Funny/Sad or Sad/Funny
Last week, I met someone who told me that while he had not met his wife through JDate, but that the process of going out with (200!) women from JDate had made him a better dater. Well, that figures, right? I mean, practice anything 200 times and you’re going to get better at it. He noted that the process had made him better at his job, too, had trained him to listen better to people, even if he wasn’t overly interested in the subject matter.
But I was more intrigued by his description of his process – that he had obtained feedback even from dud dates that made him able to improve to the point of being able to meet his soulmate. He told me that after any woman told him she didn’t think a next date was a good idea, he told her that he respected her decision, but that if he had done anything that annoyed her, he’d love it if she’d tell him what it was.
I was fascinated, and tried to imagine myself as one of these women. How honest would I be? How sincere would I have thought he was in his “desire to learn”? It made me think of the tongue-in-cheek suggestion I made to friends years ago about handing out evaluations (or sending a surveymonkey link) to dates to enable honest feedback on dating technique and reactions to compatibility based on the dating experience.
While it’s very easy to joke about this, many people do a “post-game” analysis (let’s be optimistic and NOT call it a post-mortem) of their dates: this could include self-assessment (“did I talk/fidget/play with my hair/order/eat too much?” etc.) or sociological observations about behavior of the other person (“did s/he like me, or just tolerate me?” “was that banter or arguing?” etc.). But all of this assessment happens internally: is there a value in externalizing, vocalizing, concretizing this analysis as a way to evaluate performance and potential, and perhaps as a learning tool? And are we all man (or woman) enough to accept the criticism?
Usually, singers wax rhapsodic about the woman’s, um, attributes, and talk about taking her home. But how do you sing about someone who you really see potential with? Now we have the answer: the romance of this contemporary longing can be summed up in the following (potentially unintentionally) hilarious lyrics from R. Kelly (with a vital contribution by Tyrese):
In case you missed the audio, that was: “Girl, you make me wanna get you pregnant. Knock you up, yeah…”
I can’t wait until this is someone’s “first dance” song at their wedding. Or even better, features into a plot of “The Office” or “30 Rock.” It has to, right? Or maybe Will Schuester will be singing it on next week’s “Glee”? (Gosh, I hope not.)
This song has obvious comedic impact (he compares her to Patron, and tries to shake it off by telling himself that he’s a player, only to keep imagining her in a house with a white picket fence until he gives up and says, “put that girl in my kitchen.” Sigh. Don’t we all wish someone special would croon these sentiments at us?) But because I’ve always got to put the “J” in this website (and because I’ve just spent three days glued to the Twitter feed for the JFNA General Assembly), I’m going to just assume that these lyrics were written by Michael Steinhardt or someone else who’s obsessed with Jewish continuity. Of course it’s a little heavy-handed to work effectively in the Jewish community, but it seems clear that the Jews need a song like this, with a strong message about pursuing marriage and children.
Some potential lyrics? Glad you asked.
“Girl, you make me wanna join Federation / be part of the Jewish nation / find a JCC with a Hebrew school, and a swimming pool.”
“I wanna knock you up / let’s go into debt together / pay for Hebrew school forever.”
“First I gave you a rock / now we’re deep in hock / first for Jewish schools then for Jewish camp / yat least we’ve got God’s approval stamp.”
I’m certain there are more potential lyrics out there. And I’m certain some of you are writing them right now. Please share!
(And we can all thank Emily Goldsher for sharing this vital piece of musical elegance with us.)
This “week” in Jewish dating news is a magical week, because it includes stories from the last month, many of them centering on issues of modesty and “shomer negiah” (not touching members of the opposite sex until marriage).
Chastity squad’s gonna git you, sucka. If you’re American yeshiva students screening porn for local Orthodox youth, or if you’re someone really immodest, like a divorcee, you might want to stay out of Jerusalem’s Beit Israel neighborhood. The ‘hood, which is becoming increasingly religious has been the site of several violent attacks against people deemed by the local “chastity squad” to be immodest.
The ‘chastity squad’ members snatched her at the playground, poured hot water on her, and when she began shouting they beat her up,” said the resident who witnessed the incident. In a separate incident, squad members allegedly broke into an apartment where several American yeshiva students lived, sprayed them with tear gas and stole a laptop.
Isn’t It Romantic? Giving new meaning to the term “eligible singles,” Star Singles is hosting a “special event for Kohanim and women eligible to marry them (please contact us for halachic parameters).” To learn about those parameters, you can check out the comments (“I guess this is where all the virgins will be,” “no divorcees allowed,” “sorry, I’m not a virgin”) or do some more research (see here, under “ritual defilement”). If you’re “eligible,” the event’s tonight in Brooklyn. Here’s the link to the Facebook invitation - if you go, please share a report with JDaters Anonymous…inquiring minds wanna know! (via Mara Manischewitz)
Isn’t It Romantic 2: Shidduchim Boogaloo. Cash money to anyone who matches a couple! Has it really come to this? On the Upper West Side, a memo circulated shortly to rabbis before Simchat Torah, promising $1000 to the person who orchestrates each of the first five matches made over Simchat Torah on the UWS that leads to marriage. Stipulations include that the two people didn’t know each other before and that they get married by Simchat Torah of next year. Also, “all 3 people have to agree that at certain time and certain place this matchmaker made the match and verified in front of a rabbi and they must be married by next Simchat Torah.”
“It has recently been revealed that the primary cause of the [shidduch crisis] is that boys frequently prefer girls who are a few years younger… Since every year our population grows, the result is that there are always more girls in need of a shidduch than there are available boys.” The letter strongly urges shadhanim [matchmakers] to push shidduchim[matches] in which there is a minimal age gap between the boy and girl, or for the girl to be older.
Cool it, would-be “Jewgars”: in this world, “older” probably means 23.
Bringing Sexy Back(side) to Saucier Shomer Negiah Girls? “Shomer Negiah Panties allow a woman to abide by the halacha, but still be individual and sexy at the same time.” One pair sets you (sexy) back $20, but since these panties are Jewish, you can get a bargain: two pairs for $36…that’s one “chai” per pair. Cute idea, but I think they should really read: “Shomer Negiah: If You Can Read This, You’re Too Close.”
So that’s the news for now – feel free to send your submissions for wacky dating news to us here at jdatersanonymous at gmail. We want to hear from you!
The recently published JDATE is written by David Wong, except not really. Wong is the pseudonym of Jason Pargin, an editor of Cracked.com. The real name of the book? “John Dies @ the End” – abbreviated by the A/V Club (an offshoot of the Onion) as “JDATE.” This abbreviation fooled my Google Alert, and me, into thinking this book was about an online Jewish dating service.Here’s an excerpt from the A/V Club review:
Once upon a time, David was a boring video-store clerk without much of a social life. Then one day, his pal John got involved with that soy sauce that wasn’t really soy sauce, dragging David along for the ride. A number of suspicious deaths later, the two are fighting off monsters from another dimension and trying to come up with ways to explain an ever-increasing number of corpses to the authorities.
I don’t know what “soy sauce that wasn’t really soy sauce” is, but it does sound like Chinese food is involved. Throw in Christmas and a movie and it could be about Jews, I suppose…
If you’ve read this “JDATE,” please send us your reviews, and let us know if you’ve found it more or less compelling, hilarious or tragic than the group of online dating profiles you just read. Why? Because we care.
Whether you’re on the Upper West Side or not, you might enjoy these pieces “from the vault.”
What’s it like inside a Sukkah singles party in Manhattan? Back in 2005, yours truly and some intrepid friends found out. Listen in:
Man: Did you notice JDate’s site redesign? All of the women’s profiles defaulted to “does not want children.”
Woman #3: You’re the third guy to mention that tonight. As if Jewish continuity didn’t have enough problems—now everyone thinks that Jewish women don’t want to procreate. In JDate’s last redesign, they reset all the profiles, so if you said you spoke Hebrew, it now said you spoke Vietnamese. Or Tagalog. What is Tagalog, anyway?
Man: [fiddles with BlackBerry] “Tagalog is one of the major languages of the Philippines.”
Woman #2: Huh. At least we learned something.
Woman #3: Yes, that JDate is still JDate.
For the complete scoop, check out the original article.
What should you expect to see on Simchat Torah on the Upper West Side? Here’s a checklist of 20 “might-sees” – print it out, and see how you score! Including…
3. Israelis on cell phones.
4. A blind date who doesn’t remember you.
5. People you knew in high school who ignore you when they see you.
6. A throng.
7. A thong. Or inappropriate shul cleavage.
We’re happy to announce that the last “Dateline” story was such a hit that we’re making it a regular feature here at JDatersAnonymous, and inviting its author to keep on contributing her stories, as long as she has the strength to keep on keeping on…
Dateline: Los Angeles – Bachelor #82
I was happy to receive an e-mail in my JDate inbox from Bachelor #82, a handsome man. We e-mailed back and forth, spoke on the phone and finally set a date for Tuesday night. He picked a nice bar to meet near my home and I was looking forward to the evening.
As he walked into the bar I was stunned at how good looking he was. Bachelor #82 was tall with a full head of light brown hair, kind eyes and he smelled of fresh laundry. He was 36 years old, Jewish and currently attending law school in Los Angeles. He was perfection on that proverbial paper.
He smiled at me and we began what I would describe as a wonderful date. He asked me questions about my childhood, my time in NY, my religious views and taste in books and movies. He shared his opinions and made me laugh throughout the date. I was interested in him and was hoping to learn more.
About an hour into the date he started acting nervous and began fidgeting with his cocktail napkin. I asked if he was okay and he explained he really liked me so far (yay!) and was hoping I’d be okay with the news he was about to share.
“I’m not Jewish. Is that okay with you?” He looked down and stared at his feet. His eyes would go from the floor to me, back to the floor and back up to me. Like a pre-teen caught with porn. It was like a train wreck – I was very confused at this point, but couldn’t look away.
“I’m okay that you are not Jewish.” I replied. “But why are you on JDate? Why do you like Jewish girls?”
He began to explain. “I like Jewish women for three reasons. One, their politics are very liberal. Two, they are overly educated. Three, they are physically curvy.”
“You are barking up the wrong tree here, pal,” I responded. “I’m no Ivy Leaguer and typically vote Republican.”
“No, no it’s okay! This is good.” he says happily with a smile. “You have the curves!”
For more tales from the dating trenches, and dating-related commentary, stay tuned to this JDatersAnonymous channel.
The world is full of dating stories. This is one of them.
Written by a friend of mine (no, really, it’s not me) who recently moved to LA from New York (I swear it’s not me!), the post tells a tale all-too-familiar to Jewish daters…there’s a fancy hotel, expensive cars and clothes, and a man with an obscure job. And of course, awkward conversation.
Dateline: Beverly Hills – Bachelor #87
by J., intrepid JDater
I was contacted on JDate by a man who initiated an IM conversation with “Are you a good cook”? I continued to chat with him online and then over the phone, at which point he asked me out for a date. Bachelor #87 hails from Israel. He is from Iran originally and moved to LA from Israel when he was 18. So a Persian/Israeli Jew. He’s 43, never been married and “works in real estate” what ever that means. He does not work for a company and does not have his own company so somehow he’s figured out how to make money. (Fine Italian shoes, fancy sports car and diamond watch attached). I’m starting to think I’m the idiot here, who works in a cubicle all day.
We don’t like to dwell on the negative here at JDA. Life is so serious and this field full of such gravitas that we like to make you smile, even laugh, as you journey with us through the valley of the shadow of dating (OK, so maybe that metaphor was slightly negative. But still, read on…).
And so I’m pleased to present these two things that may make you smile, chuckle, guffaw, or forward/retweet to a friend.
“You Make Me Touch Your Hands for Stupid Reasons”
From the creatives over at “You’re the Man Now, Dog” – conveniently abbreviated YTMND – comes this dramatic reading of an actual breakup letter. I suspect it’s a breakup email, but potato, potahto. I’d tell you to watch for my favorite part, but let’s face it – it’s pretty much all my favorite part.
“I’m typing this on Shabbat, but I pray from the Koren Sacks Orthodox Siddur”
Over at Jewcy.com, Patrick Aleph, a self-described “rocker dude” notes that now that he’s single and has decided he wants to marry Jewish, he’s having some trouble finding his ideal woman. In “Rocker Dude Seeks Bitchin’ Beshert,” he opines: “there are plenty of Gefilte-Fish-In-The-Sea, but I’m getting picky. I’ve boiled my soulmate to a very specific, bordering on psychotic, JDate Nazi-esque list of characteristics.” On the list for his beshert (soulmate):
Education: bachelors degree in something super practical from a pussy liberal state college
Boobs: proportional and large enough to give me hands full of fun
Got stories or links that make you laugh? Share them with us in the comments, or email me at jdatersanonymous at gmail.com.
Cultural differences can be the spice of life – making things diverse always makes things more interesting. But extreme cultural differences can create conflict and lead to more misunderstandings than an episode of “Three’s Company.” Usually people speak about cultural differences as originating from language differences. But what a recent article in the Seattle P.I. blog pointed out is that sometimes, even two people who speak English may not be speaking the same language, or use the same tone.
The writer insightfully noticed that although American and British newspapers both offer personals that are technically written in English, the tone and length of the American personals are vastly different than in their British counterparts.
Both of these ads are from the Review of Books. The first is from the New York Review of Books, while the second is from the London Review of Books.
NYRB: THE REAL DEAL–classy, confident, and really cute Ph.D. Sensual and stylish, sweet and successful, Boston-based. Brains, looks, and a great sense of fun. Toned, fit, romantic, blonde. Proactive, easygoing, generous, yet no tolerance for injustice or arrogance. Traveler, writer, adventurer–can never get enough of Paris, San Miguel, Puerto Escondido (dreams of one day speaking Spanish fluently), fantasizes about visiting Rome or exploring Outer Banks with special man. Fan of political humor, legislative policy, jazz clubs, Prosecco, fiction, New York weekends, Central Park, fireworks on the Esplanade. Appreciative of talent, be it sports, theater, music. Seeks bright, passionate, active man, 50–early 70s.
LRB: Inelegant. Seeks same. Be my soul/slob-mate. F (42) seeks M (35-55) or best excuse for one.
What kinds of cultural or communicational issues have you experienced in your relationships (or attempted relationships)?
My old “nondating” bloggerfriend Ken Wheaton (who’s got a novel coming out, btw), posted this to Facebook, noting that women are crazy and that he had no idea if this was true or a stunt. So I clicked play hesitantly, prepared to defend the honor of this particular woman and all women everywhere, noting that we are not crazy, or that the whole thing sounded made up to me.
And so it began:
During the Summer of 2007, I had the opportunity to backpack around Europe for 2 weeks. I talked about it often before I left. My girlfriend however, although great in many respects, was not the world’s greatest listener. I left on Friday June 1st. Despite even calling her to say goodbye the night before, she never realized I left. When I arrived home 2 weeks later, I had several emails from her, waiting in my inbox…
On his site, JD notes (about all his content), “
After viewing it, I’m not sure what to think. Is her descent into relationship madness funny/relatable/pathetic? Yes. Are some of her reactions over the top? Of course. Should she have listened when her boyfriend told her he’d be out of town for two weeks? Given. But do we know that said boyfriend is an excellent communicator? Nope, we don’t. And what kind of human being doesn’t check email even once for two whole weeks? I know most people feel we’re too connected these days, but two weeks without phone or email, even to Mom? I don’t know.
Maybe it’s like the statistic quoted in a number of (pre-2001) films, including “Sleepless in Seattle,” which noted that women over 40 were more likely to be killed in a terrorist attack than they were to get married – fictional, but that it doesn’t matter if the story is actually true, as Rosie O’Donnell’s character says in “Sleepless”: it feels true. (But don’t worry: the “doomed spinsters” are getting married, says Newsweek.)
So: crazy? Or not crazy? True? Or just “feels true”? I don’t have answers. But what I do have (without spoiling the ending of the clip) is some idea that when they’re in relationships, people need to communicate more clearly in advance of an absence, and yes – I’ll go out there and say it – even when they’re not absent. Now, watch the clip. Laugh. Think it insane or untrue, or crazy or accurate, but enjoy the outstanding musical accompaniment and the dramatic escalation. (And for more of JD’s stories, check out jdsmanstories.blogspot.com.)