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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.”
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.
In spite of the bloating, cramping, and PMS inherent with your monthly cycle, turns out there is a bonus: Men are more likely to find you attractive. According to a study in the journal “Hormones and Behavior,” men were more likely to rate women as being the most attractive when they were at the most fertile point in their menstrual cycle.
How does male behavior change during ovulation?
In one study, researchers asked 31 women to report their significant other’s behavior changes during all stages of the month. During ovulation, women reported more attentiveness and higher involvement from their partners. The behavior changes were even more evident in relationships that weren’t serious yet, demonstrating that men were extra cautious of competition during her time of peak attractiveness. The men also exhibited a higher level of protectiveness during ovulation. This phenomena, known as mate guarding, was especially prevalent among less attractive males.
So, what about ovulation makes you more attractive? According to Michael Kauth’s Handbook of the Evolution of Human Sexuality, you can expect to:
· Smell better—In one study, men were given three sets of t-shirts: one set was worn by women during their most fertile phase, another set worn during their infertile time, and a third set of shirts that were unworn. After smelling the ovulation shirts, men exhibited higher levels of testosterone.
· Become more creative—Researchers gave a group of women 4 tests, one for each week of the menstrual cycle. Creativity surged during ovulation, when estrogen and luteinizing hormone were highest.
· Appear more attractive—After showing two pictures of the same woman—one while she was ovulating and one when she wasn’t—to a group of men and women, researchers learned that both the men and the women rated the pictures capturing ovulation more attractive.
· Have a higher sex drive—After polling 115 women about their sex drive and monthly cycle, researchers noted a spike in libido and greater sexual satisfaction during ovulation.
· Dress sexier—Because women feel sexier during ovulation, they are more likely to spend time on their appearance. As their libido surges, they tend to dress more strategically to attract a mate.
· Have a higher pitched voice—As ovulation approaches, women will craft a more feminine, higher-pitched voice to be more attractive to men. The pitch gets higher as ovulation gets closer.
How much can ovulation up your sex appeal? Researchers at the University of New Mexico attempted to quantify it by asking strippers to report their earnings and their menstrual cycles for two months. During ovulation, the strippers made about $70 per hour, women in the luteal phase—the phase after ovulation but before the period—made about $50 per hour, and menstruating women made about $35 per hour.
Our international client in his late 20’s and the eldest sibling from a large globally-minded family. He splits his time between California, the Middle East and Switzerland.
Our bachelor stands 5’10” and will sweep you off your feet with his jet black hair, gorgeous dark brown eyes, fit physique and inviting smile. While he leads a healthy life abstaining from smoking, alcohol, tea, or coffee, he is completely open-minded and comfortable around social drinkers.
You will find our client to be patient, compassionate, responsible, liberal, loyal, determined and intellectually curious. He enjoyed earning his undergraduate degree from a leading university in the United States and continues to have a strong thirst for knowledge.
While our client is an introvert at heart, he has learned to become more outgoing to excel in his professional life. Up until this point, our VIP has been 100% focused on his career and fiduciary responsibilities in his country, so it is only now that he is extremely motivated and excited to find the love of his life.
An old-fashioned romantic, our client told us he will know within the first few minutes whether or not he has met his wife. He views marriage as a lifelong partnership and looks forward to supporting his future wife’s career goals and dreams.
Career-wise, he has outperformed most people decades older than him in terms of achievements and success at such a young age. While a large percentage of his focus is in the hospitality sector, he is deeply invested in technology in both Israel and Silicon Valley. His love affair with investing will continue throughout his life, but now his focus is on the most important investment of all – an investment into his heart and finding his one true love!
Outside of work, our VIP loves all water sports, luxury travel, reading, socializing, philanthropy, family, the outdoors and fitness.
His ideal match is 20-33 years old, 5’5”+ (height is a plus for our client), Caucasian, and with healthy curves. He appreciates a woman’s natural beauty without a lot of make-up.
Our client finds intelligent and accomplished women to be very desirable, and he would prefer to date someone who has graduated from Stanford University or the Ivies. At her core, she is loving, family centric, smart, poised, loyal, and incredibly sweet. She looks forward to an extraordinary life with a world class man.
Our client is visiting Silicon Valley mid to late October and we would love to hear from you if you might make a match for this bachelor client. Email Amy at: email@example.com
Our client is an adventurous and exceptionally well-rounded 28-year old Caucasian man who is a total catch in every way. He is brand new on the dating scene and is not one to put himself online or tinker with apps – he just doesn’t have the inclination or the time and furthermore seeks the utmost quality match to complement his life.
Physically, he stands 6’4”, with an athletic build, short brown hair, pale blue eyes, and has a preppy sense of style. His smile is effortless and eyes twinkle when he speaks. Fitness and health are very important to him – he enjoys crossfit, hiking, soccer, skiing, and playing lacrosse when he has the time. He’s a former cowboy who worked on a ranch in Montana when he was younger and still finds enjoyment in riding horses to relax.
Our client’s professional and academic career have taken him down some very diverse paths including recently having returned from serving as an officer in the Marine Corps, completing deployments to Afghanistan and the Western Pacific. He’s currently working in finance and will begin an MBA in the fall. He’s driven, goal oriented, and successful, yet very humble.
His eclectic past has taught him to adapt quickly and to be comfortable in a variety of environments. He enjoys everything from seeing plays, to strolling through museums, river rafting, camping, all sports, and even dabbling in woodworking. He’s a family guy who was raised in a loving home and looks to his parents as role models of marital success. He’d love to have a partner to travel with, and is eager to keep filing up his passport. While he can be lost in the kitchen, he shares he makes a great sous chef and is adept at firing up the grill.
You will find him to be a natural born leader, organized, and confident. He’s social but not the life-of-the-party and has an easy-going calm way about him. What is most impressive is that this is “his time” to find the woman of his dreams. While he’s been awarded medals and ribbons with valor for heroic actions during his combat operations, at the end of the day, family is most important to him and that means the missing piece in his life is finding the girl of his dreams with whom to settle down.
Our bachelor is looking for a young woman who is between the ages of 24 and 32, where 28 is the ideal age. Since he’s blessed with height, she is ideally taller with an ideal height of 5’8” (but he’s open to a wider range). He responds positively to femininity, naturally pretty women, who have longer hair of any color, and are slender to athletic, with some nice curves. His dream girl is stylish, enjoys the outdoors, and keeps healthy like he does. She can work in any industry and have any title but the key is to be passionate and love what she does! She must be social, very family oriented, spunky, caring, happy, fun, and confident enough to call him out at times! Wallflowers need not apply!
If you or anyone you know make a great potential match for our dreamy bachelor, please contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Shannon Service:
Online dating is a billion dollar industry, and one in three Americans met their match through websites or dating apps. But algorithms don’t always work for everyone, even in Silicon Valley.
Michael Ralston is a software designer and a client of Linx Dating, a boutique matchmaking service in Palo Alto. There’s a lot that he likes about online dating — the time to craft thoughtful responses, multitasking while chatting with someone — but he wasn’t having much luck.
So he tried Linx.
When Ralston joined the matchmaking service his wardrobe was the typical Silicon Valley uniform: jeans and T-shirts. Amy Andersen and Michael Norman of Linx dating took him shopping, got him a haircut and figured out what Michael needed to become more dateable. It is full service, top to bottom.
“Dinner reservations and recommendations, sedan bookings should they not want to drive for the date,” Andersen lists some of Linx’s many services. “Shopping for some proper hand towels, making sure the refrigerator is stocked with some decent wine.” Andersen takes clients ballroom dancing to work on rhythm and letting go.
Linx counter-intuitively brings “Fiddler on the Roof”-style matchmaking to the most connected Valley in the world, but business is booming. Andersen charges up to $100,000 for tailored matchmaking services.
Andersen hit on the idea for Linx one night during a dinner date. She is a strikingly beautiful and charming Stanford grad, yet her date kept looking over her shoulder.
“So I called him on it,” she says. “I said, ‘What are you doing?’ and he literally said ‘The BBD’. And I said ‘The whatah, whatah, huh?’ and he said ‘the Bigger Better Deal.’”
The “Bigger, Better Deal” is a Silicon Valley anxiety disorder in-which one can’t stop searching for the next hot start-up. Andersen realized that the sheer number of singles online creates a kind of dating BBD.
“The grass is always greener,” Andersen says, “there has to be someone else who’s just a little more interesting, or a little more of a better match.”
A third of Americans agree that online dating’s masses make it hard to pick just one. But if you do win the electronic love lottery, studies show online couples have higher satisfaction and lower divorce rates. So Linx offers a blend—a large enough pool to find deep matches, but not so many that clients get stuck in choice paralysis. Andersen also works with each client individually, zeroing in on their romantic pitfalls.
Her client Michael Ralston is smart, interesting and very sweet, but his weaknesses are confidence and real time communication with women. So Andersen gently hammers away at these challenges.
She runs Ralston through a mock version of the pre-date phone call.
“Ring,” Ralston says, holding his hand like a phone to his ear.
“Hello?,” Andersen replies.
“Hi Amy, this is Michael…. Amy from Linx gave me your number.”
“Oh hi Michael! How was your workday?”
“Um, pretty good. So…” Ralston stumbles, blushing.
“Tell me about it, tell me about your workday,” Andersen says.
Ralston gives up and breaks down laughing.
Andersen drops character and says, “What were you feeling right then when I said, ‘How was your day?’”
“I was like “Oh no!” to be honest,” Ralston says.
They practice the call several times until Ralston is able to go off script and be more spontaneous.
Life lessons, wardrobe make-overs, mock dates. All this costs Ralston over ten grand. But does he think it’s worth the price?
“I’ve always been socially awkward and I think I’m less so now,” he says. “It is expensive. But from one point of view, the answer to that question is—is it going to work?”
High-end matchmakers often say they successfully match up eighty to ninety percent of their clients. But what successful match means is harder to pin down.
Featured in: Marketplace for Monday September 29, 2014
When I first rejoined the dating scene several years ago I followed the well-worn path of many other people my age and joined a handful of online dating sites. After a few false starts, a friend explained to me that I was completely doing online dating the wrong way. She said that it was a “numbers game”, and that I should try to go on multiple first dates a week, week after week, until I find “The One.” I didn’t realize at the time that this was how many people treated online dating in the Bay Area. I said, what the heck, and gave it a shot.
At the beginning I found it to be fun. I realized I was meeting people that I would have never met before, and this gave me a huge amount of confidence that I would run into the woman of my dreams. I also made two very good friends and met one woman with whom I had a multi-year relationship. Even though it didn’t work out, I am still grateful that she was in my life.
After some time of playing the numbers game, I became frustrated and disenchanted with the entire process. I started to realize I was going out on dates where nothing progressed beyond small talk and running through lists of shared hobbies and travel destinations. Even if we both felt there was the potential for something more, follow-on dates started becoming fewer and fewer, mostly due to scheduling conflicts, and that quickly became a lack of interest.
Worse, I realized that the disappearance of my date didn’t bother me, as I knew that there would be someone else who was, well, let’s just say a “swipe right” away. While intellectually I knew that this was the same thought process my date was going through, I still felt a bit icky about the whole experience. As a family-oriented guy that has been in long term relationships for the majority of my life, I felt that this isn’t the behavior of the man that I thought I was or wanted to be.
I could not understand how, with all of the opportunities to meet someone that were available to me, that it was so incredibly hard actually to meet someone. Recently an article appeared in the New York Times that spoke to how I felt. The author reaches the conclusion that all of the online dating technologies have caused us to think in terms of the “numbers game”, and that there was an infinite number of possible partners, and we should toss each aside until we find the perfect mate. If this is our dating mentality, why should we ever bother committing to a person, as a better option could be right around the corner?
I knew the numbers game didn’t work for me, and stopped playing some time ago. I started to pick up on when I was a participant in someone else’s rapid fire dating game, and was able to understand how it felt. When you are playing the numbers game, every person you date becomes a number and not a human being.
Whenever you go out on a date, you have to remember that the person sitting across from you is a person, like yourself, with their own hopes and dreams, anxieties and fears. They have felt both joy and hurt in relationships, and are very possibly hoping that the first date they are on, with you, right now, will be their last first date ever. I can’t think of a more disrespectful action than what most serial daters do, namely walk into the date with the intention of making a judgment in the first five minutes, then hopping back onto Tinder.
The numbers game causes you to focus on quickly observed superficial qualities, such as hobbies, material possessions, and clothing, rather than what really determines the suitability of a partner. The important stuff, like ability to communicate, shared values, empathy, and capacity to provide support in stressful situations, can’t be determined from only one date.
The numbers game relies upon the idea that not only there are an infinite number of partners, but also that you have an infinite amount of time. We don’t. As a guy in my mid 30’s, I for one don’t want to be an “old dad”, and want to be in good enough physical shape that, if I get to have children, I would not only play with my kids on the floor but also be able to walk any future daughters down the aisle when I am twice my current age.
Women, well, they have much more defined biological clocks, with 35 being the medically recognized fertility cliff. While the numbers game can go on forever, our bodies can’t.
There are some things I miss about rapid fire dating. I miss finding instant chemistry. I miss learning about someone’s way of viewing the world. I don’t think it works, however, and would much rather spend time getting to know a small number of quality people than get three cocktails a week with complete strangers.
On July 24th and 25th, Linx will be hosting a very special 2-day screening event at a luxury hotel in San Francisco for one of our favorite bachelors. We will be holding private, in-person interviews with interested candidates, where they can ask the Linx team questions about our Silicon Valley based “international man of mystery”, and we can get to know these lovely ladies in the comfort and seclusion of a luxe suite. If you or someone you know might be the girl of his dreams, please contact us immediately. We have a limited number of interview slots available, and we expect to fill them quickly!
Our 40-year-old bachelor is a successful tech entrepreneur who founded a high profile, venture-backed technology company, and truly enjoys his current role as the CEO. When not working he has an active social life, starts every day with a long run, and looks forward to finding a loving and exceptional woman whom he can truly call “his better half.” Our handsome single guy is 6’0″, with a lean athletic body, medium brown hair, warm hazel eyes, and a broad smile. He is well educated, very family-oriented, extremely ambitious, and worldly. A life with him will be full of laughter, adventure, and surprises.
His ideal match is tall, slender, well educated, and between the ages of 24 and 32. He is most attracted to Caucasian, mixed, and Asian women. He tends to be drawn to light hair and eyes, but is more moved by a woman’s natural beauty than he is by any skin, eye, or hair color. A generous, warm-hearted, and social personality is a great complement to his ambitious and driven nature. He appreciates women with strong family ties, a natural grace, and a healthy sense of work/life balance. It is important that any woman he meets has the time, energy, and desire to invest in a deep and committed relationship that could pay lifelong dividends.
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A few months ago I was contacted by a professor of sociology at St. Thomas More College University of Saskatchewan to participate in a study on matchmaking in North America. We spoke for around an hour by phone and after she completed her research, she sent me the research document filled with incredibly interesting discoveries about matchmaking.
Interviews lasted 52 minutes on average, and were conducted between March and May 2013. Participation in the research project was voluntary and entirely confidential, and the project obtained research ethics approval from the University of Saskatchewan’s Research Ethics Board. The final sample discussed here consists of conversations with 20 matchmakers representing 19 different companies (the one instance of matchmakers from the same company involves 2 matchmakers at different company branches in 2 distinct regions of the country).
This professor presented to a group of national and international colleagues in June and in a recent email to me said, “I was surprised to discover that many sociologists who study relationships and dating have little awareness of matchmaking’s place in the dating industry, and of why clients tend to seek out a matchmaker.”
This project’s main aims are to improve social scientists’ understandings of the North American matchmaking industry by interviewing matchmaking professionals and gaining insight into 1) why North Americans are turning to offline, personalized matchmaking services to assist with serious dating/couple formation, 2) the extent to which use of matchmaking services is connected to geographic and time constraints in clients’ lives, and 3) identifying other major motivations, choices and constraints involved in clients’ decision to work with a matchmaker.
I have extracted some of the findings for this blog yet did not include the entire publication. The publication is titled: MATCHMAKING IN NORTH AMERICA: An emerging option for couple formation
The sample consists of 11 Canadian-based and 9 American-based matchmakers, for a total of 20 matchmakers. While 6 of the matchmakers say they frequently work with clientele or seek matches for clientele beyond the country in which they are based, most carry out the majority of their work and source matches for their clients within the country where their company is headquartered Sixteen of the matchmakers are the founder/co-founder and/or CEO of their company, while 4 are COO and/or senior matchmaker. The matchmakers have worked an average of 7.3 years in paid matchmaking work, and 18 report that matchmaking is their sole or primary job. (Some matchmakers noted that they had engaged in unpaid matchmaking work prior to working as paid matchmakers, but since this work was largely sporadic and casual, it is not included in the average years of experience.)
Matchmakers’ educational backgrounds, from most common to least common field, are 1) social sciences and social work, 2) business, finance and management, 3) arts (general), 4) hospitality and tourism, 5) law and education (tied). In terms of major field of employment prior to paid matchmaking, participants mentioned (from most to least common) 1) sales, financial services and client services (including sales at online dating agencies), 2) hospitality and the cultural sector, 3) management and headhunting/corporate recruitment, 4) social work.
When asked how and why they have chosen to work as matchmakers, participants spoke to a combination of factors that influenced their career choice. Consistently, matchmakers mentioned how their awareness of having the right skills or aptitude for the work influenced their decision to become paid matchmakers. They highlighted either excellent people skills (in particular, being highly intuitive or gifted at reading personalities and sensing others’ needs, and relating easily to people from a variety of backgrounds) or a combination of people skills and business acumen (namely knowing how to attract desired clientele and market their services effectively) as core components of their skills and aptitudes. In addition, several matchmakers mentioned that their extroversion is an asset, and that they feel energized by their interactions with others. The matchmakers’ core skills and aptitudes were most often recognized and praised by others (friends, family, former colleagues, mentors) prior to individuals making the transition into matchmaking work; in a few instances, successful attempts at casual matchmaking with friends and family members fueled individuals’ desire to take up matchmaking professionally.
The skills and aptitudes noted above, however, were necessary but not sufficient causes for individuals to pursue work as paid matchmakers. All matchmakers also noted awareness of a business niche to be filled in their geographic area— either no other matchmakers worked in their focal geographic area, nobody in their geographic area focused on the target demographic they had in mind, or nobody in their geographic area used the particular matchmaking approach or method that they intended to use.
In the study, several matchmakers emphasized that being self-employed and/or having a flexible schedule added to matchmaking’s appeal, and 5 matchmakers spoke in detail about how their decision to work as a matchmaker came after (or as part of) a major—and often jarring—life transition that pushed them to reevaluate their personal and professional goals. For these matchmakers in particular, but for several others as well, there is a clear empathic dimension that they bring to their work with clients.
Seven matchmakers spoke openly about having “been there” in the same dating trenches as their clients, and could attest to the challenges and disappointments of dating, particularly in mid-life with diminished opportunities and venues for finding a long-term partner. Read this feature on Linx in Fortune to hear about my having been there ‘in the trenches’ just like so many readers here. I get it!
Along with demonstrating empathy for clients’ situations, most matchmakers also emphasized, but usually spoke positively about, the significant emotional labor involved in matchmaking. They stressed that matchmaking is “not easy money” for the emotional investment it demands, involves “intensive coaching,” “a lot of hand holding” and “being like a sister or cheerleader” who will offer reassurance and support through a process that often leaves clients feeling vulnerable. That said, most emphasized that they find their work immensely rewarding and feel that the satisfaction of creating lasting matches offsets any emotionally draining aspects of the work. Two matchmakers said that they have been “yelled at many times” by clients, and attribute these incidents to clients’ unrealistic expectations (this theme is explored in greater detail below in the Major themes and trends section). These matchmakers went on to explain that matchmaking requires a thick skin, and that matchmakers must actively coach clients in setting reasonable expectations.
I couldn’t agree more with the paragraph above. This work is NOT for anyone who is susceptible to becoming overly emotionally over their work. I’ve remained a systematic Silicon Valley machine for over a decade now as I keep incredibly focused on my business. I am a tightly scheduled, master of organization, and relentless in the pursuit of my clients happiness (often it means running on limited sleep and my friends being irked with my contestant hamster wheel work ethic approach-especially when I am so hard to schedule fun things with.)
I also have learned to have a thick skin due to the nature of this business. For instance, yesterday I got a scathing email from a passive member client because this particular person has not found love yet (granted this person has received many matches and I’ve been extremely judicious and professional along the journey.) A “Patti” would have YELLED back and told the client to go “F-yourself and Get Out Of My Club!” but I’m not like that- AT ALL. As clinical and calm as I had hoped to be, I was really affected by the nature of the email. It was just so out of the blue. When I had been this clients cheerleader…then all of a sudden what felt like poisonous arrows being thrown my way had totally engulfed me. A fact for everyone- I’m not Copperfield as much as I think that would be tremendously cool, I just don’t seem to have been given those talents to perform matchmaking “magic.” Thus, at the end of the day, I too, am human.
An interesting trend I have found in running Linx is that I am not surprised by the number of eager, bright-eyed folks who want to open their own matchmaking firm. Most of these people contact me wanting to “team up” and “create a strategic approach to merge networks” when they are in the infancy stage of their businesses. Sometimes I hear “at Harvard Business School” we learned that “you are supposed to create alliances as such.” Um, ok?!
I listen and hear what they have to say but in most cases, I have turned them away. I wish them success, luck, and know they will be swimming in a big ‘ol sea, probably feeling a lot of anxiety about how to even begin. Yet that feeling of anxiety can be channeled into good stress as it happens to be THE MOST exciting time as the seeds have been planted and the business starts to blossom. Once you begin something like this, it starts to multiply very quickly taking on complex new directions, a whole host of wild demands/requests. I hate saying this but the fact is most of these aspiring matchmakers sink and move onto a new career. They are unable to handle the pressure, have the sheer focus to get the business off the ground, maintain their professionalism, be ethical, establish a brand, grow a network, do a good job at the actual matchmaking and so on.
Back to the study…Major Themes and Trends from the study
1) The role of the Internet and Internet dating in clients’ work with matchmakers
Matchmakers estimate that an average of 2/3 of their clients have tried online dating before seeking out their services. Within this population, the majority have ceased dating online by the time they contact a matchmaker, and most have turned away from the method because of frustration and dissatisfaction. While 2 matchmakers said that they see Internet dating as a positive or worthwhile strategy alongside working with a matchmaker, the rest spoke to how it has negatively affected dating and/or daters’ mentalities by fostering a “kid in the candy store” mentality whereby daters are always searching for the “bigger, better deal” instead of focusing on getting to know the people they date. Several matchmakers noted that this attitude of trading up or treating dates as disposable had soured their clients’ attitudes toward online dating, and the majority said that they do not advocate Internet dating, whether as a stand-alone dating strategy or strategy alongside working with them. Matchmakers against online dating also noted that the strategy does not offer a worthwhile return on the dater’s time investment, particularly in the case of the high-earning professionals who make up the bulk of matchmakers’ clientele; further, it does not offer the discretion that matchmakers’ clients typically seek. Matchmakers also noted the tendency for dishonesty and misrepresentation among online daters, and said that their female clients, in particular, often turned to matchmaking as a way of avoiding the disappointment and frustration connected to daters’ misrepresentations (namely surrounding martial status, age, current physical appearance and financial/career stability).
While not directly connected to online dating, but also concerning the negative impact of new(er) technologies on dating and couple formation, 8 matchmakers spoke extensively about the negative effect that they see text messaging has had on dating and relationships. They explained that communication by texting is problematic insofar as it 1) is prone to causing greater misunderstandings, and therefore greater insecurities, in a couple (particularly in very early stages of dating); 2) is less polite than speaking over the phone or in person (again, particularly in the early stages of dating), and fails to convey respect or serious intent when a man uses text messaging to ask a woman out on a subsequent date; 3) takes new couples away from the face time and phone time that help them develop a deeper understanding of one another and determine compatibility and chemistry. Five matchmakers said that they give explicit phone and texting etiquette instruction to clients—their suggested texting etiquette usually involves zero text interaction until the relationship is firmly established and exclusive. Once the relationship takes off, matchmakers suggest very limited use of texting for very quick logistical conversations (e.g. “Meet me at the restaurant at 6 p.m.”). Matchmakers spoke of their extreme disappointment when clients do not heed their advice about texting, and say that texting has caused unnecessary dating “drama” in clients from the 20s up to their 70s. There does not appear to be a particular age group that is most likely to ignore matchmakers’ texting etiquette.
2) The role of career/career development in men and women using matchmakers
Particularly in younger clients (i.e. those up to their early 40s), matchmakers noted a common theme of work/career demands that have kept clients from looking seriously for a long-term partner until they reach an age when opportunities to meet eligible singles have dwindled (i.e. until most peers that they meet through social and work activities have married or paired off into relationships). In particular, they see this in their clients who are entrepreneurs, whose work has been particularly all-consuming and left little time for dating. There appears to be no significant gender gap regarding career demands and use of matchmakers—in this sample, matchmakers spoke equally of men and women whose careers have left minimal time for forming relationships. For matchmakers’ clients, career development has precluded relationship formation mostly because of time restrictions, but geographic mobility and multi-city living connected to the client’s career also appear to play smaller roles (and male clients cite mobility and multi-city living as factors more often than women).
Whereas some matchmakers spoke of their clients’ career demands and impact on dating factually and uncritically, others took a more critical view that clients have not “had” time to find a serious partner because they have not made time to do so. Those who took a more critical approach said that they frequently coach clients on the importance of carving out time for dating and building relationships and the need to prioritize relationships or find reasonable work-life balance in spite of career demands. On this note, 3 matchmakers expressed disappointment in some of their clients’ “stalled” relationships that have not progressed (or have progressed very slowly) toward marriage because partners continue to invest heavily in their careers at the expense of their relationship.
3) (Un)realistic expectations about the product and process
When asked what they find most frustrating or challenging about their work, matchmakers most commonly spoke about their clients’ unrealistic expectations with regard to the matchmaking process and outcomes, and relationships more broadly. Several matchmakers commented that when meeting and developing a rapport with a new client, they are careful to say that they do not sell or offer love per se, but rather the opportunity to meet high-quality individuals with whom a client may form a loving and committed relationship. Particularly at the outset of the matchmaker-client collaboration, matchmakers note that some clients have an unrealistic expectation that they will meet the love of their life, and that this will happen quickly. While matchmakers agree that meeting the love of one’s life is a central aim of the matchmaking process, and are pleased when this happens within a short time frame, many must remind clients to be patient and to realize that a match with a compatible individual may not yield the chemistry and mutual interest needed for love to develop. They are also careful to balance statements about how successful they have been in matching clients with a disclaimer that they cannot guarantee a long-term match as an outcome of their collaboration. Matchmakers also expressed concern at several clients’ conflation of compatibility in a relationship and the idea that a relationship requires no work or compromise; they were surprised by how often clients expect a serious relationship to thrive with little work at communication and compromise.
Several matchmakers pointed out that their clients tend to be “Type A” personalities who are highly driven and used to getting whatever they ask for. In some cases, this manifests in unrealistic demands or expectations about who they will be matched with. Did you ever read the incredibly well written piece featuring a Linx client as he searches for the one in San Francisco Magazine? This story showcases some of the wild demands from Linx clients.
Specifically, 5 matchmakers said they often work with clients who expect to be matched with people who are, in the matchmakers’ words, physically “way out of their league” (namely, older men asking to be matched with much younger and/or much more attractive women, or women requesting matches with much younger and/or physically fitter men). In these cases, most matchmakers take a soft or diplomatic approach in suggesting that these unrealistic clients broaden their search criteria. Typically, the client acquiesces to the matchmaker’s suggestions, but 2 matchmakers cited repeated instances of being yelled at by clients when the clients perceived their matches or the matchmaker’s suggestions to be sub-par. Another matchmaker, who did not report having been yelled at, nonetheless spoke about how being a matchmaker requires developing a “thick skin” to deal with difficult and demanding clients.
4) Stigma and awkwardness
According to matchmakers, most people who self-select into working with a matchmaker “get” the idea of hiring a professional to help them with their love life. Many clients outsource work in other areas of their lives, so do not see anything awkward or shameful about extending this model of efficiency into the realm of their relationships. That said, nearly half of all matchmakers noted that they have clients who express feelings of embarrassment during initial meetings. Matchmakers consistently noted that this is more common amongst their male clients, for whom “ego gets in the way,” than it is for women who tend to approach matchmakers with greater confidence and minimal or no feelings of shame about using their services. For male clients who express initial embarrassment, matchmakers say that this feeling tends to fade as the client becomes more involved in the process.
But, whereas most clients express little or minimal embarrassment to matchmakers about working with them, most also tell matchmakers that they keep their use of the services a secret from friends, family and colleagues; this is largely out of fear that they will be negatively judged for their inability to find a partner on their own. Matchmakers are very rarely invited to clients’ weddings, since clients do not like to go public with how they met their partner. I am invited to many weddings and in some cases not. Often clients will share their stories here.
Overall, matchmakers spoke optimistically about their expectation that the practice will continue to lose its stigma and become a more widely respected form of couple formation. They also mentioned that many clients view matchmaking as a much less stigmatized activity than online dating.
5) Issues surrounding gender
Several of the themes outlined above touch on gender, but the issues below deal most directly with gender. When asked about what their clients are seeking in a partner, matchmakers responded that clients typically say they are looking for a mixture of traditional and modern elements in a relationship. Specifically, clients of both genders prefer dual-career relationships, regardless of whether they also desire children within the relationship. As one matchmaker puts it, men are showing a strong preference for “Michelle Obama” type partners (i.e. true equals in the private and public spheres). Another matchmaker summarizes a similar trend in clients’ desires as “bimbos are out,” and explains that male clients find career women most desirable. While matchmakers and clients express a preference for egalitarian relationships, 5 matchmakers said that they encourage their clients to blend the egalitarian model with male chivalry and believe it is always a man’s job to organize and pay for dates. As one matchmaker phrased it, couples should get “back to the basics” of men taking the lead romantically while respecting fundamental gender equality.
6) Defining “success” in matchmaking
Although the majority of matchmakers interviewed say that marriage is the ultimate goal of their services, they define “success” in matchmaking as anything from a matched couple going on a second date to a matched couple getting married. Another matchmaker defines success as finding the right caliber of person for a client—someone who is outstanding, regardless of where the match leads after the first introduction. Most often, matchmakers define success as the moment when a matched couple becomes exclusive, regardless of whether the relationship culminates in marriage. Many matchmakers emphasized that success, to them, is not just about making matches that last—a collaboration with a client is always a success if it engages the client in a process of personal growth (and, oftentimes, improved self-confidence) that opens the door to finding love and living authentically.
Matchmakers reported mixed feelings when matched clients (typically clients whose contracts have since expired) “fall of the grid” and quit keeping in touch. Some matchmakers are diligent in keeping in touch with former clients long after their collaboration has ended, but most do not—typically because they do not want to “pester” former clients. Some “snoop around” (e.g. online) to find clues as to whether a couple they matched months or years prior is still together.
7) Reality TV: Helping or hurting matchmaking’s reputation?
This was not a topic that I expected to discuss consistently with matchmakers, but it came up often. Matchmakers spoke positively about how reality T.V. shows about matchmaking—i.e. Millionaire Matchmaker (Bravo), Arrange Me a Marriage (BBC), Love Broker (Bravo) —have raised the overall visibility of the profession. At the same time, they expressed concern at how some portrayals of the matchmaking process, particularly those on Millionaire Matchmaker episodes, are highly sensationalized and do not reflect typical client-matchmaker, affiliate-matchmaker or client-affiliate relations. In particular, matchmakers noted that their approach is more “subtle” than the approach of matchmakers typically found on reality T.V. shows, and that their clientele is “classy and discreet” as compared to the brash clients featured on Millionaire Matchmaker. They are confident, however, that the general public is aware of the disparity between matchmaking in reality shows and typical matchmaking processes.