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...

12 comments:

simcha said...

“Groin Grab” was educational. Apparently the term means something guys would do in a locker room to annoy each other, like a wedgie. It’s not something I would ever do to a girl. Unless she really wanted me to.

One fault with JDate is it’s like getting someone’s number off a bathroom wall. When you date someone who’s a friend of a friend, you’re less likely to treat the date like sh*t, because it may cause you to lose your mutual friend, whom you value. That taboo isn’t there with JDate.

Since being in Jewish organizations, I’ve become of the phenomenon of the “Jewish double insult”. Examples are:
1.The Jewish doctor who keeps you waiting a long time AND overcharges you.

2.Kosher restaurants that overcharge you and keep you waiting forever for service.

3.The rabbi who gives a crappy sermon, holding you hostage for a crappy Kiddush afterwards.

The JDate double-insult may consist in some cases of a false and misleading profile, which someone “bites” on (insult #1), then you dump them (insult #2). Hope this isn’t too cynical so far.

JDate may be afflicted with the Grouch Marx syndrome, which is “I wouldn’t belong to any club that would have me as a member”. Or paraphrased, “I could never have a serious relationship with or chas v’shalom MARRY someone I met on JDate”.

My cousin Morris did in fact meet his lovely wife Jackie on AOL, and they’re IY’H expending their second kid. So it can happen.

annabel lee said...

Wow, lots of fascinating stuff you've linked here, lots to ponder. Good luck with JMatch, I hope you find success with it. As for JDate -- realize that half the "e-mails" are really missed IMs that just say "hi" or "r u there" -- save your money. Unless you've figured out who e-mailed you by finding the e-mail icon on profiles of people who've checked you out, and one of them sounds fascinating...

marty said...

Please rejoin jdate. We can have a competition for the most revolting profile. I think I'm doing pretty well so far. I think I've repulsed every woman who lives in Manhattan. Now, I'm working on the boros and New Jersey and Longuyland.

TM (Jewlicious) said...

Pay the $30. Why? Because it's like looking for a job - you only need to find one good one.

We miss you at the other place, by the way.

Anonymous said...

That's the spirit Marty. Just to run the change up past NGH, (I don't know him from Adam either), there's a glimer of something in his remarks, and of course the commenters above.


This is the way I'd put it. It all has to do with a time shift, Ethelred the 'Unready', and sausage. Little known fact, marriage can be just as pretty and useful as legislation. Again like sausage, you really don't want to watch it being made. (Think hard about this). No one knows why we do it or construct it in such a manner, other than it seems to work, and 'tastes good'.

Some legislation will last and weather the test of time (good 'ol Social Security!), some will be constantly under pressure and barely survive year to year, but is still certainly needed (Medicare, Medicaid.) Some are just plain stupid and ill advised.

Marriage is like this. It's a constant ongoing compromise. Somedays you get what you want and need and you're happy. Some times your spouse does. Most often it's the kids that get though. So some *Decades* you don't get what you want or need, (peace and quiet and a chance to read the paper unmolested in the mornings at breakfast, is this so much to ask!?). But you still press on for the sake of a stake in this greater enterprise known as marriage. It's a always a state of improvisation and flux, disaster and deliverance, embarassment and pride, hunger and doubt, triumph and exhaustion. Did I mention the exhaustion bit? They've got a good strong union too those tireds of the world.

So where were all of you when they were handing out tickets for this hell on wheels? Say it with me now, you were naturally otherwise occupied. It's not that you were ill informed, but actually better informed than your elders at the same age, and this made you mighty apprehensive and yes, just a little bit scared.

You were off busy doing some unambiguous good to improve yourselves, like furthering your education. Don't fret or apologize for this achievement, most successful people are well educated. Still this reinforces your (again) natural inclination not to suffer fools gladly. But this has created a time shift, one that again is present in Census figures. Women are getting married a bit later, and are certainly postponing their first births much later than in prior generations.


So where does this leave us? Right back with Ethelred 'The Unready', another former much unfortunate (but forgotten) King of England. We reamin as ever unready for life. Everyone is, it is the human condition. We don't know if that swell kid with MS might make a great dad, or if he'll divorce you for his younger nurse some 15-20 years hence, (See S. Hawking here, but he has ALS).

So look around your shul. Really look at couples in your neighborhood. You'll see all kinds. You'll invariably see ugly ones with beautiful creatures and you wonder about their collective sanity. 55 year old men with happy 20 something cute blonde wives with toddlers. Happy older women with 20 year younger hot studs. People on their 2nd & 3rd marriage from HS/College, still struggling to get it 'right' while you know plenty of singles their age who reamin 'uncoupled'. Why is this and is there no justice in the world?!

Someone in each of those pairs chose at a relatively early date (earlier than some cohorts) to make it a priority to get married and stay that way. Many guys & gals arrive at this psychological juncture in their 30's. Those old married farts did this in their mid 20's.

Now you're saying, 'NO, I've been dating for 15-20 years, and it's been getting worse, not better.' And in a sense you're right. The people in your age cohort who really wanted to get married already have, and you're left with a sometimes ambivalent pool of the remainders; the 'late deciders', the retreads, the divorced, separated, marrieds, the 'halt lame and infirm'.


Now truth be told, marriage is no bed of roses. Never has been really. We are offered no guarantee that our spouse will be healthy, wealthy or wise, or acquire these needed attributes as they age. As we get older we can almost guarantee that most of us will become 'halt, lame & infirm'. Your spouse will no longer physically resemble the beauty/handsome devil you first fell in love with as will your grandad's old Studebaker approximate a race car. You can see it in their eyes that their not now long for the track.


So like that fearful and fateful Ethelred, we are all unready for this challenge. And like him despite all our failings humanity (and the Jews) must continue to muddle through. We have to overcome our fears, out smart our insecurities and commit our hearts and lives to a relative stranger. There is little safety and security in this move straight away, and it sometimes makes little rational sense. But sometimes it works, and successful families and children can and do result and accrue from it all.

Still, sometimes this process feels like the most unnatural thing on earth. It is always fraught with difficulties and the unknown. None of this is helped by the very real work and time pressures faced by families and workers today that just did not exist a generation ago. (See EPINET.org on this mot unfortunate aspect of modern life).

So my only useful advice is to get lucky early. And if you make getting married a priority sometime in your 20's, even if you swing and miss, you have a good chance of not only finding someone who'll fit by 40, but having a much better chance at mothering/fathering a child by then as well.


I do hope this helped some. Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

Esther Kustanowitz said...

TM, whaddya mean "miss me" over at the other site? I post over there all the time, it's just that no one seems to comment anymore when I post, nowadays...

Shawn T Lippert said...

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TM (Jewlicious) said...

Esther, I think commenting is down because the site has become too slow. Also, we are all a little tender and trying not to cause offense to others. Hopefully, this genteelness will pass soon. ;)

TM (Jewlicious) said...

gentility?

Needsabetterjob said...

TM, Jewlicious doesn't discuss stuff that people get passionate about. Which is mostly religious issues. Looka that blowhard Hirhurim for example. He posts one of his odious 'musings' on women holding the Torah or not, and boom, 162 posts in 2 days.
And it could be more, but he tends to get out of the discussion and moves on. Someone has to keep the fire lit.
Religion and sex, in no particular order.

Chutzpah said...

I'm weak and an impulse spender. Not only did I renew my Jdate membership just ONE more month, I also purchased the Nano I was supposed to buy only if I earned it by overcoming my Jdate addiction. When is the next JDaters Anonymous meeting? My name is Chutzpah and I'm a JDate-aholic.

TM (Jewlicious) said...

Needsabetterjob,

I wish I had more time to post, but I'm quite busy these days.

One of the things I learned over the past year at Jewlicious is that people can be quite sensitive and it's not difficult to - inadvertently or with intent - cause them to lash out in confusion/anger/pain when they comment.

Perhaps for that reason I've recently tried to generate topics that are less confrontational. After all, people get hurt. On the other hand, it usually makes for an interesting discussion and I have to note that we are not generating as much discussion as a few months ago when I had yet to understand that people get genuinely offended.

I'm not sure what the right balance should be and am still trying to work out what it all means.

However, thanks to your encouragement, don't be surprised if I soon post about frum lesbians in Conservative synagogues who conduct the torah-reading while clandestinely checking out the rabbi's wife.