The #1 matchmaker globally is going to CDMX!! Linx will be visiting Mexico City, Mexico, from April 16-21st. We are looking for dynamic, eligible men and women who are single and searching for the love of their life! There are no fees to meet and no fees for qualifying candidates to be added to the passive Linx database. We represent clients globally, and you never know, you might make the perfect match for one of our VIPs! If you are ready to start finding love today, email email@example.com to see if you qualify for an in-person candidate screening!
The Nob Hill Gazette’s April 2022 Issue (p. 49) features another Amy Andersen success story from the Bay Area based Peggy and Douglas who found one another through Linx and the help of Andersen. Linx caters to all ages (20’s to 70’s) and is dedicated to the endless possibilities of love and romance that can happen at any age. The article in its entirety is included below.
It’s Never too Late for Love
Written by Katie Sweeney from The Nob Hill Gazette
Love can happen any time in life. Take the modern love story of Douglas Spreng and Peggy Lucchesi. Spreng, a retired 77-year-old executive, decided to try online dating in 2020.” I dated through the pandemic,” he says. He used Our Time, a website and app geared toward adults over 50. “There were peaks and valleys. I was dating the whole time and I probably dated 20 women in a year.’ Tired of striking out, Spreng contacted a fellow Harvard alumnus who started a boutique matchmaking service in San Francisco. “People usually reach out to me,’ says Shannon Lundgren, the founder of Shannon’s Circle, “and I get to know them and find out, can I help them?”
Any person can sign up to be in her database of singles, but paying clients get the benefit from being set up on dates and finding a potential match. “When Douglas came to me, I did a lot of getting to know him,” Lundgren recalls. “The most common qualities that people tell me they’re looking for is someone intellectual curious and kind.” Lundgren set him up on several Zoom dates, but no Sparks Flew. Having combed through the possible candidates in Shannon’s circle, Lundgren called Amy Andersen, another local matchmaker, to see if anyone in her database might be a good fit for Spreng.
Enter Peggy Lucchesi. When Lucchesi moved from New Jersey to the Bay Area in 2014 to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren, she met with Andersen founder of Linx Dating. “I got a call from Amy Andersen after about five years,” Lucchesi recounts. “She said, “I think there’s somebody you might be interested in. Do you want me to send you his profile?”
Spreng and Lucchesi agreed to an online date. It was supposed to last 45 minutes but extended for hours. She invited him to join her for lunch and a swim at the house she shared with her daughter’s family – and the rest is history. “Just imagine a couple of 70-somethings in their bathing suits, jumping around the pool,” Spreng says enthusiastically. “We didn’t kiss on the first date. That would’ve been premature. But there was something about her that made me feel special and relaxed.”
Their relationship progressed rapidly from there. Was it love at first sight? Not quite, but almost. Now the couple lives together, and although they have yet to celebrate their first anniversary, they haven’t ruled out a proposal. What’s their advice to older people looking for love? Don’t let yourself go, stay in good shape, pursue hobbies and be social. But most important: “Accept the idea that it’s possible,” Lucchesi says. “You can find the love of your life at this stage of life.”
Amy Andersen is Silicon Valley’s undisputed Cupid, with lots of advice and a successful matchmaking business to spread the love from Redwood City to San Jose.
By: Michael McCarthy, Editor-in-Chief, for Modern Luxury Silicon Valley Magazine
Twenty years ago, Amy Andersen was living in Silicon Valley and in a serious relationship with a tech professional. The Marin County native says she was astounded by the number of eligible single male friends she had in the Valley—all of whom were looking for long-term love. “While these men lamented to me about their lonely hearts, I saw a very similar trend in San Francisco with my female friends,” says Andersen. “I had networked and connected with dozens of single women through the San Francisco chapter of the Junior League. These young professional women were having no issues getting dates, but were plagued by men who had no desire to commit.”
An idea—Linx Dating (linxdating.com)—was born. “I initially started Linx to bridge the gap between the men of Silicon Valley and the women of San Francisco,” says Andersen, who worked in private wealth management and public relations before launching Linx in 2003. “The business grew over the years and gained national and international recognition. I feel incredibly blessed that the demand is higher than ever some 18 years later, and I can’t believe that I get to match the most remarkable and dynamic men and women. I love my job.” During this month of amore, we asked Andersen about the power of her business, the secrets of finding a partner in the Valley and how to maintain the flame.
What special skills, or gut instinct, do you bring clients who are looking for love?
It’s really about access and pattern recognition. When you’ve been around for more than 18 years, you see a lot of patterns and have access to a lot of singles. I know the area well and have a good sense of the various demographics and psychographics—those who are single and looking for long-term commitment, as well as what tends to work and not work. I’ve seen network effects benefit the business; word travels and happy clients refer other great candidates to me, so I have a great pool from which to match people to each other or to [launch] an outbound search beyond the network.
That said, no two people are ever the same, and a huge part of what I do, once I match people, is provide ongoing coaching and advice to help couples realize the great potential that could be there between them and thus to avoid pitfalls and dating quicksand that could sink what might otherwise be an amazing relationship. Those skills come from, again, nearly two decades of seeing issues come up that can plague young couples.
What are the biggest challenges to finding someone special in Silicon Valley?
Certain challenges are not unique to Silicon Valley—busy people and lives and difficulty accessing the right pool of singles are issues in any market. But I would say that desire for anonymity and privacy—combined with impatience and ticking clocks—make volume dating on the apps very difficult and impractical. Hoping and waiting for the random introduction or lucky meeting to happen in the course of life is a nice thing that could happen, but it’s not a viable primary strategy to meet the one.
My clients have already bought into Linx, where I invest the cycles to really get to know and understand you, custom curate high-quality matches and provide a laser-focused and a highly confidential and private approach to dating to save what could be years of searching for that needle in a haystack. That said, I recommend to all clients that they should pursue multiple other channels in parallel to Linx to maximize the chances of success—whether [it means] online apps, where I’ve even helped with reviewing their profiles, or helping them think through how to put themselves in the best position to succeed by working on themselves.
What are some of the most surprising things you’ve learned recently about love and relationships in Silicon Valley?
Although this can be true anywhere, I find it especially true in the Valley—finding a balance between traditional gender roles and the reality of life today can be tough in dating and in the transition to relationships. So can the notion of nurturing patience and communication in a world of instant gratification and the rush to judgment. Also, in a place where the tech industry and engineering provide clear and analytical answers to problems every day, relationships fall into the gray area and require more emotional intelligence. Folks here, for the most part, can be more challenged in that area.
What are some things that can doom a new match or budding relationship?
Two matches can fixate too heavily on some early road bumps in a relationship, not taking the time to look at how much good there is and to work through the issues; they figure the grass must be greener on the other side. In other words, people here are wired to give up quickly instead of working through the hard stuff that ultimately makes a relationship so much more meaningful. Also, some of my clients have a hard time turning off the career talk in the early dates, and the date turns into business networking and has the feel of a job interview. I try to help them reveal a more balanced, authentic side. Finally, both male and female clients can get hung up in the game of not showing too much interest in the other person too early, and that can kill the buzz. I encourage clients to give an affirmation, if even subtle, if they’re interested. Intuition is one thing, but people aren’t mind readers or psychics!
How has technology, specifically dating apps, changed the calculus of dating since you launched Linx?
The availability of thousands of matches in the palm of your hand on a phone makes impatience and judgment easier. You could be swiping away your future partner and never meet the right person because you’re searching for someone better.
How has dating during COVID changed the delicate dance of dating and matchmaking?
This is more science and common sense than matchmaking. Obviously, going out a lot to meet random people at lounges and events is not the best practice right now. Phone calls, texts, Zooms are important early on, and that can create some pressure to address big issues in the initial stages versus just getting to know each other and building chemistry. So, I advise folks: If you feel something that could be meaningful, get on the same page with the person about vaccination and testing and see if there’s a safe way to get together to start building on the early good signs. My general advice would be start with a simple phone call to chat about COVID safety and then bridge that to an in-person [date]. It’s extremely hard for my clients and loved ones to find the sparks through a Zoom session. How can you truly feel the chemistry, read body language and truly discover if those pheromones are there?
Your advice for sustaining a loving relationship?
Give each other a ton of respect and latitude, try to refrain from harsh judgments, and develop an effective communication strategy from the start. Communicate as best you can. Different people have different ways of communicating, even if they don’t realize it.
Always have integrity, and do the right thing. Be consistent with your behavior. In other words, if you’re kind, non-judgmental and friendly to your colleagues or the stranger who walks past you on the street, don’t change the way you treat your partner behind closed doors. Be consistent with the way you handle your relationships, and honor your partner with respect.
Put in the hard work and keep tending to [a relationship] like a garden, nurture it every day. I encourage you and your partner to take a deep dive into relationship books like The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work(Harmony Books) by John & Julie Gottman, Wired For Love (New Harbinger Publications) by Stan Tatkin or Getting the Love You Want (St. Martin’s Griffin) by Harville Hendrix. Sometimes, I sometimes [encourage couples] to work with a therapist—not because your relationship is damaged, but because you want to have the tools in your toolkit to be the strongest, most resilient, loving couple possible. Always remember how lucky you are for all of the good there is, even when faced with challenges.
This is our travel issue. What are some of your favorite romantic getaways in Northern California?
In Napa, Solage in Calistoga (aubergeresorts.com/solage) is great to stay for a romantic weekend. Check out the new hip Pico Bar and the world-class pool, spa and amenities. I also love B Cellars (bcellars.com) winery in Oakville for the vino and food pairings, as well as the Far Niente (farniente.com) winery near Oakville for the sheer scenic beauty. There are so many amazing restaurants, but a few standouts are Charter Oak (thecharteroak.com) in St. Helena for casual gastronomique style, Brix (brix.com) near Yountville for the garden, beauty and freshness of the food, and R&D Kitchen (rd-kitchen.com) in Yountville for elegant, casual grilled fare.
In Sonoma, a favorite is the MacArthur Place Hotel and Spa (macarthurplace.com); it’s a lovely boutique hotel with a phenomenal restaurant, Layla—it’s some of the best food in Northern California, along with The Girl and the Fig (thegirlandthefig.com). Both are lovely settings for dates in relaxed settings.
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? :-)”
Our client is a dynamic, polished, 33-year-old Caucasian former college tennis player, who stands at 5’11” with brown hair, blue eyes, and a contagious smile. He was born and raised in Southern California and likes to joke that (at least to this point) the best decision he ever made was picking his parents, who devoted themselves to raising a wonderful family and have led by example to show him how to live the most enjoyable and fulfilled life possible. His father is his intellectual inspiration, who helped instill in him a passion for all sorts of intellectual pursuits from mathematics to economics to politics to psychology. His mother provided him with his uniformly positive attitude toward life, best encapsulated by being bestowed the “This is the best day yet” award when he was 13 years old on a 3-week trip to Europe with a group of young teenagers. His parents first met on a tennis court, and his dream-come-true would be for his wife to share the passion for tennis that he inherited from his parents.
Our client is a renaissance man and decorated student-athlete. He was valedictorian in high school and had the top GPA of any student in his class at a leading US university, all the while doing among the most difficult set of majors and having the winningest record on his top Division I tennis team during his final seasons. Before launching into his career, he spent a year in the United Kingdom to get master’s degree in finance and write a couple of books about achieving peak performance on the tennis court, in the classroom, and beyond.
He has had a highly successful career to date, with stints in consulting and private equity before settling on public market investing, where his primary focus is high-growth software companies. He takes great pride in his work, but he is conscientious about maintaining a healthy work-life balance, which provides him with ample freedom to pursue his myriad of hobbies, from playing tennis to hiking in National Parks to participating in several conservative/libertarian political organizations to sitting on his balcony perched high above the Bay in his never-ending pursuit to figure out the meaning of life.
Given the wonderful upbringing he had from his loving parents who made raising children their top priority, he is uniquely focused on raising a family and being a devoted father. Having seen how much pleasure his parents had bringing up multiple children, he is excited about the opportunity to pay it forward to his children. A meticulous planner, he has a remarkable “lifestyle-oriented” vision for how he sees his life play out and is looking for an inspiration partner to join with him on the journey ahead.
His dream match is an intellectual and athletic peer, who also had excellent grades, played tennis at a top Division I school, and shares a similar passion for life and vivacious personality. She is an “All American girl” who is 23-27 years old, between 5’5”-5’11”, physically fit, and has light features. She is politically conservative/libertarian and comes from a stable, married family with parents who are still deeply in love after multiple decades of marriage. She is as close to her parents and siblings as our client is and deeply hoping to marry someone who adores her parents as she does. She desires to focus on raising a family as extraordinary as her own, alongside a husband who is equally engaged in her children’s development.
Her friends would describe her as proactive, cheerful, optimistic, judicious, and highly organized. She has a job that is intellectually demanding and ambitious, but also one that has (or at least will have) reasonable hours so she can live a balanced, wholesome life with plenty of time to pursue her many other interests.
On weekends, her favorite activities include playing tennis, hiking, reading, and socializing with friends. She enjoys taking trips to national parks and visiting new cities and towns. She is unafraid to be a globetrotter and to take the road less traveled to explore interesting far-fetched places that have their charm but are not the common spots that tourists go.
Our client has not been married before and does not currently have any children, but he envisions both in his future and plans to take this role very seriously.
If you or anyone you might know could qualify as a candidate to meet this extraordinary VIP, please submit your information here. There are NO fees for qualified candidates to meet our client.
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.org, Barnes and Noble, Amazon 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 Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
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.
“When I met Amy I said something along the lines of ‘I know some men just like beautiful women that are quiet and don’t talk’ and she immediately chimed in and said “that’s not my clients. My clients want a woman who is beautiful but also interesting to talk to, who has hobbies and passions, who would be complementary and value-add to their lives.”
“I was so relieved to hear this as a woman in her mid-30s frustrated with dating in Los Angeles. Amy’s clients are very successful and high caliber individuals, and they are ready for commitment. They have arrived at the realization that 2 is better than 1 and they are missing a life partner, someone to build a life with. It has truly been a refreshing change to meet Amy. Amy is very thoughtful about her introductions and is all about quality over quantity.
She is very responsive and communicative and has my back. You can’t even compare Linx Dating to dating apps. As a female, I also really appreciate that Amy interviews all her clients in person and won’t work with people she can’t help or simply are not ready for something serious. I’m excited to see what the summer has in store for me with my Linx match.”
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.
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 — Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Books-a-Million, Indiebound, Indigo. 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.
Dating a man in his 40s is an exciting experience. He wants to provide for a companion and has the means to do so—unlike many younger men, he’s usually established in his career and rather self-assured about his place in the world. In fact, studies like this one from the Atlantic show that a man’s desirability typically peaks around their 40s and 50s.
On the other side of the coin, there’s also a higher likelihood that he’s been married and/or has children. Though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it may be daunting for some women.
So, what are the top 4 essential things to know about dating a man in his 40s?
(1) He likes clarity and honesty
A man in his 40s is more discerning and direct about his dating life—and expects you to be the same.
Playing games like intentionally delaying messaging back for a few days, playing hard to get, or talking about other men to entice jealousy doesn’t sit well—for a man in his 40s, this behavior is more likely to be interpreted as a lack of commitment, and he may simply assume that you’re disinterested.
He’ll appreciate you clearly expressing your interest, and he’ll also appreciate an honest and direct conversation if you’re not interested. With life experience behind him, he’ll more than graciously accept a thoughtful rejection, rather than a slow, time-wasting denouement.
(2) He needs his space
A man in his 40s is serious about keeping up with his responsibilities. You’ll have to respect that he may be preoccupied during the day and may not always message back immediately, or that he might want to get to bed early in order to wake up early.
The good news is that you’ll have more time to focus on yourself, especially when you have your own business, friends, and hobbies.
(3) He may want a family
While every situation is different, it would be wrong to assume that every man in his 40s wouldn’t be interested in starting a family with you simply because he is divorced or has kids already.
If he has kids already, it is also important to understand that he may take his time to introduce you to them—this is normal as he’ll want to be assured things are serious before he takes that step in intertwining your lives. Again, give him the space to do this at his own pace.
(4) He’s not a fixer-upper
Lastly, studies like this one by Costa and McRae have shown that personality traits remain relatively stable in adults after 30. This explains why it is incredibly challenging—or nearly impossible—to fundamentally change a 40-year-old’s personality, and it is important to recognize that trying to do so will most likely only lead to frustration for both of you.
So, for example, if he’s consistently not interested in an outdoor hike on your favorite trail, then chances are slim that he’ll ever be.
A man in his 40s has been shaped by his life experiences, both good and bad, and he’ll have a much stronger sense of self for it. The major benefit for you—if you have the chance to be with someone who truly knows himself—is that this illuminates a clearer path to connection.
If you find yourself searching for love but not knowing where to begin, don’t hesitate to get in touch—I’m here to help.
Wishing you love and good health,
THE KEY ECONOMIC TAKEAWAYS WERE:
-70% of Germany will contract it (58M people). This is the next most relevant industrial economy to be effected.
-Peak-virus is expected over the next eight weeks, declining thereafter.
-The virus appears to be concentrated in a band between 30-50 degrees north latitude, meaning that like the common cold and flu, it prefers cold weather. The coming summer in the northern hemisphere should help. This is to say that the virus is likely seasonal.
-Of those impacted 80% will be early-stage, 15% mid-stage and 5% critical-stage. Early-stage symptoms are like the common cold and mid-stage symptoms are like the flu; these are stay at home for two weeks and rest. 5% will be critical and highly weighted towards the elderly.
-Mortality rate on average of up to 2%, heavily weighted towards the elderly and immunocompromised; meaning up to 3m people (150m*.02). In the US about 3m/yr die mostly due to old age and disease, those two being highly correlated (as a percent very few from accidents). There will be significant overlap, so this does not mean 3m new deaths from the virus, it means elderly people dying sooner due to respiratory issues. This may however stress the healthcare system.
-There is a debate as to how to address the virus pre-vaccine. The US is tending towards quarantine. The UK is tending towards allowing it to spread so that the population can develop a natural immunity. Quarantine is likely to be ineffective and result in significant economic damage but will slow the rate of transmission giving the healthcare system more time to deal with the case load.
-China’s economy has been largely impacted which has affected raw materials and the global supply chain. It may take up to six months for it to recover.
-Global GDP growth rate will be the lowest in 30 years at around 2%.
-S&P 500 will see a negative growth rate of -15% to -20% for 2020 overall.
-There will be economic damage from the virus itself, but the real damage is driven mostly by market psychology. Viruses have been with us forever. Stock markets should fully recover in the 2nd half of the year.
-In the past week there has been a conflating of the impact of the virus with the developing oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. While reduced energy prices are generally good for industrial economies, the US is now a large energy exporter, so there has been a negative impact on the valuation of the domestic energy sector.
-Technically the market generally has been looking for a reason to reset after the longest bull market in history.
Linx Dating LLC