Yes, there was the Details article (which, by the way, was more about Jews in porn than it was about Jews being seen as desirable). And also some brouhaha about Jewish girls being called “Coasties” (to the delight of some and the chagrin of others). And now, the topic continues (sort of) with a segment from LoveNation about “The Desirability of Jews,” then rendered by one of the hosts as “the uprise in the desire of Jews,” and then, ultimately as “the uprising of Jewish people.”
Thomas: Over the course of time, I guess there’s been a growing popularity of Jewish people. Apparently, Jews are popular, I think it’s great. Obviously, it wasn’t like that back in the day with anti-Semitism and complete prejudice against Jewish people. And now, everyone loves them! Why?
Laurie: There is this term “JILF” that’s going around right now…I don’t know who started it, but I most recently saw it in Details. [explanation of JILFs] It’s because women are so career-oriented, also even for guys they are so family-oriented. And especially in Gen X and Gen Y, religion is becoming less important. But with people who are Jewish alot of them are pretty practicing, […]or if not practicing, their culture is still really important to them. And so family values is something that when religion isn’t important anymore gets left by the wayside, people don’t care about having kids, taking the legacy forward.
Thomas: Also, pop culture has had a huge influence on the uprise of Jewish people. Remember Seinfeld? Jerry was definitely Jewish. [lists additional Jewish comedians] And also Madonna.
Laurie: And Madonna has helped bring Judaism to the forefront also because of her cool Kabbalah thing that she has going on. She kind of brought everyone’s eye to it. […]
Thomas: When it comes to dating, there’s even a website for Jewish singles to get together, called JDate.
What? Jerry Seinfeld is Jewish? And there’s even a whole dating site for Jewish singles!! That’s crazy talk!
I love Leah‘s response to the comment about JILFs: “There’s this term ‘JILFs’ going around right now.” There’s also this term OMGWTF going around. (via Twitter)
I appreciate that the duo believed they were providing a vital service: a discussion of the purported rise in perceived desirability of Jews. And I know that it was probably extremely well-intentioned (with tips for how to date Jews and everything!). And with only a few shows to their history together, it’s possible that the hosts will develop better chemistry and more of a flow as they practice more. But the content of their advice in this video was less factually substantial than the “Christmas Song for Mormons” featured on Conan’s show – which took most of its information from Wikipedia. These two – both dating “experts” in their non-video lives – should have delved a bit deeper and more intelligently into the issues, instead of this shallow rehash of the fact that Jerry Seinfeld was Jewish, and that Madonna’s involved in Kabbalah (which, by the way, isn’t the same thing ask Judaism). The content’s style most reminded me of some of the English papers I read in college, written by friends who hadn’t quite finished the books necessary to have an intelligent discussion on the subject, but who had to turn in the assignment anyway.
Toward the end of the advice section, Thomas – who noted that some non-Jews pursuing Jews are just “going after a stable person who happens to be Jewish” – advises that those who court Jews should “NOT crack jokes about stereotypes of Jewish people in general: perceived to be really cheap, whether Jewish women are not good cooks, whatever stereotype you’ve heard, don’t mention them” because “they don’t appreciate it at all.”
I understand that the discussion of Jewish (or any) stereotypes is a sensitive subject and the hosts felt the need to tread lightly, but pointing out stereotypes to avoid (including one I’ve never heard of) is using those stereotypes. Can you imagine getting the advice, “If your date is Irish and orders a drink, try not to comment on it, because it’s a stereotype and they don’t appreciate it at all”? I think that trying to avoid calling your date “cheap” (whether he’s Jewish or not) is a bare minimum to strive for on dates. And if you can’t get through a date with a Jewish person without calling them cheap or calling attention to some other purportedly Jewish attribute – whether it’s true or not – then you probably shouldn’t be out in public to begin with.
There’s a lot of video drivel out there, and when it comes to dating sites, everyone’s out to make a buck or self-promote. But if you’re going to launch your own show on a topic as rich as dating (online and off), why not contribute something meaningful to the conversation?
Want another opinion? Check out the 16th Street J’s take, “JILFing Us Softly“.
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.)
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.)
Arriving imminently, the Jewish holiday of love.
To celebrate, you can:
1) Watch Benji Lovitt try to get a date for the holiday
2) Go to a local Jewish singles party celebration of the holiday, like tomorrow night’s LoveFest 2009 sponsored by JConnectLA or Bangitout’s NY White Party (now to be held on Thursday because of a rain threat).
4) Remember that last year, Madonna and Guy Ritchie used Tu B’Av as a chance to rejustify their love.
5) Read about how I once jinxed the Bangitout Tu B’Av party.
6) Reassess the pros and cons of speed dating, created by Rabbi Yaacov Deyo in 1998.
7) Listen to Galgalatz, Israeli radio, for a menu of songs including “All You Need is Love” (The Beatles), “I’m Yours” (Jason Mraz) and – of course – Lady Gaga’s “Love Game,” with the immortal love lyric “I want to take a ride on your disco stick.”
8) Go through your iPhone/BlackBerry address book and let your eyes linger on each name, remembering how you were treated and how you treated others, and promise yourself it’s going to be different this time. If you’re feeling benevolent and find worthy candidates, recycle people by matching them with each other based on things they have in common. If you’re not feeling benevolent, don’t bother…
9) Go old school: Wear white and frolic in the fields, waiting for a special someone to come along and fall in love with you. Make sure it’s your field, though. Because otherwise it’s just called trespassing. And bring some Shout wipes. Because grass stains like a bitch.
10) YOUR IDEAS HERE.
Happy Tu B’Av, everyone. And please, as always, love responsibly.
Greetings sports fans. Here’s your vital roundup of dating- and relationship-related stories, and yes, even a little humor thrown in at the end.
The Husband, His Wife, and His Other Wife (Her Sister): If you think there’s tough competition in the dating world, at least you’re not married to the same guy your sister is. Brad Greenberg, formerly of the Jewish Journal and the award-winning God Blog, now writes at GetReligion.org about such a situation. And no, he’s not the husband in question. But his shock comes not from the prospect of a polygamous relationship featuring two sisters, but at the job the Telegraph reporter did in reporting the story:
While the Telegraph delivered a surprising story here, the reporter for this un-bylined article does a poor job of including the religious context needed for this story. In fact, we’re never even told in this story that the Mormon Church has banned polygamy, only that it is banned in the United States and, apparently, that “Fundamentalist Mormon families” favor polygamy.
She Brought Lewinsky Back (Yeah!): Over at Jewcy, Shula Reinharz gets the credit for bringing everyone’s favorite former White House intern back (a full week before former President Clinton flew over to N. Korea to get two American journalists freed), as the symbol for Jewish women who may have been raised in an overly sexually aggressive manner. In “Sex and the Suburbs,” Prof. Reinharz says that when the Clinton-Lewinsky story broke, she had been focusing on the wrong story.
Everyone was rightly talking about Bill. What he did wrong – and wrong he surely did. But what about Monica? Had she been doing this kind of thing back in Beverly Hills or was this an entirely new extracurricular activity for her? Can we generalize to Jewish girls in Weston or Westfield or Westwood from what Monica was doing in the West Wing?
The piece continues to consider whether today’s young people consider sex to mean only in the non-Clintonian definition, in the process noting that the practice of oral sex “is so rampant that the Reform Jewish movement has taken it on as a national policy concern.”
I checked that piece of information out on Google, and sure enough there is an article to that effect dated November 19, 2005. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, addressed 4,200 people in Houston for its biennial convention and explicitly talked about oral sex and hooking up. Bravo, Rabbi Yoffie. For him the issue was that girls are “defining their worth by how they please boys.” The degradation of girls flies in the face of the Reform Movement’s dedication to the equality of women, he said.
Can’t Touch This: And now, from oral sex, we go to the concept of shomer negiah, meaning the abstention from all premarital physical contact with the opposite sex. If you’re shomer negiah and have been looking for a loophole, we’ve got one for you. (Hat tip to Miriam Shaviv at the JC.com.)
And lastly, since this is “J”Daters Anonymous, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring out the J factor by mentioning the imminent arrival of Tu B’Av, the Jewish holiday of love (often called the “Jewish Valentine’s Day”). So look for a post about that auspicious day soon.
Sorry I’ve been away. Thank you for sticking around, checking back with me, reminding me to publish held comments, etc. I had been having some technical problems, but most of all found myself in a crunch for time – I kept writing half-posts and then discarding them. But now I’m back, hoping to provide some regular dating news and commentary from the crazy place where Jews and dating (sometimes) meet.
Up after the jump, Megan Fox, blind dating that’s really blind, religious transparency, and words to the brokenhearted.
And now, for something completely different…
If you’re tired of all the negative stereotyping of Jewish women as overinvolved, shrill, shrewish (“funny, she doesn’t look shrewish”), superficial harpies (and why wouldn’t you be?), here’s something a bit unusual. Friend of JDaters Anonymous Van Wallach has now published a treatise on the appeal of the Jewess, titled “Smart, Vulnerable, and Shtetl-Lovely: The Allure of Jewish Women.”
While the titular love Wallach describes was no doubt something that he had within him, he was inspired to write this piece after reading a Matchup column by Chicago-based freelancer Abigail Pickus (who once wrote for PresenTense) in the Jewish Week (where someone else used to write a column). The column shared her experiences on the receiving end of a litany of reasons why her Jewish male friend wouldn’t date Jewish women. Wallach didn’t just get angry – he got writing:
Why […] did I turn to and stay with Jewish women? Something about them clicked with me on a deep level. I once described a woman as “smart, vulnerable, and shtetl-lovely.” That’s my highest praise for the appeal of the Jewish woman’s mind, heart, and body. They are all allure, and if they freshen their lipstick over a sushi dinner, I’ll follow them anywhere – and I have. A Jewish man who dismisses such women as a group is, in technical terms, meshuggenah.
I’ll just add that anyone who dismisses Jewish men or Jewish women as a group isn’t helping. Let’s acknowledge that there are trends, and there are exceptions. And most of us are really looking for someone who is – in some way, even if it’s a small way only perceptible to us – exceptional.
Check out the whole piece over at Blogcritics.
For anyone who feels like they’ve spent too much time obsessing over an ex…and who suspects that the wasted hours in question might have been equivalent to degrees in something else…experience the Hebrew Mamita, Vanessa Hidary, spoken word poet who’s appeared on Def Poetry Jam and the Nyuorican Cafe. People have been sending me these clips all week, so I guess the DVD must be out, but I’ve heard (at least the second of) the two pieces before. She’s outstanding, truly.
The first piece is about ex obsession and all the time we waste in contemplating past relationships. But stay tuned for piece #2, which is a great treatise on Jewish identity and whether people “look Jewish” or not.