Monday, November 29, 2004
File this under "forewarned is forearmed." The article quotes the president of an organization called WHOA (Working to Halt Online Abuse): "We see up to 50 victims of online harassment/stalking each week," Jayne Hitchcock, president of WHOA states. "Some of these have had the unfortunate experience of meeting someone online, whether via an online dating service, chat room or personal ad, and have had a negative experience. So far, these victims (both men and women) have not had their lives taken as a result, or been physically abused, and we were able to stop the online harassment before it escalated to such a point. Putting a disclaimer on a Web site stating whether or not they provide a marital and/or criminal background check is a very simple solution and much easier than requiring every online dating service to do these checks. This then leaves a man or woman the option of joining that service, knowing what they can expect. And it could save their life." The call to action was issued by TRUE, "the only online relationship service that actively seeks to further protect the safety of its communicating members by conducting extensive criminal background screenings. "
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
According to Harrow Times: Britain has the highest numbers of sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancies in Europe, while Harrow has some of the highest in London. I did not know that. Britain? Really? Too much Coupling, I guess. (As if there could be too much of such a great show..."Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...") Amid this climate of promiscuity and teen sex, the BBC have commissioned a new documentary series, to be set in Harrow, encouraging youngsters to "try abstinence". First of all, they're calling it a documentary, but I'm thinking it's more like a reality show. Like "Amish in the City," but it's really "Abstinent in England." I wonder what the slogan for abstinence will be. "Relax: Don't Do It" seems very inappropriate, considering the original thematic of that Frankie Goes To Hollywood song. The series will follow a group of 15-18-year-olds to see if they can go five months without sex. Dubbed Romance Academy, the unusual show will urge the teens to practise celibacy and encourage them try old fashioned dating rituals. Let's set aside the fact that there are apparently 15-18 year-olds who are sex addicts. I don't think we had those in my high school. How does one practice celibacy? Very carefully. If you practice Judaism, you engage in Jewish rituals and customs. What are the customs of celibacy? Is abstention from an act an act itself? Old-fashioned rituals may include going to airports and hotel lobbies on your dates and attending singles dances where a wall of plants separates the men from the women. Or so I've heard.
I suspect that this will be a recurring series, much like H's new feature, "JDate Email of the Day." Which was upgraded from "JDate Email of the Week." Which was upgraded from "JDate Email of the Month." There's just so much material there... In the past month or so on JDate, I have noticed some trends in profile contents that I'd like to share. Maybe you can help corroborate my observations, explain them, expound upon them or otherwise proffer an opinion. This is the first in this series. "I'm a very laid-back guy" /"I'm very easy-going" I don't know what it is, but all of a sudden, all guys seem to have the term "laid-back" as self-descriptors in the first sentence of their profiles. I'm not saying it's good or bad. I'm saying I don't get it. What qualities does the "laid-back" guy possess? That he's "casual" or "easygoing"? Is the opposite "tightly wound" (in which case "laid-back" would be a good thing) or lazy (which would be bad)? Does he mean that nothing rattles him? That his apathy or indifference is boundless? That he never has an opinion about anything? How can anyone be completely "laid-back," in an era where the current cover of New York Magazine exhorts: "TERROR: WHY HAVEN'T WE BEEN HIT AGAIN?" (subtitle: "Reasons to Feel Safe...And Scared") I just keep seeing this phrase, over and over again. And it's always in the intro sentence. That actually grates on me more than anything else about the phrase...that the first thing they want you to know about them is that they're easy-going or laid-back. Which, as we've already covered, I don't find to be all that descriptive. I know. I'm a little nutso when it comes to language. I don't have to date Strunk and White. (Oh, the bad English major references.) Or William Safire, for that matter. I just believe that whoever is out there for me can make a compelling case for himself in writing. I'm even willing to relax about his spelling. But your profile is your opportunity to impress the people in your dating pool--why not take that chance? Use your words, boys.
Monday, November 22, 2004
Of course, if you're a JDaters Anonymous reader, we all discovered her months ago. Here's Gothamist's interview with Blaire Allison, Spinster. (Disclaimer: I maintain that 27 is not a spinster. A girl's gotta believe she's not past her prime just because she's reached an arbitrary age marker...)
[That was sarcasm, people.] Sometimes online dating can be...murrrrder. [Insert evil laugh here.] I know it's not funny. I just don't deal with "downer news" that well. (Yes, 2001 was a difficult year. Actually, which year hasn't been a difficult year?) Internet Romance Ends in Murder for Memphis Woman There are a number of web sites that make it easy for many people to find love on-line. That's apparently what 43 year-old Linda White, who lived in Memphis with her parents, thought she had found. However, less than a year after meeting Craig Musso on-line, and moving to upstate New York, the relationship ended with Linda White's death. "This is an unusual circumstance, this case," says Wayne County, NY Sheriff Richard Pisciotti. Police in New York say White was strangled to death by her new husband. There is no word on Musso's motive. All that is known is that the Internet brought these two people together. White and Musso met face-to-face for the first time in Memphis, after Musso caught a bus to town. That meeting followed an eight-month relationship on-line. The two were married in Memphis almost immediately. Linda White's neighbors say that was her first mistake. "You should get to know that person personally, before you marry them," says Frank Benson. Criminologist Richard Janikowski agrees, but says Craig Musso may be just another predator using a computer to capture his prey. "The Internet is used for all kinds of things, unfortunately," says Janikowski. Unfortunately for Linda White, true love may have been just a trick. Janikowski says it's a lesson for other potentially lovelorn adults. "There are all kinds of predators out there, and adults need to protect themselves, especially women," says Janikowski. I share this because knowledge is power. And we must be vigilant, pay heed to the red flags wherever they are. It's not quite the imperative to "trust no one," but certainly, we need to proceed cautiously. And gentlemen, if you're offended because women seem reluctant to get involved with you for whatever reason, just be patient, and understand where we're coming from. Of course, not every Internet contact is a potential murderer, but we have to not let our desire to connect with someone, and our yearning to have romance sweep us away, blind us to a more basic danger. File this under "For What It's Worth."
Thursday, November 18, 2004
I understand where the editor was going with this title, but it's a little too gimmicky for my taste, plus I think it doesn't exactly work with the issue covered by the article. And, I put in a reference to the "meet-cute," which is a movie term for the device that gets the two leads together in romantic comedies, which was apparently changed to "meet cute people." Not exactly the same, but whatever. That said, I offer my latest Jewish Week singles column. First paragraph is below--to read the article in its entirety, click on the title below. (11/17/2004) The Middos Touch Esther D. Kustanowitz “I’m looking for a girl with good middos,” the yeshiva boys of my youth would say. The teachers beamed, proud that their students were looking for girls with strong values — family, respect, and modesty. Problem is, nine times out of 10, those boys were punning on the Hebrew word middot, which also translates as measurements — as in 36-24-36. They were looking for a woman with curves in all the right places, and none of the wrong ones. Hearing this, the girls experienced a nagging feeling, as clear as writing on a Babylonian wall, that they had been judged and had been found wanting.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
If any of you do this, I would love to hear about your experience... I found this on a casting call notice I received from a group called Film in the City. Seeking on-line daters to participate in an independent documentary about the search for love via the internet. Initial on-camera interview will be about internet dating and his/her definition of love and what they are looking for. If the person is amenable, I would be interested in following him/her on a few dates. Cecile Bouchardeau, Producer/Director/Writer, Magic House Productions http://www.magichouseproductions.com/ Cecile@nyc.rr.com.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Now that's a game show I'd like to see. (Easy, Spike TV. Down boy.) But seriously, folks. Thanks to the folks at Jewlicious for bringing this new hoax to JA's attention. I can't say it enough, people. If it sounds too outrageous (counties hit by Florida hurricanes voted for Bush...is this divine retribution?) or too good (just forward this email to 100 of your friends and Bill Gates will give you a free computer and a trip to Disney World and a gift certificate to the GAP) to be true, it probably is. Check with your friends at Snopes, and they'll help you out. Just ask My Urban Kvetch...she knows.
Sometimes, on JDate, I like to see "who's online." I designate an age range and off I go, whisked away to a land of (presumably) available, (presumably) Jewish men. Per visit, I view approximately 40 pictures and opening lines, only seldom am I inspired by a smile or a sentence to click to the profile in its entirety. And here's where it gets spooky. With only one or two exceptions, all of the "who's online" profiles I have clicked on for the past three visits have been Geminis. I am also a Gemini. Last week, in a 24-hour period, I "met" via IM two different people whose birthday is the day before mine. Yet, I have never dated a Gemini. What does that mean? Amateur astrologers and non-believers alike welcome to contribute to the discussion.
Friday, November 12, 2004
Divorcing Bridget Jones I'm really at a loss for words. OK, so I'm not at a loss for words exactly. I guess I'm just not really wanting to dignify a Craig's List posting like this one with a diatribe about men's sometimes-piggishly superficial tendencies or a pontification on what women's attributes are prized or lionized in this community. So great to know this guy is available, though. (And FWIW, the original Craig's List post has been removed. Thanks, Craig!) Via Defamer.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Thanks for singing along with me on that one. I do appreciate the harmony. Hello there, and welcome to my article about Sunday's shidduch (match) conference. Were you there? Had you been in the past? Have you ever used a matchmaker? Weigh in with your observations here.
Friday, November 05, 2004
[As usual, the names have been changed to protect the potentially sketchy.] A 35-year-old British guy IMs me, we chat pleasantly for a few minutes. Then, this (my comments bracketed in italics): <BRITISHGUY>: what are your figures? <ME>: what do you mean? [He can't really mean what I think he means, can he?] <BRITISHGUY>: your statistics? [Statistics? You mean "9 out of 10 freelancers starve in their first year on their own"? Is he asking me my salary? He can't really mean what I think he means, can he???] <ME>: i'm still not getting you. <BRITISHGUY>: your waist size, inside leg size etc <ME>: are you for real? [Inside leg size? Just ponder that one for a while. Either he's asking for the circumference of my thigh (!!!) or he wants to know what size the muscles and viscera inside my leg are. In either case, that is literally the first time I've heard that one.] <BRITISHGUY>: why? <ME>: why would you need to know that? <BRITISHGUY>: just interested that's all. <ME>: i don't know how things work in the UK, but the only time that's an acceptable question in the US is if you are a tailor who is making me a suit. <BRITISHGUY>: hypothetically, what eould you do then if a guy you were seeing asked then <ME>: i don't know a single guy (who i would consider dating) who would ask something like that outside of a tailor context. And I don't know any women who even would have carried on this conversation after you asked. [In fact, why am I still here? Insatiable curiosity, I guess...] <BRITISHGUY>: i apologise <BRITISHGUY>: changing the topic--what do you think of bush being elected <ME>: not happy, but have no choice <BRITISHGUY>: yes you do <ME>: what? <BRITISHGUY>: nice chatting with u goodbye Moral of the story: In England, it is okay for a man to ask a woman for the circumference of her thighs and waist, even if that man is NOT a tailor or a beltmaker. However, it is not okay for a woman to express her dissatisfaction with political leadership. What a country!
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
The former is false labor/contractions, sometimes experienced by pregnant women late in their pregnancies. The latter is apsychological typing system (MBTI-Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), which is the mechanism for the latest entry into the field of online dating, Jewish Types. Aryeh, co-founder of both this site and the extremely helpful JRant, writes: The system helps you identify your MBTI type aswell as the type you are attracted to. The system then matches you with a person that fits your attraction type but also satisfies the requirement they you happen to be also be their attraction type. I personally think that this site can be extremely revolutionary as to how people are matched up. The fact is, that even if you aren't attracted to the person the site sends you, you will nevertheless feel an instant connection and feel comfortable with the other person because not only do you inherently like their type, they inherently like yours! So whether you walk away with a true soulmate or not, you should definitely walk away making some really close friends. There is no cost to join, but if you don't know your type, it could take a half hour or so to determine what type you are, and to which type you are attracted. It took me a while to determine that I'm probably an ENFP (Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling Perceiver) attracted to an ESFP (Extroverted, Sensing, Feeling Perceiver). I say probably because I felt some of the choices I was given in order to determine those letters were too close to call. You'll see what I mean when you take the test. If you have feedback for Aryeh, feel free to share it with him. If you have a great experience, share it with J.A.
Monday, November 01, 2004
Mmmmm. J.A. Potpourri smells nice. If you’re not too busy waiting for my new interview with Stacy R. from The Apprentice to appear in the Jewish Week, you might want to check out these sites for dating-related musings, trends and topics: He's Her Lobster... Jack’s Shack does the math for you, and provides you with a topic that, if employed correctly, will drive single women crazy. Personally, I didn’t think you guys needed suggestions of who to drive single women batty. I thought it just came to you naturally. My bad. “Taking one for the team, so your buddy can live a dream…wingmaaaan!” (I do love that Budweiser commercial.) A nod to the PepGiraffe for turning me on to this article from a couple of weeks ago in the NY Times. Apparently, the print version of this article is in that monstrous pile of newspapers and magazines on the floor of my apartment. If you’ve ever thought you’d be good at matching people up in bars, you might want to sign up to be a wingwoman. $30 an hour, you’d go to bars with single men and go “What about her?” If the guy nods yes, you go and chat up the woman, and then transition to the introduction to your client. The article is here and the website is here. Of course, if you prefer your winging to be wirtual—umm, virtual, try the Arriviste Press Virtual Wingman. Bex the Rockstar—A Closet Romantic? I couldn’t believe it either. But my controversial ex-camper’s now backlashing against the Sex and the City approach to New York dating, and has launched a mission to return to those misty, black-and-white days of “highballs and witty discourse.” A Love that Would Look and Sound Like a Movie Blaire Brings an Apple to the Teacher Blaire, of MarryBlaire.com fame, is dating a teacher. They've been together four weeks, which is longer than most of the relationships I've had. So, more power to her. Love Coach JDaters Anonymous reader Janice Bennett, a nationally consulted expert on relationships and the Love Coach for JMatch.com, sends out a regular newsletter with resources, book reviews and announcements of online classes she’s running. Among other things, her site features a blog, and a book review of "He's Just Not That Into You" here. Want more? As we used to say back in the day, tough noogies. Ya gotta wait.