Monday, January 30, 2006

Very Interesting Discussion, Kids...

For the most part, very well-behaved, respectful discussion of two very interesting subjects: friends with benefits, and age-based dating decisions. I enjoyed checking in with the conversation from various tropical climes, and once I've fully read through the discussion thread from start to finish, I will hopefully get around to doing some additional commenting on the subjects myself! Things you can do to entertain yourselves in the interim: -- Visit Hilary and Annabel Lee (as well as constant supporters C and Ken "Long-Lost" Wheaton), and show them some comments love -- Vote over at the JIBs (Jewish and Israel Blog Awards) -- Visit Jewlicious and read about our upcoming conference on Jewish identity -- Register for said conference -- Check out "It's a Blog World After All," an article in the Jewish Journal about Jewish blogs

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Vote early, vote semi-often

On Esther's behalf, while she's sailing the high seas, I thought I'd let y'all know that you can now vote for JDaters Anonymous for Best Jewish Humor Blog over in the JIB Finals. And My Urban Kvetch is a finalist for Best Jewish Culture Blog. You can vote every three days between now and 2 February 2006. Best of luck to all the finalists! (Which - sob - does not include me.)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

"Friends With Benefits"

About this Friends-with-Benefits situation... I know what the components are: friendship + fooling around. But I've never been able to understand it fully. Maybe I'm looking at things in black-and-white, but the way I see it, if you're attracted to someone, and you like their personality and want to hang out with them, why isn't that called--or why wouldn't you want it to be called--a relationship? Which of these elements is present in a relationship that is not present in a FWB scenario?
  • Trust
  • Attraction
  • Mutuality
  • Convenience
  • Understanding of the rules
  • Respect
  • Concern

I suppose if both people are equally invested in the casual nature of the relationship as FWBs, then it's fine. But how do you ensure that both of those people are on the exact same wavelength at the exact same time? And how do you prevent attachment?

Is such a relationship by definition limited in duration, until the whim of either party expires, or can it go on for years as long as both parties acquiesce? And again, absent the formal declaration of an agreement, does such a tacit arrangement constitute the very commitment the pair of FWBs are seeking to elude? One last FWBs more generally acceptable in the college-age population? Can people in their thirties and forties engage in these kinds of relationships with impunity, or is there always ultimately a price to pay? I'm sure other people will have opinions on this. So I'm going to board a boat and let the sparks fly while I'm away...who knows? Maybe I'll even give you some guest bloggers...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

"...Exciting and New..."

I'm off to cruise the Caribbean with Jewish singles. Why? To make sure that you guys have interesting material to keep you warm throughout the winter months. And because I need some relaxation that doesn't involve hibernating in my apartment in flannel pajamas because it's too cold to even let my feet touch the uncarpeted floor. (Want to read my Urban Kvetch post about going on the cruise? Don't let me stop you.) Internet access will be expensive and limited, so I can't promise heavy posting. But I'm going to try to do some posts in advance so you'll have what to talk about while I'm away. Let's start with a controversial topic: it really "exciting and new"? Or is love comfort, stability, and calm? And what is the craziest thing you've ever done for love (or for the possibility of love)?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Resolution: Post Links to Articles Sooner

OK, so I've missed a column or two. So here are the last two columns I've not linked to yet...coincidentally, the first two columns of 2006: What You Can't Leave Behind
Last Friday night, a few blocks from home, I sat in a row of chairs along a sanctuary wall. This particular synagogue was not some place I’d normally go, but accompanied by the excuse of friends from out of town, I tried something new-ish along with my Jewish. It wasn’t the traditional service I was used to; many congregants danced as they celebrated the incoming Sabbath, and a few white-clad, barefoot Jews reminded me of the hordes I had seen emerging from L.A.’s Kabbalah Centre in September. It was foreign but spirited, revealing an enthusiasm for prayer and Shabbat that I hadn’t felt in a while. After the Jews had been seated, the rabbi asked us to close our eyes. As we headed into Shabbat — which happened to coincide with the weekend of Rosh Chodesh, the new moon, and which was also marked on the Gregorian calendar as “New Year’s Weekend” — the rabbi asked us to think about what we could leave behind during this transitional moment. As I tried to clear my head of weekday clutter, sensory over-stimulation and the teeming army of germs conspiring to attack my sinuses, one word came into my mind: a proper name. As the year slipped away, I knew what I had to leave behind...
Soul (Mates) on Ice (no, I don't understand the title either)
Four 30-something women sat at a table, talking about relationships — it all seemed very “Sex and the City,” only with maki sushi instead of martinis. The subject was soulmates. “You have a net of available soulmate options,” someone said. “But some of them are quick minnows. You think they’re there and available, but they dart away.” The soulmates-as-fish-in-the-sea metaphors seemed appropriate, if a little insensitive to the spicy tuna rolls on our plates. One married friend maintained that soulmates were defined by commitment. “If the commitment readiness isn’t there, he’s not your soulmate.” But did that mean that soulmate was just another synonym for commitment or love? If something is bashert, meant to be, isn’t it always meant to be? And what of fizzled relationships that seemed promising before they plummeted; what of the perceived soulmates gone inexplicably AWOL? ....

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

For Your Consideration: Two More Voting Days

Watching last night's Golden Globe Awards, it suddenly struck me that I've been remiss in mentioning here that JDaters Anonymous has been nominated for Best Humor Blog in the Jewish and Israel Blog Awards. And since I don't have a tip jar on this site or a fancy graphic pointing you to my Amazon Wishlist, I'm asking for a retroactive Chanukah present. Check out the main page of the JIB Awards site (and/or my recap of the category on Jewlicious) and if you feel I deserve it, spend a few minutes voting for JDA for Best Humor Blog. Let's be clear: I don't expect to win. A few of those blogs have more visitors per day than I do all year. Statistically speaking, it's not possible for me to win. But I'd like to rate a little higher, and if you'd like to help me, I'd be most grateful. While you're there, check out My Urban Kvetch's two nominations, for Best Personal Blog and Best Culture Blog (the one contest where I have a chance of making it to the next round). And what the hell...why not vote? The only other pitch I'll make is for that other blog I'm all enmeshed with: Jewlicious, which is pretty much nominated in every category. Of course, feel free to explore some of the other options there and vote it up big time for the blogs you like. And thank you all for your voting support, as well as for your active commenting here...JDA wouldn't be the same without you...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

JDate News Central...

[slightly updated] Two JDate related news items this week...firstly, if you've been to Times Square recently, you might have noticed JDate's ginormous ad next to the W Hotel, featuring a smiling, embracing (or, has it already led to dancing?) brown-haired couple and reading "Experience Israel." The ad is what I believe is the first ever Times Square billboard to advertise a trip to Israel, in this case, JDate's trip (don't call it a mission) to the Holy Land in May (presumably, information will eventually appear on this page on the JDate website). Although it's not clear how much holiness will actually be involved, since, as the ad says, "all the fun starts in Tel Aviv." It may be less about holiness and more about horniness. (Oh, I got one more: less Zionism, more "zayin"ism. Oh, you Hebrew-speaking people know what I'm talking about...) Packages begin at $2600, which is only about 74 months worth of JDate membership, for anyone who counts their money in those kinds of units... Plus, for all of you JDaters who don't have your own blogs and your own sites dedicated to how much you love online dating or being single in the modern Jewish world, JDate has launched or is launching JMag, its own online dating magazine. And they're looking for writers, in case you're interested in some purportedly unpaid, but heavily exposed work. No word on whether the articles you write will be hyperlinked to your JDate profiles. (But they probably should be, unless you're ashamed of either your profile or what you've written...which you may be.) Hopefully, the Israel trip will be a great opportunity for Jews who don't fit the requirements for birthright or who would rather pay for their chance to visit the homeland. And hopefully, the articles in JMag will be better spell-checked than the profiles on JDate. But who knows? Time will tell. [MAD PROPS TO TALTMAN FOR THE HAT TIP...]

Sushi and Soulmates

Out at dinner with three friends, we sat over edamame and talked. It all felt very "Sex and the City," and I wondered which of us was Samantha. (If it was me, we were all in trouble.) Issues came up. And one of them left me more than a little baffled: the concept of soulmates. This midrash states that what God has been doing since the process of creating the world was making matches...which is great, but why do some people seem to wait endlessly for their matches? Is it that they themselves, or their soulmates, aren't ready in some way to "receive" their counterparts? Or is it a question of merit? Is there only one soulmate for each person, which makes it next to impossible to believe that the two life paths will overlap enough and at the right time in order to achieve the actual meeting that leads to a lifetime commitment? Or are there several potential soulmates for each person, which can lead to confusion if you commit to one soulmate and at some future time meet another one? Is the word soulmate just code word for "person with whom you are sufficiently compatible and to whom you are ready to declare a commitment"? How does the 50 percent divorce rate inform one's understanding of the concept of soulmate? Can you fall out of soulmateship? The more questions I ask, the more questions I have... What do you think?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Older Men Overlooked?

I just got an email from a reader of mine, reproduced here for your comments and feedback:
You and other thirtysomething women are overlooking a large pool of great Jewish guys--often quite handsome and very wealthy--in addition to other good qualities. Guys who were handsome enough that women were falling all over them and, so, they were not interested in marriage until recently. But they're not afraid of commitment now. And they want wives and kids. I'm talking about men fifteen, twenty, years older than you. Too old? Even taking into account the fitness and life expectancies of these athletic guys? Your choice. But they're out there. I used to be a single guy in my fifties. I looked like I was in my forties and women in their thirties were eager to date me. But once they discovered my age I was history. On jdate, my listed age made me "toast" from the get-go. More than once I was told, "women in their thirties don't want to date guys over fifty." Well, one woman in her thirties did. That's my wife. Also now a mom of two. With a guy who was single too long and really appreciates family life in a way that many younger guys do not. Those women in their thirties who don't consider guys over fifty? I know many of them are still looking. "A word to the wise is sufficient."
Speaking as one single woman, I never pictured myself with someone that much older. I always remember that scene in When Harry Met Sally when Harry talks about his relationship with the much younger Emily: "I asked her where she was when Kennedy was shot, and she said 'Ted Kennedy was shot?'" The point is that there's sometimes a cultural gap between people of different ages; and in the case of a 15-20 year age difference, it's different generations, different experiences, which don't always mean incompatibility, but which can pose a significant challenge for communication and interpersonal relating. So, when women in their thirties decide that they arbitrarily cut off the dating range at a certain age, are we being age-ist or closed-minded?

Monday, January 09, 2006

New Blog on the Block...

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the "Ask E-Cyrano" blog, authored by Evan Marc Katz. He's posting about online dating: everything from profile contents to poor pictures. You know you have opinions, so be sure to visit and comment, and tell him you're a FOE. That's "Friend of Esther." (Oh, wait. You're right, that could get confusing. Maybe just say you heard about it from JDaters Anonymous.)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

David Wants Hilary to Have His Baby...

That's right. Hilary, who's had a particularly tough day, comes home to find this postcard in her mailbox. It's from David, a self-proclaimed "mensan" who wants to have a Jewish baby, and he is willing to insult every Jewish woman in the 310 area code Greater Los Angeles area in order to do it, by making them self-conscious about the fact that their biological clocks are ticking. Plus, he apparently makes a killer klezmer cocktail, which, I don't think I'm interested in unless there's vodka in it.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Mars & Venus Go To Shul: Jewish Dating Blogcarnival's First Date

Welcome to the "first date" of Mars & Venus Go To Shul, the first Jewish dating blogcarnival that I'm aware carnival should run the first week of February, so submit entries here. Want to "chaperone" a "date" for M&VGTS? Email me and let me know... You Don’t Look Like Your Profile (Online Dating) P-Life, wearing his second blogging hat over at Orthodox Jewish Single Bloggers, talks about the defrumification of Frumster (full disclosure, he mentions my article from the Jewish Week) and proposes a “Frumster Lite” site for the “differently observant” (which was actually my term). Joe, a twentysomething SJM, is jumping back into the dating pool and has invited the world at large to join him as he creates a Jewish dating blogring. And Hilary at Superjux gives you a rundown of this week’s Jdate contenders. (Not that they're really contenders. But you'll see what I mean.) Separate Seating (religious issues) Nice Jewish Guy (who’s divorced and looking for love on Frumster) presents his take on the hotness of Tznius as he tries to figure out why he’s been leaning towards dating profiles of women who wear skirts and not pants; and then worries about whether his open-mindedness to both skirts and pants sends a confusing message to the women reading his profile. Draydel reflects on the experience of being single at Stern College and what it has to do with the shidduch (matchmaking) crisis. What’s important in shidduchim (matchmaking)? How many kids you’d like to have? Whether you’ll cover your hair when you’re married? Or is it middos? Isn’t a person more than a sum of items on a list or resume? Sweet Rose deliberates. Annabel Lee wonders similarly—who is she, anyway? Is she her resume? That is a picture of a person she don’t know? (Verb agreement sacrificed here for a Chorus Line lyric.) Mars and Venus (interactions with the opposite sex) JDater Joe vents about a Kiddush-time interaction with a girl he had once been interested in., while Drew meanders through a discussion about what it’s like to live in the Heights among “so many young good-looking ladies.” JeruGuru goes through halakhic heartbreak, unwittingly opening himself to the criticism of others. Apocrypha (miscellaneous) In a long-lost post, Lyss talks about the Bad Jewish Girl in a post titled "Kosher Sex My Way." And All My Ex-Boyfriends (which for me, would be an extremely short blog) writes about this friend she has who might want to be more. Or, he might be gay. And, in a blatant case of editorial privilege, I'm including a link to my latest article in the Jewish Week's Directions guide, which deals with the ever-so-topical "What to Expect When Your Friends Are Expecting." If you've enjoyed this premiere edition of M&VGTS, I encourage you to volunteer to host the next edition, the first week of February. Email me and let me know you're interested. And don't forget to submit your entries for the next edition: submissions due by January 30. With good dating experiences and blog traffic for all...