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.

30 comments:

Shakespeare Schwartz said...

Being abel to spel properly and write well is not considered kewl. Ur supposed to yooz as menny email abbreviations as possible (like LOL, and :-), which was actually painful for me to tipe).

Frayzes like "sorrowfully ineffective" are oozing geekiness, and while they may hav sirved him well in collij lit, they're NOT gonna hook him miss JewishOneOfAKindUrNotGoodEnufForMoi. My advice: dumb it down.

Anonymous said...

"A date, Friend, A long-term relationship, Activity Partner." This is one main place where he (a 34 year old man) is screwing up on his profile. A woman looking for a long-term partner will be confused by seeing the "friend" and "activity partner" references. So his profile is not necessarily attracting the kind of women he wants to attract. Just one of my many thoughts -- I have others but, no time!

Dr. Janice

Ben Baruch said...

Thanks, Dr. J, I got rid of "Friend" and "Activity Partner" in my profile. You are right, no one signs up for JDate to meet a friend. Otherwise it would be called JFriend.

Anonymous said...

If you put yourself out there as only intellectual and literary, you're limiting yourself to only those women that want an intellectual and literary type of guy. Which on JDate is a small percentage. I agree with Shakespeare S. If you want to open up your world, dumb it down and write inane crap like you work hard and play hard, and your friends and family are important etc.. After that its all about looks and dough..

peachoid said...

To add to what Dr. Janice said:
There are a few other things that make Ben sound, at least in the limited Jdate format, like a bad bet. First, even a "date" is not what most women in his demographic want. They want long-term only. And come on -- isn't that what he wants, too?

He says so very little about himself that he remains utterly unknown. He doesn't even say what his occupation is. Bus driver? Dentist? Who knows! Also, he wants someone petite/slender, and his age range ends at 2 years younger than himself. These are two red flags, which make women think they will be immediately rejected unless they are suitably young and thin and pretty. God forbid somebody is a few inches too tall or a few years too old. He has made this sound unacceptable -- and intimidating, coming from such a clever guy -- even if it's not.

That's a beef I have with this whole process. People are crossed off the list because of superficial characteristics that have nothing to do with compatability. It's hard enough to find somebody suitable -- let alone somebody wonderful! -- for the long haul. To actually state that something like height is a meaningful criterion -- well, maybe Ben is losing out on someone who is not untall. On the other hand, I'm sure he is glad to screen out those who think he is too short.

Having said all that, he sounds like an utter delight. But I'm a little too old and a little too tall. So this is one guy who, unless I met him in another context, would never, ever consider me. And I'm an utter delight, too.

EMS said...

I went on a date with Ben the other night. Regarding the age issue, Ben believes that a woman older than his own age will immediately want kids. I debated him on the issue. He is definitely closing the door to many wonderful choices on jdate. Minutes after our conversation, he checked me out again, obviously fearful I was lying about my age. When it comes to type, physical attraction is important. I don't blame him for writing this in his profile.

peachoid said...

EMS: What you wrote about age is thoroughly on target. Ben sounds like a wonderful guy with a lot of 'but's. And all those 'but's seem like deal-breakers. Possibly he is too difficult ever to please, and too righteous ever to accede that maybe he could learn from someone else's point of view.

Incidentally, if he ever wants children, he should be thinking about it at his age. I mean, it's kind of weird if he isn't. And if he doesn't ever want children, then the age of his potential bride-to-be doesn't matter. Another bright red flag.

As far as 'type,' well, Esther has a whole post about that. It's fine to want someone you are attracted to. My point was that to state petite/slender in his profile comes off as critical, judgmental and rigid. Maybe he does want that, but broadcasting it in his profile conveys it in a way that tosses the baby out with the bathwater.

EMS said...

Might i mention that all of this talk about ben, between this posting and my own today, must be doing wonders for his ego.

Anonymous said...

I've never been a member of jdate though I've spent countless hours evaluating members for friends using the site.
Amazingly there are a few single jews in NY who've never joined the site. ;)
The site has changed quite a bit since I last checked it out. Is there a way to view profiles without a membership?

Ben Baruch said...

It seems no one has a problem when women state that they prefer a tall man. Is it less acceptable for a guy to state that he prefers a petite woman? They're talking height, I'm talking width. X-axis rotated 90 degrees, tilt your head and it makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... non-member here... off the top off my head.. no judgement..
-looks extremely young, and casual in his pictures, perhaps worth adding a full body shot or five-o'clock shadow free image for variety
-granted the essay is being reviewed but I just don't get a sense of his character
-the "I am looking for a" section needs a serious rewrite "You are creative, talented with something you love. A rainy weekend will do just fine, as long as you've got someone to watch a movie with. Strangers compliment you on your smile."

Maayan said...

Huh. I was just about to leave a snarky comment about how "petite" means "short", not "thin", but then I got smacked down by m-w.com, which defines "petite" as "having a small trim figure -- usually used of a woman". So now my comment is pretty pointless.

Except that I think I have that mental definition of "petite" from walking by the Petites department in stores so many times while thinking to myself "Why the hell don't they have a department for please let me get some pants that are actually long enough and shirt where the sleeves reach my wrists?"

But I think my real point is, just as tall Jewish women have had to accept that if they want to date Jews, they're going to have to date men who are shorter than them, I think Jewish men may have to accept that very few Jewish women come in size Skeletal.

Anonymous said...

At least judging from JDate pictures, Israeli women look thinner. Perhaps the Mediterranean diet. A good reason to make aliyah?

Anonymous said...

It looks to me that there is less junk food eating in Israel. You have alot more easier access to fruits and natural fruit drinks.

Altho meal portions in restaurants in Israel are huge.

Anonymous said...

First, regarding Israelis, there is a whole culture of being fit and in shape (partially to do with the army etc.). Although, ironically enough, most Israeli guys will nail anything that moves....

Regarding preference - its okay to have a physical preference - we all do. But Ben is crazy to advertise it in his profile. Seriously nuts. Its offensive to most women. If thin is all you like, then its your choice to contact only those that are thin. Its also your choice to reject those that arent. You may not get many dates, but thats your choice. (I should note for the record that I looked up some of those profiles of women who didnt return Ben's emails: Ben, word of advice - many arent appropriate for you, so you shouldnt expect replies).

But lets all face it, many people exaggerate in their profiles anyways. "Petite" in Jdate lingo means short (often short and heavier). Most women who write "athletic and fit" do not have athletic figures and are usually heavier (otherwise they write thin/slender or firm/toned). A guy who writes a "few extra pounds" has many more than just a few. Putting up only a head shots w/o a full-body shot is telling... And so on..We all know the game, so the exaggerations are useless in my opinion.

As to reworking the profile. If you want as many dates as possible, you can't be too funny or smart or clever - as you cant guarantee that many women will appreciate it. If you dont mind narrowing your possibilities to only those that 'get' your profile, then by all means do it. Good luck...

Anonymous said...

I'm kinda surprised that Esther didn't offer her E-Cyrano services to Ben. It's obvious that his essays need work so that he can attract the kind of women he wants to attract. What gives, Esther? Why not give an early Chanukah gift to the single robot?

Dr. Janice

Anonymous said...

why aren't esther and ben an item?

Shaun Eli said...

I agree-- you have an absolute right to whatever physical characteristic attracts you-- be it tall, thin, blonde, muscular, whatever. And frankly it's a lot easier for me or you to lose weight or gain muscle than it is for anyone to gain or lose height. But it does look superficial if your profile is so specific about what you want that even someone WITH those characteristics says "No thanks" when viewing your profile.

As far as what to write-- I'm a guy and I've tended to skip over the empty profiles. If all a woman has to say in an ad is that her friends and family are important to her, she likes to go to restaurants and movies, and her occupation is "manager" well, who is she other than a woman with a face?

My profile is specific about who I am, and perhaps a lot of women aren't interested because of what I've said (in summary that I'm politically liberal, an idealist and am very attracted to very smart women). But that's fine-- I'd rather someone didn't write back to me than turned out to be not what I'm looking for. Of course if I got no responses then I'd have to redo things, but luckily that's not the case.

Chutzpah said...

The JDate police finally came after me and edited my profile! I find this highly offensive given that they are now allowing same sex searches. Why can't I put a few rude, off-color or offensive things in my profile if I want? I called customer service and the rep. told me I could put it back up the way I want it and he will put a note on it not to edit it. That took all the fun out of it and now I don't even want to say "those things" anymore. However, something is going to have to give this coming year and it damn well better be the year I find a consistently reliable partner or I will have actually have to move to another state and start over.

Chutzpah said...

As for the E-Cyrano, it would be a definate dealbreaker if I ever found out a guy had a ghostwriter check his spelling, grammar and sentence construction. The way a person uses words speaks volumes about their intellect and education.

I once dated a guy who had the most exciting profile ever and I was stumped at why he couldn't say more than "that's cool" during a conversation (not that I cared, but I digress...) Much later, while reading a copy of Esquire in the Doctor's office, I reread his profile in an ad for the latest model of Infiniti (makes your breath faster, your pulse race....)

Esther Kustanowitz said...

Chutzpah, as for the Ecyrano diss, I obviously disagree with you a little bit. I think everyone polishes the important documents in their life, at work and in other arenas, so why not in dating profile-land? Some people did better on verbal, others on the math sections of their SATs or whatever. Some people are better in real life than on the phone. What ECyrano does is use the subject's own words and phrasing to describe the subject. Yes, I believe that lots of people could do a better job on their profiles if they'd just commit the time to it. But most of them don't.

Not to sound obnoxious, but your comments could benefit from a pre-publish spellcheck, too ("definately"?). But I acknowledge that some misspellings are just mistakes, others tell you that that is how that person thinks that word is spelled. Like if a guy misspells "intelligent" once, I assume it's a typo. Twice, and that's what he thinks the real spelling is. BTW, a real example: the guy who says he is only attracted to "a women" who is "intelegent."

Chutzpah said...

You are right, my bad! If spelling is very important to a guy, he might want to pass on me (as if I need to give them more excuses to pass). But at least I wrote my own comments. Will try to use the pre-publish in the future!

Esther Kustanowitz said...

Chutzpah, that wasn't a personal slam or a suggestion that you need to spellcheck or abandon posting here...you know I'd never do that. I was making a larger point, which I think you got.
:)

Anonymous said...

To quote peachoid "Ben sounds like a wonderful guy with a lot of 'but's. And all those 'but's seem like deal-breakers. Possibly he is too difficult ever to please, and too righteous ever to accede that maybe he could learn from someone else's point of view."... between that and other on target observations you seem to have made about Ben, it sounds almost as if you know the guy... and I think your observations are very on target. I wonder where you were when I was trying to decifer what was what in the profiles I read. But what do I know... I'm dating a guy whose jdate profile offered to take anyone who said hi to an 80's concert.
C.

Anonymous said...

OK after resisting for a bit I've read the comments here and of course found the amusement I was looking for. As usual Chutzpah has the funniest entries.

But no, I don't know Ben, but it's fairly clear that he might ride a trike that has a sign 'No fat chicks' on the back. Thanks for spelling that out guy. Got it. X- axis rotation.

So that is what percentage of the available single jewish women out there? Depending on your size grade and requirements it could be easily well under 25%. Petite will get you there. Now ask yourself. Why would you want to dispose of the other ~2/3's- 3/4's of your possible choices? I know, it's your preference, and your request.

But truth be told Ben is as mystified as others might be about the corresponding requirement of the oft expressed 'Tall, dark & handsome' male in female profiles. Many, many jewish men would say, 'Well 2 out of 3 is not bad, right?' Many of our brethren are indeed vertically challenged. It's part of our heritage.

So what happens when a vertically challenged (say even a short squat guy) shows up to accompany that lovely zaftig Jewish gal (who's always claiming she works out, but is mostly too busy) for some fine dinner refreshment? She turns to him and smirks in her usual fashion and says 'Murray, you're late again!'. He smiles sheepishly and asks 'The usual place?' She nods and reminds him not to run any red lights this time. Then all the cousins pile into the big car and Uncle Murray and Aunt Dot were off for some holiday fare. Sound familiar anyone?

Come on people! Why is this so difficult? Look at our parents and their parents. Do you think if it were possible to order up those matches out of all possible matches in the universe they would have chosen each other all over again? (Well maybe, but only with a few decades under their belts). Most of the time this was the choice that presented itself at the right place and the right time. It was the product of chance, perhaps necessity and plenty of compromises.

Try as we might divine providence and good fortune will not provide us with the perfect mate. We can get close, we might even improve with age (a rare and wonderful possibility), but we can not order up a mate that is everything we think and imagine we desire at that moment in time. None of us can. This is life. Real life can not yet be replaced or adequately replicated by electrons. It is hubris to imagine that we will be getting someone who will somehow deign to match all our earthly desires of the moment. Yet this profoundly silly prospect is the object of discussion everywhere and some folks make plenty of money off of silly desires and fleeting fantasies. Think about it. Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ', ga.

Anonymous said...

Chutzpah, long as you can spell the important words, which I think you can, that is all that matters to me. The important word in no particular order: love, lust, hot sex, oral sex, intercourse positions, kama sutra, sex.

Anonymous said...

I know Ben. He's a very good guy. And he likes thin girls. Big friggin deal. He also likes funny girls, smart girls and girls with a nice smile. And he likes them thin. So what? Maybe he's not too strong and has illusions of carrying his bride over the threashold into marriage without throwing out his back. Maybe mentioning it in his profile is his way of saving all the "pleasantly plump" girls out there the time and effort involved in getting to know him, when in the end, he's still not gonna wanna snuggle up next to their large tuchus. Doesn't mean he would be opposed to playing a game of scrabble with 'em. If you ask me, he's doing them a favor.

As a petite girl (short and thin) I've read posts from guys requiring the girls to be tall (some guys above 6' seem to think that to "waste their height" a short girl would be a tragedy for the entire jewish female population above 5'7"). Certainly those guys knock out a good 75% of the females on jdate. And ya know what? Guys who are not attracted to fat girls, will likely never be attracted to fat girls. It's a personal thing. Guys that only want a tall girl... they are still attracted to the short ones (we can be cute with hot bods too...), they just have ideas about how a short girl would look on their arm vs. a tall, statuesqe girl. In my mind, that's a lot more shallow. For the record, and I hope he does not mind my stating it in his defense, Ben had a long term relationship with a 6" tall blond girl. She was thin.

I've even read posts by men who state that they have an affinity for chunky women... "women with a few extra pounds" or "full-figured" they call it. Granted, these men probably have a thing for large breasts too, but NO ONE would ever sit on a message board and post that he is denying himself the opportunity to meet a very lovely thin girl! Please, they would be gving these guys medals, congratulationg them on their open-mindedness and ability to see past the superficial, socially acceptable barometers of attractiveness. Give Ben a break.

My apologies for any typos or spelling errors. :-)

E-Cyrano said...

Even though we all have different tastes, there is absolutely no value in putting physical specifications in one's profile.

If you like tall men, respond to tall men. If you like thin women, respond to thin women. But forcing people to read that they're not good enough only makes the profile look bad. Plus it does NOT screen out "undesirables". "Old men stay away!" really doesn't act as much of a deterrent.

So, to reiterate. Nothing negative. Ever. Nothing about physical traits. Ever.

And Ben, when you're writing initial emails to women, keep it short, sweet, specific and funny. Your profile is what sells you - that first email is what opens the door, so don't overdo it.

E-Cyrano said...

Even though we all have different tastes, there is absolutely no value in putting physical specifications in one's profile.

If you like tall men, respond to tall men. If you like thin women, respond to thin women. But forcing people to read that they're not good enough only makes you look bad. Plus it does NOT screen out "undesirables". "Old men stay away!" really doesn't act as much of a deterrent, now does it?

So, to reiterate...Nothing negative. Ever. Nothing about physical traits. Ever.

And Ben, when you're writing initial emails to women, keep it short, sweet, specific and funny. Your profile is what sells you - that first email is simply what opens the door.

Good luck.

Kristen said...

Hey, I would reply to Ben Baruch's JDate message. Any girl who doesn't have an e-crush on him is a fool, let me tell you. :]