Sunday, March 12, 2006

From the Simple Street Meet to an Audience With the Dating Hermit

Walking up Broadway last night, I ran into a friend of mine. She was with a friend of hers, and after my friend L. introduced me to her friend L. (I swear, they're both Ls) as "the world-famous singles columnist Esther Kustanowitz" (immediately proven untrue by her friend saying, "I never heard of you"), we struck up a conversation about dating. And just like always, I had no answers to her questions, which didn't stop me from talking for about 20 minutes. But still, I had no direct answers, because I'm not sure there are any. Her main question: "Why aren't people meeting each other?" Now, there's no real way to answer this. Firstly, because there's no way to prove that people aren't meeting each other in general. It's too general a question: somewhere, people are meeting and even marrying. I know this because I get the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times and because I keep getting wedding invitations in the mail. But the question could be: "Why aren't people meeting on the Upper West Side?" "Why can't I meet anyone?" or "Where do I go to meet someone?" It could even be "Will I ever meet anyone?" or "What the hell is he/she thinking?" or "Why am I always confined to the Friend Zone?" And I don't have the answers to any of these questions, because, for f*ck's sake, I'm still writing this blog and my column. Are there questions about dating that actually have objective answers? Or is anyone claiming to have "the answer" (this means you, Rules ladies and He's Just Not That Into You) a liar by definition? Isn't it all subjective? And even in any objective study of dating and relationship patterns, aren't we all just asking "Why is it taking me so long to find love and when will it finally happen?" What do you guys think? Say you've climbed to the top of a mountain in the Andes, where lives a dating hermit with all the answers to any questions we might want to ask about the courtship process...and say you're allowed two questions...what do you ask? And what kind of answers would you expect?

56 comments:

Chutzpah said...

I paid $500.oo to a Matchmaker who told me he can't do anything until I lose at least 20 lbs. so I guess the be all and end all of life is to be thin and that nothing else matters to any male in NYC. Why are the thin women are having trouble? Someone else will have to pay $500.00 to get the answer to that question.

VJ said...

Chutzpah, At that point I would have demanded my money back at the threat of severe physical violence. I just feel that $500 worth of advice should sound smarter than that. As in:

'Since almost all the Jewish guys of similar age are similarly overweight or far worse (see 'squat gods'), it's really not worth spending 100's of dollars and years of your time trying to lose 20-30 lbs. Open a sports bar instead. Have the guys come to you. At least it's more sure entertainment'.

But the point about thin women is well taken too.

So where were we? I've offered my opinions on why I think in some respects it's gotten harder in the dating world, and why technology is not going to save us here. We face a shortage of useable or available free time, we're too tied up in the longer hours at work, and we typically have demonstrably less ties to the communities around us. And we're aging out of comfortable age grades faster. That means someone 30 something may be attractive to the 2nd time around dad's at 40 something, but much less so for a 26 year old budding investment banker on Wall St. Again, I think a lot of this is media driven, and everyone has a picture of their ideal (or closer) who they really want, but so does everyone else. Not everyone is all that good looking. Now I think older folks are swell, but many younger people are positively terrified of anything much older than themselves. Dating someone 10-15 years older than themselves (at 20 something) just gives them the willies. By the time they may overcome this natural aversion, they are again 10-15 years down the road, and starting the search process all over again.

Again it's my thought that no human outside of the unfortunates at Gitmo would want to subject anyone they love or care for to 10-15-20 *years* of dating. Especially in NYC or LA. That's just madness, especially if it's all to get to a first marriage or a first 'meaningful something'. Now truth be told, most folks just give up long before that, and they cycle on and off in their interest in dating anyone. That's what statistics will tell you. But this gets to my questions. (You just knew I could get there in under 2k words, right):

1.) Why is it if dating is an important aspect of your life, and you truly want to be connected to another soul for purposes of marriage, children, parenthood or just a long lasting friendship, why not actually study some statistics on the process? How about reading some professional sociology research on the topic of marriage & coupling? Perhaps some psychology on human motivation?

Why must everyone be so damn clueless about everything involved in the process? Have their parents or grandparents imparted absolutely no knowledge here? I mean it's one thing to want to know 'Why didn't he call', but your chances at springing an available, young, tall, sexy millionaire are actually quite definable, (vanishingly small), and yet everyone is looking for them. The dream that technological mediation (Jdater etc.) would substantially reorder or improve one's chances at finding a true match have been fleeting so far, and yet few people will acknowledge that.

Other relevant questions:
2.) You're up here hiding from the girls/boys, aren't you?

3.) Everyone stops complaining when their married, right?

[At this point the hermit falls off the mountain laughing. And you're the new hermit sage!]

Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

writersbloc gal said...

what a horrible thing to say. Sorry Chutzpah that this is what you were told... I keep getting the "Oh, you have time. You will meet someone." response. Which is technically true, but there is always a chance that you might not meet them, which is what you wonder about. I don't know why it's so hard to meet the right person. Meeting people is easy - meeting the one that's truly a fit for you - that's where the trick lies.

Samuel J. Scott said...

I would ask the hermit:

1.) What do twentysomething, urban, intelligent, Jewish women want?

2.) Why do I find so few of them attractive?

Esther Kustanowitz said...

I actually disagree with WBG. Meeting people is actually not easy for everyone. And when you aren't dating at all--let alone not dating the right person--it's hard to imagine ever managing to find someone who's even OK, let alone "the right person..."

Chutzpah, that matchmaker needs to have the sh*t kicked out of him. Why are the thin women having problems, too? Because the men who are rejecting them are in some way damaged, maybe. Or maybe because the thin women are too picky. Or maybe there are no answers.

VJ, I am so not becoming the new hermit sage, no matter what.

And WWT, you asked:
1.) What do twentysomething, urban, intelligent, Jewish women want?
2.) Why do I find so few of them attractive?


And I ask you:

If 2) is true, then why do you care about 1)? Doesn't matter what they want if you don't find them attractive. Sorry to say it, but it sounds like you may need to look inward, buddy...

Chutzpah said...

In all fairness to the Matchmaker, she offered me nutrition and fitness counseling included in that price (i.e. no carbs and 45 min. of treadmill every other day) and said the reason I need to lose 20 lbs. is because I have a bad habit of being attracted to hot guys. So, she was just giving me a reality check. Truth is, I don't need them to be physically hot, I need them them to be intellectually hot.

Samuel J. Scott said...

Esther,

If 2) is true, then why do you care about 1)? Doesn't matter what they want if you don't find them attractive. Sorry to say it, but it sounds like you may need to look inward, buddy...

I asked #1 because that's the type of girl I'd like to end up with someday. But I may have worded my response incorrectly. What I mean is that I don't like many of the women I describe in #1.

For instance, many are JAPs, plain and simple. I've overheard girls tell each other, "I can't date him. He's not a doctor!" Or, "I can't date that guy, he played beer pong at a party!"

I'm not rich, a doctor, or 6'5." Many girls who complain about how much emphasis society puts on weight are the same ones who refuse to date any guy who isn't at least two inches taller than she. Well, it's easier to lose weight than it is two grow a few inches.

I'm too "religious" for the Reform Jews at my temple and too "non-religious" for Orthodox and Conservative Jews elsewhere. Reform Jews care more about Jewish culture than Jewish religion, but I know less about the former because I converted.

Girls say they want a nice guy, but then they are attracted to jerks. I've learned to distinguish the differences between want girls say they want and to what they are actually attracted. Hence the question, "what do women want?"

Because of all of these things, I find myself drawn back to the shiksas I used to date before I became a Jew. If Jewish women won't give me the time of day, what am I supposed to do?

The only Jewish women who do pay attention to me are those in their 30s (and I'm 25) -- I must be the last refuge of the desparate-to-get-married or something.

I'm an attractive (though a little short), confident, successful (though in a field that doesn't pay very well) guy who cares about Judaism (though I agree with liberal Judaism). What gives?

Samuel J. Scott said...

Esther,

I actually just thought of another reason: I smoke. I'm told that smoking is a major turn-off for Jewish women.

I know it's disgusting, unhealthy, expensive and unkosher (I think). I'd like to quit, but it's hard. Perhaps I should just do whatever it takes to quit.

But I'm curious: do Jewish women indeed find smoking to be a major turn-off?

sassy little punkin said...

my own dating situation is very very very complicated right now, but for the sake of brevity let's just say i'm off the market. however, because of said complications, and past experiences, and my many friends who are still single, i would ask the dating guru:

if i am as wonderful, beautiful, sexy, interesting, funny, intelligent, and loving as everyone says i am (and if i know it's true, too, because dammit i like me!) then why do i not have the relationship i deserve?

then again, i'm not sure there are answers to this and other kinds of questions that will suit everyone. we all have our own issues we bring to the dating table. if i knew the answer(s) you bet i'd write a book and go on oprah.

E-Cyrano said...

Great questions, Esther, but I don't think there are any hard-and-fast answers. Which is why having a forum to discuss this stuff is particularly useful.

Put another way, it doesn't take an "expert" to offer advice; we ask our friends for advice all the time without asking for their qualifications. "Experts" just have unique ways of expressing universal truths, and/or their own opinions. Witness "The Rules", "He's Just Not That Into You", or my new book, "Why You're Still Single". Just because someone writes something doesn't mean it's true, but it may have some insight or spur some conversation.

Like your blogs, self-help books are mere tools to facilitate discussion and allow us to look inward. What's right for you isn't necessarily right for me or for my sister or your best friend from sixth grade. We all need to identify the things that trap us, find where we are tripping ourselves up, and do our best to own take responsibility. It's too easy to just say that everyone else sucks - especially since so many people do. The hard part is in figuring out what you can control yourself.

As far as meeting people goes, it seems to me that all avenues should be utilized: parties, volunteer events, classes, coffee shops, subways, and yes, JDate and similar sites. The right person is out there, somewhere, but tends not to magically appear in your living room with a red ribbon on his head. If he does, you should probably call the police.

Anonymous said...

When I was in high school and college I had no problem finding boyfriends. From the second I graduated I don't seem to randomly meet people anymore. I'm a teacher and I work with mostly women. It's better not to date someone at work anyway. When I was in graduate school every guy I met was either in a serious relationship or married. I turned to jdate. I've met tons of guys off of jdate - the freaks, the weirdos, the guys that are just looking for a one night fling, the guys that posted a 5-10 year old picture and the guys that flat out lie about their age or height. I'm 28 and I'm approaching a time-period where not meeting someone could become critical to my being able to have children one day. I've gone out to clubs and I've done the bar scene and because I'm not a size 2 I don't get approached. I've also been told that since I have a masters and I live on my own I scare men away. I'm left thinking - Is there anyone normal out there? (Normal for me at least.)

Anonymous said...

Dear World Famous Singles Columnist Esther Kustanowitz:

I too don't know what the f*** I'm doing with the opposite sex and can't get a desirable Jewish woman to go out with me twice. But that won't stop me from writing this. Even though it probably should.

The trouble with the equation with American Jewish men and woman today is:
1. I read on a single Jewish woman's blog today that she's holding out for a man who "makes birds tweet and lightning flash". Need I say more?
2. Jewish men have more inertia than goyishe men when it comes to pursuing women. Jewish men will get out of the the house for a REALLY good free hot meal, really good laughs, and sex (the last is optional). None of these 3 things are we likely to get on a JDate.
3. So you have Jewish women who are VERY demanding and Jewish men who, presented with these women, say "The hell with it" and marry shiksas, jerk off, or both. Do I get my column now?

Anonymous said...

Let me tell you what it comes down to. Being too fussy. We're all too fussy ... some more guilty than others. Too heavy, too short, not making enough money, whatever. And I agree ... there are a lot of women who SAY they want a nice guy, but who look upon a nice guy as taboo ... they'd rather have the jerk. Although I'm absolutely certain that there are plenty of guys who behave similarly.

The answer? Lower your standards and give more people a chance(notice I didn't say DROP your standards or give EVERYONE a chance). And what do I mean by give more people a chance? I mean go out on a date or two (or maybe even three) with them. There's no obligation. No one's coming with a ring to the 3rd date. If there isn't something about them that intrigues you or that attracts you by then, move on to the next. All it is is a date.

Blogger S.

VJ said...

I'd say Chutzpah, if you're searching for just the 'intellectually hot guys', you might as well hunt down the dweebs in & around the yeshivas, you'll just find more of them there to corrupt. And most will go willingly, just for the experience!

And yes, WWT, smoking is a major turn off for most people, Jews included. It's a special population really. Many men would not go out with even very 'hot' women if they smoked, and vise versa.

But you speak to yet another issue. Again 'What do women want?' is not an especially original quest, but it is indeed an ancient one. First we must presume that they are human like everyone else, and fully deserving of the same respect, care, rights and humanity as other citizens, and move on from there. This sometimes creates difficulties with some political sects and parties, and religions, but then again it always has.

Now *Predicting* what humans want minute by minute has always been a difficult task, but one in which modern day marketing has come awfully close to accomplishing. So bottom line, the best we can do is to inculcate some consumerist demand from the subject, and then predict reasonably well how that message might affect him or her. As in eventually 'I want that Prada bag' or 'I want that Jag/Bass boat/yacht.

Which brings me back to one of my main points. Economics. We can't be all chasing after 'Mr. Big'. There's only so much of him to go around, and he's got all he can handle, but still scads of women still lust after his pretty, shapely carcass. This is some of the crux of the problem. We always imagine a 'better deal' is somehow available down the pike or around the corner. But we can easily incur massive and tragic 'opportunity costs' should we be waiting for that 'more perfect one' to come along, especially if we want to start a family one day.


Again this does not mean 'settling', it Does mean having more realistic expectations that better suit your age and actual situation in life. That lovely photogenic Latina cleaning women is not likely to marry that rich white businessman she might fancy, or vise versa. (Speaking of 'recent movies' w/J-Lo). That beautiful struggling NYC actress might attract suitors by the dozens, but she's still unlikely to make the big 'score' of a rich, successful 'Scarsdale' Doc.

These are just some of the cruel facts of life that become gradually more apparent to us as we age. It often takes many people until well after their youth has been exhausted to reconcile themselves to this hard reality.

The fact is that real income for most males has been dropping for the last 30 years. Even college educated blokes are losing ground, their incomes barely keeping up with inflation. Median household income has been dropping for the past 5 years. We have become increasingly a 'Winner take all' society, and it shows up in who and how we date too. That cute tall guy might be picking up plenty of women, but give him a professional degree and some modest success, and he's well nigh irresistible to most women. But folks, that's LESS than 1/3-1/4 of the single male population. Let's get real particular here. If among your criteria for a serious relationship is a 6 figure income, you're searching for a single male (or female) that represents less than %10 of the population in most places. We can all chase after that brass ring, and be disappointed when we don't get it, but in real life this quest does have it's consequences and takes it's inevitable toll.

And this does not even begin to tough on the much more significant issues of compatibility, personality, outlook, education, desire for children, family location and other concerns of most couples.

None of this is easy, and marriage is not either. I've often thought that the more 'glandular' instant connections tended to obscure much of the hard rational thought process that might go into such considerations. But truth be told, from all the evidence gathered, for much of human history very few people went through much careful consideration of a mate. Unlike the royal classes who plotted their marriages like the chess games they truly were, most of the peasantry had to be satisfied with 'Yankle' down the road, the one with the new goats and a small good piece of land.

We can over analyze our lives to the detriment of actually living them well enough. We do need to know more than ever before, and we should study and learn from past mistakes and patterns of bad behavior and outcomes. We can imagine more perfect worlds, but not the more perfect humans that come with them.

The mate you will likely chose will have plenty of flaws that you once swore were simply unacceptable. He or she will develop more of these as they age. Tolerance, forgiveness, forbearance and yes, love will deter us from killing, divorcing or leaving our partners for these many and manifold failings. And we will look back and wonder at our youth at the folly we once believed that we could control or master fate's hands in our lives.

We will more than occasionally despair over all the collective years lost in this age old timeless search by friends and family, and wonder still if we too can make a decent buck off of all this free floating misery and ever present ambient anguished quest for love.

Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with "anonymous" above when he notes "I read on a single Jewish woman's blog today that she's holding out for a man who 'makes birds tweet and lightning flash'.". As long as I continue to hear of things like this and read so many internet dating ads that specify "must be 6" taller than me so he can pick me up and kiss me", "must have ivy league degree", "must make my knees wobble and take my breath away when he walks into the room", "must live in Manhattan", etc. ... all coming from single women in their mid-30s to mid-40s ... I don't know how anyone can be optimistic. That's just not the way love typically develops.

annabel lee said...

I've been thinking about this post for a while, trying to come up with a good response. If the Dating Hermit were actually a seer, I think I would ask, "Have I missed my chance, or is my bashert still out there?" I don't think I actually want to know *when* I'll meet him (talk about pressure!) but I would like to know whether or not I will meet him at all. If I know for sure that he's out there and I might still meet him, I'll keep on trying. And if I know for sure that he's not out there, I might take up some new addictions.

Tamara said...

I wish I knew. Gosh do I wish I knew. I haven't had a date is so freaking long it's pathetic. I can't figure out why I'm not meeting men either. I mean, I haven't been putting myself out there as much as I should; however, I was on jdate for a LONG time. Active on jdate. Current pics, etc. I'm not petite, nor am I obese. I'm college educated, have a decent career, have a sense of humor, Judaism is significant on different levels in my life. I swear I'm not so picky...blah blah...and yet, singledom seems to be my wrath....and damnit, I'm just not gonna take it! :)

Ironically, I just wrote about dating frustrations on my blog.

Samuel J. Scott said...

I'm college educated, have a decent career

Here's where many women go wrong. Guys in general don't care if a woman is very intelligent and has a good career. That's what women look for in men. Don't assume that guys are looking for the same things you are.

Women look for resource providers. Men are looking for someone who is attractive, kind, faithful, feminine (and how many high-powered lawyers and businesswomen are that?) woman who will be a good mother. Intelligence and success is lower on the list for men.

This is where feminism got some things wrong. The truth is that the more successful and overeducated a woman is, the more unattractive she will be to many guys (but not all). Guys want to be the providers, and they tend to look for women who will let them be that.

Women have shelled out thousands of dollars for an advanced or professional degree, and then they decide to start looking for something serious when they're in their late 20s or 30s. The trouble is, successful men at that age will be looking at the more-attractive women who are in their early- and mid-20s.

I'm sorry to say that, but it's simple biology. Women should have snagged a guy when they're young and more attractive, and then worry about graduate school and jobs.

I know this seems harsh, but it's the reality. I think both sexes need a dose of reality. I'm just as frustrated with how many men act (including myself).

Jennifer R said...

You know, I don't think it's a question of not meeting people. It's a question of meeting people you'd WANT.

My questions would be:

(a) I get a lot of bullshit from married people about how "good ones are still out there." I have to say, based on the evidence I have seen, that this is not true. What do you think?

(b) Would I be happier single than waiting around for "good ones" to show up?

Ro said...

Def with Tamara on this one. I have recently decided to quit dating for awhile. I'm in one of those postions where I may be heading to grad school and cant afford to really go out except for walks and coffee.

Besides the point The guys who are supposidily "nice" aren't into me. I have given many guys a chance but I always seem to wind up being the one that is rejected. I'm tired of it. If my beshert is out there I'm sure we will meet but honestly I have to say I'm not willing to put up with any more agrivation searching on Jdate.

Blah!

VJ said...

I was thinking about the last few comments too. I think the 'bells and whistles' can and do happen for people, and they can happen at almost any age. Really, I've seen it with my own eyes, 20 something love and 80 something love, both identifiable as a completely smitten condition. Of course the sad part is that now the woman in the 80 something couple is a widow for the 2nd or 3rd time, but she was still happy to enjoy the experience with her new found love and short term husband. It's really hard to tell how normative this experience is as we age, but it can and does happen when in love.

I'm also familiar with long lasting marriages where this has probably never been the case, and if at all, for only brief periods of time. A little bit can go a long way, perhaps many decades if you're lucky.


But something AL said got me thinking. Despite the many addictions we can name, there are no substitutes for love. And some people search their lives long for this. That most will achieve a modicum of success in this quest is often a testament to the triumph of luck and will meeting chance and opportunity. It may come late, or it may come early, but most people will wind up married or at the very least 'coupled'. There's less than 10% of the adult population described by the chronicle of the 'never married or ever lived with a S.O.' True, the 'never marrieds' are getting to be a slightly larger group, but suffice to say that you typically stand a much better than 80% chance of this occurring to you by the time you are 80. But of course there's always the question of the timing.


This brings us to the famous description of the mythical Norwegian bachelor farmers of Garrision Keillor's & PHC's, 'Lake Woebegone'. Up in the upper midwest why were a generation of these fellas so famous, and why were they simply known as 'bachelors'? Several reasons actually. As farmers they learned the family trade, and rarely got any significant schooling much beyond HS, (or just grade school for the older set). If they were not married to a HS sweetheart soon after graduation, they lost a significant connection in the community. The only other connection would be in church, as they would rarely go to college. Most people today meet their future intended in college or school. This has been true for a generation or more. The 2nd greatest source for future spouses is yes, introductions from friends& family or your church, shul etc.

Back to the farm. Daily life did not typically involve women other than your mom or other farmwives on the farm. There was trading grain or livestock (few single women out there), or going into town for farm supplies or a good drunk about every few weeks. (Ditto). Where did these guys meet good decent women on the dusty isolated Plains? Often they advertised for them. For 'Mail order brides' in all sorts of magazines & periodicals of the day. It was more like an introduction service, but a bit more formal. The Jdate of it's time. Except these guys were way more serious about their intent, and the women well knew that. The hard work of common daily drudgery of a farm was well known for most of the 20th century, and even today properly scares the daylights from many, perhaps most young women. There are much more easier lives to be had in town, any town, than out on an isolated farm with just you and the kids and family to keep you company, with perhaps a radio and magazines to keep you sane between visits.

This is how we can get a generation of bachelors farmers. It takes bleak community economics, coupled with geographic isolation and a generally undesirable location, and a certain physical isolation from the larger community of available single people. It's truly a unique and unfortunate case, and as often as not, personal wealth had not much to do with it either. Many of these old guys go on to pass on fabulous estates worth millions to schools they only wished they attended (or only briefly did so) way back in their Depression era youth.

The moral of this overly long story is that as we age, we tend to live more constrained and contingent lives that take us away from the different communities that might naturally nurture our interests, dreams and desires. More importantly though is the isolation from everyday life that we lead with busy jobs that demand ever more of our time and energy. We are working harder and longer hours than our grandparents did, and yes, this does create the possibility of new generations of 'bachelors' of every type being formed today.

I hate when I make this long literary trip and I've got nothing much happier to add. In any case-- Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ', ga.

VJ said...

Just to catch some one napping, here's a touching May-December romance story from The Independent, May 15, '06. I'm not alone in tiring of all the depressing stats.

[http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article351456.ece]

Ken and Elize Russell: Their extraordinary love story

Cheers, 'VJ'

Chutzpah said...

By "intellectually hot" I mean somebody who carries themselves with an air of sexual and intellectual confidence, not a "dweeb from yeshiva I can corrupt". I am currently pursuing all venues, including outdoor activities that I enjoy and classes on topics that I'm interested in, but the truth remains that I may not be blessed to have another significant LTR.

I thank G-d every minute that I rushed into marriage with the first 'Yankle' who showed up in my path, because I have my children to be extremely, extremely grateful for. However, I don't recommend this approach for everyone.

I'm am so, so happy to be free of the tyranny of Match.com and JDate fees since I am now on myspace for FREE, FREE, FREE! Yes, FREE, FREE, FREE! Please drop in and say hello or ask me out (I usually say yes, but not always). Esther is my only friend so far. You can all find me at www.myspace.com/guessy121.

Interestingly, I did a match in the myspace browser for jewish men within 100 miles of me, ages 36-52 and came up with only 107. That was with no height, weight, income or education restrictions. After eliminating men with the same name as my father and ex-husband,(who wants to yell out those in a moment of ecstasy) and men with no college education whatsoever, and all the lawyers (I'm with Shakespeare on that one), I was left with only 93.

Tamara said...

WWT, I think your post focuses SO MUCH on the physical. I know men are more visual, but to say men want women who are attractive and possibly less intelligent is crap. I've asked men, it's just not true. Do you really want to marry a woman who you can't have an intelligent conversation with.

Also, to say women should have looked for husbands when they were younger and more attractive...are you saying that after their twenties, women are washed up?

If this is the case, then my 32 years and career as a teacher must be a real turn-off. However, I know you are at least partially wrong.

Needsabetterjob said...

First of all if this $500 travesty is true, she should publish the name of this criminal.

Secondly, one should realize that as one gets older, the opportunities are less.

Also as one has been thought some shxxt, it makes them suspicious and then they can turn off someone. When one is younger, there is more optimism about life in general.

That is why there is this celebrity obsession now, people perceive that the celebs have all the cool relationships.

I would reccomend vacationing in Israel and in other exotic locations.

Perhaps the change of scenery would help.

Samuel J. Scott said...

Tamara,

Also, to say women should have looked for husbands when they were younger and more attractive...are you saying that after their twenties, women are washed up?

No, I'm not saying they're washed up. I am saying that there is a trade off.

If a woman waits to look for a serious relationship until she's finished graduate school and made headway in her chosen career, then she must understand that is going to be much more difficult to find a guy. I don't think many women think about this when they're about to graduate college at 22.

Here's the other problem. Women tend to date up. So if they start looking for a serious relationship when they're a financial success, then there options will be self-limited. When a girl is 22 and earning $30, a guy making $35k is appealing. When a girl is 35 and earning $50k, she's going to want a guy who earns at least $75k. But there are fewer guys who earn that much out there.

Cliches exist for a reason: they're true. Women want money and guys want a model. So, in the dating scene, men have to project as much of an image of success as they can while women have to be as thin and beautiful as possible.

It's sucks, I know. But that's life. At least here in the urban East Coast. Sometimes I miss the Midwest.

Anonymous said...

The answer is easy: you have to be open to meeting people. And by "meeting", I mean meeting with an open mind and heart to a possible relationship. That is what they mean by 'timing is everything.' Miss Chutzpah wants a hot guy. She is not open to 'meeting' guys who are not so 'hot.' Her single status wont likely change until she can become open. As WWT is unfortunately correct - society often judges your status based on your partner. For men, that means having an attractive woman. For woman, that means having a successful confident man. Thats life, and unconsciously accepted even by the most ardent feminists. I cant tell you how many times I have heard women - feminist women who ordinarily are disgusted by this unfortunate truism - comment how they cannot believe so-and-so ordinary guy nabbed such a hot girl, or how on earth so-and-so ordinary girl nabbed such a successful great catch guy. Society has done this to us. And so, men - weather they are cute or successful or not - will want as attractive a woman as possible to underscore their status. If they are great catches, they will get the hot girl (you rarely see such guys with ordinary looking women). If not, and they dont 'lower their standards' and become open to meeting others, they will remain single. And for women, if they arent very pretty or thin (2 different things), they have to be open to meeting guys who arent considered such objective great catches.
I speak from experience - in my 20s I was a pretty darn good catch. I only dated (and ended up marrying) really pretty and smart women. The relationship ended and pushing 40, I had to enter the dating world again. Unfortunately I assumed that my past dating success (from years prior) would easily continue - I would get hot, smart, great catches. But, I painfully realized that with less hair, some extra pounds, and many years added, I had to lower my expectations. It was hard and really bruised my ego. I forced myself to lose the weight, but I still had to deal with the fact that I was older, with less hair!! ;), and not a multi-millionaire. But, you know what. I dealt with it. And I met (through an online site) and have since been with a great woman. She is in her 30s, needs to lose 20 pounds, and I honestly would never have gone out with her had I met her 10 years earlier. But I allowed myself to be open to meeting her. And I did. And am very happy. You just got to face the realities of life and be able to accept who and where you are.
Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

WWT is correct, and to add - the few guys out there that will be earning more than the successful woman, will want to date, and be able to because of their success, only younger hotter women. Thats why older single successful women who arent so attractive are having trouble.

Anonymous said...

As one of those earlier mentioned late 20-something overeducated women (working on a Ph.D.)I certainly have to beg to differ. I am extremely happy in my single life and though I would be thrilled to be in a wonderful long term relationship the lack of one is not going to break me. The worst thing a woman can do is too be desperate for marriage children (confirmed by my many male friends) Interestingly enough however I have more options than ever. I figure if it’s meant to be it will happen, if not, that’s OK too.

The problem I'm having now is with the role religion plays in my life. As someone mentioned earlier throwing Judaism in the mix makes things much more difficult. I'm extremely secular but have been told I'm "too Jewish" and not Jewish enough by a number of men. Plus even though I am in NY I work in a field where I don't meet all that many Jewish men and I'm not one for dating gimmicks. There are so few single quality hetero Jewish men out there that aren’t intimidated my intelligence and maturity that when degree of religious practice comes into play it just seems to me that the odds are completely against us. Only one of the Jewish girls I knew growing up married a Jewish man. And most of my Jewish male friends are looking for anything other than Jewish (Oy). When Someone tried to set me up earlier this year and I asked her if he was Jewish (she is but married an Irish catholic man) she actually suggested I was somehow negatively prejudiced and horrible even for considering his religion (he wasn't and we never went out).

I've always dated men with at least some degree of Judaism but I'm seriously doubting dating exclusively Jewish men these days. Many have horrible opinions of Jewish women and I just don't come into contact with many who are single. Those who aren’t looking for what I have to offer.. As someone who feels tied culturally to the faith but has little to no religious practice I'm in a very tough place socially. Men are easy to meet but unfortunately even without wanting a 6ft tall millionaire (I could care less if the person is kind, intelligent and a lot of fun) sticking to only dating Jews really stacks the deck against many of us. It’s a numbers game. I’m constantly unsure of what to do when quality Christian men ask me out. It’s so tough. I feel so guilty for turning people down simply because of the fact their religion is different than mine.

Anonymous said...

As one of those earlier mentioned late 20-something overeducated women (working on a Ph.D.)I certainly have to beg to differ. I am extremely happy in my single life and though I would be thrilled to be in a wonderful long term relationship the lack of one is not going to break me. The worst thing a woman can do is too be desperate for marriage children (confirmed by my many male friends) Interestingly enough however I have more options than ever. I figure if it’s meant to be it will happen, if not, that’s OK too.

The problem I'm having now is with the role religion plays in my life. As someone mentioned earlier throwing Judaism in the mix makes things much more difficult. I'm extremely secular but have been told I'm "too Jewish" and not Jewish enough by a number of men. Plus even though I am in NY I work in a field where I don't meet all that many Jewish men and I'm not one for dating gimmicks. There are so few single quality hetero Jewish men out there that aren’t intimidated my intelligence and maturity that when degree of religious practice comes into play it just seems to me that the odds are completely against us. Only one of the Jewish girls I knew growing up married a Jewish man. And most of my Jewish male friends are looking for anything other than Jewish (Oy). When Someone tried to set me up earlier this year and I asked her if he was Jewish (she is but married an Irish catholic man) she actually suggested I was somehow negatively prejudiced and horrible even for considering his religion (he wasn't and we never went out).

I've always dated men with at least some degree of Judaism but I'm seriously doubting dating exclusively Jewish men these days. Many have horrible opinions of Jewish women and I just don't come into contact with many who are single. Those who aren’t looking for what I have to offer.. As someone who feels tied culturally to the faith but has little to no religious practice I'm in a very tough place socially. Men are easy to meet but unfortunately even without wanting a 6ft tall millionaire (I could care less if the person is kind, intelligent and a lot of fun) sticking to only dating Jews really stacks the deck against many of us. It’s a numbers game. I’m constantly unsure of what to do when quality Christian men ask me out. It’s so tough. I feel so guilty for turning people down simply because of the fact their religion is different than mine.

Anonymous said...

First of all, there is a certain something to be said for luck in all of this. Beyond that, I agree with Tamara and (one of the Anonymouses :-)). The answer is simple ... the people who have had trouble meeting someone have changed their approach and opened up their minds to meeting and dating a wider variety of people.

WWT is wrong about many things. Yes ... men generally are more visual, but many women are also. Intelligence and success in a woman? Maybe lower on the list, but not by much. I don't feel the need to be a "provider" ... in fact, I don't mind if my partner makes more money than I do. What takes away attraction for me is when a woman is so focused on her career ... that she finds the need to be domineering and doesn't allow her sweet, feminine, vulnerable side to come out. This is just my own personal preference, happens only with some women (not all), and has nothing to do with intellect, success, or salary. And I don't know where you get the idea that it's too late for a woman by the time she's 24 or 25 out of grad school. That's insane. Many women today wait till 30 or 35 to be in "settling down mode". Nothing wrong with that. I've known some of the most beautiful, loving, and desirable women I have ever met ... and they have been in their late 20s and 30s (even late 30s). "Cliches exist for a reason" ... yes ... because people embrace them and proliferate them without questioning whether they really need to. He is partly wrong, Tamara.

Chutzpah wants "somebody who carries themselves with an air of sexual and intellectual confidence, not a 'dweeb from yeshiva I can corrupt'." Well ... how do you propose to screen men out who aren't like this? Just because a guy who you just saw in Barnes and Noble doesn't carry himself with "an air of sexual and intellectual confidence" ... something, by the way, that is completely subjective ... you write him off? I hate to tell you, but he could be a sexual dynamo. You are passing judgement based on superficial factors. Some people just don't come across that way on the surface. Not suggesting you end up with a Nebish. But you won't know till you give someone a chance.

Needsabetterjob says "When one is younger, there is more optimism about life in general." That may be true, but that is one of the things you just HAVE to work on if you want to meet someone. You can't let that jade your "openness" about dating. Go home and complain to your friends or your sister if you must ... but don't let it alter your willingness to try over and over again ... and your willingness to keep an open mind. It may be harder to find someone as we get older, but there are a few of us good guys left out there ... and you're never going to find us unless you keep trying ... it's a numbers game.

I also grapple with whether to date non-Jewish women or not. It severely severely limits your opportunities when you limit yourself to only Jews.

Lastly, someone said "The answer is easy: you have to be open to meeting people. And by 'meeting', I mean meeting with an open mind and heart to a possible relationship." Because in the grand scheme of things, height, who makes more money, looks (which will fade eventually) ... most of this will become relatively unimportant. If you don't believe me, spend some time with your friends and relatives who are married with kids. Ask them what has really turned out to be important to them about their partners.

Being open. That is the answer. Most of us can't see it yet because we are still on the singles market after a very long time. But that is the answer. I only wish that all of us here will be able to look back someday, when we are sitting in our home with our husbands/wives, and say "Gee ... I couldn't see it then, but I see it now".

Blogger S.

Anonymous said...

That should have been intimidated "by" not "my"

VJ said...

This 'fear of intelligent women' that WWT speaks to is an absolute crock. Women are more educated today than ever before and there are definite reasons for this fact, and reasons why they should continue to be encouraged to do so. Most smart men will prefer smart (or smarter) women. It makes life a whole lot easier. Beauty fades far faster than brains. Having a well educated wife is an asset to your life in too many ways to count, and there's *plenty* of guys looking for this. Being successful in her career does not make a women Less attractive, but More so! That's reality today. And there never really was a time when 'stupid women or men' were a real hot item either.

There's nothing wrong in this. Here in America and even in much of the huddled slums of the most unfortunate 2nd &3rd world nations, MOST families come to prefer that their daughters get educated the best ways they know how. They know it's good for her family, good for her life, good for her future husband, good for the health and development of her children, and good for the nation's economy and it's development.

As we have discussed previously, this WILL tend to limit family size, which has been a GOOD development seen in Western history since the Middle Ages. That the economies of the west started to outpace those of the east starting about 500 years ago can be posited in part to this remarkable development of natural family limitation. This took centuries of evolution, but naturally since you've been told that it MIGHT hinder your search for extra nookie, your against it. And of course you'll blame 'feminism' for economic and social developments that you really don't understand, can't describe adequately, but are fully ready and willing to sneer at. Just cause Rush or Dennis Prager told you this does not make it 'fact' or relevant, really.

I want to say this on behalf of humanity everywhere. We're sorry you can't score with women, and Jewish women in particular. We feel your pain, truly we do. It could be your attitude too, right? Cheers, 'VJ'

VJ said...

Chutzpah! Sometimes the last time they 'carried themselves with an air of sexual and intellectual confidence' WAS as a "dweeb from the yeshiva"! I looked in to your site you mentioned, but I can hardly read it due to the back ground. And you must be hunting the yeshiva boys with that age. But in any case I liked the pic. I was very impressed however with your stats. breakdown too, with better than 86% of your Male Jewish prospects with some college education. We Jews are a truly a remarkable population. We like smart people! We're just evidently not overly anxious to breed together for some reason. But I'm glad you found your Yankel in time for that too. It makes a tremendous positive difference.
Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

Treifalicious said...

Not to sound like some religious yahoo, but sometimes, the most efective way to get something is to stop angsting about it and then cry out to G-d from yoru soul. Along with that put yourself out there so that G-d can do His thing. Eventually a potential partner will appear sooner than you think.

You have NO idea how many times perfect solutions to big life problems made themselves apparent just exactly when I needed them. Same thing with men - I have met great guys just when I gave up on "the chase" on some level.

Esther Kustanowitz said...

Wow, some great stuff here, everyone. Glad to have so many opinionated posters, and that so far you've been fairly nice to each other.

Treifalicious said:
You have NO idea how many times perfect solutions to big life problems made themselves apparent just exactly when I needed them. Same thing with men - I have met great guys just when I gave up on "the chase" on some level.

This just in, effective tonight, I'm "giving up the chase." Expect to read of my engagement in the next five months. He will not be tall, because I've never dated anyone who was. He will not have a six-figure income, because I've never dated anyone who did. He will not be a modelizer, and he will not be frightened off by a woman with a sense of humor or a singles column or a blog about dating.

That's what he won't be. As for what he will be? I hope to have the privilege of finding out for myself.

Anonymous said...

He will not be tall, because I've never dated anyone who was. He will not have a six-figure income, because I've never dated anyone who did. He will not be a modelizer, and he will not be frightened off by a woman with a sense of humor or a singles column or a blog about dating.....

1. I AM tall (6' 1").
2. I have a six figure income ($1000.00 per year).
3. What the hell is a modelizer? Thank you for giving me something to Google.
4. I won't be frightened off by a sense of humor, as long as you're not funnier than me in public. It would be better if you reserved your jokes for private things, like describing my sexual prowess.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the sentiment from Treifalicious ... it's a bit different. But I have been "crying out to G-d from my soul" for so many years that I've grown hoarse.
I don't mean to be disrespectful, but this is just not real ... and if you think that G-d is going to intervene ... let me save you a lot of time and trouble now and tell you that it's not gonna happen. It's up to you ... it's in your hands and noone else's.

Anonymous said...

My 2 cents. Obviously we cannot generalize. Men and women, their wants and needs, come in so many flavors. True, there are going to be those guys that want a hot wife to stay home and take care of the kiddies. But there are also plenty of guys that get bored off their cabooses if their partner can't keep up intellectually. Its not that hard to tell which is which (hair gel often plays a part.. ;)) But, fact is that as we get older, the pool of available Jewish prospects grows smaller and smaller. Sure, smart and attractive women in their late 20s have alot of opportunity. A great age to be. But, unfortunately, much less so when they are in their late 30s. And at that point the key word is compromise. Not on your values. But, as that anonymous said (and it was a great post), you have to make yourself open and willing. If you meet a guy that doesnt go out on Friday nights, then you'll have to live with and be open to that. If you meet a great girl who isn't into athletics as you always required, learn to do those runs and bike rides you love with others. If a guy doesn't read as you always demanded, well read on your own and let him do what he likes to do. Remember, as the pool grows smaller, you'll have to learn to change your stroke, or else you'll be doing the dead man's float.

Chutzpah said...

Uh,excuse me Mr. 2 cents, but being single is not the equivalent of "doing the dead man's float". Personally, I'd rather stroke myself than change my stroke for someone else.

Anonymous said...

Ah ... the standoff! Well Chutzpah ... perhaps you can afford the luxury of having that attitude. After all, you've experienced being married and you have children, whom I'm sure you love and who occupy a good part of your life ... and who are a priority and a joy for you. For many of us, this is not an option.

But believe me, with that attitude ... you are not likely to meet someone. You are much more likely to meet someone if you are become a bit more humbled and you start to ask yourself what you can compromise on. I'm not suggesting that you give up your basic beliefs or compromise principles. But especially as we get older ... we each need to ask ourselves how we can make ourselves less "fussy" and expand our possibilities. I agree with most of what 2 cents has said.

HaJew said...

Question One would be - Why is there no easy epiphany? Why does it seem to take so long, be so hard? (This despite therapy, friends, prayer, etc.)

Question Two would be - Did I make a mistake with one of the people I sent away?

The problem with life I find is that I know the answers to my own questions. The answer to Number One is - God says it has to be this way and who am I to argue. And the answer to Number two is - Maybe, but so what? Move on any way what are you gonna do about it now (they're all married).

Samuel J. Scott said...

Regarding my earlier comments, this website gives the best description I've seen on what guys and girls look for in the dating scene:

http://www.laddertheory.com/

Anonymous said...

"In all fairness to the Matchmaker, she offered me nutrition and fitness counseling included in that price (i.e. no carbs and 45 min. of treadmill every other day)"

Please tell the matchmaker that the Atkins or South Beach diet is extreemly bad for your health long-term and will not help you keep the weight off. If you'd like to adopt a very healthy eating style that can prevent 97% of health problems in your lifetime (and also bring down your weight permanently in the process), please read "The 10% solution for a healthy life" by Raymond Kurzweil.

Anonymous said...

On "The Ladder Theory" ... it is a very cynical view, but some of the ideas actually make sense. My own theory is that it is somewhat natural for women (and men) to ask this way until they hit their 30s. Then, those who have been been demonstrating this behavior reach a critical decision point: do they want to continue on a path to loneliness or do they want to meet someone, get married and have a family. The ones who reach this point of maturity throw away their ladders cause they now know that they are not going to find long-term happiness with a biker. The ones that don't are the ones who we see year after year well into their 40s on jdate. As I've said before, the bottom line is you have to reach a point where you expand your horizons, open up your mind, and compromise. So is the "Ladder Theory" a good explanation for the behavior of younger people ... possibly. But not for people who go on to bigger and better things.

There is one thing I definitely agree with: this whole theory that physical appearance is not as important to women as to men and that women are not as visual is a bunch of melarchy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

And to anonymous on the diets ... keeping weight off is very difficult with any diet. You have to change basic habits and eating behaviors. It's a struggle, but I've done it (as a male). The point is ... pick a diet, embark on an exercise plan, and stick to it. It's not easy, but it can be done.

Blogger S.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say thanks to EK for this blog...whenever i get down about dating --you always make me smile..don;t ever ever stop.

-fairy blog mother

Chutzpah said...

just an update: I give every nebishy, nerdy, balding guy I meet online and off a fair chance to chat with me and ask me out and they just don't seem to "get it".

VJ said...

I'm sorry for that Chutzpah. You know what they call that 'nebishy, nerdy, balding guy'? Mr. PM Olmert. We knew him way back when. He still knew he'd get there about 20 some years ago. Never under estimate them! Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

Chutzpah said...

I'm sorry VJ, but I just don't understand the joke in the above comment...Mr. PM Olmert? Clue me in. Is that like "twenty three skiddo" or something?

As my Grandma Chutzpah used to "Any man is hot when he's counting his money".

KIDDDDINGGGGG!(sorta)

VJ said...

Chutzpah! This guy, Ehud Olmert.

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehud_Olmert]

The guy who will lead a new Israeli coalition government:

[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4857358.stm]

You knew that, right? Too much sherry before bedtime? Cheers, 'VJ'

Chutzpah said...

Nope, didn't know it. Gave up my interest in politics, it was not helping me get laid. I am also no longer a Republican, Democrats definately have more sex. Stay tuned for the bleaching of my hair to occur on my 42nd birthday..I'm going dirty blond.
Cheers,
Chutzpah

VJ said...

Chutzpah, I want to tell you that searching for Democrats and dyeing your hair might be getting you more action, but in NYC you at least need some patter on the political front. Something. Anything will probably do. And always listen to them too. Pretend to be interested. Toothpicks propping open the eyes interested. You'll be well nigh irresistible to all the Ehud's. Promise. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

Anonymous said...

Actually, I try to leave politics out of it when I first meet someone. Too controversial, and I'm too opinionated about politics. Let's just say it's a good thing to stay away from. Better off using your wit, Chutzpah ... which it seems you are really good at. I thought that was really funny.

Blogger S.

Chutzpah said...

Thanks Blogger S. But, I am armed with a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and prepared to use it.

Anonymous said...

I think part of the problem is that people are not introducing each other. If you meet a guy who seems great, but you're just not into him for some reason, think of your single friends who might fit well with him. If you're off the market, instead of nagging all your single friends and telling them bullshite about how it's easy to find someone, INTRODUCE THEM to single people you're on the lookout for! Why is it that I have a lot of friends and not one knows someone who could date me?? I can use more pairs of eyes than just my own, especially because I don't date at work. Someone told me that it's too risky and that you could lose friends, but that's crap. People are mature enough to realize that not everything works out - it sure doesn't on jdate. So it's selfish to deny friends introductions because they MIGHT get mad at you - isn't making their dreams come true worth the risk? The best relationships are the ones where people introduced each other. But no one does that anymore - they meet their dream person and then turn a blind eye to other potential singles out there, when they should be setting them up with friends. It ain't hard, and people will appreciate it.

Needsabetterjob said...

Since this is a Jewish blog, Mishaneh Makom, Misheneh Mazal, meaning that one who has been in this sort of rut for a long time, should move to somewhere else. Now I add that any kind of change such as hair dying for example applies to this. After all, not everyone can just move to a new city or place. They may have children to consider.

It seems to me that you have to do something if the particular problem continues to exist, rather than just complain about the situation and I am glad that many are doing this, including Esther, who is going to Israel soon. Can't wait to see her there!