Sunday, February 26, 2006

Back at Nothing

[Not sure if I ever posted this...I wrote it a while ago and shelved it. But on a night when I'm feeling wistful in the waning hours of my escape from my New York life, it seemed somehow appropriate to share it now. --EDK] I was sitting there at dinner with him, when I felt the change, like a click of a gear, or my breath stopping, or heartbeat skipping. It wasn’t anything he’d said, or his tone or body language that told me where I was. But suddenly, everything was altered, and not in the way I’d hoped for. My mood went from mirthful to mournful in a moment, and something in my eyes or face must have changed, too, because he noticed the shift. What’s wrong? he asked. Nothing, I said, because nothing was all I had to say. In the beginning, when I think there’s something, it all comes down to nothing. I thought he felt something, and he felt nothing. Nothing ever happens. Nothing is what it seemed to be. Nothing is what I’d expected—nothing but hope, that is, and hope has once again amounted to nothing. And there was nothing else to say. At that moment, I had realized where I was again. Back where I always end up. Wherever you go, there you are and always have been, as I always am, regardless of miles traveled on highways or through occasionally turbulent skies; regardless of the presence of leg or cleavage shown or the suggestive tint of lipstick; regardless of the hope springing eternal and the belief in my intrinsic, still-unacknowledged worth; regardless of how closely I’d listened and how well I’d understood. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Back at nothing is where you are when you realize that you’ve misinterpreted everything at every possible turn. Easy smiles and emotional nakedness do not a romantic connection make. In fact, the recipe may differ from circumstance to circumstance, city to city, but the resulting dish is always disappointment: yields one serving. Once again, I’ll be dining alone. That moment of a hushed eureka was one of pure understanding, pure disappointment. It extended beyond the reach of ordinary silence. There was simply nothing else to say.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Online Dating--Better for Flings or Relationships?

According to an article in this new online magazine called Shebrew, online dating, while good for casual hooking up, is no place to meet anyone for a long-term relationship. Now, we all know people who have met and married through online dating. But the question is, does the culture of online dating in general create an atmosphere of burning hot and fast, eventually burning out entirely, or does it actually serve as an important foundation on which to build a future?
The anonymity of the internet created a strangely depraved atmosphere. I was suddenly some kind of Jewish Casanova. I developed a system, documenting names and contact information as if I were running a business. It was fun, I cannot deny. But there was a surprisingly sleazy and sordid side to this dating site, and eventually the novelty was lost. I had signed up looking for a relationship, not a series of meaningless hookups. The promise of endless encounters with new women kept me ensnared for a while, with, but for me, the setup was too contrived to breed the emotional climate necessary for a real relationship.
Do we agree? Disagree? Discuss...

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Like Reading JDA? You'll Love Commenting on JDA!

At the Jewlicious @ the Beach conference, I was just speaking with two participants who told me that they read JDaters great that they identified great, in fact, that they get a shoutout (yo, yo...Kevin and Jenna!) and inspire a post. You know I love and value all of my readers, whether you're silent or vociferous. But I want to encourage those of you who love to watch to actually participate in the conversation...your opinions are as valued as your site visits... So feel free to pick a Blogger identity, even if it's the very popular choice "Anonymous", and leave your two cents here for us all to see. You're all welcome here...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

"Writing the Book on Breaking Up"

Nothing like a breakup-related post for just after Valentine's Day. Not that you should need it, ever, but still: Writing the Book on Breaking Up (Jewish Week, 2/17/06)
Famously, the course of love does not run smooth — have Brad and Jen taught us nothing? — nor does it always become the eternal substance of legend. Real relationships contain struggles, problems and arguments. And when a breakup occurs, whether it’s expected or an utter surprise, the end result is it’s over. Sometimes there’s pain or anger. Sometimes there are new, dysfunctional relationships with men or women who are not good for you (like Ben & Jerry or Sara Lee). Some people proclaim disinterest in ever dating again and others run right out and join JDate or Frumster. (Reactions to breakups may vary.) Or you could just pick up the new book, “It’s Not Me, It’s You: The Ultimate Breakup Book” by Anna Jane Grossman and Flint Wainess, which celebrates successful breakups of all sorts. INMIY, as it is bound to become known, derives its strength from humor and balance: one man and one woman lay themselves and their romantic histories bare to comfort and entertain the masses. If we are all soldiers on the battlefield of love, then INMIY is the USO show we’ve all been waiting for.
--more here--

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Romancing the Bloggers...

For many people, the question is, "would you date someone who has a blog?" The implication is that said person who has a blog will undoubtedly blog in some way about your relationship. But increasingly, for bloggers, the question is morphing and becomes "would you date someone who didn't have a blog?" Over at WebProNews, Ken Yarmosh talks about why he'd like to date women bloggers:
It may sound funny but blogging may actually help foster more successful dating relationships. Why? Well just take a look at their blog either before or after a date and you'll begin to get a pretty decent picture of their beliefs, ideology, and interests. If their blog exists in a social environment like MySpace or Xanga, you can also get a pretty good idea as to who they are "interacting" with on a regular basis - yeah, I'm probably going to stay away from the girl who has tons of comments from other guys, she may be a bit too flirty. Would I date someone who doesn't have a blog? Yes, I guess I would. But blogging is attractive. It means the wheels are turning upstairs. It shows that someone is observant, pensive, and engaged in their world.
Oh Ken...have I got some really great, spunky, pensive girls for you...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

"They're Not Even a Real Country Anyway..."

It's time we talked aboot this. We have nothing agaynst Canadians per se. Unless "we" includes South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but you already knew that they Blame Canada for everything. And George Carlin, whose "Let's Bomb Canada" routine makes strange, disturbingly violent foreign policy sense. Not that Canada should be blamed or bombed. No. Some of my best blogfriends are from Canada. But you Canadians need to get off your butts and ask us out. According to a new survey--coordinated by Harlequin Enterprises, so consider the source--a whopping 75% of Canadians lack the cojones courage to make the first move. Since I've made the first move three times in the last twelve months (never you mind the gut-wrenching results), this is proof that either a) I am not Canadian, or b) I am an exceptional Canadian. (Only the passport agency knows for sure.) So what's a Canadian to do? Become a "North American," because the survey then stops talking about Canadians per se and extends the territory of shyness to the entire continent:
More than 70 per cent of North Americans who were surveyed depend on friends to do the legwork when it comes to meeting people. Relying on an old college buddy to set up a double date can actually work, as 33 per cent of those surveyed met their current or last squeeze through friends.
Friends! Now why didn't I think of that? Now, where are all of my old college buddies? Oh yeah. Married. With kids. And SUVs. In the suburbs.
And if all else fails, some Canadians turn to fortifying their courage with alcohol. Twenty-six per cent of the men surveyed admitted to drinking in order to get up the confidence to approach someone, while only 15 per cent of women said a drink or two helps.
Finally an equal opportunity idea that we can all embrace. Happy hour anyone? How about AA?
The survey found that North America has a somewhat idealistic view of love as 42 per cent of those questioned said they think the best way to meet new people is by chance...[but] only 17 percent of those surveyed said they met their current or last significant other by chance. the meet-cute of movie legend. Stumble over a frog who loves you and suddenly he becomes a prince. But how many frogs exactly does it take?
Forty seven per cent said they believe you need to date between two and 10 people before finding the one, whereas only 12 per cent of those surveyed feel you only need to date one person to find your true one and only.
New math: Forty-seven plus twelve equals a hundred. It doesn't? Well, count me among the 41% who are missing in action on this question. I don't have any answers. I just don't want to buy anything sold or processed. Or sell anything bought or processed. Or process anything sold, bought or processed. In a word: kickboxing. It's the sport of the future.

What's Wrong With Us?

We date. And date. And date. But why can't we get to the next level? What's wrong with us? Glad you asked. Because now there's a book. Says author Jillian Straus of her new book, Unhooked Generation:
This book explores why so many of us face a rocky, detained, or pit-fallen road to long-term commitment. Why is the search for love so difficult for us, and what can we do about it?First I will take you through my own story as a typical thirtysomething single, urban professional. Then I will examine the cultural factors uniquely affecting this generation, what I call “The Seven Evil Influences,” that undermine our relationships every day. Through the stories of single men and women I will explore how these influences make us look at potential partners, how they confuse the dance by which we court each other, change how we perceive commitment, and pose real obstacles on the path to romantic fulfillment.
I'm tired of these books: what's wrong with us, why can't we, why isn't he into's enough to drive a person mental. Or, as it's known in the scientific parlance: the week before Valentine's Day. There'll be more. Because there's always more. And it's only February 9.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Love-a-Mensch Week

No, I'm not kidding. And yes, I wish I were. Leave it to JDate and love coach Robin Gorman Newman to bring you this week, which just so happens to lead up to Valentine's Day. Coincidence? According to a PR Newswire alert, JDate asked members to select their favorite single celebrity mensches. "Mensches are the people that every mother would love," said Robin Gorman Newman, creator of 'Love a Mensch Week' and author of "How to Marry a Mensch." Women prefer Braff. Of course. Zach Braff got 27% of the vote. Then, the poll gets a little strange. Sex and the City's Mr. Big himself, Chris Noth (since when is he Jewish? Maybe he just fits Newman's definition...) gets 20% of the vote, same as #3 pick, Howard Stern. (What? I know.) Then we've got Brody (Adrien), Brody (Adam) and Brooks (Al, which I can only imagine refers to Albert Brooks). And the men like themselves some Portman--Natalie ranked at 46%, with Sarah Silverman and Lisa Loeb rounding out the top three. (Trailing these three are Winona Ryder--still, guys?--and Jamie Lynn Sigler.) How am I not ever on this list? Oh yeah. Not a celebrity. Yet. Oh, and by the way...not for nothing, as they say, but: Braff, dating a non-Jew; Portman, loves Israel but is always dating non-Jews; Silverman, dating Jimmy Kimmel. There are more, but I don't want to depress myself. Again, not that there's anything wrong with finding love. I mean, most of the commenters here are looking for that same thing, but you understand my issue...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Carnival's A-Coming...

...sometime over the next two days, I'll probably post the next edition of Mars & Venus Go To Shul: the Jewish Singles and Dating Blogcarnival. Things are starting a little slow with this carnival, because I've been traveling so much. But if you'd like to submit to this edition, please let me know. And if you'd like to host the blogcarnival on your blog, please speak up, kids! In the interim, here's something you might appreciate... We all say we're looking for someone who speaks our language. But maybe that's just a metaphor. Now we don’t have to limit ourselves. Or at least men don't have to thusly limit themselves: A new service called introduces Russian women to men all over the world using an online, automated translation feature. Hooray. (via Online Personals Watch)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Do You "Need a Mensch"?

If you're holding out for a hero mensch, you might enjoy Frumster's latest viral video, scripted by the online dating company and creatively designed and animated by ShaBot's Aba, Ben Baruch. "Enjoy!"

Older Men, Revisited

A recent post by Chayyei Sarah, titled "No More Creepy Old Guys," has inspired me to reopen the earlier discussion on older men/younger women. She notes that on one of the internet dating services she frequents (although I'm not sure she'd love my using that term), DosiDate, they've just instituted age limits to their member searches. "Given how many men in their 50's have "initiated contact" with me through the various dating websites on which I'm a member," she says, "you can bet I went into my Dosidate account right away to set up an acceptable age range." She says she was "extremely liberal," in both directions, when setting the boundaries, but that her "policy has long been that if a man is closer to my father's age than he is to mine, he's just out of luck. My father was 24 when I was born. You do the math." She also makes some important distinctions, that there's a difference between slightly older and creepy older men looking for trophy wives, that men and women should both be a little more open-minded in the dating process, but that both sides have to be realistic. Feel free to go over there and comment, or carry on the conversation here, as you've been doing, even while I was away. I know that people feel very passionately about this issue, and that's leading to some people being accusatory and judgmental, and others becoming defensive...let's keep the discussion civil, and agree to disagree where we have to. I maintain, as I said on CS's site, that online dating, although good at expanding the circles, which is unquestionably the name of the game in Jewish dating, also offers us a chance to reject someone based on a different set of criteria than we might observe if our original encounter is face-to-face. Picture it...thirtysomething you goes to a party. Friends introduce you to a man who has a friendly, open smile, a warm sense of humor and an engaging demeanor. As you talk, you determine an intellectual--and, what's that?--a religious/spiritual compatibility. Then later, you find out that the person is in his late forties or early fifties. You may feel a momentary disappointment that the person doesn't share your immediate frame of reference, but if there's enough "else" there, you probably won't care. Because it's about connecting with a person. One friend of mine married a man in his fifties who already had five kids, one of them with a child...The couple had a baby about a year later, a few months after one of the other kids had a baby, rendering my friend a grandmother before she was even a mother. There are, of course, exceptions. A friend of mine recently told me about a man who was in his late fifties who wanted to date her; she liked him, but she was concerned. If things worked out, he'd be in his sixties when their kids were born, seventies when they were in high school and college, and it was likely that my friend would at some point, end up bearing the lion's share of the parenting, either through infirmity, or decreased energy due to aging, or G-d forbid, even because of an early widowhood. True, no one can know what life has in store. Philanthropists become victims in fatal traffic accidents, and terrorism cuts off lives in their prime. Illness knows no good timing or age or circumstance. Those are things we cannot control. But is it any wonder that for women in their thirties, what they're ideally looking for is to maximize their chances with a partner they can build a life with, and with whom they can grow old, together? A radical idea? Eliminate the age range entirely, and have people respond solely to picture and profile content. Rumor has it people mostly respond to pictures anyway...