Monday, January 31, 2005


According to a very important survey of single Americans, conducted by The Australian Wine Bureau and (if you must know), your choice of drink may be making statements about your personality or lifestyle: polled more than 2,300 single men and women nationwide and found that 62 percent believe that their date's choice of beverage provides insight into their lifestyle, and 52 percent felt that it is indicative of their personality. I guess explains why the guy I drank apple martinis with never called again. He thought he was going to have to spend his life with me watching reruns of Sex and the City and couldn't stand the idea. Personality perceptions associated with the top U.S. imported wine countries: -- Ordering a wine from Australia conveys the message that a person is adventurous (62 percent) and fun (32 percent). [Just a reminder: This survey was conducted with the help of the Australian Wine Bureau, so consider the source.] -- A person that drinks French wine is viewed as pretentious (76 percent) and high-maintenance (65 percent). -- Sexy (40 percent) and stylish (37 percent) were personality traits used to describe a person who orders a wine from Italy. The Kedem winery apparently could not be reached for comment. What do you drink, and do you change your drink order depending on the company? Do you have a favorite wine, or do most of them taste the same to you?

Thursday, January 27, 2005


According to this article on iVillage's Sex and Relationships channels there are 5 ways to make ANYONE fall in love with you, and it all has to do with manipulating our idiot brains. Here are the five ways they suggest: 1. Hang Around Lots...but Then Be Unavailable This is excruciating. If you like someone, you want to be around them all the time. This is advocating an "absence makes the heart grow fonder" stance, but you run the risk of crossing over into "out of sight=out of mind." 2. Let Them Do Nice Things for You That's really nice. I do so enjoy the word "nice." It's so "nice." And so meaningless. When we're infatuated with someone, we're desperate to do nice things for him. You're much better off letting him spoil you. That's great. But if I'm unavailable, how's he gonna get to do nice things for me? 3. Give Them the Eye If you look at someone you like 75 percent of the time when they're talking to you, you trick their brain. The brain knows the last time that someone looked at them that long and often, it meant they were in love. So it thinks OK, I'm obviously in love with this person as well, and starts to release phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA is a chemical cousin to amphetamines and is secreted by the nervous system when we first fall in love. PEA is what makes our palms sweat, our tummies flip over, and our hearts race. The more PEA the person you want has pumping through the bloodstream, the more likely he is to fall in love with you. Shakespeare summed this one up the best: Tell me where is fancy bred...or in the heart or in the head? See? I told you your brain was an idiot. (And besides, I've tried this and it doesn't work.) 4. Don't Look Away Simply lock eyes with the person you like and keep them there, even when he has finished talking or someone else joins the conversation. When you eventually do drag your eyes away (three or four seconds later), do it slowly and reluctantly -- as though they're attached by warm toffee...If you're too shy to gaze openly, skip the toffee and think bouncing ball. Look away and at the other person who's joined the conversation, but every time they finish a sentence, let your eyes bounce back to the person you're interested in. This is a checking gesture -- you're checking his reaction to what the speaker is saying -- and lets him know you're more interested in him than the other person. What an image. Warm toffee. My eyelids are getting heavy just thinking about it. More ways that your brain is an idiot. (Plus, I've also tried this and it doesn't work.) 5. Practice Pupillometrics There's just one thing you need for bedroom eyes: big pupils. According to pupillometrics, the science of pupil study, this is the crucial element we respond to. You can't consciously control your pupils (one reason why people say the eyes don't lie). But you can create the right conditions to inspire large pupils and get the effect. First, reduce light. Our pupils expand when they're robbed of it, one reason why candlelight and dimmer switches are de rigueur in romantic restaurants. It's not just the softening of light that makes our faces appear more attractive, larger pupils also help. I can see myself now, with my eyes squeezed shut for an hour in preparation for a party where I'll see a guy I like. Later, when we get engaged, I'll ask him what first attracted him to me, and he'll say, "I'm a pupil man." In case you're interested in more wisdom from the author of these tips, you can check out 18 Body Language Cues That Say He's Interested.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


At what price, forgiveness? Apparently, $17,000. Larry, who declined to give his last name, sent the $17,000 apology to Marianne, his wife of 17 years. She left him almost two weeks ago, he said. "It was a culmination of things," he told the newspaper. "But I am desperately trying to save our marriage." A relative told him that Marianne saw the advertisement. "She said my wife read the ad and started crying. But so far I've had no response from her," Larry said. Maybe it's the cynic in me, but maybe she's crying that her husband just wasted 17 grand on a newspaper ad.

Monday, January 24, 2005


From Israel21C: Millions of Americans suffer from lack of sexual desire - or at least think they do. Now, for the first time, an Israeli-developed test can scientifically determine the level of a person's libido. The method - developed by a team led by Prof. Yoram Vardi of Rambam Hospital in Haifa - can enable medical professionals to determine the root cause of diminished sexual desire, and whether medication or treatment is being effective. "What we've developed is a test that objectively measures the subject's amount of interest in sex - it rates their libido," Vardi told ISRAEL21c. "Until now, through all the years of research in this subject, we've only have had subjective ideas on this matter - mainly what the patient would tell us. There isn't even an evaluated standardized questionnaire on libido. What we set out to do is to devise something objective - that can measure and quantify a person's sexual desire." OK, I know this isn't a joke press release, that it's about a drug that can really bring hope to couples suffering from lack of libido. But because I'm a dating visionary, the release inspired me. I wonder if it might be worth the time and money to create a product that would help the dating-impaired. Say you like a guy or a gal. There's flirtation. There's banter. But there's no action, no DTR (as Anna Broadway taught me--"Define the Relationship" talk). And you're understandably afraid to put yourself out there, especially if a friendship is at risk. If only there were a risk-free way to find out whether your friend is interested in you as a friend-with-benefits... Well, now there is: new Truth is a fragrance that helps you ask questions that will get you the closure you need. Truth contains sodium pentathol, so the sprayee has no choice: he or she must answer your questions honestly. Can you handle the Truth? Sate your curiosity, with Truth. Or, if the prospect of questioning your crush troubles you, try new Unmitigated Truth: mist your intended with just one spray of this new vanilla-scented fragrance, and if the object of your affection doesn't object to your affection, a pink line will appear across his or her forehead for three seconds. If there's no "there" there, there will be a blue line. Unmitigated Truth: A pregnancy test for romance.


It may be an honor just to be nominated, but the writer's ego is a fragile thing; do your part to patch mine, by voting for My Urban Kvetch and JDaters Anonymous in the Jewish and Israel Blog Awards. JDaters Anonymous, especially, needs your help--this scrappy little candidate is battling some big guns at her awards premiere, so if you'd like to be the champion for the underdog, here's your chance. The first round of polls is open until Sunday "late morning, Israel time." The details: You can vote once every 24 hours, so bookmark the site and make it a daily visit. Most categories have been split into two parts because there were so many nominees; the top 6 in each part will head to the finals. This means that if I do well enough in the qualifying rounds, there will be another announcement here next week, urging you to go back and vote for me again in the finals... As a reminder, My Urban Kvetch is nominated in several categories, so make sure to view the whole list before you vote.Of course, once you get to the IsraellyCool homepage, you may see other names that ring bells--a substantial number of the other nominees are also on my blogroll and in my rolodex. We're all winners, here, really. Vote your conscience; you'll do the right thing. And although I can't make any promises in terms of your romantic future, I will say that supporting JA and MUK can only be good for dating karma. (And if you're a reader who would like to be set up with a friend of mine, let me know and I'll see what I can do.) Plus, if you vote for me, I'll make sure there's a frozen yogurt machine in the cafeteria.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


According to
While most men appreciate Pamela Anderson's enhanced curves and J. Lo's derriere, they wouldn't change a thing about their sweethearts. More than 65% of Canadian men said they wouldn't want their significant others to undergo plastic surgery to change their appearance, according to a survey by Harlequin Enterprises.
In case you're wondering, that's Harlequin Enterprises, as in the publisher of so-called "women's romance fiction." You know, the books whose covers gave Fabio his so-called career and lifetime contract with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. So they've extended their reach into surveys, having polled 1000 men to get these remarkable insights:
  • "I believe in letting things be the way they are meant to be."
  • "If she wanted larger breasts to make her feel better about herself or to have more confidence, then I would support that. And hell, it's not like I don't get anything out of the deal."
Where Harlequin got the names of 1000 men for their survey, I cannot state for certain. Although I would not be surprised if they were husbands of the women who write or purchase these books.
Another point that might be worth mentioning--the survey doesn't say specifically that this holds true for single men. Hmm. Once your sweetheart is your sweetheart, it doesn't matter what he or she looks like. Of course all partners are going to say "I wouldn't change a thing"--it's better for shalom bayit (domestic tranquility). But it's in the three-ring-circus of singledom that the quest is for perfection.
If I still think that most single men would prefer to date naturally beautiful supermodels rather than surgically sculpted supermodels, does that make me an optimist?


Dude, we have so all been there. Some of us may have been there so often that we think we deserve a mayorship or wish that we could accrue frequent flyer miles for our trips. So, I present two posts on the Friend Zone for your perusal. Here, Ken Wheaton's non-dating life takes a trip into the Friend Zone. And now Gatsby's wondering about it as well. Feel free to weigh in with your own comments and experiences, as well as any insights you may have on the following questions: Aside from copious amounts of alcohol, how do you turn a friendship into something more? Is there a "turning point" in every friendship at which one of the parties becomes irrevocably desexualized? Aside from random acts of nudity, what could suddenly cause you to look at a friend in a new light?

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Or, find a way to pay in advance and walk there, but this sounds like a fun show. In Wired News: Geek Love, or Lack Thereof Rose's one-hour show, Scott's Search for a Rose, details his bungled attempts at applying computer logic to the illogical business of love. "It's a true story about my life as a Mac geek who grew up more comfortable with computers than women," said Rose. "It's a universal tale of searching for love and all the missed opportunities, mistakes and regrets.... It's a fun show." Rose, 32, is a professional speaker based in -- where else -- Los Angeles... Rose's show is part entertainment, part therapy (he wrote it after a breakup) and part elaborate pickup strategy. "If single girls want to come to my show, they'll get a really good idea of what I'm looking for," he joked.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


According to this article in the Washington Post, "the state Supreme Court yesterday struck down as unconstitutional a 19th-century Virginia law making it a crime for unmarried couples to have sex." The ruling strikes down a law criminalizing fornication as a Class 4 misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $250. The law had been on the books since the early 1800s but has not been enforced against consenting adults since 1847, lawyers said. The court based yesterday's ruling on a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning an anti-sodomy law in Texas. Public fornication, sodomy and prostitution, however, are still illegal. Food for thought: Imagine if the court decided to uphold the Virginia law, and sent out a task force to identify everyone in the D.C. area who has fornicated outside of the bonds of matrimony, and charged them retroactive fines of $250 for each count. Think the fines might be enough to pay for, I don't know, a Presidential Inaugural party?

Friday, January 14, 2005


(That should attract just the kind of Star Wars-motivated traffic I've been needing for JDaters Anonymous...and thanks to those people who wrote with suggestions and corrections.) In yesterday's New York Times, Maureen Dowd ponders the attraction of powerful men to the women secretaries, assistants, PR consultants, etc who take care of them and determines that they're all just looking for their mommies. In the article, she quotes several studies, including the one about intelligence and likelihood to marry. But we've covered that here already. More interesting to me was the random celeb she asked for an opinion: I asked the actress and writer Carrie Fisher, on the East Coast to promote her novel "The Best Awful," who confirmed that women who challenge men are in trouble. "I haven't dated in 12 million years," [EDK note: this is the approximate era of the Clone Wars, which means she hasn't dated since before Anakin and Amidala met and mated] she said drily. "I gave up on dating powerful men because they wanted to date women in the service professions. So I decided to date guys in the service professions. But then I found out that kings want to be treated like kings, and consorts want to be treated like kings, too." With princesses commenting on the behavior of kings and consorts, no wonder dating's such a royal pain. But seriously, taking Star Wars as an analogy for dating, you'll note that Jedis, the most powerful spiritual forces in the galaxy, tend not to surround themselves with women (I think there were a few women Jedi in Episodes I and II, in what I like to call the Mace Windu Circle of Jedi). But do you remember what they looked like? Not really. Perhaps having many women inside the circle would divert their focus, or perhaps the women are all out chasing the clones, who look all shiny on the outside, but whose innards are robotic and unemotional. (Sarah notes that the clones were actually human on the inside, which shows you that I haven't fully grasped the lore of the first two movies. Perhaps my understanding was derailed by the shrill presence of the twice-named after a cookie receptacle Mr. Binks. She'll have to forgive me.) There's only two couples in the Star Wars story who get any lovin' (in chronological order): Amidala and Anakin, and Han and Leia. In the next (final?) movie in the Star Wars saga, we'll find out what consequences there are for the sexual union between Natalie--oops, I meant Amidala--and Later Vader, how soon Anakin abandons his beloved when she's pregnant, forcing her to use Naboo's food stamps program to pay for food and daycare for her twin tykes until she sends Leia off to Alderaan and Luke off to Tatooine. Luke has designs on his sister during the so-called "Whiner period," before he's aware of the blood tie that makes their love impossible, but gives up romance to focus on a career in the Light Saber Arts. The closest he ever gets to romance is when Han shoves him inside the guts of a Tauntaun on Hoth, and that can't be very romantic ("...and I thought these things smelled bad on the outside..."). It is precisely this scoundrel quality that draws Leia to Han: he's the master of his domain, and by that, I mean he's manually guiding the rudder of his ship, and by that, I mean the Millennium Falcon. He's the equivalent of the blue-collar trucker that all princesses want, the man so totally other that it stokes a fire. Worth noting that she herself is an activist princess, with the intelligence and poise to threaten Daddy Vader while she herself is a prisoner, the strength to usurp command of her own rescue mission ("into the garbage chute, flyboy"), and yet lacks the basic smarts to invest in a sensible wardrobe involving basic black activewear. What's my point? We don't know how the Amidalanakin storyline ends up, although given the age difference and the situations that have been established in SW, ESB and RoftheJ, it does not look good. Han and Leia might make it--I guess we'll have to find George Lucas's treatment for movies 7, 8, and 9. Maybe Luke finds love. Maybe Mace Windu becomes a Yoda of sorts for a new generation. Maybe the scoundrel/princess union, which has its literary roots in the fire of Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler's Southern romance, is something that burns eternal but is, on a day-to-day level, unlivable. Whatever the conclusion, it has nothing to do with Maureen Dowd's article. OK, I'm off to Los Angeles to join the queue for Revenge of the Sith.* (Hat tip to Steve Silver for linking to the O'Dowd article.) *No, I'm not. I'm not that insane.

Friday, January 07, 2005


When I was in high school, I liked a boy. It was a suffer-in-silence, painful-to-look-at-him kind of crush. His face was unremarkable by cinematic standards, a fact that didn't seem to conflict with my John Hughes-movie shaped brain. I fixated on him, his intelligence, his occasional smile, and focused my "romantic" energies on the pining process. I tried to talk to him a few times, and it went miserably--a ridiculous scenario, since he was just a boy, just a student like me, and one with whom I had previously conversed before I fell under the spell of his dubious charisma. That he didn't seem to want to talk to me, even as a fellow human being, didn't seem to deter me in my devotion, and my friends took to calling him "He, with no human emotions." After an "event" at a sweet sixteen party that ran much like a flashback from Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, I was inclined to agree. Because this blog tends to center on the opinions of women, every once in a while, I like to call attention to some of the men blogging about romance, dating and relationships. Equal time, you know. Jack (who is married and not my brother of the same name) posted about men and emotions, and delves into some of the issues about what men want and what women want... I know a number of women who say that they want a 21st century man, who is kind and gentle and in touch with their feelings. But some of them will also to admit to wanting a man who fits the stereotype, at least in a number of ways. They want a man who is decisive, who is willing to lead and tell them what to do... Now I don't expect women to be monolithic in their views on anything, anymore than I would for men. But what I do know is that I hear and see mixed messages coming from women. Say what you mean and mean what you say. And Ken Wheaton's taken a diversion into posts about dating, to interesting results... he even quotes Hillel in this section, about blogging your dating life: Isn't dating stressful, horrifying and undignified enough without having to worry that the next day, you have, thanks to a blogger, a newly acquired snarky code name and your every move has been graded for all the world to see? (I'm a big fan of Hillel in that regard: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.") He continues, to his credit, in extreme honesty: Yes, I'm the typical "I want a girlfriend, but not that one" type of guy. Yes, I'll fall in love with you on the first date, but if you come climbing off the pedestal by the third or if I change my mind, I'll make like an old general and fade away. (That said, in a dating situation, I'm NOT trying to get into your pants. I'm trying to get you to become obsessed with me.) Yes, I might be sensitive today, but I'm totally self-absorbed and self-destructive tomorrow. Yes, I can be needy, cloying, cheesy, obsessive (there's that word again) and a right royal pain in the ass. And, yes, I think that guys who say "I'm not the jealous type" are completely and totally full of shit. Yes, I'm a total hypocrite. In other words, I'm just like the rest of you (well, except for the real badasses): neurotic, overly hopeful, and unwilling to learn the lessons that reality and every prior relationship has tried to teach you. Apparently some of his readers have taken this as a cry for intervention. I see it as self-expression--relatable for anyone who's been out there and hasn't forgotten what it's like. Check out these guys, and let them/me know what you think...

Thursday, January 06, 2005


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


Still reeling in the wake of the intelligence report, now we have this report to contend with: Married men hold higher positions, get promoted more often and receive better performance appraisals than single men. Additionally, married white women earn four percent more and married black women earn 10 percent more than their single peers. All things equal, employers are more likely to hire a married male over a single male, as many still suspect single men of being less settled and more reluctant to handle responsibility. Research does not entirely support this view. For example, while studies did find that married men are less likely to miss work, arrive late, quit or be fired, they also indicate that single people generally put in longer hours and are more devoted to their work. Also, married people tend to have better mental health: [They] report lower levels of depression and distress. Forty percent say they are "very happy" with their lives, compared to 25 percent of single people. And those who are married are half as likely to say they are unhappy with their lives. There are a few positives in this report: 1. Single people generally put in longer hours and are more devoted to their work 2. A study of 280 successful scientists found that their creativity tended to diminish once they got married. This also held true for musicians, painters and authors. But why end on an optimistic note? Here's another helpful little fact, followed by a variation of the classic joke: Based on life expectancies, nine of 10 married men and women alive at 48 are alive at 65, while only six of 10 single men and eight of 10 single women make it to 65. "So what you're saying is that married people live longer than single people?" "Nope, just feels that way."

Monday, January 03, 2005


Uh oh. Attention ladies: Better buy your bottles of blonde hairdye and schedule yourselves for a brain reduction, if you want to get married. The London Times reports that while women are really looking for brains in a man, not the same thing can be said for men seeking women. The study they cite measured the IQ of 900 men and women when they were 11 years old. Then 40 years later, they were revisited to find out if they had ever married. "The finding that IQ in early life appears to be associated with the likelihood to marry is important because factors in childhood may determine a person's marital status in adulthood, which may in turn influence future health and mortality," says the study, to appear in the Journal of Personality and Individual differences. For boys, there is a 35% increase in the likelihood of marriage for each 16-point rise in IQ. For girls, there is a 40% drop. I guess this means that the smarter we are, the more hesitant we are to rush into a relationship that isn't meant for long-term success. At least, that's how I'm spinning it. Brilliant, did you say? Damn you. Hat tip: Janice