Thursday, December 29, 2005
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Sunday, December 25, 2005
The rest of my new Jewish Week singles column is available here.
“Unaffiliated.” “Secular.” “Synagogue=Never.” With many JDate members describing themselves with this level of observance, daters who wanted to create a Jewish future with their bashert were for a long time simply out of online dating luck. So when Frumster barreled its way onto the scene four years ago, it aimed to fill in the observance gap for frustrated online daters and create a pool of religious singles — essentially, putting the “Jewish” back in Jewish online dating.
[...] this month, Frumster announced a milestone: In four years, 500 members had met and married; by the Dec. 15 gala event celebrating the 250 couples, the number of matched members had grown to 520. Over 55 percent of those relationships had been initiated by women (or were so remembered in the “exit interviews” that Frumster conducts when members match). Sixty percent of the matches were between people older than 31. In addition to these encouraging statistics, the milestone has spurred a media push: while continuing to serve its Orthodox population, Frumster is responding to the call of the non-frum, extending memberships to all “marriage-minded” Jewish singles, and tweaking the membership process accordingly.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Mars & Venus: Men and women try to understand each other You Don't Look Like Your Picture: Everything online dating (no real profile names or numbers, please...) Separate Seating: The religious life of the single Jew Apocrypha: Everything else outside the canon
DEADLINE for the premiere, January 2 issue is December 30.
Have more questions? The M&VGTS FAQ Sheet has your answers...
The M&VGTS FAQ
Q: What's a Carnival?
A: Are you serious? You're a blogger and you don't know what a Carnival is? Basically it's a recap/rundown of posts from different blogs on a certain subject or theme. Need more? Go here and read this.
Q: Esther, why start a Carnival now?
A: Life's a Carnival already. And being single sometimes seems like a Ferris Wheel, with highs and lows, but ultimately no progress. Having stumbled on the metaphor, I viewed it as a sign. Plus, with a new year coming and with My Urban Kvetch getting lots of play, I thought JDaters Anonymous hosting a Carnival would be the perfect way to start 2006.
Q: I'm not religious. I once pureed a Big Mac with a glass of milk and dipped my shrimp in it. I go to shul on High Holidays or not at all. Actually, I'm not even sure what shul is....Can I submit?
A: Absolutely. If you're Jewish, and your Jewish life in any way impacts the way you live single or date, you're welcome to submit a post to this Carnival. Of course, we will have to circumcise you. (Even if you're a woman. We have our ways. Mostly through metaphor.)
Q: I'm not single, but I have ideas and thoughts to share on the nature of single life, dating, and the impact of religion thereon. Can I submit?
A: Thereon? Are you from another century? Who talks like that? But seriously...since when have I ever denied a fellow Jew a platform? Submit your post for review and if it's entirely inappropriate, you'll hear from me.
Q: Do you really need four categories?
A: Come on: four cups of wine is more fun than one cup of wine, so four categories is--heck, you do the math. Because we all know I'm not going to.
Q: Did you know that the word Islam means "submission", so when you're calling for submissions, you're really calling for "Islams"?
A: Um, no. In fact, maybe anyone calling for "Islams" is actually calling for "submissions to a blogcarnival," didja ever think of that?
Q: Hey wait a minute...if this is the first time you're announcing this Carnival, how can there already be a list of Frequently Asked Questions?
A: Very good, you're very clever. Now go back to your own blog, select a post and submit it to me via email at esther.kustanowitz at gmail or via the handy dandy submission form at the BlogCarnival site...deadline is December 30, so we can ring in the new year with a brand new Carnival...
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Monday, December 12, 2005
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Are you ready for the dating experience of a lifetime??? ABC News is casting for the next season of " HOOKING UP," last summer's hit documentary series about online romance, dating, sex and relationships set in and around New York City. We are looking for outgoing and articulate women and men, straight or gay, ages 20-40, living in or near (and primarily dating in) Manhattan, who are currently internet dating… or extremely eager to try it. Let our cameras follow your online dating adventures!!! For an application or more information, please email email@example.com as soon as possible, like now! (We've got seriously tight deadlines… and you've got some serious dating to do.)Have fun, and maybe I'll see YOU on television...
[...] It’s not that platonic, opposite-sex relationships don’t exist. But they’re complicated. Some “Forever Friends” stick around, hoping patiently that their platonic pal will someday see the romantic light, but this may turn out to be a painful mistake. “It’s like dating a man who is already taken, hoping he’ll leave her for you — it’s not the healthiest of beginnings,” says Julia, 28. Others find comfort in the rewards of solidly platonic friendships. “Once you grow closer to someone as a friend, the love you have grows more into a sibling type of love,” says Rachel, 24, “Soon you become so attached as friends that the attraction is almost completely forgotten. You end up knowing them so well it’s impossible to ‘like’ them any longer.” Sometimes that works. But when yearning deepens, friendship becomes impossibly painful. Unless other romances intervene or the love-stricken party accepts the impossibility of progress, feelings can continue, leading to soulful declarations met by disappointing reaffirmations with parenthetical, unvocalized caveat counterparts: “I think you’re great (but not great enough for me),” “You’re going to make someone (else) very happy,” “I don’t deserve you (I deserve someone better),” and “You know we’re better as friends (so I don’t have to tell you that I don’t think you’re all that attractive).”Read more online, here.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Ooops! Ouch! What was that? [Esther looks at her feet.] Sorry folks, just stumbled over another Jewish person. Back to the story.
Amanda Glincher, 22, says that even among other Jews, she has often stood out as very Jewish. Growing up she attended South Peninsula Hebrew Day School and the Orthodox synagogue Am Echad. Her family kept kosher, and often attended shul. “All the guys I dated on this coast were Reform,” said Amanda. “They would eat cheeseburgers…. in their home... on their own dishes!” Jacob Orrin, 22, grew up on the East Coast and attended college at Rutgers University, finishing his degree at San Jose State. “On the East Coast, you’re stumbling over Jewish people,” Jacob said. “Here, there’s really few opportunities to meet people.” Especially, observant Jewish girls!
Both Jake and Amanda were busy dating one after another Reform, incompatible Jewish singles. Jake had gone to a few cocktail parties hosted by the Silicon Valley Young Adult Division of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley but hadn’t met anyone yet.
What? A few whole cocktail parties? And still no one?? The horror! But fear not. Liquid courage is on its way.
Although she had been invited by friends to other events, Amanda had been avoiding SVYAD events on purpose for several months, “I didn’t want to hang out with all the young and desperate singles,” she joked. But one evening, Amanda agreed to accompany a friend on SVYAD’s “Booze Bus” up to the Latke Ball in San Francisco. It just so happened that Jake would also be on the bus that evening.
That brazen little hussy...calling a boy. When I was a girl, we didn't call boys, or talk to boys, or sit in a parked car with a boy...
“I walked to the back of the bus where the alcohol was and I said to Jake, ‘you’re too tall to be Jewish,’ and he said, ‘you’re too blond to be Jewish,’” recalls Amanda. The next day Jake called Amanda for a date. But the first night out together was far from love at first sight. “I decided he was creepy and we didn’t like each other,” Amanda said. But several months later, one of the special needs children that Amanda works with through the Chabad sponsored program Friendship Circle, told her about his amazing Hebrew teacher. Turns out, the little boy was talking about Jake. Right around this time Amanda’s parents were planning her little brother’s bar mitzvah and were looking for a kosher caterer. Amanda remembered that Jake was working in catering and she used the opportunity to call him.
Three weeks later the couple was already talking marriage. Their wedding is in September. Why so quick?
“I’ve been on a thousand dates,” said Jake, “and when you know it’s right, it’s right.”
He's been on a thousand dates. Yeah, Jake. Me too. No, y'know what? I've been on, like, a jillion dates. So there. (OK, so maybe it's closer to twenty. But if Jake can exaggerate, so can I.)
Seriously, hope these crazy kids can make it work; built on a foundation of boozing and bussing and with the involvement of Chabad and Federation? Two Jewish organizations? Uh-huh...should be great!
I just heard from a Jewish dentist who is either .....(after seeing my photo)...either hot to trot, smitten, married or all of the above. He gave me his cell phone # and wants me to call him ASAP. Another joker was smitten on the phone then disappeared for a week....never called back, but kept IMing me and finally asked me out for a drink. When I said I dont' drink and would prefer to meet for a casual lunch....he got huffy in a hurry then IMed me again and said he'd buy me a soda (since I don't drink). Another beauty bought me a lovely dinner then said he'd call......he didn't. He then IMed me several weeks later and asked me how I felt about safe fantasies and bondage!And yes, I also referred her to JDatesGoneWrong...
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
[Hey, where have I heard about this before? Wasn't there a site specifically for gay Jews? I believe it was called QJew, and founder Justin offered me an exclusive for my column...maybe I should revisit that. Hey Justin, if you're reading this, tell me why QJew is better than JDate for finding a same-sex bashert...] Seth Kamen of Bethesda, Md., watched his best friend meet her fiancee through JDate, and said he hopes to meet a Jewish guy through the service as well. “Judaism is a large part of my life,” said Kamen, 28. “I want somebody who can share that with me.” Beyond celebrating holidays, Kamen said he’s looking for someone with whom to raise Jewish children. Indeed, with more gay men considering adoption and child rearing, the issue of finding a mate of the same religion has taken on added significance. “Anything that can bring together two Jewish parents, whatever sex they are, is an important thing to do,” Kamen said. I hope Seth finds his bashert. But in case he doesn't, and instead becomes as frustrated as we searchers of the hetero-Judaic persuasion, JDaters Anonymous is here to catch him in a community of the likeminded. Because whether you're a breeder or a big old queen, frustration with online dating unites us all.
The popular Jewish online dating site expanded its search capabilities this month to allow gay men and lesbians to seek matches. The Web site, which is popular among Jews of all ages, now asks people for their gender and the gender they’re searching, allowing men to search for men and women to search for women.
Monday, November 28, 2005
After I asked if I could reprint her comments here, she agreed and added the following about her experience.
I recently got my nerve to take the plunge and start to date via an internet service, a Frum site. And boy my experiences, and opinions can fill pages of the Jewish Week! First off by email and telephone conversations- I have been lied to over and over. About if the guys have kids/ I am divorced single mom who wants only a guy who has been married with kids. So I have had guys lie to me that they did not have kids, but they did. I had guys lie about why they are divorced, ask me out after a few months of being either divorced, or widowered. I had been emailed by guys who were in their 20s... I am Baruch Hashem 40 and I don’t date guys younger than 2 years younger than me. I have been emailed by guys who are 65+. I am Modern Orthodox- I have been emailed by Chasidim.
I have no confidence of finding my BASHERT FROM THIS TYPE OF DATING. I DID try this in the winter and spring of 2005/ and I had a few dates- but no one worthy of being a Bashert. I came close twice but the long distance relationship/ and relocation issues would not work for me. I feel that it is easy to make quick rejections of shidduch prospects when things don't fit right. I have been the dumper as well as the dumpee and the guilt on this is tremendous!
I am so glad that I am not alone in feeling this way- I originally thought it had to do with my baggage of my divorce, and my recent broken engagement- that all these wounds prevented me from finding my Bashert through that internet dating! That is what I have been told by the few lucky ones who found their spouses on these sites. But I have an acquaintance who found her husband on one site and she had a lot of baggage from her divorce- worse than me/ and had more kids, and years married at the time of her sudden divorce- so I thought if she had Mazel why not me? But the internet dating is not cracked up to what it advertises. I have weeded out the garbage excuse my directness on this- and I do it via the emails and telephone- I don't even chance the date at all lately--if something does not feel right, I side on caution and avoid the date like a plague!And now, the audience interaction portion of our program... Some might say she's right to be cautious. Others may call her overly picky. What do you think?
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Back in the day, dating online was something no one talked about. Relying on the computer to generate a list of potential dates seemed to indicate a certain desperation, social ineptitude or level of geekdom, and the social stigma was overwhelming. We also had a respectful fear of the Internet; we established emergency check-in procedures, in case the nice quiet Jewish boy without a context turned out to be one of those people who would later be described by neighbors on the local news, as a “quiet, private person who kept to himself — we never imagined he was a cannibal.” Then, slowly, the grudging, sub-audible admissions began. “Well, for the last X [amount of time], I’ve kinda … been … on JDate.” You confessed it softly, in case the music suddenly stopped, yielding to your voice trumpeting truth against a pristinely silent background. Since then, online dating is assumed. We peruse disembodied profiles, no longer fearful of our potential dismemberment, although there is always the possibility of dis-rememberment (“Did I say I’d call her? Which Rachel is that?”) We understand the reality — if you’re really looking, you have to be in many places at once. Attending singles events is a good start, but how many can one person attend in a given week? Online, you can ogle and reject (or even initiate contact with) many eligible singles from the comfort of your own home. Plus, the experience itself becomes an unintentional bonding point: “That guy contacted you, too? I can’t believe he wrote us the same letter.” (Want more proof? Google “I hate JDate” for about 42,600 results.)Want more? Read the rest of the article here.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Monday, November 21, 2005
But on the other hand, we’ve lost our fear of online dating, throwing life out of balance. As Ian Malcolm, the fictional chaos theorist in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, might have said, we didn’t earn the power to disrespect the system—we were not vigilant about maintaining a healthy respect of and fear for the interface. And because we were that arrogant life--or, in this case, online dating sites--"will find a way."There's probably some machine conspiracy theory a la Matrix in there as well ("we know it was they who scorched the skies...") -- what can I say? I don't have HBO, so I watch a lot of Bravo and TBS/TNT/USA. The whole, hopefully much more coherent article, to come Wednesday, as usual.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
But last night's story is the absolute worst. A friend was telling me about a friend of hers (who I have met several times) who recently got dressed up, put on make-up, did her hair, and had someone take a very nice picture of her. She posted this photo on SYAS and received an incredibly rude e-mail, completely unsolicited, from a shadchan on the site. This e-mails subject line itself was "EW." The e-mail consisted of berating and ridiculing remarks regarding this woman's picture. Name-calling was even resorted to. The woman who received this e-mail was in tears after reading it. This is the worst e-mail I have heard of, but not the only one. Who on earth gave the shadchanim the idea that it is okay to treat anyone in such a manner? Who taught these supposedly frum individuals that it is under the guise of Torah to give unsolicited criticism in a mean and cruel manner? What on earth was this woman thinking in writing such an e-mail? Just because a person is single entitles no one, not even a shadchan who is "helping" that single, to be rude and cruel. I know many shadchanim received less than grateful responses from singles, and that is absolutely not justifiable either. But calling names and breaking down the self-esteem of women, for no reason that I can fathom, is ridiculously disgusting.She's right, no question. I've heard decent things about SYAS and about its leadership, so I'm going to assume that this one person is an aberration. An unforgivable aberration, but still not the norm. The worst thing I can say about SYAS is that for me it was ineffective, not further damaging to my self-esteem. She continues:
I haven't done the research and therefore may be speaking out of turn (or out of my, well, you know), but I feel comfortable saying that men don't get these sorts of emails. Like it or not, there's a huge imbalance in the way women and men are treated by traditional Judaism, and the imbalance is also clear when it comes to the value of a single Jewish man as opposed to the value of a single Jewish woman. It's no secret from anyone who reads my column or this blog that one of my central issues with the Orthodox movement is the way it treats singles, especially single women in their thirties and "Godforbidforties": as "a crisis," thinking that if the community puts enough pressure on singles, they'll marry and do their due to the Jewish people by procreating. Never mind that some people, for whatever reason, may not WANT children...Or that most singles aren't just sitting around twiddling their thumbs, waiting for Mr. or Ms. Right to knock at their doors. There are those who say we're being too picky. And then there are others who say that dealing with the nightmare of dating in the (let's just say) traditional Jewish world -- as evidenced by creepy guys at kiddush, nightmare singles shabbatonim and horrific shadchan encounters -- are enough to turn anyone off, not just to the process of looking for a soulmate, but to the traditional Jewish community in general. And that is--or soon will be--the true crisis.
What worries me the most is that this is not an isolated incident…One of my friends questioned whether men on SYAS get the same treatment, considering the fact that I have heard there are many more women on the site than men. I honestly don't personally know any men who are on SYAS, but I would be interested to know whether any of them have received such e-mails.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Monday, November 07, 2005
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Monday, October 31, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Monday, October 24, 2005
The cost of subscribing to JDate is nearly double that of subscribing to a general, non-Jewish singles website. Even though both sites are owned by the same company, with the same look, feel, technology and presumably, set up cost.Why? I think it’s because, as I've said before, kosher meat is more expensive [FX: snare drum]. But GG has another theory: "I believe that this represents the desperation amongst singles in the Jewish community to find their significant other," he says. After much discussion of the whys and hows that Jewish dating in Sydney is lacking, he comes to a conclusion:
Speaking of sex, or the lack thereof, it’s time we checked in with Nice Jewish Girl, who is still very much living up to her name, despite the fact that she's actually been kissed now...Many of her readers are thrilled for her. Others call her a sinner. Read about the controversy her decision to part (at least partially/temporarily) with shomer negiah ways here. Nice Jewish Girl and I have something in common: we were both the targets of much ire by a blogger named "Not Godol Hador," who wrote some opinionated thoughts about our postings. Ever our hero, P-Life was so upset on our behalf that he decided to embrace anger in the new year. (We're touched, really.) Chayyei Sarah also reacted to Godol's post:
I reiterate that the greatest threat to the survival and continuity of the Jewish community is the anti-social behaviour of young, single Jews. In fact, it defies logic that Jewish youth are so pre-occupied with fighting this anti-social behaviour with the intention of propogating it for generations to come.
So, to fix the problems facing my people, I've decided to throw a party. A massive party. An appeal. I'm going to call it the Jewish Sex Appeal. Keynote speaker Ron Jeremy. The largest game of Spin the Bottle in Jewish community history. A room full of closets that potential couples can be locked in, until magic happens. It will break down the walls of inhibition for good. Sex to save the religion. Now, there's a concept we can all get into.
Of course, Godol may simply argue that I'm not, in fact, too picky, I'm just one of those people who "have emotional problems and need some serious therapy." Because that would explain why I'm still single, given that everyone who does manage to fall in love and develop a stable relationship and get married is, by definition, perfectly emotionally healthy and doesn't need therapy at all. They give you a marriage license only if you are completely free of hang-ups. It couldn't possibly be that I'm simply unlucky, or the victim of other people's pickiness, or that I have an unusual set of qualities that makes me hard to match up, or that there is some wider social problem going on that I would happily escape if I could. If I didn't have "emotional problems" before, I probably do now. You would too, after hundreds (if not thousands), of dates.But maybe her karma is changing, since she subsequently had a good experience at a singles event. (Here's hoping...) Let it not be said that JDaters Anonymous is all about fluff or dating-related complaints. We're also about learning stuff. Here's part one of rabbinical student Drew Kaplan’s treatise on Jewish dating and his more text-oriented approach to Pornography for women in the Jewish Tradition. Over in La-La Land, Hilary gets a Jdate email from someone who is either a Nigerian prince or the manolo (or the rahulio). And Annabel Lee’s trying to figure out if her new guy is worth the different kinds of crazy he’s making her… In Esther news...since hoped-for potentials have, er, vanished, I’m trying JMatch. Let’s see if it makes any kind of difference… so far, I’ve been contacted by one guy (with a nearly empty profile) whose contact I nicely declined, but who keeps after me, sending his phone number (which, btw, I never asked for) and begging me to call. Meantime, I have twenty new emails over at JDate...I'm thinking about rejoining for a month to test the newly redesigned site. What do y'all think? Should I pay my $30 to "the man" for a month of access to chat rooms and emails? In my columns, I'm committing to the concept of change, and to guilt-tripping. Coming soon, First Person Singular takes its readers inside a Jewish singles event...stay tuned for more excitement in next week's installment of the Weeeeeek....innnnnn....Daaaaaatinnnnnng...
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Reasons Why Men Disappear
- Has become Unabomber and now lives in unwired cabin in Montana
- Afraid social intercourse with women will harm his macho stud rep
- Hit by “the bus”
- Lying dead in a ditch somewhere
- Has had partial stroke affecting only ability to communicate via phone or email
- Computer crash has rendered them him to electronically communicate
- School/work schedule so overwhelming that calling and writing are not options
- Witness protection program has given him a new identity and firm instructions not to contact anyone from his “previous life”
- Wrongly imprisoned in bizarre beer pong-related incidents in Thailand
- Have entered monastery in which any contact with evil females is prohibited
- Have signed nondisclosure agreements with self; if found in violation, will have to sue himself
- Have shacked up with iPod Nano and declared intent to marry
- Went on road trip with buddy a month ago, refused to ask for directions, and the two remain lost somewhere between here and Tijuana
- Undercover at Neverland ranch
- Kidnapped by Hef’s three girlfriends and taken to the Playboy mansion for month of post Yom Kippur debauchery
- In a 12 step program and stuck at step 1
- Reading a really good book he can’t put down
- Lost somewhere in Target or Home Depot
- Have been bricked up behind a wall in someone’s basement
- Was bit by lycanthrope and can not resurface until the full moon is gone
- Was on Oceanic Flight 815
- Just found out he was an agent for SD-6 and is now being debriefed by a special ops unit of the CIA
- He's just not that into you
Friday, October 21, 2005
Sunday, October 16, 2005
The most frequent vacation taken by single Jews? The Guilt Trip. We go out to parties and on blind dates because we feel guilty staying home. We have guilt from family and society, guilt for doing what we want and not what we should. We go out with our mother’s best friend-from-college’s son’s friend’s roommate, to help us answer a parental “but are you trying?” with a less guilt-ridden “yes.”Read more of the article, which proceeds to profile two excellent reads--Shanda, by Neal Karlen, and The Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt, edited by Ruthie Ellenson-- here.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Wednesday Oct 19 2005 - 7 pm to - 10:45 pm JOIN VH1 AND ACTRESS ANDREA ROSEN AT JEWISH SINGLES SPEED DATING & DINNER PARTY FOR AGES 21-38. Event at Gente Ristorante Italiano Website: http://www.genteny.com 153 East 45th Street (Between Lexington and 3rd Avenue) New York, New York 10017(Esther cannot afford events like this one. This event, for instance, is $90. Yes, it includes dinner and wine tasting and speed dating, very nice. But I still can't afford it. Plus, it's like right after the conclusion of the first days of Sukkot, and I'm busy.) If you go, let me know how it went...
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Launched on August 21, 2005, Joe Pazo came up with the idea for Dinklink (derived from the phrase “Double Income No Kids”) five years ago. “I was incredibly frustrated with my own pursuit of a ‘dinklink’ and decided to look around online,” says Joe. “I was amazed to see the dating sites at the time basically ignoring people like me. I mean sure, most offered little check boxes in the profile section to the effect of 'do you want kids?' or 'do you have kids?' Both were typically buried near the bottom. For me, these were two of the most important things.” [...]These issues are especially present in the child free singles scene. “From a dating perspective specifically, the biggest challenge I've seen is the perception that being child-free is some sort of a 'phase' you go through that could be changed by the 'right' person,” says Joe. “But being child-free is a lifelong commitment, and something we don't take lightly.”A lifelong commitment to being child-free. Ain't the internet great?
He has never dealt with a woman before who had never even been kissed. He kept asking me if I am OK with that and I told him no, I hate it, it is very hard, I have the same hormones as everyone else. But also I know that I have made my decisions and that I cannot change the past and that Hashem has reasons for making my life turn out the way it has. I have to believe it is for the best. I accept it because I have no choice. But why I am writing about it is that he keeps saying that the next time he sees me he is going to kiss me, that it is about time I had my first kiss. I am excited but confused. First of all I do not know exactly what he means, you know? He said “oh, what you mean is that you have never gotten the kind of kiss that lasts for 15 minutes.” But he did not then say “well I will have to correct that.” I think he means to kiss me on the cheek or something.That would be nice but it is not really what I am aiming for. What I want is the 15 minute kiss! I want a kiss that makes me have to come up for air!Of course, since it's a matter of the intersection of human sexuality (and its pervasiveness in contemporary Western culture) with halakhah, there's still considerable guilt, especially before the High Holidays.
I wish I could say that the thought of doing this possibly on my very next date makes me feel guilty about breaking halacha. Especially because it is almost Rosh Hashanah and we are supposed to be atoning for our sins not planning to do new ones. But honestly I do not feel so guilty. I cannot explain why. I know I should say that no matter how old I am I should at least feel guilty about breaking halacha especially at this time of year.I spend every year parsing the Al Het prayer, in which we enumerate a list of sins so long that we can't possibly have committed all of them (but we can't possibly emerge from reading the litany feeling completely pure and innocent). I don't think kissing itself--or brushing up against someone--is a sin ("v'iadat znut" or "giluy arayot"). But I do recognize the concept of siyag laTorah, the rabbinic practice of "placing a fence" around the rules of the Torah; in other words, forbidding certain activities not because they themselves are morally wrong, but because they lead to other actions or behaviors which halakhah condemns. (See here for a technical halakhic discussion of what Judaism has to say about pre-marital sex--hat tip to Drew for the reference.) Anecdotally, it seems (at least in New York City) that pre-marital sex is Modern Orthodoxy's dirty little secret, in that many people are having it, but no one is talking about it; many people who are unflinchingly careful when it comes to kashrut or Shabbat observance are more cavalier when it comes to physical relationships. Unsurprisingly, there also seems to be a gender imbalance: men are freer to talk about it than women are. I know, I know. The evidence is anecdotal, at best. I don't have names and sources for you to support this claim. And last time I made a comment like this, I got reamed by a few blogs, but I'm still convinced it's true. And if it is, I don't necessarily think it needs to be eradicated, and the sinners expelled to "outside the camp," as it were, but there needs to be an acknowledgment that--for whatever reason, be it an increased influence from outside culture, or the increase in people who have already been in marriages that failed, or the delay in single people finding soul mates--there's been a shift in how today's "traditional" single Jews view issues of dating and sexuality. I'm not advocating rampant casual sex for Orthodox singles, but I don't think it's acceptable for someone like NJG to reach the age of 34 without having experienced some basic human tenderness, and I don't think it's acceptable that her Jewish life and observance has created in her this package of fear, guilt and longing that consumes her, even in anticipation of one long-overdue kiss.
Friday, September 30, 2005
JANE HAWKING's book about the turbulent years of her romance with astrophysics genius and A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME author STEPHEN HAWKING is being turned into a movie. Bosses at Hollywood's Film And Music Entertainment Inc have acquired the film rights to MUSIC TO MOVE THE STARS and now hope the story will become an Oscar-worthy epic.Moving on to the Grand Romantic Gestures Department, cosponsored by Bad Idea Jeans..."Lovelorn widower Hugh Ramage has taken out newspaper advertisements to try to find the mystery Welsh woman he fell for on holiday." After chatting with the woman, who he now describes as his "perfect match" for hours over the course of his vacation, poolside in Bulgaria, he made a tactical error: he didn't ask her name. All he has to go on is that she's from Wales. (Actually, that's more like "Bad Planning Jeans.") So, he's decided to "take out advertisements in a last-gasp bid to claim a holiday romance." The Scottish grandfather added, "We talked about our families, where we lived, what we did. I have never met anyone before that I can talk to so easily - it was if we had known each other for ever."
"I was going to ask her if she would like to keep in touch," he explained, "But for some reason, I lost my bottle." [I love that phrase.-EDK] Mr Ramage, of Belshill, Lanarkshire, said he would be happy to travel the 400 miles from his home to Wales to meet the woman of his dreams again.
He then added, "And I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more, just to be the one who walked a thousand miles to be there at your door." (The Proclaimers....look it up.)
But not all is bad for single women...Forbes reports that "Married women are more likely to report ongoing sexual difficulties than either single women or married men, according to an eye-opening new survey from Britain." Want all the details on how functional or dysfunctional you are? Check it out here...
Frustrated movie romance of the week: (Serenity spoiler here, so consider yourself warned)...Mal and Innara. Come on! She's a frickin' courtesan! Stop your shomer negiah smoldering at each other, get over yourselves and get yourselves a room already...that's all I'm saying. Want more Serenity spoilers? Try MyUrbanKvetch.
As for someone who (I hope) is one of your favorite singles columnists, she's had a good week. Her new column, Homing in on Change, is in this week's Jewish Week, and she's been profiled on Jmerica's YoYenta blog. And she's apparently begun referring to herself in the third-person.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
"Having taken over 500 flights in the past four years, I can count on one hand the number of times that I've been seated next to someone I actually wanted to talk to," site founder Peter Shankman said in a release. "Creating AirTroductions was a labor of love. Hopefully, people can match themselves up and sit next to someone they want to talk to! Imagine what kind of success can come from this, on a business, personal, and friendship level!" You buy your ticket as usual, then go to AirTroductions, log in and create a profile. You can post a photo, just like JDate, Match.com or any other computer dating service, then are encouraged to say what kind of person you would like to sit next to.So, be honest, kids. And specificity is your friend. Don't just say single, or odds are you'll end up next to a ten-year-old kid or an octogenarian. And be careful with those long flights, or you could end up on an eleven-hour date with someone with no rescue calls from friends or escapes through bathroom windows. (Not that I've ever done either of those things.) But don't say I didn't warn you. (Cross-posted to My Urban Kvetch)
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Is a dating website "defective" if you don't find love? Would you ever sue an online dating service for damages? And if you did, what would you seek as compensation? So many questions in a litigious society in an internet age...
[Los Angeles Plaintiff Soheil] Davood claims the subscriber wanted to talk to him and even convinced him to call directly when he became tired and wanted to go to sleep. When the plaintiff called, he "received a taunting automated message telling him that he was rejected." Davood, who is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, claims the Web site is "defective" because it was poorly designed and monitored, which exposed him to "serious psychological injury." (NBC News)
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Monday, September 19, 2005
Friday, September 16, 2005
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
A Manhattan fertility specialist has been sued by two women who say he broke their hearts after meeting them through an online dating site on which he pretended to be single.His marriage ended in 2004. And I bet he never saw it coming.
In their lawsuits the two women, Tiffany Wang and Jing Huang, accused Dr. Khaled Zeitoun, 46, of pretending to be single and using mind games to entice them into sexual relationships with tales of past lives.
According to court papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court and made public this week, Zeitoun is married with three children. Wang said she met him in March 2001 through a Web site on which he said he was single and had never married.
"Zeitoun claimed he and Wang had been married to each other in previous lives," Wang's lawsuit said, adding that the doctor told her he had mistreated her in that life and "searched for her in this lifetime to correct his past mistakes."
Wang says that in May 2002, he asked her to marry him but only proposed "to see the look of joy on her face."
Friday, September 09, 2005
Plus, is improv comedy like dating? I think so:
Last Thursday night, I went on a cruise along the Hudson River with about three hundred Jewish singles. I would have called it a Jews Booze Cruise, but it was a cash bar (the bastards). Here are some random thoughts I scribbled down at the night's end:
Trapped on a boat with Jewish singles and a cash bar may be worse than going down on the Titanic. Like the old joke, but with no end: iceberg, Goldberg, Rosenberg...what's the difference?
I would really like it if people stopped referring to Titanic and Gilligan's Island whenever the boat hit a choppy patch of Hudson. Why are there choppy patches on the Hudson, anyway? Is it high tide in the big city, or did Vinnie from Brooklyn just drop a coupla hundred bodies into the river?
I'm calling that guy over there Bruce Jenner. Why? Because he's wearing a shirt the color of a Wheaties box, and because when I make eye contact with him, he does the Cross-Boat-30-Yard Sprint in the opposite direction.
To so many, comedy equals standup — a solo performer on a stage, asking an audience if they ever noticed how funny-sounding the word “kumquat” is. But improv is something else entirely — an unscripted, spontaneous creation of character, relationship, environment, conflict and resolution, conducted between two (or more) people. Kind of like dating.(Read the rest of my latest Jewish Week column here.) P-Life contemplates getting back on the ole dating horse shortly after a breakup. Hilary at Superjux (or as I shall be calling her shortly, the Hotel Hilary) has some dating-related Thursday Things. Annabel Lee ponders a fortune of cookie origin and copes with an overly precocious niece. And because I'm off on an adventure, that's all's I got for ya right now. More to come next week... Be excellent to each other, okay, kids?
Thursday, September 08, 2005
But beware: if you are a woman involved with a married colleague, you will end up getting burnt. "It almost always ends in tears," said Geoff Carter, a senior lecturer in management at Griffith University, Brisbane, who conducted the research.First of all, mildly interesting to me that they use the term "burnt" Down Under. (But you know me. I'm language-obsessed.) Secondly, why would I want to get involved in something that had been researched and proven to "almost always" end in tears? I mean, most relationships do to begin with, and certainly most of my recent choices have "inspired" tears before they've even started, so I like to think of that as cutting out the middleman. Pre-emptive crying, if you will.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
And this speaks to an essential truth about the scene. Tidbits of gossip often outnumber pick-up lines, in part because if flirting is what you desire, not even a modicum of privacy is to be had. And since religious laws prohibit writing on the Sabbath, it is also impossible to ask a potential date for her telephone number.Great. Another excuse for men. These days, if you can't remember a seven digit phone number (and believe me, I don't give anyone a hard time for not being able to remember numbers), try an email address. Most people have cutesy handles (talmudboy613) or can be tracked down on the internet. If you are lucky enough to go to the Park or an event, or anywhere else, and meet someone moves you, be creative. Find a way. I don't care how you get there. Just get there.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Joe tells us, "I don't fancy myself a good mixer, so the prospect of being someplace where I know nobody, and where the environment is conspicuous by its grand design for people to mingle, would scare the bejabbers out of me. I admit I have never attended one of these activities, so I speak with a profound sense of ignorance, based largely on nightmarish adolescent experiences attending dances and the like."So he's basing his knowledge of singles events on his never having attended them, and drawing analogs to his experience as an adolescent. I do love his use of the word "bejabbers." That's adding some local flava, fa shizzle.
Bob explains, "Men do not generally like structured dating situations because they do not like the feeling of being trapped in a place where they have little or no control over their own situation."Um, dude? Remember that SNL skit where the guy said "I always feel like I'm falling!" And the host of the talk show told him to "Look at yourself. Are you falling?" And sure enough, the guy understood that he wasn't falling. You're not trapped. And you have all the control! You say you'd be flattered if a woman were to show interest, but it is the experience of most online daters that you hate it when women approach you, and you humiliate us the way you're afraid you'll be humiliated. So be a little open-minded, and it'll probably open up your heart, too. Here are the other reasons:
- Lack of information (17 percent)
- Single parenting responsibilities (15 percent)
- Fear of rejection (12 percent)
- Fear of humiliation (9 percent)
- Work (8 percent)
- Shyness (6 percent)
- Lack of time (6 percent)
- Not wanting to get involved (3 percent)
I can't wait for the boys to weigh in on this one.