Sex in the City

Digital Dating Detox

Dear faithful readers,
I’m re-posting a blog entry from a talented friend who’s a writer, editor, and digital consultant living in New York City named Micaela English. Micaela is a spectacular individual and just launched a website and journal (blog.) Rather than sending editors writing clips when pitching stories, she needed a one stop shop to show the work she’s most proud of. She also has so many stories that don’t get picked up and feels passionately about sharing her work with the world which you can find in her “journal” (a fancier💎 way of saying blog.) Her first story she published? …. “Why Silicon Valley’s top matchmaker (Linx Dating + Amy Alex Andersen) told me to go on a digital dating detox last summer, and how it led me to meet the loveliest human being.” So enjoy and please consider following my dating advice and perhaps you too will meet the love of your life next. XO- Amy  iStock-635698096 copy.jpg

The Best Piece of Advice Silicon Valley’s Top Matchmaker Gave Me? Stop Dating

Last year, I was totally and completely burnt out from dating and relationships. I had that Charlotte from SATC moment,“I’ve been dating since I was 15. I am exhausted. Where is HE?” After my last relationship with someone I was sure I had long term potential with abruptly ended, I reached a breaking point. In a desperate move, I asked for help. I wrote an email to a matchmaker I had interviewed in the past for an article, and had really clicked with. Her name is Amy Andersen of Linx Dating. Amy is not only the top matchmaker in Silicon Valley (think entrepreneurs, CEOS, and the like) but she is also insanely smart, contagiously funny, and warm. She not only responded to my e-mail right away but she also gave me the best dating advice of my life. In the spirit of SPRING FEVER, and people coming out of their winter cocoons, ready to get our there again, I want to share her advice with you no matter what stage or status you are in on your relationship journey. To the broken hearted, there is light at the end of the tunnel, take some time to celebrate and date YOU!

So what did Amy say to me when I told her I had just about had enough of the swipes, dates, pseudo-relationships, and breakups? She said I needed a complete and total digital dating detox. A digital dating detox? What is that? Amy explained in tech terms, “It’s about getting off the spinning hamster wheel going nowhere and removing the digital noise and distractions from your life. It’s a “reboot” of yourself and a defragmentation of your internal hard drive. Or in Silicon Valley lingo, it’s a CTRL + SHIFT + ESC. Like a computer that’s a few years old and running slow, you might not feel as if you are mentally as agile and optimistic as you used to be. With a computer, it’s likely that you have stored cache, installed apps by accident, have a million old e-mail downloads that are hogging memory, and have a ton of junk on your desktop. My digital dating detox is a personal “clean up” program created to empower anyone who has experienced dating fatigue. The goal is to make you stop feeling burned out and give yourself a necessary break and reboot.” Does that click with you? Keep reading.

1. Invest in yourself and Delete.The.Apps.

First things first. Delete the apps. Amy told me to delete every single one of them for a few months, which I did. To be honest, I was super anxious about it, they were my security blankets to getting dates, but not having alerts and “homework” swiping as part of my daily routine was truly one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done. Amy’s philosophy? “Invest in “YOU time” until you can look forward to it again. My most important advice is to take a well-deserved break and get off all apps, online, and just focus on making a personal investment in yourself. Get in the best mindset and health, and do things that make you genuinely happy.”

2. Surround yourself with like-minded, positive people who are doing cool things in their lives.

As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I truly believe this. Living in New York City, there are so many choices, invitations, and “we need to catch ups.” In order to stay overall positive and healthy during my experiment I chose to spend my time with people that genuinely felt good to hang out with, inspired, and supported me. It was as simple as that. I still truly believe this, I love seeing people, I’m sure you do too.

3. Start spending your time doing things that YOU want to do instead of what others want you to do or what society says you should do.

This one really resonated with me. My calendar was so often filled with things “I needed to do”. Dates were scheduled like workouts. It was exhausting. I decided to throw that all out the window. If everyone was going away for Memorial Day weekend and there were invites to travel, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t. I spent it going to the spa and doing things that felt good for me. I listened to my mind and body and took my emotional temperature of what I was open to doing, one day at a time.

4. Try and do new things out of your comfort zone.

Amy suggested that I “Think about the “types” of people you would like to meet and center yourself in those environments. If you have always wanted to learn rock climbing and find men who do this to be incredibly attractive now is your time to take indoor rock climbing lessons after work .” Doing these new things will also prove to yourself that you are constantly growing and doing new things. It’s a win/win!

5. Stay open. Stay kind.

This point really hit home with me. I used to feel frustrated after an unsuccessful date and like it was a waste of time but Amy made a really good point to me. “You never know whom you are going to meet. Even if he/she is not the one for you , he/she might have a friend who ends up being your match. Be kind and compassionate to your date with the goal of sending out positive energy and good karma. Although you and your date might agree that there is not chemistry between you, maybe he/she will extend an invite to a BBQ to meet some of his single friends. It is precisely at this even that you could meet the true love of your life. Lesson, don’t burn bridges or play games. Remember any single person is in the same boat as you and probably doesn’t actually enjoy dating just for the sake of dating- much like you!” Be kind, it will never hurt you in the long run.

6. Ask people around you if they know anyone for you?

The good old friends of friends approach. Amy says to, “Tell your trusted network of friends and family that you are taking a 2-6 month digital detox and are going to “old school” it for the time being. That you are excited at the possibilities and put it out there that you’d love to be considered for any set-ups if they have a single friend in mind. Have a sound bite ready for your approach with anyone you are talking to….”I came out of a relationship a few months ago and I’ve checked out some of the dating apps but truthfully it’s challenging from a time and lack of vetting perspective. That’s why I was hoping to get out there and just meet people a little more organically, like you.”

6. STAY POSITIVE and don’t overthink all of this.

And Amy’s most important advice of all, “The energy you radiate is what’s given back to you.” Hell yes. “Additionally, you have to enjoy being in the moment and letting go of concerns or any negative messages or doubts. When you are literally having fun and carrying on with a giant smile and a “I don’t really give a flying f*ck” attitude because I am happy THAT is exactly the energy people want to be around. You’ve reached a much more enlightened point and have shifted your energy from tired and frustrated to “light, easy, and breezy.” You’re radiating a confidence and certain je ne sais quoi that many people wish they had.”

So what happened to me, after my digital dating detox? I fell in love with myself again. And with being in love with myself, I felt this magical aura around me once I “got back out there” I went on my first Hinge date after no dating for a few months and there he was, the healthy partner I manifested while taking time to be the healthiest version of myself.

For more information on Amy Andersen, linxdating.com

Choices …. To Prenup or Not?

The city is fogged in, Blue Bottle coffee’s brewing, toast browned just how you like it (he even cut the edges off for you just like from the time you were a little girl asking your mom to do that for you), NYT crisp and about to be devoured….it’s a typical Sunday morning. You’re cozy in your sweats and beaus college sweatshirt and life is just plain good until…..he asks you to sit down. The dreaded honey we need to have a talk. Couple looking stressed while doing their accounts sat on a couch

Your heart starts racing. You’ve been exclusive for 6 months now and are basically living out of bags and staying at his pad every night. So far it’s been easy, fun, and the chemistry is ridiculously off-the-charts. You’ve told all your best girlfriends, mom, and sisters that you think he really is “the one.” You’ve had a few squabbles but nothing serious and he seems really happy too.

This Sunday morning, though, he’s particularly serious. What could it be, you’re thinking? You both agreed to get tested together and luckily free and clear, ok….you know he is friends with his ex as they both “share a dog” together and tolerate that as best as you can…he’s not creepin’ around being private w texting or phone calls in the other room…so seriously what could this talk be?

He tells you point blank he’s been thinking a lot about your relationship and whomever he marries will have to sign a prenup. All of a sudden, the coffee tastes repulsive and your stomach turns in wild twists and turns. Your life just went in freeze frame. A prenup, you think in your mind…..really? a prenup? Silence falls heavy in the room. The dog bounces on the bed, bone in mouth – did your beau make the dog sign some sort of agreement when he was rescued?

Sure, your beau been unusually successful with his early investments in some angel deals he finagled his way into. He seems to have that Midas touch in his career. Lucked out on getting into a great hedge fund years ago right out of college and has managed to climb into a cushy role. He does have an ultra modern loft in SOMA (and you checked Trulia – current valuation 2.5MM), he has the mountain cabin in the Sierras and, although he’s never discussed net worth, you calculate including real estate 5MM.

Your situation is really different. You rent your studio in Cow Hollow, lease your BMW, and can barely save enough to contribute to your damn Roth IRA come April 15th each year. But you’re really good to him and you’re certainly not with him because he is wealthy (is that a perk, yes, is that a reason to be in a relationship with him, no.) You’re a traditional girl, a romantic at heart, your favorite author is Jane Austin, you’re optimistic, your parents are still together happily married at 35 years, divorce is not in your vocabulary.

You got so mad when Trey MacDougal in Sex and the City (Season 3, Episode 10) said to Charlotte, “I almost forgot…. Prenuptial agreements. Standard. Everyone in the family has one. You sign on page four. Feel free to have your lawyer look it over. I’ll call you later…” That felt so cold, business-like, and unromantic.

On the plus side you are thrilled he’s visualizing marrying you and getting serious. In fact, it’s only been 6 months of unofficially living together and he’s bringing up sharing a future with you. You stay calm, explain you have a lot more reading to do about it and are supportive of listening to why that is important to him.

Everyone comes with different backgrounds, stories, concerns, professional goals, personal goals in life. You and your partner are two completely different people attempting to merge your lives together. You’ve taken big strides in already learning to compromise and stay at his place more, he’s compromised on any number of things with you. A relationship is really 1 + 1 = 3

My professional advice to this couple is to take things slow and try to understand your partner and what motivates him. The prenup doesn’t have to mean that you are doomed from the outset of planning a future. It can mean smart and intelligent planning. It doesn’t mean he’s vindictive or assuming failure with you. Prenups assume future earnings, not the past, and you both can draft an agreement together that feels right to you. Now keep in mind that little start-up you got into a year ago isn’t such a little start-up anymore. Chances are you could be earning as much, if not more than your partner…so before you go home calling to momma for help, do your research and homework on these. Maybe he should sign your prenup assuming company X goes IPO? This is the Bay Area 2014 after all. We are in a frothy market and relationships are directly affected as a result. VIPI_idealmatch_large

Weekend Getaway with the Beau!

When your beau asked you to meet his parents, butterflies rumbled in your stomach….you were excited, a little nervous, elated, and the sound of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons flooded your mind…a wedding in the future perhaps?

Luckily you had the perfect ensemble to wear thanks to Tog + Porter’s Meeting the Parents style guide. Classy, feminine, and lady-like. You nailed it and remembered that the most important thing in preparing to meet the parents is to simply be yourself. Brunch with his parents was delightful and so fun! He was at ease, his parents down-to-earth and excited to meet you, and you felt like a princess.

The following day he shared that his parents absolutely loved you and have invited the two of you up to their Lake Tahoe lake house for a weekend getaway. An invitation to spend more time with his parents and immerse yourself in their world seemed to be the absolute perfect timing. How lovely!

The week leading up to the lake getaway you pamper yourself with pretty ballet slipper polish for a mani/pedi, waxed in all the right places, highlights and a cut, and a spray tan for any time spent on the lake. The Mr. shares to pack casual but said there would be a lakeside BBQ oyster shucking party with his parent’s neighbors the first night, boating on the lake the next day, followed by an intimate dinner at the house and dominoes fireside with after dinner drinks.

Casual isn’t really in your vocabulary and as much as you love your walks in nature, heading to “the woods” isn’t necessarily as easy as it seems for a city girl! Channeling your inner Carrie Bradshaw you put on the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie visits Aidan’s country cottage. Aidan-and-Carrie

You hope to fare better than Carrie did when she visited Aidan’s cabin. Clearly, comfort is key, but you don’t want to compromise your keen fashion sense that he has grown so fond of.

Not only do you need to plan some cute outfits but you also want to bring his parents a nice little gift to say Thank You for the lovely invitation and weekend at their lake house. What to get them that is a kind gesture but still not trying too hard?

And considering that you don’t know what their lake house is like at all or his mother’s discerning taste, the pressure is on. You do know that his parents are East Coast types who moved out to San Francisco ten years ago for his father’s job in private equity. Like father, like son. His parents definitely are on the more conservative side and money no object.

You also want to surprise your beau with a little something unexpected…. afterall, it is your 6 month anniversary that Saturday! We understand how any girl can feel a little overwhelmed by this scenario, which is why we sent an S.O.S. over to our friends at Tog + Porter for some outfit ideas. Stylist Camilla Basse broke it down for us and gave us suggestions for each activity on the trip.

For the oyster roast, she suggests your favorite and most comfortable pair of boyfriend jeans, a classic white button-down and a cozy sweater.Oyster Party

On day 2, a chambray button-down, your beloved go to denim shorts and metallic boating shoes for the boat excursion. Wear your new summer bathing suit (and sunscreen) underneath she says.BoatinginLakeTahoe

For dinner, Camilla says you can wear the same chambray top from earlier back to a white cotton or lace skirt or go for sleeveless plaid or tribal print top with your denim shorts. Intimate Dinner

She also says one statement piece is always a good idea. And, nothing says statement piece like a beaded shirt toned down and made cabin appropriate with denim.

With your packing list complete, it’s time to set out on what is destined to be one weekend to remember.

As for the gifts, you know him best, but us gals here at T+P think a picnic basket tote from Brookstone for his parents would make a useful, yet thoughtful gift for future boating trips. If they already have something of the sorts, a monogrammed Pendleton wool blanket is always a winner.

Need help packing for an upcoming getaway? One of Tog + Porter’s amazing stylists would love to help you. You can even schedule an appointment with Camilla by simply clicking here.

Ask Amy Anything!

As Linx continues to grow by leaps and bounds with our membership, we have been getting more and more requests from friends and clients of Linx to ask me anything dating and relationship related.  Music to enjoy for this entry is Justin Bieber featuring Nicki Minaj. Every once in awhile a little cheese it ok. It’s catchy….

We have a new feature on the Linx website where you will see a grey button at the top left of every page. Simply click on it and it will directly port to email where you can ask me anything that is on your mind and I will do my very best to address each one either through an email back to you or as an anonymous Q and A on my blog.

Here are some questions that have trickled in this week into my inbox and my very quick answers in a nutshell.

Q: When is it appropriate to sleep with the guy I am into? We haven’t become exclusive yet and I can barely keep my hands off him. Help!

A: Depending on your personal goals of ending up with this fabulousman, you need to wait till you are exclusive. If you give in and sleep with him as sexy as he is, he will have gotten everything he wants. If it seems pretty clear that he is wildly attracted and into you as well (and respects you and is treating you well outside of the bedroom), I would think it will be pretty natural to have a talk about becoming exclusive. Simply say you are an old-fashioned girl who was raised a certain way and doesn’t sleep around. You also don’t sleep with a man till you are exclusive. If he is into you, he will wait and wait and wait! Good luck! Once exclusive you can crank up The Isley Brothers “Between The Sheets.” 😉

Q: I am a newly divorced dad of 3 young kids and am nervous about getting out into the dating scene. My kids have a mom and I don’t want women to think that I need her to be their mom. What to do? 

A: Dating after divorce can definitely be challenging and present a whole slew of new factors that you never knew were out there. Your first date sound byte to this lucky female is that you are newly divorced and one of your greatest passions are your three beautiful children ages (X, Y, Z). You have joint custody (or whatever your situation is) and they see their mom every other week. On the off weeks you do your own thing and on the weeks you have them you bunker down into dad duty. Although things did not work out with their mom, you have a healthy relationship with her and she is a GREAT mother (never tear your ex a new one no matter your relationship with her.) Then you change the subject and pay your date a genuine compliment and focus on the moment and getting to know her.

Q: I work at Stanford campus and am pretty shy to begin with. When I take breaks for lunch or coffee I see some of the cutest guys ever. How do I go about having them pay attention to me? 

A: My sister and I were walking at Stanford two nights ago and saw a David Beckham look-alike. Her jaw dropped and she was like Ummmmm he is hot and the funny thing is he totally checked her out! So there are gorgeous and brainy babes all over. There are a variety of methods for you to seek the chaps attention.  First dress the part to attract the right guy you want in your life. Be feminine and classy. In my sisters case we were exercising. So in that case, dress in tasteful, clean, and attractive workout clothes. Second, go up to him and ask him a question. If you are working at Stanford chances are you are a genius but in reality there is nothing wrong with sometimes playing a little dumb. I’m not saying to be a clueless ditz, I’m suggesting pulling out your naive card for this opportunity. Ask him where something is on campus. For all he knows today is your first day at work on this big, big, scary campus! Make eye contact, smile, then pay him a small compliment. An example….Hi…I am wondering if you can tell me where Coupa is at the GSB….ohhh..great….(eye contact, lock eyes, smile)….I like your kicks. I’ve never seen Nike make those.  At this point, hopefully you can stike up a flirty convo and see where it takes you. Have fun!

Q: I have a major crush on my boss but he is married with a beautiful wife and baby on its way. I would never do anything to break up their marriage but I can’t stop thinking about him. Is there something wrong with me? 

A: An attractive and confident man is a sexy thing. It sounds like you are human to have developed an innocent crush. Innocent is thinking about him, thinking he is cute, having a soft spot for him while maintaining your professionalism. A crush steps into very dangerous territory if you channel Alicia Silverstone from The Crush and fixate on him to the point where it is inappropriate or ever come on in a sexual manner. You have a strong intuition and chances are you know what is right and wrong. If you want to keep your job, keep your crush benign.

Q: I hate when construction workers and other guys driving by cat call me and make me feel degraded. Should I just tell them to f*ck off or ignore them? As a strong woman (yet a sensual and very feminine one), I feel women need to stand up and let men it is inappropriate to do this. 

A: Yes women do need to stand up for themselves but in this case I think the best strategy to just keep walking. I will share a hilarious scene from Sex in the City when Miranda gets cat called renting  a five-hour Danish documentary on the Nuremberg trial (and a pound of gummy bears to boot….remember?)

(Sleazy construction worker) “Hey, hey, it’s my sweetheart. You’re looking good, baby. Good enough to eat. Hey, where you going, doll ? I got what you want. I got what you need.”

(Miranda) “You talkin’ to me?”

(Construction worker) “Oh, we got a live one, boys.”

(Miranda) “You got what I want ? You got what I need ? Uh-Huh. Well, what I want is to get laid!”