Menlo Park matchmaker

Romance and Dining in Silicon Valley

Couple Enjoying Meal In Restaurant

Anyone can book a table for two at the hottest restaurant in town, so what is the #1 key to impressing your dinner date and setting the stage for an unforgettable romantic evening?  Location, location, location!

Far too many Bay Area diners excitedly book prime time dinner reservations at expensive restaurants only to be seated at less than desirable tables for romantic meals.  Your $200+ dinner is well worth it when you’ve scored a private table with a view and feels like a horrible mistake when you’re seated next to the bathroom or an inch away from the couple seated next to you.

Think about it – would you ever spend the same amount for a middle seat in Economy Class on a plane as you would for a window seat in First Class?  Of course not!  In the restaurant business, why should you pay premium prices if you’re sitting at a lousy table? You shouldn’t.

There are a number of steps you can take to improve your chances for a successful dinner date.  Obviously, showing up on time and dressed in a manner that shows that you care about your appearance and that you respect your date’s time and attention are top priorities.

However, if you’re in charge of choosing the restaurant, you’d be well advised to also follow my maxim, “You don’t want a romantic restaurant.  You want a romantic table.”  Our new website, mostromantictable.com, helps diners find and book the most romantic dinner tables at restaurants around the world.  We’ve launched in New York, Palm Springs, Lake Tahoe, Wine Country, San Francisco and the Silicon Valley.

Here in Silicon Valley, Chez TJ, is well known as one of the most romantic restaurants in the area.  For over 30 years, the restaurant has been the preferred location for innumerable proposals, engagements, and birthday celebrations.  All tables at Chez TJ are great, but dining at either Table 42 or Table 43 will transform your dining experience.  Both tables are located in the quiet, comfortable, tastefully decorated front parlor room of the Victorian mansion that houses the restaurant.  Both are next to windows that will provide you and your date with plenty of conversational fodder as you watch the world go by.  The food at Chez TJ is exceptional, as evidenced by the Michelin stars it consistently earns for its outstanding contemporary French cuisine.

Perhaps the most romantic dinner experience in the valley is in The Champagne Room at Saratoga’s The Plumed Horse Restaurant.  The Champagne Room holds a table for two in a curtained alcove off of the restaurant’s lounge.  Piano music greets you as you sit down at your table while candles and light from a stained glass window illuminate the room.  The Champagne Room offers privacy and an ambiance conducive to an intimate meal.  The Plumed Horse is celebrated for both its food and wine – it’s food has been recognized by Michelin with at least one star every year since 2008, and the Wine Spectator has given The Plumed Horse 1 out of only 81 worldwide Grand Awards for its wine program.

According to OpenTable, almost 70% of their diners wish they could have table specific information when making their dinner reservations.  In general, it’s good advice to call a restaurant either before or after making a reservation to ensure that you’ll be seated at a table appropriate for the occasion.  You can significantly improve your chances for a successful date by choosing your restaurant and your table from the incredible selection available at www.mostromantictable.com.

Guest Blogger Jay Ward, founder of MostRomanticTable.com. After taking his girlfriend to more than 160 restaurants in the first two-and-a-half years of their relationship, Jay conceived of the idea for MostRomanticTable.com.

Single females: If you like mind-bending conversation, creative adventures, and global causes…read about our new bachelor!

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We are pleased to announce another search for a Bay Area bachelor. He is a pragmatic optimist at age 34. This Caucasian gentleman stands 5’7” with an athletic build, medium length brown hair, greenish-brown eyes, and a boyish grin. He’s a wilderness expert, who’s hiked Patagonia, New Zealand, and recently returned from post-earthquake Nepal.

Our client is a physician, academic epidemiologist, human rights advocate, social entrepreneur, and global health expert. Academically, he is educated at an Ivy League, as well as, two other top universities for his MD and MPH. He is an experiential learner who would travel to the moon, if that were an option! Maybe it comes from his parents, who traveled the world for seven years in the 1970s. He prizes mind-bending conversation, Pandora, and omakase.

“Outside of work” includes non-profit board work, so the lines between “work” and “outside of work” blur with his passion for social justice. Despite his ambitions, responsibilities, and tireless work ethic, he is a natural west coaster with his laid-back attitude. His quirks are inspired with intellect, sprinkled with humor, and fused by a swirl of those most influential in his life.

His best suited match is ages 25-35 years old, Caucasian, mixed race, or European, 5’3”+, with a petite to athletic frame. She’s naturally very cute and doesn’t feel the need to always dress up or wear make-up. In fact, our client thinks women are most beautiful au natural.

Our client is turned on by women who are at the top of their field and has a strong sense of social justice.  He likes women who exercise, can discuss current events, and cares about the world and have an appreciation for the outdoors. She is best described as warm, caring, highly empathetic, humble, and curious. Perhaps her life has been infused with rights-based thinking and wanting to “save the world”- in whatever shape, form, and size that takes place.  Finally, his dream match should desire a family of her own one day and be excited at the prospect of being a mother.

If you or anyone you know might make a great match for this truly unique bachelor, please write our founder, Amy, at amy@linxdating.com

Finding Love Again After Divorce or Loss of Spouse

Shot of a mature couple drinking champagne while relaxing in deck chairs at sunset
Romance, courtship, and monogamy are wonderful blessings to strive for in life, regardless of one’s age. 2015 has been a fascinating year across multiple axes at Linx, as we have had the opportunity to work with some of the most influential men and women in the nation. What I particularly admire about many of our new clients is that they are well over 50 years old. Many of them have been married once, twice, and in some cases three times. We have even represented many widowed clients who, after having taken sufficient time for healing, introspection, prayer, and quality moments with family and friends, affirm their belief that love with someone new seems fathomable and within reach.

Why spend the rest of your life alone when you could find a companion, a love, a lover, a dancing partner, a best friend- you name it – with whom you could fall in love and experience magic again? Loss, of any kind, fuels the soul with hope and curiosity – it can be very exciting to “hit reset” and to see who’s out there in this giant world of ours. It can make you feel like you’re 16 again and feeling puppy love.

Some of our 50+ year old clients have shared that one of the major things that dissuades them from dating again, after divorce or the loss of a spouse, is worrying about what their children will think. This concern is very real and makes perfect sense on a lot of levels. Understandably, it’s not uncommon for many men and women to have very (and in some cases I have seen, extremely) poor filters when they date for the first time after divorce or losing a significant other. In most cases I see, clients were together with their spouse for 20 years on average, which means that they sort of never really dated to begin with! They got married very young, had X number of children, and never looked back.

Fast forward decades later in this era of modern dating, the social and dating landscape couldn’t be more different! A very laissez-faire attitude amongst many singles has manifested itself over the last few years and comes hand-in-hand with the rise of a million dating apps, niche dating sites, and an underlying current of complete and utter disregard for courtship and chivalry- some of the original principles upon which Linx is built. What it means to be a gentleman and what it means to be a lady. Alas, I digress.

In the multiple cases to which I have been privy about dating for the first time post divorce or loss of spouse, the stories can be gruesome to say the least. For many men, they pick someone purely based on physicality. Unfortunately after a few dates or, in some cases, an actual relationship, these men realize that the match they chose comes nowhere close to the magnitude and quality that their late spouse or even ex possessed. It is their children who regard the new flame as a poor fit for their parent and remind them that they can do a lot better.

For women, they will often chose someone who makes them feel safe, loved, and where they feel a strong emotional pull. Many of the men that these females chose on their own do not match up to them financially and lifestyle wise. In other words, they are not in the same socio-economic class but, more importantly I feel, they lack sophistication. These females are reminded by their children that the new relationship is indeed threatening, and that the new guy is simply after her money. As the saying goes, love can be blind.

So even though I have heard so many stories of dating in the wild for the first time post divorce or loss of one’s spouse and as many times as I “feel” for my clients, in many respects it is important to go through this and see what’s out there before starting Linx. I believe it makes people (my clients) appreciate the quality and caliber of our clientele even more.

So in closing, if a dear friend, colleague, or parent is sailing through the seas without a rudder as they navigate dating in 2015-2016 alone, give them the encouragement and hope that finding love is indeed possible again. Remember it’s a sensitive subject and can take time, a lot of work, moments of sheer frustration, and rejection but that they too can believe in love again and make it happen. Let them try to pilot dating on their own with some tools to start with (i.e., get online, go to singles meet-ups, etc) and once they have dated a bit and practiced, then hit them with higher stakes dating where courtship and romance is simply a click away to: amy@linxdating.com

Ferragamo Would Be So Proud: What to Know About Women’s Shoes

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We’d like to draw your attention to an article entitled ‘What Can You Tell About A Woman From Her Shoes’ that appeared in a 2014 Issue of Men’s Health. In it, the authors cite a 2012 study from the University of Kansas, which asserts that “people are able to accurately judge 90 percent of a stranger’s personality, including their emotional stability, simply by looking at their most-worn pair of shoes.”  Well, we haven’t seen the study, nor are we interested in disputing its findings. But we are very interested in your acumen (or, more likely, the  lack thereof) for women’s footwear because we think that this is more practical in the context of coaching you as you embark on your dating adventures.   Why?

Two reasons:

(1) Even if you wanted to, you can’t apply the results of the above study if you don’t first have a solid working knowledge of women’s footwear.  Moreover, though, there is definitely value in ascertaining the emotional stability of someone by assessing their most worn pair of shoes, we feel fairly confident that most people don’t wear their most worn pair of shoes out on a date. So, in the context of dating we feel it is much more important, pragmatic and constructive to teach men about what actually lies behind the doors of a closet dedicated to shoe apparel before they go much farther.

(2) To even get beyond an initial introduction to a lady of interest, you will need to sustain her attention and you should be able to converse about more than just what you are comfortable with – i.e. you need to be comfortable out of your comfort zone. Women’s shoes are a great example of a “high yield” topic with which you should be familiar.  If you are seeking a long-term relationship, which most of my clients are, the chances are good that you will spend quite a bit of time shopping with your significant other or at least enough time that you will want to know a thing or two about women’s shoes.  Our clients tend to be interested in fashionable women, and fashionable women tend to appreciate men who have some appreciation for women’s shoes. After all, some of the women you will meet will have quite an obsession with shoes, possibly own hundreds of pairs, including some that have only been worn on a single occasion.

Let’s pose a question to demonstrate what you probably don’t know… and don’t feel bad… you are in the great majority of men on planet Earth if you don’t know the answer to the following question. Here it is: What’s the difference between a slingback espadrille wedge and a peep-toe ankle strap platform wedge?

Most of you are computer savvy. So if you look up “espadrille” you’ll find a Wikipedia entry that reads as follows “Espadrilles or alpargatas are normally casual, flat, but sometimes high-heeled shoes originating in the Pyrenees.”

Wedges, which were made popular by Salvatore Ferragamo, also have their own entry, which reads “Wedge boots, wedgies or lifties are shoes and boots with a sole in the form of a wedge so that one piece of material, normally rubber, serves as both the sole and the heel.”

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We are assuming that you don’t have the time or inclination to do a ton of “field research” on things like this.  As such, we are here to help.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, we decided to introduce a comprehensive infographic covering just about every contemporary shoe style you might find in a woman’s shoe closet……

Pop-Chart Lab published the Charted Collection of Contemporary Footwear (and we think it is pretty phenomenal and helpful.)

So with that introduction, we direct you to the following infographic. For the guys out there, the next time you’re at the mall running some quick errands consider our advice and head to women’s shoes in a high-end department store. Strike up a conversation and ask a cute girl trying on a pair of d’orsay pumps her opinion on which shoes she would recommend getting for your sister/mother/aunt/cousin/etc. It’s a “target rich” environment with high yield potential for single guys or dare I say someone with a serious foot fetish.;-)

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Geek is Chic: Guys Get Your Glasses On

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Harry Met Sally

Couple cuddling affectionate on the beach in winter with the sea in the background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. COMMUNICATION, SIGNALS, AND GAMES

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

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

  1. THE POWER OF TRUE NETWORKS

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

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

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

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

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

A Note to The Guys (from the new guy at the office)

Blog written by: Linx staff member, Michael Norman

For those of you who don’t know, there has actually been a guy hanging out at the Linx offices for the past few months (and that guy happens to be me). For most of the members I’ve met, I seem to be a very welcome addition; as a gay man, I know how men think, and I know what women find attractive. And as a Stanford graduate(twice over, with engineering degrees, no less) who has heteronormative values, I know how difficult it is to be a single person with high standards who is hoping to find someone passionate, compassionate, and compatible who is willing to put in the work required to nurture the kind of relationship that leads to lasting love. beautiful girl looking out the balcony of a farmhouse

Unlike a lot of gay men I know, I also grew up with (and still have) very close straight male friends, so I really do understand what straight guys find sexy. And that’s why I have to tell you that Amy and I spent last Wednesday interviewing six incredibly different women (ages 24-50), who all really had their act together, and were all – consistently but uniquely – very hot.

In no particular order, we had:

-A petite 50-year-old brunette with a voice for radio but a face for film. A Bay area native, she now spends her time helping people focus their energies on positive outcomes, improved health, and personal growth, and she’s looking to focus her own energy on building a future with one great guy. If you like beautiful women with tight bodies, sultry voices, very little baggage, and a great sense of style, you might want to ask Amy for an introduction.

-A tall 24-year-old blonde with great legs and a surprising maturity. Some people really do have old souls, but hers was certainly still young at heart. She’s not looking to settle, but she would like to settle down, and if you think sweet, 5’9”, fit and easy-going is out of your league, then you should have seen the way that her face lit up when we asked how she’d feel about dating a thirty-something geek. Match_Feb_2010_Anna

-An extremely polished 39-year-old mother of three with a gorgeous foreign accent and dangerous curves. Professionally, she is at the top of her game, but she still needs someone to help her celebrate life’s victories. For her, being sexy is about being emotionally aware and present; she doesn’t need your money, but she might like a piece of your heart. In case you’re wondering, this standout blonde has no height requirement, and thinks true love is colorblind.

-A smart and sensual 35-year-old chef and author with an Ivy League education who is deeply curious about the motivations of people, the roots of cultures, and the ties that bind us all together. She had long brown hair, a natural femininity that was complemented by a love of the outdoors, and some considerable… assets. She needs a smart and sensual man with a playful sense of humor who will happily eat her food; granola has never looked so delicious.Sasha_Match_Running

-A 27-year-old blonde with Colorado roots but a touch of Southern charm who is as mature as she is feminine. California seems to suit her well, and the ideal suitor for this avid tennis player and occasional marathoner with the face of a one-time supermodel is tall, dark, and handsome, with a good heart, great character, and conservative values that mirror her own. If you don’t already go to church, she’ll gladly take you; she’d be a very good reason to give thanks.

-A stunning 31-year-old scientist with green eyes, a smattering of freckles, and light brown hair whose recent move to the Bay area must have left a void of hotness in at least one part of LA. Tall, shapely, smart, and grounded, this woman was genuinely down to earth, and she’s an exceptional catch for any masculine but emotionally open guy who can appreciate the texture of her blue collar roots and ivory tower education. Secure and confident, she doesn’t need a man to be happy, but we suspect that the one with whom she falls in love will be one very happy (and lucky) guy.

Don’t forget that there are truly thousands of women in the Linx database, so don’t fret if you didn’t find yourself drooling over one of these. In fact, these were just the women that we met in ONE DAY and the office. In just ONE day.

Amy and I conduct interviews all the time, and we are flattered, amazed, and excited by the quality of the people we regularly see at Linx. As the days get longer and the weather continues to heat up, we expect to see more and more exceptional men and women come through the door. For those of you who read the blog but have never actually walked through the door, I have one simple question for you: If we know hundreds of women like these at Linx, what, exactly, have you been waiting for? young man in grass

We encourage you to reach out to Amy today to learn more about how Linx can match you to the girl of your dreams. These women want to meet you! Most all of these women we interviewed (per the description above) are NOT ONLINE as they are private and place their trust in Linx Dating to match them to good, genuine guys. We are your conduit to a new pool of carefully vetted single women in the Bay Area and beyond. Why wait? Email amy@linxdating.com