overcome Fear of Success ~ Live in Your Potential (Tune into Your Passion-Do What You Love – Follow Your Bliss) and in 2020 look for Success Is An Inside Job: Stop Choosing the Wrong Person ~ Overcome Unhealthy Choices ~ Connect with Your Bershert You can contact her at jchusid@consultjfc.com or (212) 463-0080 to learn more. 

Save It For The Judge…..

 

iStock-472711356 copy.jpgI recently had someone challenge me, in an email exchange, about the expectations that we have of the men we work with at Linx and how we hold them accountable.

 

It is a great and fair question – but the answer is not so straightforward.  An equally great and fair question should be about the expectations we have of the women we work with at Linx and how we hold them accountable.

 

In this blog entry, I hope I can begin to answer these questions and illustrate that it really does go both ways and that the reality of passing judgment on people (whether men on women or women on men) may not always be pleasant, but is a fundamental truth in the human nature of long term romantic relationships.

 

During the Linx client intake process, there are a variety of questions I ask of the prospect and the type of match (s)he seeks. My primary goal at this early stage is to hone in on the more “scientific” part of the search, as I gather objective data regarding the type of match someone desires. These metrics are powerful, in that they allow me, the expert matchmaker, to create a solid and plausible foundation for a long-term match.

 

Naturally, some of the questions I ask can be a little hair-raising for some clients – for example, when I am asking a female prospect about her dress size and weight or if she has taken fertility measures to preserve her eggs (see more about this toward the end of the blog), some do not appreciate these blunt intrusions into sensitive subjects, while others go through the process with absolutely no objections.

 

A great prospective client I encountered shared, “I would hate to think in the end women are being judged one dimensionally in this process. While I appreciate everyone has preferences I would not be a match with a man that over indexes on a female’s looks and a particular dress size.”

 

I responded and told her that men are wired completely differently than us women. It is a universal and biological fact that men are extremely visual and generally fall in love with their eyes, whereas women appear to fall in love with their ears. The metrics and science of what someone desires is a relatively big part of this equation to find the right match. Every man I encounter has his own stated preferences and desires. From a physical stand point, some guys want Chinese, others East Asian, some Caucasian, no one over 5’5”, no one under 5’5”, long hair, short hair, light eyes, tan skin, no freckles, sexy in her style, or conservative style, light on the make-up, or dolls herself up all the time.

 

The data I gather is a completely eye-opening, scattergram of chaos. To add another layer of complexity, we then dive into a match’s personality, religion, lifestyle, career choice, marital background, hobbies, etc. It goes on and on and on. And this same principle of everyone having his/her own objective desires in a match applies equally to women. Women are just as harsh critics as the men are in what they need in a mate (from height, to hair, to personality, to income, to background, to lifestyle). The overarching conclusion is that even the most angelic people judge others. It’s life. We all secretly like what we like and don’t like what we don’t like. We don’t want to admit that human beings discriminate on a wide range of metrics but it is a fact that everyone I have ever encountered in my 16 years of running Linx has their own stated preferences and deal breakers in a potential match and if they state that they do not, they are, at least to some extent, lying to themselves and to me.

 

Another hot button topic for some women is when I ask whether she’s taken any fertility measures in her personal life to preserve her eggs. Egg freezing has become so popular as the tech giants like Facebook and Google often offer to pay for these incredibly pricey insurance policies. Take it or leave it but the fertility question in the intake is a big one. Not only am I asking women if they have thought about this, or if perhaps have already done multiple rounds of egg freezing, but the men on many occasions lecture me when they come in for their initial in-person meet and greets about a female’s biology and youth optimum IF the male prospect is wishing to have children in his personal life. Of course, there are a ton of men who either have kids, do not want kids, or have kids and do not wish for more. Again, everyone has their own stated ideals.

 

It is fair that fertility should even be a factor in the selection of a mate? Shouldn’t a female be chosen for her brain, heart and soul? Yes, actually I do believe that. But when I look to match, I align core value sets from a foundational standpoint and fertility is a large part of this equation if both parties want the option of having a child or children one day. Women, rest assured, that men are just not looking for a hot female who has ripe juicy eggs. Thank goodness. They actually are not as pigheaded as folklore goes. It is universally true that the types of men Linx Dating work with do “want it all”, just as the females that come into Linx want a man who “has it all” as well. It’s holistic, not just one-dimensional. Men need to be attracted first and foremost and then everything else hopefully aligns – brains, personality, and balance. Women seek financial stability, someone who has a healthy dose of EQ/IQ, and attraction is part of the picture too.

 

Making sure each party has a solid foundation and the match is a long-term match, not some short-term play, is critical. The couples I match enter serious relationships. I am an a bonafide expert and work with my clients to remove the chaos that can envelop mate selection when they are working on their own and “dating in the wild.”

 

No matter how you look at it, people select mates for a variety of reasons and no matter the approach, whether it be meeting someone serendipitously, via online/app dating, through Linx, or at work, we all are built to thin-slice (a la Malcolm Gladwell’s classic book “Blink”) and we do it consciously and unconsciously on a daily basis. Human beings are judgmental and if we if didn’t judge and thin-slice, we wouldn’t be able to create order and make sense of all the information around us.

 

Do women find men sexier when they’re taken? Here’s what the research says

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Does it feel like you’re getting more attention now that you’re in a relationship? If so, there’s a scientific explanation behind your new popularity.

When women prefer a man they know to be taken over a single counterpart, they are engaging in a phenomenon scientists call mate-choice copying. Specifically, the phenomenon describes what happens when a woman “observes a romantic or sexual interaction between a male and another female (referred to as the model female) and preferentially chooses that male as a mate” (Pruett-Jones, 1992). In other words, the woman on your arm or the the wedding band on your finger are letting other women know that you’ve been pre-screened.

Finding a compatible partner isn’t easy—and the equation becomes even more stressful with a biological clock ticking in the background. To help filter worthy candidates, women look for clues. They evaluate men for the usual trademarks of great genes: height (Sheppard & Strathman, 1989), facial hair (Waynforth, Delwadia, & Camm, 2005), and facial symmetry (Little, Jones, & DeBruine, 2011). Women are also analyzing contextual clues; they rated men with status symbols like expensive cars (Dunn & Searle, 2010) and expensive clothes (Townsend & Levy, 1990) more desirable.

But, what about the other factors? Like temperament, passion, or sociability?

Personality does count but, unlike evaluating external cues, getting to know someone requires a substantial time investment. Instead of running her own due diligence, a single woman might take a shortcut with mate-choice copying. If a man is with a girlfriend, the single woman will use the girlfriend’s judgment to determine that the man would make a good partner.

So, I should only leave the house with a woman from now on?

It’s a bit more complicated than that. For a single woman to value the girlfriend’s judgment, the girlfriend must be as attractive if not more attractive than the single woman. To understand how much the girlfriend’s attractiveness matters, scientists gave participants pictures of potential mates alone and also pictured as part of a couple. Each potential mate was pictured with a “girlfriend” who was either unattractive, moderately attractive, or very attractive.

The desirability of the man was directly correlated to the attractiveness of his female partner. Participants rated men with attractive “girlfriends” much more desirable than the same men photographed alone. But, if the man is holding company with an unattractive partner, he’s actually rated as less desirable.

Mate-choice copying might sound like a conniving dating strategy specific to some morally questionable single ladies, but scientists assert that it’s more benign. It’s less about a single woman trying to steal another woman’s mate; instead, it’s probably just a single woman adapting her opinion to mirror that of a peer. We use other people’s opinions to help shape our own. If a woman sees a man who has been highly rated previously, it’s likely she will do the same.

How to Keep Him Interested

 

young lovers kiss

After your second dinner date with a promising new guy, he invites you back to his place for a night cap. At his apartment, he’s very affectionate and asks you to stay over. You’re attracted to him and want to see him again, but you aren’t ready to get between the sheets quite yet. How do you reject his advances, keep him interested at the same time, and not upset him by being ‘a tease?’

In this age of modern romance, when single people can find their next booty call with a touch of their smartphone, it’s important to know how to show a guy you are interested without jumping into bed with them right away. Consider the strategies below to keep your new guy interested without going too far too fast:

  • Let him know that you need to head home since you have an early morning meeting but would love to see him again soon.
  • Innocently brush up against his shoulder or waist to let him know that you are interested in him physically.
  • Kissing can be deliciously delightful and the perfect solution to letting him know you’re digging him but ending it at that for the time being.
  • Tell him you have a strict policy of not sleeping with anyone unless you in are monogamous relationship. This is one of the biggest areas I see so many people goof on when dating one another. Too many times couples start sleeping together and because they are very attracted to one another and see one another all the time, the female assumes they are exclusive.
  • You are NOT exclusive unless you HAVE THE TALK. So have the talk and be a smart dater. For all you know, your partner is sleeping with a handful of other people- and frankly that’s not safe!
  • Plan ahead – create a compelling event that will require you to leave the date at a certain time.
  • Text him after you leave to let him know that you had a great time and look forward to seeing him again.

Differentiate yourself as the girl who doesn’t jump in the sack right away. You have standards and values and if he can’t appreciate you being a quality girl…his loss and your gain honey!

If you reject his advances and never hear from him again, he probably wasn’t interested in dating you in the first place. If he is seriously interested in dating you, he will be more than happy to wait for the relationship to turn physical.

Just remember to give him some encouragement, including flirty texts, verbal affirmations, and as much touch as you are comfortable doing at whatever stage you’re at with him.

Handsome Bay Area Bachelor Seeks High Energy Match

That technique is flawless

We are excited to announce a new search for a marriage-minded bachelor. Our achievement oriented and self-aware 39-year old client resides in San Francisco and feels more ready than ever to find his dream match. He’s a handsome Caucasian gentleman who is 5’10”, very fit, with hazel eyes, a strong law line, and warm smile.

He was named an Academic All-American as an NCAA Division 1 soccer player in college and has always maintained a very active lifestyle including: yoga, surfing, heli skiing, biking, tennis, and he’s even maintained a single-digit handicap in golf throughout the years.

Professionally, he’s an executive in real estate private equity and while he has found success at work, he now hopes to find the same in his love life.  He focuses on the positive in life, loves to laugh, and dislikes drama.

He sees relationships as partnerships and hopes to find a woman that can challenge him and who wants to be challenged, but all in the name of love. He doesn’t practice any organized religion but believes in the pursuit of being more present and wants to enhance spirituality in his life.

Our bachelor is attracted to women who are 25-37 years old, naturally cute, fit, sporty, and taller (5’7” is the perfect height). She’s social, smart, compassionate, thoughtful, grounded, and low on drama.

This caring and energetic woman wants to be active with her man and participate in all the great things Bay Area living has to offer. She’s always up for a fun adventure and can’t wait to tackle new and exciting activities with her partner!  If you or anyone you know might make a great match for our dreamy client, please email Amy at amy@linxdating.com

Southern California VIP Bachelor Seeks Dream Match

We are thrilled to announce a new search for a VIP in Southern California. Our bachelor is a high energy and intelligent mid-50’s Caucasian gentleman who is 5’10”, 180 pounds and is based in Manhattan Beach. He is passionate, expressive and is deeply committed to living life fully! He is an entrepreneur, currently owning and running 3 businesses and is very involved with children related philanthropy.  He was born in London, grew up in New York, and has lived in San Francisco, San Diego, and loves the Southern California lifestyle. He received his BA from Amherst College and his MBA from Stanford Business School.

His many interests and activities include hot yoga, Argentine Tango, supporting independent filmmakers, hiking, basketball, travel and dining. He loves art and music and regularly goes to museums, art and music festivals and concerts. He takes adult extension courses and likes to push himself outside of his comfort zone.

This candidate is a passionate and intense person who feels things deeply. He has a great and happy life and wants to share it with a partner. He is deeply committed to his 2 kids (ages 20 and 18) and they will always be a priority but given their ages and his work and philanthropy structure, he has the desire to put in the time and effort to have a committed long-term relationship.

Our bachelor responds best to feminine, stylish, and beautiful women who are between the ages of 35-55 years old and care about staying in shape. His match is social, intelligent, an excellent communicator, very affectionate, introspective, and independent. She gets what work life balance means and lives her life where flexibility and freedom are paramount. His perfect match would be based near Manhattan Beach yet our bachelor is very open to women residing in NYC, the Bay Area, or beyond.

If you or anyone you know might make a match for our dream VIP, please contact Amy right away: amy@linxdating.com