Thursday, January 06, 2005

JDATE: A HA'ARETZ PERSPECTIVE

This excellent article from Ha'aretz shows us that online dating is online dating, even in Israel: This is one of the problems of the Internet: Anyone can write anything he likes. The Internet is a paradise for the verbally inclined and the dating sites give an unfair advantage to those who can write well or are clever at hiding behind words. And yet, I've found that many men don't even bother filling out the profiles completely, never mind stretching the truth. I kind of wish they would write well or be clever enough to write words that made them more attractive. At least it would show a little creativity, a little of their individuality. Because then, in real life, they would be more attractive, even if they are, empirically, less attractive. (They so need E-Cyrano, it's ridiculous already.) The chance to fantasize is perhaps the big advantage of the Internet dating sites, and it's also their drawback. Finding a mate via the Internet takes time and thought. But while we're sitting at the computer and corresponding with growing intensity with people whom we really don't know the first thing about, we increasingly come to feel like we're having a lively social life and that the words appearing on our screen genuinely represent real people who have some kind of connection to our fantasy about them and to the thought that they are the one and only with whom we are destined to live happily and wealthily ever after. Sometimes this fantasizing goes on for so long that when you finally go on the date, you're already totally in love with the virtual character you've constructed for yourself as a result of your correspondence, who doesn't always bear much resemblance to the actual person. I think this is one of the reasons that my friends all report having been so successful when it comes to IM and email banter, but why so few of those have transitioned into real life meetings. More often, they report of the instant connection, the "clicking" so loud that it's palpable even over DSL, followed by a drop-off in correspondence and eventual disappearance. No one wants to shatter the fantasy. Now here's a great story--that sounds all too familiar--that's simultaneously appalling: Noa says she gave up on searching via the Internet because she discovered that while women are looking for certain personality traits in their potential mates, "with men, it starts and ends with outward appearance, or else they explicitly say that they will not respond to inquiries from women who haven't attached their photo, and then on the phone they interrogate you for hours to make sure you're not fat or wrinkled, god forbid, unless they're the type that are after women who are `plump and juicy.' The ones seeking women like that are usually also the maniacs who are interested in nothing but sex." Adi, for example, talked on the phone with a man who asked her if she "is one hundred percent sure that she is not overweight at all." She happens to be thin, but this question really annoyed her and so, she says, "I asked him right away if he's one hundred percent sure that he has no financial problems. He swore that he didn't and later on, when we met, it turned out that he actually wasn't employed at the moment and also forgot his wallet at home so it was my job to pay the bill." Remember the IM conversation with the guy across the pond? Men are petrified of non-skinny women. It's really amazing. Is this just a cultural thing? Is it just Jewish men, despising their own cultural types? Are they afraid that the other men in their cave--oops, I mean, peer group--will shun them, forcing them to sleep furthest from the fire and (God forbid) die of exposure with extremely chapped lips? I think all men (and women too) should read Wendy Shanker. This is not about man-bashing; it's just that the world would be a better place. To put it in a classically self-deprecating manner, I want to be judged and rejected based on my own shortcomings, not those dictated by society. This is definitely a topic to be revisited.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm an Orthodox woman who is a bit "zaftig," and I've consistently found that non-Jewish men are more likely to be physically attracted to me than Jewish guys. To some extent, non-Orthodox Jews are sometimes also more interested, possibly because if they are sexually active they know that whether a woman is good in bed has very little to do with how thin she is. But boy, if only I were willing to date outside the faith . . . Italian guys can't get enough of me. Of course, really, they can't get ANY of me. Maybe that's the allure.

Gatsby said...

Yes, most men are superficial about weight. Most women are superfical about height (I'm on the shorter end of the scale). Are men more concerned about looks than women? Probably? I am not that picky aboutphysical attraction. If someone is active and healthy, then their weight isn't that important because at least they are taking some care of themselves. I'm not a particularly skillfull athlete, but I am active physically and would hope a potential mate would be as well (no sexual innuendo implied). Both men and women can also be thin and not physically active either, which isn't so good. So, I guess that's where I lie on the issue (waiting to be bombarded).

Daphna said...

Okay, now that you have brought it up, can I raise my favorite pet peeve? Men who are sloppy, pudgy, live on junk food and who have not worked out since high school gym class...insisting on a skinny, fit woman. And when you say something to them, they totally do not get the hypocrisy.

Brilliant blog, by the way. If I can ever figure out how to add in links to other blogs, I will link you!

Daphna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I have encountered guys in the past who will use stupid excuses so that they don't have to admit that they're shallow. Like I had a picture up with my cat. A guy said he was allergic to cats. I'm so sure. Other guys would use what I said in my e-mails as an excuse not to pursue anything. This was probably after I sent my pic too. Another guy did ask me about my weight over the phone and seemed to obsess about it. Then he all of a sudden wasn't interested at all, after I sent a pic. I'm cute and I have met someone who appreciates that. I even married him. :) I saw the weight-obsessed guy on J-date years later (after the photo incident), while helping a friend browse. Hmmm...

PepGiraffe said...

It's probably just a coincidence that Fat Pig is playing in New York at the same time as this post was written from New York. Jeremy Piven is so cute. And Jewish. And I think he is looking.

BridalBeer said...

With some practice, it is easy to size up a person based on his choice of words. I had it perfected to a fine art. I don't think the verbally challenged are at a significant disadvantage. Many women like the LOL genre of initial contact.

Dan said...

Well, I will continue to plug the website relationslip.com as one small part of the solution to "stretching the truth" and to knowing more about a potential date than what is just in their profile.

So take a look, spread the word, and good luck with your online dating adventure. Me, personally? I'm done with online for real, this time.