female entrepreneur

Linx Q & A with Jodi Klein, Author of First Date Stories: Women’s Romantic and Ridiculous Midlife Adventures

Linx Q & A with Jodi Klein, Author of First Date Stories: Women’s Romantic and Ridiculous Midlife Adventures

What is the book about and why did you write it?

First Date Stories: Women’s Romantic and Ridiculous Midlife Adventures is a collection of true hopeful, hilarious, and horrific tales, plus takeaway tips and inspirational quotes told to me by women in midlife. I wrote it to provide entertainment, camaraderie and guidance to readers who are riding the dating rollercoaster or considering a comeback.

I want all daters to believe that they will find love, no matter how unlikely it may seem at times. To do that, they must keep going on first dates. Dating is a numbers game. The more people you meet, the greater chance you have to encounter your “Mr. Yes” or “Ms. Yes.” Also, you’re much more likely to fall in love after you’ve accepted and embraced who you are and truly love yourself. 

Not all the stories in the collection conclude with “happily ever after” endings, but each woman kept showing up for first dates because she believed that she was worthy of receiving love and that there was someone worthy of consuming the gift of her love. 

It is my hope that their stories inspire readers to do and feel the same. Millions of women in midlife are riding the first date rollercoaster. First Date Stories will help them take the ride together. 

Where did you get the idea from?

The idea was born out of my personal experience. I know what it’s like to date longer and later in life. A demanding career and desire to find my “Mr. Yes” led to me becoming an alumna of nearly 400 dates over the course of 26 years. As friends peeled off into coupledom, it became increasingly difficult to find women who were single like me. By the time I reached midlife, dating had gone from being a supportive, shared adventure, to what often felt like a solo journey.

I discovered that I wasn’t the only person who felt this way. I also came to realize that women derive empathy and connection through the sharing of our stories. But when you don’t know others who are in the same place in life as you, there are no stories to hear. If you don’t have people to connect with who relate to where you are, you can feel baffled by today’s dating scene, as well as frustrated, disconnected and possibly even lonely. Many of the women who I met for whom this was true were giving up on finding the love that they desired.

At the time, I was a member of a short story writing group. I casually began chronicling some of my first dates. As I told women about what I was doing, more of them wanted to share their tales. The momentum built. My fellow writers told me that they were curious about what happened following each date, so I inserted a section called “The Rest of the Story.” Realizing that there were lessons to be learned from each tale, I added Dating Takeaway Tips. Quotes from renown women are placed throughout for laughs and to instill some words to live by.

What started out as a side project evolved into this book. But the publishing process takes a long time. Creating a podcast doesn’t. So I launched the podcast and the blog in tandem while I continued to work on the book and the “First Date Stories Initiative” was born!  

Do you have a target reader? 

Absolutely! The target reader is a woman in her mid-thirties to early-60s who wants to meet a loving lifelong partner. I wrote it for “seasoned daters,” which is a term I coined for people who are in the dating scene longer than they’d anticipated they’d be. It was also written for women who have come out of long term committed relationships, who are divorced or widowed. Early reviewers have also pointed out that men dating in midlife who’d like to gain insights into the female psyche should also buy the book.

Has a book like this been written before?

To my knowledge, this collection is the first of its kind. Through the years, I’ve continued to search for a book that features a collection of true first date tales of women’s midlife dating travails. I have yet to find another one. 

How did you keep dating after so many years?

I kept believing I would meet my match. Not every hour of every day, but more often than not. I started writing First Date Stories a few years before I went on the most important first date of my life—with my future husband. We got engaged 10 months later and I became a first-time bride when I was 49 years old.

I share with readers how he and I met, and the first date we went on, in the book’s final chapter. Now I know that all the dating ups and downs that I lived through before meeting him were worth it, even if it didn’t feel like it at the time. 

I hope that First Date Stories will motivate readers to continue going on first dates. The reason is simple: if they don’t go on a first date, they’ll never go on a second, a fifth, a tenth, and move toward a lifelong, loving partnership.  

What are you working on now?

I’m continuing to work on the “First Date Stories Initiative,” which, with the addition of the book, is comprised of three components. 

There’s the “First Date Stories Podcast.” On each episode, I interview a woman about a memorable date she’s been on. Guests have revealed all kinds of stories, from whacky to wonderful. There was the veterinarian who showed his date the paintings he made from the blood that gushed out of his nose when it bled, the man who made a racist comment at dinner not realizing that the woman he was out with is half African American, the woman who met her boyfriend during the pandemic in a Comic-Con group on Facebook, and many more!

At the end of each episode the guest shares advice to help listeners become more in-the-know, confident daters. 

There’s also the “First Date Stories Blog,” which showcases writings by dating and relationship coaches and self-care experts. All of it can be found at FirstDateStories.com. The podcast can also be heard wherever people listen to podcasts.

You mentioned that your guests on the podcast share dating advice. What’s the advice you hear most often?

Guests have shared an array of advice over the nearly 50 episodes we’ve recorded. There is one theme that’s most common, though. It’s to be open! And by “open,” they mean open in multiple ways. 

Be open to being with a partner who’s different than you’d imagined your future partner to be. Be open to meeting them in a way or place that you hadn’t expected to. Be open in your communications with the people you date by telling them what’s essential to you in a loving relationship and what your boundaries and unacceptable are.  It’s when we’re open in both heart and in mind to what may come next that we’re more likely to welcome wonderful people and experiences into our lives and grow as human beings. 

How did you meet your husband? Please share with me some details about your first date. 

Actually, our first date almost didn’t happen! The final story in the collection, which is titled “The Traffic Trifecta,” chronicles how my husband and I met and our first date. There’s a lot to the tale and it’s a wild one. I’ll summarize it. 

We’d met at a business networking event earlier in the week. Shortly after unexpectedly asking me what my relationship status was as I munched on an appetizer, which I then nearly choked on, he left the event with my business card in hand. The next day he contacted me on LinkedIn and we set up a coffee date. Given that he’d messaged me on a business platform, I wasn’t sure if we’d scheduled a networking or personal rendezvous.

Although I’d given myself what should have been more than ample time to drive across San Francisco on a Friday afternoon to meet him at a café, I got stuck in the worst city traffic jam I’d ever experienced! Only then did I discover that downtown streets had been unexpectedly shut because the President of the United States was at a meeting! Multiple times I considered canceling and turning around. The longer I stayed locked in traffic, the shorter our date would have to be, as I was celebrating my birthday that evening with family. 

I decided that not even President Obama was going to keep me from getting to the date! So I channeled Steve McQueen from the movie “Bullit” and circuitously wound my way through the city’s streets and down alley ways, arriving at the café 45 minute late! 

Our time together flew by. We discovered numerous shared interests and a similar sense of humor. I was attracted to him and comfortable in his company. It all felt easy. Natural. When we said our goodbyes, he commented we should get together again. 

Later that evening, my mother asked if it had been a date or a business meeting. 

“It was a date,” I responded. 

“How do you know?” she asked. 

“Because he didn’t ask me one question about business!” We burst out laughing!

He asked me out for the following Friday, and we’ve been together ever since. We got engaged 10 months later, and I became a first-time bride at the age of 49 years old.

What a wonderful synopsis! How do you think women who are dating will be helped by reading this story?

First and foremost, I hope that it will be an entertaining and enjoyable read for women and for men who want to learn more about the women they’re courting. 

I believe there are at least three lessons to be learned from this story for people who want to find their match. One is to go to events alone. Yes, go solo. Shake off any uncomfortable feelings you might have showing up somewhere without a companion. You’re much more approachable when you’re not with a friend. It was because I wanted to talk to someone at the networking event, and the man who is now my husband was eating alone, that I walked up to him. 

The second is to talk to strangers. Forget what you were taught as a child. When you see someone from across the room, you should approach them and try to start a conversation. It’s so easy to miss these opportunities¾these gifts¾to connect with others. You lose out on saying hello to someone new who might add something special to your life, and they’ve been denied the chance to get to know you, even a little. 

And the third lesson is that you can find love at any age, at any moment in time, anywhere. Believe that you’re worthy of receiving love, that there’s someone out there who’s worthy of receiving the joy of your love. Don’t settle and keep showing up!

What’s your “secret sauce” to a happy marriage? 

There are numerous factors that go into making our marriage such a happy one. What I view as our “secret sauce” is that we are each other’s biggest champion, cheerleader and evangelist. We respect and believe in one another so deeply that we support each other’s goals and dreams unequivocally. It’s an amazing feeling when you find someone who believes that your success is their success and vice versa.

How can readers get your book? 

First Date Stories: Women’s Romantic and Ridiculous Midlife Adventures will be published on September 14 by She Writes Press! Readers can pre-order it from their local independent bookstore, Bookshop.orgBarnes and NobleAmazon and wherever they like to buy their books. 

For a signed copy, they can purchase the book from Books Inc. or come to one of the upcoming events that are listed at FirstDateStories.com/Book. They can also find more information about the book, podcast and blog on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.

Jodi’s Bio:

Jodi Klein is the author of First Date Stories: Women’s Romantic and Ridiculous Midlife Adventures, which will be published on September 14. She founded First Date Stories as a platform for women to share their tales and wisdom so that others can overcome the trials of dating in midlife and find the long-term love they seek. Jodi is a graduate of UC Davis and holds an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, where she spends time working with local non-profits and rooting for her favorite sports teams. For more information, please go to FirstDateStories.com. 

Linx on CNN Newsroom Live Broadcast | March 20, 2013

Business Lessons | Indulge in your passion

This was a huge last week for Linx – a ton of simultaneous media coverage . All super crazy exciting!  Linx was featured in Fortune, CNN Money, CNN TV, and a venture capital/private equity news rag called peHUB.  I was slammed with hundreds upon hundreds of prospects emailing me about joining Linx from this fabulous outpouring of press. Now I have managed finally to come up for some air.  Ahhh… to breathe again.

Many people always ask me which publicist I use…I don’t have one. Let me share my secret with you. I’ve worked my tail off 7 days a week for the last ten years to build my business. I have bunkered down, completely focused on my mission, and maintained my same work ethic, principles, and mantra from the very beginning days of when I first started Linx.

When you remain anchored to your passions and don’t get worn down by the little hiccups along the way or distractions that are inevitable, people are attracted to that. Journalists are intrigued, they want to hear “the story” and learn all about of these high caliber and dynamic professionals that flock to Linx.  “How’d you come up with that?”

Sir Richard Branson (of Virgin fame) has a long list of important business and life lessons – here are two that I like and maybe you can relate, especially if you run your own company.richard_branson

#1: Entrepreneurship is not about getting one over on the customer. It’s not about working on your own. It’s not about looking out for number one. It’s not necessarily about making a lot of money. On the contrary, it’s about turning what excites you in life into capital, so that you can do more of it and move forward.

#2: When you’re first thinking through an idea it’s important not to get bogged down in complexity. Any fool can make something complex. It’s hard to make something simple.

I especially like point #2. It’s one of those “why didn’t I think of that” scenarios. A concept turned into actual product or service that is, at it’s core, a simple one. This point can be absolutely correlated to dating. Don’t get so strung out about how to act, look, what to say, etc on your first date. Slow down. Prepare. Stay true to yourself. Show up. Be gracious, be kind. Remember that your date is taking time out of his/her day to get to know you. It’s pretty simple when you think about it.

If you’ve gotten past the early stages of dating and are stressed about your relationship’s ups and downs, don’t loose sight of the end goal (if the end goal is marriage for you.) Although human behavior and relationships are, by definition, complex, you don’t have to make it so. In my coaching, I always use the visual of a horse with horse blinders on when dating. Don’t let the little stuff bring you down, get you distracted, or worry you. Stay level-headed. Pour your passion into your dating journey. That will create the foundation for a strong and healthy relationship. Lead your life with integrity. Never let anyone jeopardize your core values or extinguish your dreams, goals, and passions.

When I was a young entrepreneur originally living in the Silicon Valley and in a serious relationship at the time, I developed the concept for Linx. I was so in love but unaware that I was in a possessive and very controlling relationship. My boyfriend told me in so many words that I was “not allowed to start Linx” back then. My hopes and dreams felt shattered. I felt like a puppet on marionette strings and he was orchestrating how my life should be. I knew something wasn’t right.entrepreneurship

It’s so hard when you love someone yet it feels like he/she is sticking a dagger through you. After he broke up with me it felt like tear gas had completely engulfed my life. I couldn’t see what my new future would hold. I couldn’t really feel anything either. Maybe you can relate after a tragic breakup that flips you upside down. At the time, I felt like an inch worm scooting around with very low energy and so small in the big world from being made to feel like crap for a long time.

With the help of family and dear friends, I rebuilt my strength and began to see the silver lining in all of it. I remembered what had excited me so much before the big bad breakup had happened. I had witnessed an interesting and rather odd disparity in the ratio of eligible men to women in the Silicon Valley (lots of guys!!) and saw all of my female friends in San Francisco struggling to make sense of the dating scene.

I left the pain of the breakup in the past but remembered three things back then: 1) I knew there was something there with my dating concept and I had a burning desire to figure out how I could capitalize on it;  2) I now knew what I didn’t want to find in a future husband – i.e. controlling personality; and 3) never let anyone jeopardize your core values, or extinguish your dreams, goals, and passions.liberated_health1

The partner you choose should make you feel the best you can be, not the opposite. Being together should feel like a miracle not a nightmarish situation. Everyone has a fire somewhere in their belly. I encourage you to look within today and focus inward about what your burning desire is in life. Journal your thoughts, create an action place, and go after your dreams. After all, you’re the only one who can hold your own self accountable and know what your true passion(s) are. Now go indulge in that wondrous experience. P395683-2-1_richard-branson-2