Thursday, December 29, 2005

JDA Presents: The Year in Blog Posts

At today's meeting of the JDaters Anonymous executive staff, one of the regional managers suggested that we do a Year-in-Review post. Everyone thought that a year-end wrap up was a good idea; then there was some discussion of whether this post should contain strictly twelve posts, one from and representing each month, or whether it should represent the favorite moments--the gutbusting and the heartwrenching--from posts over the last year. The latter plan won the majority vote. But we still gave it to the interns to research, so if you don't like the posts they selected, feel free to suggest your own favorites in the comments section. In any case, here's to another year of community support for all singles everywhere, and the married friends who love them... Best Post That Didn't Garner a Single Comment You Say Neato, Check Your Libido (January) Best Post Advocating Alcohol as Social Lubricant Why Don't We Get Drunk and... (February) Best Post Title Overtly Stolen From Hilary How You Got Here (March) Best Discussion of How Intended Compliments Can Land in Others' Ears as Insults You're Great, But I Don't Want to Date You (March) Best Post Based on a Visit to a Frumteens Website NEVER NEVER NEVER Trust a Boy (May) Best Recovery Plan for Disappointment Due to Unrequited Affection Single Girl's Survival Guide (May) Best Post Wondering About the Meaning of Bloglife Blogdentity Crisis (June) Best Non-Linear Post That Is Most Likely to Go Over People's Heads Refraction (August) Most Direct Inquiry into the Issue of "What Does He Mean By That?" Given Up on Dating (September) Best Exploration of the Possibilities for Why He's Not Calling The Vanishing (October) Best JDA-Originated Blog Idea and Accompanying FAQ Sheet Announcement of the New Mars & Venus Go To Shul Blogcarnival (December) New Year's Resolution Least Likely to Stick in 2006 Epistolary Esther (December) Cheers, everyone!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Epistolary Esther

This may seem self-indulgent, but I just realized that I am an amazing letter-writer. I say things I might never be bold enough to say in person (although I find myself growing bolder as I get older, which could be argued as both a positive and a negative), and I phrase things carefully, deliberately placing words in a way that would take others weeks. I do it in minutes. It comes naturally to me. The epiphany of epistolary prowess itself aside, I have also come to realize that I've been wasting some wonderful letters on the wrong people. You could write or perform in the best play in the universe--a brilliant amalgam of pathos and inventive genres--and if there's no one in the theater, it's just the tree that fell in the forest and was never perceived to have made an actual sound. So in a month marked by expressions of regret and half-intended resolutions not to repeat mistakes, I find myself crafting a challenge for the next twelve months: not to waste epistles on the unreceptive, or well-fashioned words on ears that resist their cadences. Letters will still be written, within the confines of my journals or eternally ensconced within drafts folders, because in most cases, the writing of such missives is an emotional purge for a wounded heart; sending them into the world yields unsatisfying responses, if any at all. A resolution so declared will likely be transgressed within a few weeks. But if I manage to resist that long, perhaps that's hope that I'll be able to kick the habit, for good.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

"Frumster's Extreme Makeover?"

Didja hear? Frumster's going beyond the frum in its name:

“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.

The rest of my new Jewish Week singles column is available here.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Mars & Venus Go to Shul: The New Jewish Singles Blog Carnival

JDaters Anonymous is pleased to announce a call for entries to our new Carnival:
Mars & Venus Go to Shul, the Carnival for, by, and about Jewish singles. Submissions now being accepted in four categories:

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...


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

JDaters Anonymous Open Forum: Comfort Zone

Today's topic: A friend recently asked me why women were "so afraid to leave their comfort zones." Living in a major city and attending a graduate school, he would meet women who were unwilling to take the chance of moving somewhere else, an opportunity that he himself hoped to embrace in the not-too-distant future. These women were natives of the city or its suburbs, with family under an hour away. These women had established themselves professionally and within their community. But when they asked him where he was looking at internships, and he rattled off a list of city names that would require air travel to get to, they became emotionally closed off and wouldn't return his phone calls. Do people (and let's make it gender neutral here, at least in the question) limit themselves by not extending their search for a mate beyond their immediate vicinity? Can people be faulted for wanting to stay within the lives they have created for themselves? Can they reasonably expect that the perfect person is going to appear and assimilate into their life, if they're not willing to be the one who assimilates into someone else's life? Or is it more reasonable to limit your search to the pool of people most like you, most likely to stay with you in your comfort zone? Is taking a leap of faith--or taking a chance on love, no matter where it takes you--a journey that everyone can and should take?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

JDate and the Single Robot

Ben Baruch, the creator of the ShaBot ShaBlog (as well as of the robot-based comic strip ShaBot 6000) recently found himself rejoining JDate after a long absence. (We've all been there, 'bot.) He noticed, as we all have, the site's shiny new packaging; in addition to the HotListing option (which he notes, must be broken), he notes: "There is also a quirky Instant Message system that apparently allows you to send a one-way message to another member while you sit and stare at the screen for a long time, but get no response. It's good fun." But Ben's having some trouble with communication. Not from his end. The boy can write, and tries to connect with women whose profiles he finds appealing: "I try to show genuine interest by composing highly personalized messages instead of resorting to a generic stock letter. My sorrowfully ineffective method has been to start with a humorous reference to their profile, to show I was actually paying attention." That's what we want, right, ladies? A guy who's read our profile and is smart/witty enough to craft an intelligent/humorous response? So what's the problem? Is it that he lives in Brooklyn? Are his jokes too clever? Too sarcastic? Do JDate ladies hear the word "cartoonist" and think "unemployed, living in mom's basement"? Or are none of the women he's written to actually paying members? Or maybe it's that all of his essays seem to be in the approval queue at Customer Care... I give up. Ladies, if you've gotten an email from this man, do us all a favor and respond. Thank you.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Def Chat Room Poetry Slam

And now, introducing a new JDaters Anonymous feature: poetry based on comments made in the JDate chat room... Tonight's post...(actual comments in italics) I Always End Up at Weddings in Vancouver Where ever I go, I always end up at weddings in Vancouver Where ice forms on fingertips and cools the chambers of my heart On the other hand I expect weddings in Vancouver to be scenic But tomorrow, I have another date with another guy who wants to go out for hot cocoa A guy needs to be a man go out for vodka martinis or anything alcoholic in nature at night But in daytime, I think: hiya...howdy...anyone from NYC? And wonder... does anyone have a good recipe for felafel balls? yeah...the arabs. LOL.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Set in Type

Recently, I had more than one conversation about "types," as in "s/he's not my type." In this context, it's not about "I only like hedge fund managers" (although sometimes it is). When you say "type", it's all about physical type. "I like blond guys," or "I like thin girls," or "I'm not attracted to Sephardi men," or "I'm into petite women." Thinking about my past relationships, I am unable extrapolate a single type. I'm sure that my single sisters do have "types" of guys they'd prefer to date, like an Amazon wishlist of items they've ranked in order of which they'd like to receive first. But it's only men who I've heard say, "well, she's not really my type, so I don't think I'll call/write/email/contact/go out with her." Before you men get your Brokeback Mountain Underoos in a bunch, let me say that there were one or two JDate profiles/blog entries by men that pissed me off inspired this post, and I acknowledge (as I did above, hello...) that women do it too. But I began wondering if maybe men (and ok, women too) need to be a little more flexible about physical type. Especially when considering a first conversation or a first meeting. What do you guys think? Can we be attracted to people of varying physical types or are people really "set in type"?

Chat Room Poetry

And now, introducing a new JDaters Anonymous feature: poetry based on comments made in the JDate chat room... Tonight's post...(actual comments in italics) I Always End Up at Weddings in Vancouver Where ever I go, I always end up at weddings in Vancouver Where ice forms on fingertips and cools the chambers of my heart On the other hand I expect weddings in Vancouver to be scenic But tomorrow, I have another date with another guy who wants to go out for hot cocoa A guy needs to be a man go out for vodka martinis or anything alcoholic in nature at night But in daytime, I think: hiya...howdy...anyone from NYC? And wonder...does anyone have a good recipe for felafel balls? yeah...the arabs.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Get a New Plan, Stan

To: The guy who sang "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover" in the JDate chat room at midnight From: JDaters Anonymous Re: Your day job Don't quit it. But a gold medal for bravery, truly. Word to the wise...a cappella is not your genre. Try karaoke, you'll like it... /jda

"Hooking Up" Wants You...

Remember "Hooking Up," the ABC NEWS documentary series about online dating in the big city (NY, that is)? Well, last night, I met two of the women who are casting Season 2. They were supercool themselves, and I volunteered to help them find some great potential's not even close to the show "Blind Date," which is kitschy and mean-spirited (even if it is gut-wrenchingly hilarious at times)--it's a much less invasive sort of camera, and you get a sense for what the people really are experiencing. Here's the blurb about what they're looking for, and if you email them, let them know I'm the one Hooking you Up...
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 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...

"Forever Friends" (The Jewish Week)

An excerpt from my new JW column, titled "Forever Friends":
[...] 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

Random Dating Thought of the Day

An estimated 75 percent of the profiles I click on on JDate are Geminis. What does this mean? That Gems are more likely to use online dating, or that I'm more attracted to Geminis, even through only a photo and a few lines of text?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Booze, Buses and Bodacious Booty

A reader sent me a link to this article, which tells the tale of a couple who, praise Hashem, met at the ripe old age of 22 through a Federation event, thereby, thank G-d, avoiding the angst and agita of remaining single into their early twenties. Yes, that's right. Finally, a story we can all relate to.

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!

Ooops! Ouch! What was that? [Esther looks at her feet.] Sorry folks, just stumbled over another Jewish person. Back to the story.

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.

“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.

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...

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!

"Online Dating": Another Reader Responds

A reader, in response to my column on internet dating, writes:
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

"Not That There's Anything Wrong With That..."

SJM seeking SJM...JDate's now totally gay. And I think that's super, thanks for asking. So if you're gay, and Jewish, and looking for a Nice Jewish Boy, now's your chance to experience the enchantment of online dating, JDate-style:

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.

[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.

All Cliches Must Die

Attention Online Daters of America: Cliches are the worst of the worst. They are sins whose names we dare not speak. They are our own worst enemies, our fair-weather friends who seem to comfort until they stab us in the back, the traitors. They are the evil that lives after us. They are the bane of our existence, as they strip us of personality and individuality until we are insipid and undistinctive, people who love to laugh, who work hard and play hard, and whose family is very important to us. We must rid ourselves of these evildoers, because if they give us enough rope, we will surely hang ourselves. I know what you're thinking: "Esther, I'm no professional do I know if I'm using a cliche?" Don't worry, boys and girls. Clichefinder is here. Type in a word and it will generate a list of cliches using that word. If it shows up on the site, it shouldn't show up in your profile. Of course, nothing's set in stone when it comes to using Clichefinder. But well-begun is half done. And if you find yourself spinning your wheels, stuck between a rock and a hard place for language, and you suspect you might have inadvertently used a cliche, feel free to ask me. I'll give you a piece of my mind (if I can spare it).

Now That Sounds Healthy...

Diane Keaton prefers onscreen romance to off. Why? No nasty breakups. You always know what you're going to get. People stick to their lines, and do what they're supposed to, she says. She also may or may not be dating Keanu Reeves, depending on which tabloid you consult. In a related story, I will be launching my career as an actor in order to court onscreen romance. Because it can't be any harder than actual dating, could it? Thanks,'re an inspiration!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Internet Dating: A Reader's Response

Just wanted to share this email I received from a reader of my Jewish Week column. A DISGUSTED INTERNET SECOND SINGLE DATER (a divorced single mom to a teenage son who started internet dating within the last year) writes:

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!

After I asked if I could reprint her comments here, she agreed and added the following about her experience.
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

"The Truth About Online Dating"

Remember the way online dating used to be? A secret shame? (Now it's a public shame, but whatever.) Reminisce as you read and record your own memories here... The Truth About Online Dating The NY Jewish Week, 11/24/05
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

Short Takes: Discuss Amongst Yourselves

The perfect first JDate call...and by perfect, we mean perfectly hilarious (JDates Gone Wrong) Here...I'll give you some topics... Men have a tougher time than women in the dating process? Discuss... (The Anonymous Blogger) Hilary's hair is sooo silky that a JDater "wants to cultivate her society" (Superjux) Annabel Lee is "ing"ing and someone tells her to get over her own cuteness, as if that were possible (Annabel Lee) Moxie's attracted to another man, but doesn't act on it -- readers respond (Moxie) P-Life asks whether a woman's declaration of absolute devotion to the spouse she hasn't met yet is offensive and deameaning (P-Life, Orthodox Bloggers) C addresses the eternal question (can you be friends with an ex?) and provides a rundown of bloggers (including Klein, Ken, Karol and Cunning) who are opining on the subject (A Picture of Me) Talk amongst yourselves...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Cutting Room Floor

I just chopped this paragraph from my upcoming article in the Jewish Week about online dating, mostly because it makes so little sense. I offer as evidence of how tired I am...and how many times I've seen a certain dinosaur movie:
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

Sex Columnists Tell All

...and that's how they're different from me. New York Magazine is all about sex this week, with a Mating feature containing what appears to have been some sort of drunken columnist round-table that was eventually hijacked by the Washingtonienne, who provided helpful hints from her experience ("when I wrote my book, I got Adderall from my friends, and I was typing like a maniac. And that’s the thing, yeah, that and snorting coke helped me write the book really fast.") Note taken. Normally, my sense of jealousy flares up when I'm not invited to columnist bashes or given publicity like other writers. But frankly, I'm glad to have been left out of this one. I just finished reading it at the gym and was a little sickened by it. I try to be tolerant of the choices that people and writers make in their personal and professional lives. But some of these statements just seem like cries for attention writ large and often within this article... Plus, any of my regular readers know that I write more about trends and less about individuals I've dated. That, hopefully, keeps me connected to other people, not just to my own experiences. Of course, keeping "real people" out of the discussion, I hope that I'm being respectful of their privacy. And these women, as entertaining and honest as their writing may be, do that writing at the expense of other people's privacy. My writing may suffer because it's not as honest as these other columnists. As long as my writing lacks their explicit, NC-17 quality, I may never grab the attention of New York magazine. But I think I'll be okay with that.

Monday, November 14, 2005

"Appalling Shadchan Behavior, Aisle 3..."

For the benefit of my non-Hebraically inclined readers, a shadchan is a matchmaker. The matchmaker's job is, of course, to match an eligible, perhaps compatible man with an eligible, perhaps compatible woman. Depending on the matchmaking organization, eligibility may be determined by middos (ethical values), net worth, geographical location, religious hashkafah (point of view), or middos (physical measurements). Without arguing the relative merits or meanings of these criteria for matches, let's just move on to the subject at hand. Sweet Rose, a longtime reader of this blog and bloggerette herself, writes about why she's not rejoining Saw You At Sinai, an online matchmaking service--she's had bad experiences with the site, having not matched with a single person during her membership (I feel ya, sister--that's my story too). But beyond that disappointment were experiences like this one:
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:

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.

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.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Singles Columnist War

I know two people who have written for the Jewish Week Singles column. Both of us are unmarried. Two columnists for the Jewish Journal, however, are engaged and/or married. (The first one proposed here, and assured us all that she had accepted, here. The second one announced his engagement--by cursing JDate for ruining his chances of becoming a singles columnist--here.) The two JW columnists are women. The two JJ columnists are men. Plus, more than one someone has suggested that the reason I'm not dating more is that men are afraid they'll be under a microscope and pop up either here, on My Urban Kvetch, or in my Jewish Week column. My predecessor told me that she experienced the same thing. But these JJ columnists, both men, don't seem to have experienced that fear from women. What does that say? Maybe it's just a difference between L.A. and NYC...a more laid-back, sunsoaked approach leads to sunnier, more optimistic choices? (The other JW columnist is now in the L.A. area, in a serious relationship, so we'll test this theory in vivo.) What, dear readers, are we to surmise from this sample of four? Is the divide along lines of gender, or geography? Or is the coincidence just that, a meaningless item of non-information, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Blaire's Latest Brilliance

From she who brought you MarryBlaire in a search for her husband-to-be: The "Do You Know My Husband" t-shirt....available in the figure-embracing and realistic body image-promoting sizes of small and medium. Wanna create a knockoff and sell it out of a garbage bag on a folding table near Times Square? Not so fast...they're trademarked.

Monday, November 07, 2005

"Is He Interested?"

He's flirting with you at the office. At least, you think he is. Actually, now that you think about it, it's kind of hard to tell. Is he a) interested in you romantically or b) does he just feel comfortable enough with you to push certain boundaries over the line into murkiness without feeling obligated to follow up with any kind of risky overture? If you're the author of this blog, the answer is b. Oh hell, let's face most cases, the answer is b. If you're not, you may enjoy reading/participating in this discussion over at DoctorLoveCoach. UPDATE NOVEMBER 8, courtesy of tonight's episode of "The Office": "You know it's not a date when she goes home to her fiance."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Random Thought of the Day

How the hell did I become a dating expert?

Threatening Chain Letter or Fun, Friendly Meme?

I get at least six chain emails a week, all threatening me with dire luck in love unless I pass the email on to anywhere between four and four hundred friends...well, I'm taking control of my life back. This used to be a chain email, but now I'm declaring it a fun and friendly meme that functions much as those "fortune tellers" we used to use back in the elementary school day. (Did anyone see that episode of South Park? Spot friggin' on.) So here it is, and this absolves me of the "responsibility" of passing it on and therefore circumvents my potential for even worse luck in love than I'm having now. And I've actually done you all the service of deleting the threat at the end about bad luck in love, so the karma, such as it is, stops with me... And if #11 actually happens as a result of my posting this email to the blog, I'll print out a copy of this meme and eat it. Enjoy, or skip...totally up to you... By the way, I'm a 42. And way too sexy for this test. The "How Sexy Are You?" Test..... GET A PIECE OF PAPER AND NUMBER IT 1-11 (NO CHEATING) SEE YOUR RESULTS BELOW: WHEN YOU SEND IT ON PUT YOUR SCORE IN THE SUBJECT 1. WHAT SHADE ! OF HAIR DO YOU HAVE? a) Dark b) Light 2. OUT ON A DATE WOULD YOU WANT TO: a) Go to a party? b) Go out to eat? 3. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR OUT OF: a) Baby-Pink b) Yellow c) Baby-Blue d) Turquoise 4. PICK YOUR FAVORITE HOBBY OUT OF: a) Surfing b) Skate-Boarding c) Skiing 5. IF YOU COULD PICK A STORE OUT OF THE FOLLOWING, WHICH WOULD IT BE? a) Louie Vuitton (shoes) b) Coach (Sport) c) Against all odds (Clothes) 6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE OUT OF THE FOLLOWING? a) Hawaii b) London c) Florida 7. IN THE SUMMER WOULD YOU RATHER GO TO: a) The Beach? b) Somewhere Cooler? 8. WHAT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY MONTH? a) January b) February c) March d) April e) May f) June g) July h) August i) September j) October k) November l) December 9. WOULD YOU RATHER: a) Chill at home b) Go out with friends 10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INSTRUMENT OUT OF: a) Guitar b) Bass guitar c) Drums d) The Triangle 11) NAME A PERSON OF THE OPPOSITE SEX ====NOW MAKE A WISH!== **ANSWERS** 1. a) dark=sexy [5points] b) light=sweet [2points] 2. a) go to a party=playful [2 points] b) go out to eat=romantic [5points] 3. a) baby-pink=cute [2] b) yellow=loud [3] c) baby-blue=cool [5] d) turquoise=sexy [5] 4. a) surfing=active [2] b) skateboarding=determined [2] c) skiing=daring [5] 5. a) Louie Vuitton=tasteful[7] b) Coach=laid back[2] c) Againt all odds=stylish[5] 6. a) hawaii=you like being around people [2] b) London=You are quiet,and like the cold [2] c) Florida=You like to party! [5] 7. a) beach=tan, likes the sun [5] b) somewhere cooler = pale and original [2] 8. a) January=popular [5] b) February=lovely [2] c) March=loud [2] d) April=playful[5] e) May=happy [5] f) June=chills a lot[5] g) July=smooth [2] h) August=fun [5] i) September=quiet [2] j) October=out-going [2] k) November=pimpin' it [5] l) December=warm [2] 9. a) home=quiet, romantic [5] b) go out with friends=crazy [5] 10. a) guitar=eye-catching [5] b) bass-guitar=mellow [2] c) Drums=loud [2] d) Triangle=crazy [5] 11. This person will fall in love with you! SCORES!!!! UP TO 20 = Not so Sexy 21-35 = Rather sexy 36+ = Too Sexy for this Test!!!! IF YOU SEND THIS TO: 0-5 people: your wish will not come true> 6-9 people: your wish will come true within 6 months 10-15 people: it will come true within 2 weeks 16-20 people: in a day or 2 it will come true 21-30: sooooooo soon

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Isn't It Ironic? Don't You Think? Or Is It?

Rain on your wedding day is not ironic. It's unfortunate. But hey, at least you're getting married. Having ten thousand spoons--when all you need is a knife--is annoying. (Who ever wants ten thousand spoons? I mean, really.) Win the lottery, and die the next day? That just sucks. Tragic, yes--ironic? Not so much. I've never been good at providing a one-sentence definition for irony (admittedly, Alannis is even worse at it). I always have to look it up. Still, it strikes me today that the initial post on loneliness I did a few weeks ago was inspired by someone who asked me about its nature and then proceeded to drift away. He hasn't been in touch in a while, leaving me lonely. And I can't decide if that's irony or tragedy. Or maybe it's just symbolically appropriate--as if by initiating the discussion, he primed me for the loneliness that followed.

Monday, October 31, 2005

"Appalling Male Behavior, Aisle 2..."

Oy vey. Not to overwhelmingly harp on appalling male dating behavior, but I felt the need to share this from Chayyei Sarah, writing from Jerusalem. The nutshell? They connected. She felt great. And then he went loony tunes. (That's my synopsis, not hers. Visit and see for yourself.) And if you feel the urge to leave her a message of hope and encouragement, I'm quite certain that would be a mitzvah.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Random Dating Thought of the Day

Boy, Kissing Jessica Stein is a great movie. Great comic script, deft performances by the newcomers and by Tovah Feldshuh alike, even with an actually positive and authentic portrayal of Jewish life. Makes temporary lesbianism (and/or Scott Cohen/Josh Meyers/Max Medina; and/or writing a great new independent comedy film) look like a really good idea. I'm just saying. Let's "let it marinate."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

In The Air

In the air, I wonder if love is who you think about during agitated turbulence, as the skies remind you that there but for the grace of tons of steel somehow defying gravity go you. I wonder if love is in the quiet moments afterwards, the serenity of a near-perfect quiet punctuated only by a persistent, engine-hum that vibrates into your seat, which, you remember hearing, may also function as a floatation device. I wonder because I have no idea. I wonder, because up here, there’s only wonder and wondering, because none of this--soaring on wings of hope and metal--should be possible. And in that, it seems just like love. Or so I’ve heard. These clouds up here look like every cliché ever assigned, but most of all like marshmallow fluff, sickeningly sweet and endlessly, irresistibly inviting. I look to them to re-effervesce my flattened optimism and enable me to believe that someday, there will be an end to this scenario, that it will not endlessly repeat forever the way it always has repeated until now and until now. Until then, I’m stuck within my circular circumstance, immobile in the unreciprocated and in awe of my infallible ability to misinterpret the words and cues of others is what is dooming me to loneliness. I’m trapped with no egress, like in a plane, a serf in a pilot’s kingdom, doomed to suffer the rest of the journey as a captive witness to the proceedings, bobbing on the wind and whim of weather, or deity, or captain, my captain.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Week in (Jewish) Dating

OK, I'm trying again: Part 2: The Week in Jewish Dating.... In Losing My Religion: The Dating Game, Groin’s Grab (bear with the name....he's an Aussie, and I'm sure it means something different Down Under...) ponders the high cost of JDate:
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:

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.

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:
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

The Vanishing

Recent events have led me to compile this list of reasons why a man, after an overwhelmingly positive interaction (be it platonic or romantic), might suddenly disappear, vanishing into the ether... I'm sure that there's a list for women, too, but frankly, I'm a little more concerned with why the men vanish so. Feel free to add your own....

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


Ladies and gentlemen, if any of you have profiles on JDate, you may want to review them. In addition to the inevitable deletion of several paragraphs of my essays, which I suppose I was expecting with the site redesign, it appears that all profiles have been reset to default to "I do not plan on having any children." As if Jewish continuity didn't have enough problems... So if you do plan on having children, and you have a JDate profile, take another look at it to make sure it still reflects "the you" that you want reflected. And as always, if you'd like a profile rewrite, go to and tell them that Esther sent you...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Help Me, Dear Readers: Column Topics Wanted

So, dear readers? What topics would you like to see covered by my First Person Singular column in the coming months? Plus, feel free to contact me if you've got opinions or experience on any of the following topics. Your opinions can be kept anonymous, if you wish: *When we're on vacation, who are we? are we a purer version of ourselves, or are we an artificial construct of ourselves? Do we go on vacation hoping for romance or relaxation, and which way works better toward forming relationships? Are Jewish singles trips more or less conducive to finding a compatible soulmate, or are they just about vacation relaxation and expanding the social circles of overlap? *Long-distance relationships (also, how far would you go to find love, either metaphorically or geographically) *Pre-marital sex in the Modern Orthodox community *Where is fancy bred: in the heart, or in the head? Do we fall in love independent of our intellect, or do we decide to fall in love and create our own self-fulfilling prophecies?

The Week in Secular Dating

That's right, I had so many things to cover this week that I've separated them into two categories: The Week in Jewish Dating and the Week in Secular's part one... Part 1: The Week in Secular Dating In case you haven’t seen it yet, First Dates chronicles all of First Date Chick’s first dates from 1998 to the present. Dr. Annie Dennison is an adviser to singles, and her Smart at Love blog is getting a makeover from a group called the Blog Squad. This MSN article tells you how to avoid the “just-friends” trap with a woman. Of course, you still can’t force her to be attracted to you. And if only the advice were actually translateable for women, as well, but still… As usual, Dr. Janice has many topics for discussion on her bulletin boards at the new and improved DoctorLoveCoach site, so check it out, post your opinions, and tell her JDaters Anonymous sent ya! And finally, a shout-out to the Fabulous Blogger Boys, Ken Wheaton and The Anonymous Blogger for being mentioned in the Village Voice this week. Kudos, boys. Part two to come imminently, as soon as I figure out what technical error keeps making Blogger swallow huge sections of that post--actually, much of this post has been devoured as well...must be delicious stuff. Stay tuned!

New Column: "Traveling on the Guilt Trip"

From The Jewish Week, 10/11/05 Traveling On The Guilt Trip Esther D. Kustanowitz - Staff Writer
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

WTF? VH1 Sponsors Jewish Speed Dating?

This is just weird. I mean, I knew about the "Totally Awesomely Jewish" show (I believe my brother was interviewed for it), but VH1 is somehow involved in this upcoming speed dating event:
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: 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

Rumors of My Optimism Are Greatly Overexaggerated

Expect the best, aim high, make your own dreams come true. To an extent, I believed it. I absorbed it and lived it. But the truth is that optimism ruins everything. If you aim low, and good things happen, you're surprised. If you aim high, and miss the mark, you're supposed to make do with "at least I tried." If you meet someone with no expectations and that person is amazing, then you're twice as happy as you would be if you always expected it. However, when you have high expectations, you're almost always bound to be disappointed. I'd like to believe in magic, always look at the bright side of the penny, know in my gut that the next opportunity is right around the corner, if only I could be patient. But everytime I dip a tentative toe into optimism, reality, like a snapping turtle, tries to bite my legs off. And it's like I said earlier, you think I would have learned by now: horse first, then cart. Somehow, it never seems to work the other way round.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Hate Children? Good News!

Tired of waiting for your soulmate? Think you would have gotten away with having met her or him already, too, if it hadn't been for those meddling kids? Well, good news for you! BellaOnline informs us of the founding of
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?


I'm doing it again. It should be an easy thing to remember not to do. But every time I'm here, I forget, or subconsciously make a decision to try the old configuration again, even though it never works. Juggling carts and horses in my mind, I've put the wrong one first again. The same is true of eggs and baskets. And birds in hand. My imagination often seems to be its own entity, barely connected to me at all, and certainly having no relationship with logical thought. It sprints away from me toward a future that I see, but that may not be likely. It reads into words and gestures and intonations, parsing them on an impossibly analytical level. And as it happens, I know it's counterproductive. It invests my emotional energy in figments, in fragments of hope reborn, and lodged in the realm of the vaguely possible, but not bloody likely. What I want and what is possible are not always the same thing. But someday, I think, they may not be mutually exclusive either. And in this thought, and in this situation, the cart pulls the horse instead of the other way round.

Kiss Anticipation

Nice Jewish Girl's back, and she who has "never been kissed" is anticipating and fearful of what may be an impending first liplock with her quasi-boyfriend of a month. (Hat tip to Annabel Lee for letting me know.) She's nervous, but she's doing the smart and brave thing: talking with him about it beforehand. That's right, she told him about what she calls her "non-history," and he seems to be reacting to it fairly well:
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

The Week in Romance

The first topic I must mention is that somehow, this singles columnist/blog proprietress missed the fact that last week was National Singles Week. How this escaped my attention is completely beyond me. I must have been in a Windy City. Or in La-La Land. Biopics are huge. With The Aviator (Howard Hughes) and Ray (Ray Charles) dominating much of the Oscar buzz last year, and with the imminent arrival of the already-critically-acclaimed Walk the Line, the upcoming biopic about Johnny Cash starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, it wasn't surprising to me to read about the following deal:
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

In-Flight Romance, Please

Ahh, airplane travel. That oasis of pure serenity that comes with knowing that the inflight snack will be salty, the inflight movie will inevitably be Herbie: Fully Loaded, and that odds are good that you probably won't plummet 30,000 feet into someone's empty swimming pool. Flying solo often means sitting next to people we don't know, and, given our druthers (whatever druthers are), might never hope to meet. This last journey of mine, I was pretty lucky. Aside from my first seatmate, NY to Chicago, a man who laughed when another passenger hit me in the head with his bag and then promptly fell asleep, I shared space with good people: Chicago to LA was a lovely woman named Melissa, who was going to visit her sister, and LA to NY was a Duchovnian-looking teacher named Josh (shoutout to Josh, if you're reading) who was just returning to NY from a Buddhism conference in Tokyo. It's a good thing we were both willing to talk to each other; I even took some notes. In the good old days, when airplanes served actual meals, Jewlicious passengers could pick each other out by the kosher or vegetarian meals they ordered; if your seatmate asked "is there meat in that?" you'd fall in love instantly. But these days, things are more difficult... Enter AirTroductions. (Why they didn't call it "Love is in the Air" is beyond me. Dude, people so need to hire me for this stuff.) According to the Washington Post, "The recently launched site has described itself as "JDate meets the Mile-High Club," though participation presumably is not limited solely to those of the J-ish persuasion."
"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, 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

JDate's New Look

A friend tipped me off--JDate's changing, relaunching soon with a new interface and new features, including a magazine. You heard it here, folks... Check out their teaser...and pay attention to the spelling in Elena's profile. Believe me, it's a good ting they're being so up front about the fact that most of the profiles will have spelling errors in them... And does anyone think the music sounds a little bit, um, porny? (Not that I'd know what that sounds like...)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Guy Sues JDate for Inflicting "Serious Psychological Injury"

We've all been there, right? We chat with someone online, things seem to be going well, and then you get the email: "you've been rejected." Well, this guy's taking his JDate rejection and humiliation to court:

[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)

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...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tangled Web

It's like an episode of Friends. I know. They don't know I know. Or they wish I didn't. But I do. Still, no one says a thing. I've asked, and had my queries laughed at. But I'd have to be an idiot to not know. Of course it would be hard to learn, finally, after so much time and energy spent wondering and multiple denials, that such suspicions were more than just paranoia, but I always remember the old phrase: Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. Not because they hate you. Because they love you, and they don't know how to tell you. They're afraid of how it might affect you, and they're right to be. But the truth is more important, because I've asked before, and they've lied. For my own good, they undoubtedly told themselves in justification, but still. There it is. The object that obstructs my moving forward. The roadkill that used to be my trusting heart. I understand why they're scared to say anything. There may be another angle, that they're scared to vocalize, to admit to themselves in a way that might make it real. So let's bring yet another elephant into the room and try to ignore that one, too. Of course, they don't have to tell me, because I already know. The facts already affect me, almost as much as the lies by omission. And in this state, still wounded, we're all trapped here together, without any chance for progress or hope of sutures. Still, with them knowing I know, it would be nice to finally know. You know?

Random Thought of the Day

Only this, and nothing more... When it comes to boys, the thin, pretty girls always win.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Every Number Is The Loneliest Number

Loneliness is a funny thing. Not in the "har-dee-har-har" type of way, obviously. But in a grander sense, loneliness is not defined by who you're with or who you're not with; it's an inner state that sometimes dwells dormant and other times explodes, or simmers, corroding from within, and sometimes even seems one of the more self-indulgent of emotional states. Who are we to feel lonely? We can seek out the company of others. We can momentarily drown out the refrains of "I'mlonelyI'mlonelyI'mlonely" with loud music or distracting movies or sorting socks in drawers or fiddling with digital photos and blog templates. You can feel lonely in a room full of people. You can feel lonely and alone inside your head. You can feel lonely in a point of view, or political opinion, or on the highways and freeways even as cars or thoughts speed by. You can feel lonely in the contemplation of a strong, or suffering, spiritual state. You can feel lonely in the excruciating moment you realize a hoped-for romance has turned platonic. You can feel lonely as you notice love or beauty in others and know that you have no part in it. You can feel lonely because you yourself are sad, or dissatisfied, or bored, or frustrated. You can feel lonely when you're the only one who understands the situation fully. You can feel lonely when you know friends are keeping things from you, even if their intentions are good. You can feel lonely at your own birthday party. You can feel lonely on a beach, or driving through a canyon, or watching a sunset. You can feel lonely knowing that there's a joke or reference you're not a part of; and even if you have it explained to you by insiders, you still don't find it funny, and knowing it doesn't make you one of them. It never will. And that's lonely.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Top Five: Worst Opening Words in Online Dating Profiles

I'm sure you're all very nice people, you who have used these opening lines. But maybe you're not aware that sometimes, we can only see the first five to eight words of your profile without clicking to expand it. So think about which words are the first ones we'll see. Because you never get a second chance to make a first impression: 1. I work hard and play...[hard] 2. Hi I'm [NAME ALREADY LISTED IN THE PROFILE] and I'm [AGE ALREADY LISTED IN THE PROFILE] 3. I don't know why I'm on JDate.../My friends are making me do this... 4. Give me a reason to quit JDate. 5. Hello ladies! I am looking for a woman... And yes, there are more. These are just the ones that are irking me at this particular second.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

"We Were Married in a Past Life"

According to Reuters, there's this Manhattan doctor who pretended to be single in order to woo two women who he met online; furthermore, he told them that they had been married in their past lives and that in this life, they were bound to rectify the mistakes they had made while married in that past life. Still following? Good. Because here's the kicker, that guy who was married in his past life to these two women? Was also married in this life...
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.

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."

His marriage ended in 2004. And I bet he never saw it coming.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Week in Dating

Time for another Carnivalesque post... I have to lead with my account of a singles event I went to two weeks ago. (Nepotism? Egomania? Sure. Isn't that why you come here?)

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.

Plus, is improv comedy like dating? I think so:
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

Today's Question of the Day

Over the last three weeks, three different guys (who I would have considered potentials) have told me that they've "given up on dating." Is that "guy code" for "I'm just not that into you"? Thoughts?

Office Romance Likely; Women Usually Lose

According to an Australian publication, "Research shows that about 70 per cent of workers have had an office fling at some stage, one-in-four with a colleague who was married or in a long-term relationship." Initially, I felt bad being in the 30 percent who has never had an office affair. Never mind that my first office was full of women in their 50s, my second was teeming with rabbinical students and the home office in my apartment is no way to meet anyone, let alone married men... But then I read the following:
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.

FOE: Evan Marc Katz in Blogcritics, Sort Of...

So, I'm pretty new to this whole Blogcritics thing. They self-define as "a sinister cabal of superior bloggers on music, books, film, popular culture, politics and technology." (Could I even do sinister? Mebbe...) My friend Mark Treitel was profiled last week about his participation in Situation: Comedy, and this week, yet another FOE (Friend of Esther), Evan Marc Katz--or at least his book, I Can't Believe I'm Buying This Book--popped up on the site as well, in a column by Love Biatch in which she shares tips on dating. I can't quite figure out what EMK's presence in the article is, other than the appearance of his book cover, but publicity is publicity, so way to friggin' go, dude. And as for the sinister cabal? I've got to assume that cabal and kabbalah are from the same etymological origin, and since apparently, so are Esther and Madonna, I might just have to check it out.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Wise Up

It's hard to listen to. You don' tknow whether it's words or melody that affect you on this kind of basic molecular level. But whatever the cause, the resultant helplessness resonates in your ears as you hear the vocal desperation, and the lyrics afflict you like labor. It's hard to listen to. But sometimes, viscerally and inexplicably, it provides you with the blueprint for, or at least, nudges you toward, recovery. It's hard to listen to. And you can't explain it. But sometimes, it helps. "Wise Up" by Aimee Mann It's not what you thought When you first began it You got what you want Now you can hardly stand it though By now you know it's not Going to stop It's not going to stop It's not going to stop 'Til you wise up You're sure there's a cure And you have finally found it You think one drink will shrink you 'til you're underground and living down But it's not going to stop It's not going to stop It's not going to stop 'Til you wise up Prepare a list of what you need Before you sign away the deed 'Cause it's not going to stop It's not going to stop It's not going to stop 'Til you wise up No it's not going to stop 'Til you wise up Now it's not going to stop So just give up...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Orthodox Singles Scene on the Great Lawn

Sing it with me, kids: "Saturday (ba-doww), in the park, think it was the Fourth of July the Upper West Side..." That's it, no more JACK-FM for me. I've read this article three times now. I'm kind of surprised that the Times covered it, actually. The article doesn't tell you that much about the people at the north end of the Great Lawn (or as one of my friends called it, "shul"). Plus, each time I read it, for some reason, it makes me a little more nauseous. Maybe because the park scene is very 20s, and most of them are already bemoaning their fates as twentysomethings who are "still" alone and getting ready to greet spinsterhood. That's something a thirtysomething like me has precious little tolerance for. But I also remember what that scene is like--it seems like a good place to meet people, but it isn't. Instead, it's a good place to gaze at, judge, and not approach people. Unless you have friends in non-concentric circles which you can somehow manage to cross-pollinate, it's the same people, week after week, and more upsettingly, the same policy of non-engagement, which (logically) leads to no (or at least few) engagements. One friend of mine, in her mid-thirties, recently told me a story of having met someone in the Park one Shabbat afternoon. She and the potential suitor were talking and having a pretty good time, until he asked her age, and she told him. He immediately shut down: "you're probably going to want children soon, and I don't, so it was nice meeting you." All the previous moments meant nothing, it was a merciless "you're too old, game over." Nice, huh?
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

This Just In: Men Afraid of Singles Events

These are the times that try single men's souls. Which is why, when it comes to singles events, most of them would rather just stay home. This results in a gross imbalance that most women have noticed; there are precious few men in attendance, and lots of women to compete over them. (Of course, the fact that most of the men in attendance probably will be too fearful to make an approach makes the women present feel even less attractive.) The Indianapolis Star reports that "intimidation," "fear of humiliation," and "fear of rejection" are some reasons that men give for not attending singles events. But the number one reason? "Um, I didn't know about it." That's right, good old "lack of information" was the number one reason. But further analysis of the results points to the fact that men aren't so much uninformed as they are insecure.
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.