Wednesday, July 28, 2004

BLOG YOUR BREAKUP

Finally, a service that does everyone a service. Newsweek reports that there's a new kid on the blog, whose site tells you about breakups. I like that it's a backlash to the NY Times wedding pages, which serve as my weekly reminder that I'm still single and that everyone I've ever had a relationship with or a crush on is probably married by now. Check it out at: http://breakupnews.blogspot.com and be jealous that your site's not getting the attention of national news magazines. Plus, maybe you'll find someone special. It could happen. And if it does, tell me about it.

WORD "FRUM" BAFFLES CASUAL SEX SEEKERS ON CRAIGSLIST

Yes, I know there are about a million things wrong with that headline. But as it turns out, apparently frum people need casual sex, too. At least in New York. This is excerpted from Anna Schneider-Mayerson's article in the NY Observer.  For the complete article, click here and scroll down to the second story, titled "Hot! Sex! Live! Frum!" Visitors trolling for casual sex on Craigslist.org last week were left scratching their heads over an unfamiliar reference that has surfaced in a flurry of recent postings. To the posters’ disappointment, frum (pronounced "froom") is not shorthand for a kinky new posture or adventurous attitude. It’s a Yiddish word that technically means "religiously observant," but for all intents and purposes is used by men and women who identify themselves as Orthodox Jews. Jeff, an events planner who grew up Catholic in the Midwest, said he kept seeing requests from frum men and women seeking frum sexual partners. "The only thing that was in my mind was fru-strated, m-arried … ? I had no clue what it was," he said. "I didn’t realize it was an Orthodox Jewish person. From what I understand, they’re supposed to put a sheet between them when they have sex." It turns out that the deeply religious have sexual tastes as mundane as the rest of us. "Single frum guy for single frum girl for fun!" wrote one 24-year-old. "Married, frum guy looking for a frum girl (married or unmarried) for some NSA [no strings attached] fun. We can have good time ‘learning’ together," a 31-year-old posted. "Frum married guy looking for frum guy to explore," wrote another, continuing: "I am a frum married 28 yr old guy … during the summer my wife will be upstate and I am looking to explore having sex with a man … please be frum." There's more to the story, so check it out on the Observer's website, link above. My comments? It shouldn't surprise you to know that I have a few. I wonder how long it's going to be until this article catches the attention of a group of rabbis who contact these people offering not sexual exploration, but an opportunity for repentance. It also may point to a need in the frum community (a term that is far-reaching and includes many subgroups of different observance levels, I understand) for something similar to the Amish rite of rumspringen, in which teenagers leave their home environment to experience the world-at-large (now being explored in a UPN reality show, where we discover the answer to the age-old question, Are the Amish Hot?). In some modern Orthodox communities, after yeshiva upbringings, a teenager will go to a secular college, and encounter the "outside world" there, with challenges to their observance of kashrut and Shabbat, among other things. It can be a bit of a culture shock, and so many yeshiva grads opt for years in Israel or for an education in safer environments (YU/Stern, JTS, or even Columbia/Barnard or Brandeis) but I think it's often important for individual growth to realize you're part of a minority, and that your view is actually quite separate and different from the consensus of what is appropriate, or right, or accepted. Maybe the whole frum experience of living apart, unquestioningly, in a modern world is too much for some people to handle. The ad looking for a frum guy to engage in sexual exploration with another frum man indicates that they know they're living in a culture that doesn't approve of their sexual identity, but that they still feel a need to explore who they are, within the safety of the company of someone else who will fully understand their conflict. The popularity of the outstanding documentary Trembling Before G-d seems to indicate that there's a real need in the religious community to explore sexuality, and ways to be more inclusive of people who are different and who still want to live Jewish lives. The issue of sexuality--casual and committed, homo- and hetero-, pre-marital and even extra-marital (Newsweek ran an extensive cover story about how women are the new face of marital infidelity)--is one that we continue to struggle with in our own lives, and for the religious among us, it's sometimes even more layered with difficulty, as these Craigslist ads reveal. [Esther steps off soapbox.]

Thursday, July 22, 2004

LOVE AND POLITICS IN A YEAR OF ELECTION

The New York Times reports on new online dating sites that are targeted according to politics. An excerpt:   Most of the sites have popped up just in the last few months. And most of them trumpet a party affiliation from their home page. Love in War is a bit more subtle. Each personal comes with a mood meter, with the scale ranging from "Dean Angry" to "Clinton Mellow." And when Love in War members state their political beliefs (and they often do), they tend to echo the words of "LibGraphicDesigner," from Akron, Ohio: "Wake Me When Bush Inc. Is Gone." Want more? Click here.

Monday, July 12, 2004

SOMEONE ELSE'S JDATE ADDICTION...

This article by Amy Klein appeared last year in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles... It's long, but definitely worthwhile, and all-too-relatable. It's titled: True Confessions of a JDate Addict... An excerpt, for your convenience: Over the next six months, I receive e-mails from more than 250 men, correspond with about 60, and date about 30 of them. JDating is like a parallel universe, a bustling underground populated by people whose online lives are nearly as demanding as their daily jobs. It requires constant e-mailing, instant messaging, phone calls, meetings, follow-up e-mailing, more meetings and, finally, the messy business of purging failed dates from the system — and getting purged yourself. It’s taking up all my time: I can’t stop looking at the Web site. If dating is a numbers game, surely this will increase my odds. My numbers are not as impressive as Amy's. My experience has yielded few emails, and even fewer actual meetings. Anyone else wanna weigh in?

NEW ISRAELI WORD/SITE

(Via the Town Crier.) You'll be glad to know that there's a new Hebrew word for people who are both in our condition (single) and who want to move to Israel: singOlim. Click here for their site. Their mission statement: The goal of Project SingOlim is to prove that there is NO NEED to “compromise” on either Aliyah or on getting married. Whether you have a pioneer spirit or would prefer to share this common goal with someone special, Aliyah can be the most powerful experience in the world! By providing Singles with all the proper resources KUMAH’s Project SingOlim seeks to remove the “Marriage Excuse” obstacle from those with even the slightest desire to come on Home. I'd be very interested in your comments, especially from my Israeli readers...

Friday, July 09, 2004

ITCHY INSTANT MESSAGE FINGER

It's official. My JDate membership has ended. So of course, after months of silence from the JDate men, someone contacted me today. Now that I can't see who it was. I'll never know. I can't IM anyone, and all I get are those frustratingly unoriginal, bereft-of-any-creativity "teases," even though I've expressly requested that interested gentleman callers say something of their own instead of opting to "tease" me with inappropriate words. Damn this all to hell. I'm itchy, and twitchy, and restless. Can't get comfortable, like an addict in withdrawal. Except that being addicted to JDate never felt that euphoric to begin with. It's been more of a habit than an in-your-blood-and-every-fiber-of-your-being addiction. But I'm definitely ready for a break. The first 24 hours is probably going to be the hardest. After that, it's all downhill. Which was pretty much my experience on JDate to begin with. (Negative enough for ya?) Whatever. I'll keep up my therapy by coming here, and I urge you all to do the same. Send me your huddled stories, yearning to breathe free, and I shall release them into the ether--they will plague you no more, and we will embrace you in support. As Dionne, Elton and um...other people sang, that's what blogs are for. Or something like that.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

MARRY BLAIRE

Almost-27-year-old Blaire is just like the rest of we single women in our 20s (and dare I say, 30s): tired of waiting around for Mr. Right. So, thanks to the Internet and the media, she's taking her search global. You may have seen her profiled in this Sunday's New York Times Style section. Check out her website. Originally via Spot On.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

I LOSE MY SASS ON JDATE

I haven't really lost my sass. It's just that my JDate profile used to say I was "Funny, smart and sassy," but now, the JDate censors have caught up to my plan to sneak the word ASS into my profile and deleted the words. So I did what any rational person would do. I quit. That's right. I've had it with them deleting things from my profile and not telling me about it. It would be one thing if they sent me an email or refused to post my profile based on some egregious misspelling or horrible misanthropic/psychotic sentiment. But I can't take it anymore. My words are all I have in a profile, and when I use them, I want them to be, um, used. But I'm zany that way. I'm not ending the blog, though. Even if we all quit JDate, I think we'd all have enough stories to sustain us through a good year or so more of posts. And I think it's important to have a place to go to where our PTSD is shared, and understood unconditionally. I'm hoping that I won't have to go back, but I know I will. You can't help it. Love it or hate it, JDate's a part of the Jewish single experience. In sickness and in health. Until marriage do us part.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

SAW YOU AT SINAI

"Matchmaker, matchmaker, match me a match... Find me a find, catch me a catch... Matchmaker, matchmaker, look through your book and find me the perfect match." (Or something like that. It's been a while since I saw Fiddler.) Heard anything about Saw You At Sinai, the (relatively) new matchmaking service? Here's an article from the Blueprint on the service. And I also found a few bloggers who have undergone "The SawYouAtSinai Experience": Rabbi Josh Yuter describes how matchmakers decided his bashert was his ex-girlfriend. Meredith's experience was totally different. She was set up with someone who was paralyzed from the neck down. Click here to read the letter of complaint she sent to the Saw You At Sinai administrators. We need to hope that somewhere people are having good experiences with the fledgling service, but so far, I've not found any. If you have had a good experience with SawYouAtSinai.com, why not share your experience with the group? Post a comment here, or if you're shy, drop me a line. My Carrie Bradshaw moment on matchmaking: We're always asking matchmakers to look through their books and find us the perfect match. But what if our match isn't even in their book? What if matchmakers are checking out their books from the wrong library?

Thursday, July 01, 2004

BANTERIST: ONLINE DATING PICTURES

This Field Guide To Online Dating Profile Photography is truly masterfully done. Take one normal-looking guy and, through different shots, show how different his photos make him look and why he might post such pics online with his dating profile. Spot on, Banterist. And props to Superjux for clueing me in on this one...