Illustration by Lior Zaltzman
Some Grandmas play bridge, mahjong, or golf. I play eHarmony, JDate, and Match.com. In the past two years, I’ve corresponded with shrinks, rabbis, and a man who mentioned he has to be catheterized three times a day, but was very loving.
It used to be women of a certain age, the sweet spot between AARP and shiva, had to be formally invited on a date. They’d hope their friends would set them up with Harold the ancient widower or good old always available Uncle Joe. What a lame system.
As a woman approaching the biblical threescore and ten, oops just did that, I’m not a newbie in life. I work at a great bookstore, write books, even do review segments on radio and TV. And I can be found predawn at the gym lifting weights and catching up on the latest news. Full disclosure, my favorite thing to say there is “good-bye”.
Jen Glantz on JDate
“It’s not you, it’s me,” I said, waving my mouse over the “delete you profile” button on my JDate account. Like all cheesy and overused break up lines, that often serve as our first strike of defense when we’re eager to avoid the real reason why we’re picking up and running in the opposite direction, this one had a whole lot of truth to it.
JDate was the very first online dating site that I joined. I had been living in New York City for a year and found that meeting quality guys was not as easy as finding a quality slice of pizza in this city.
Last week, the New York Observer published a cover story on Logan, a 30-year-old Orthodox fourth-year medical student with “boyish” good looks. He’s searching for his bashert and describes himself “as a mensch at heart.” Sounds like a catch, right? Well, before you beat a trail to his probably adorable Upper West Side bachelor pad and mentally compose your engagement announcement for OnlySimchas.com, you should know one thing: Logan is a complete and utter chauvinistic fraud.
Of course, Logan is not his real name, but rather a nom de plume he uses on his falsified dating profiles to (for lack of a more tactful expression) bang as many ladies in the New York City area as possible. He doesn’t lie about being a doctor. He doesn’t lie about being Jewish (though he fails to mention he is Orthodox). He just fibs a few years funding start-ups in the Silicon Valley and adds a couple of millions (three to five) to his net worth. He then seduces women through creative truth-telling on secular dating sites like PlentyofFish.com and purports to finance them in a sugar daddy-sugar baby scenario on SeekingArrangement.com.
To be fair, he only resorted to such tactics after too many finicky Jewesses shot him down. Much to Logan’s complete shock and dismay, Jewish girls didn’t immediately drop to their knees with awe and open their mouths upon meeting a doctor. In comparison, the girls he met on the other sites “really appreciated a professional guy” and, not to mention, are “much easier to bang on the first date.”
Jeez, what’s wrong with us snobby Jewish ice queens who don’t know to immediately put out for a doctor of the tribe?
On Valentine’s Day, one is absolutely the loneliest number. It helps if you can make plans with some single friends, but most people would prefer to be out with their perfect person.
My grandmother used to say, “There’s a cover for every pot.” But what do you when you can’t find your cover? As Forward editor Jane Eisner recently wrote in an editorial, many 30- and 40-something American Jews are single, and likely still searching. If you’re not Orthodox, you’re not turning to a shadchan. You have JDate, and you have mutual friends.
Recently, a series of major articles have raised the alarms on the demise of dating and marriage. Alex Williams’ New York Times piece “The End of Courtship” lamented the death of traditional, chivalrous dating, and Amy Webb’s Wall Street Journal story encouraged women to stretch the truth in their online dating profiles lest all the good men pass them by. In response to Dan Slater’s new book about technology’s effect on dating, “Love in the Time of Algorithms,” The Atlantic ran a series on online dating and whether or not it’s destroying monogamy. Each one heralded the end of romance, flowers on a first date, and all that Hugh Grant movies taught us to revere and expect.
However, even after my many negative 21st-century dating experiences, I don’t think dating and romance are dead; rather, they have evolved.
What people talking about the death of dating often forget is that for a long time, marriage existed primarily as an economic rather than romantic institution (see Stephanie Koontz’s Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage for more specifics). Dating has already evolved in response to economic and social changes to be more informal and varied in its ultimate romantic goal. For some, marriage isn’t even the endgame.
Want to attract a Jewish guy online?
Let’s start with the bad news:
And for the the good news: You CAN be aggressive. But only insofar as you can message dates before they message you. That’s it.
This is according to writer Amy Webb who recently wrote about her research on the online dating patterns of guys on JDate and Match.com for the Wall Street Journal. Webb credits her use of these insights to snag a date from a guy named Brian who she ended up marrying.
The penultimate episode of MTV’s hit reality series “Teen Mom” aired this week. The show will be ending after four years, and the girls have gone from being small-town high school students to tabloid mainstays with new cars, houses and (in several cases) breasts. One of the four moms, Farrah Abraham, has since relocated from her native Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Fort Lauderdale with her toddler, Sophia, in tow. This season Farrah’s storyline has been about gaining independence, attending college and trying to get a boyfriend.
Sophia’s father, Derek, died while Farrah was pregnant, and she has made it a priority to find a new male partner and provide her daughter with a father figure — to the point where a boyfriend dumped her because she dropped not-at-all-subtle hints about marriage and even bought herself a ring after they’d been dating for six weeks. Farrah was raised in a conservative Christian home with parents who didn’t believe in sex outside of marriage (they pressured her not to get an abortion). In the first season of the show, Farrah brought home a prospective boyfriend whose “meet the parents” session consisted of her mother, Debra, lecturing the guy about Jesus and asking whether he would attend church with them. Surprise, surprise, the guy stopped returning Farrah’s calls. In last night’s episode, she decided to go in another direction. She signed up for JDate.
Why JDate and not, say, Match or eHarmony? Although Farrah didn’t mention a reason why she chose to join a Jewish dating site, she did tell her mother that she wanted to date someone who was responsible and mature. But Farrah’s decision to join JDate did bring up some uncomfortable stereotypes about Jewish men. She kept associating the hypothetical men on JDate with “stability,” which could have meant anything from “having a steady job” to “being able to provide my daughter and me with a higher standard of living.” It’s not a big jump to get from “stable” to “has money.” Farrah comes from the most well off family of all the “Teen Mom” girls, and she’s used to being indulged and getting her way. While I seriously doubt Farrah has read the Maimonides quote “A man should honor his wife more than his own body and love her like his own body, ” she has probably heard the clichés about how Jewish men spoil their wives. Farrah has made no secret of wanting somebody who will pay her bills and buy her presents. Preferably a ring. After six weeks of dating.
Bar Refaeli is a supermodel. She’s also Israeli. That means that questions about her Jewishness often come up in interviews. Even the lad mag “Maxim,” which named her their #1 hottest woman this week, comes off sounding like her mom when they inquire whether she’d consider setting up a profile on JDate. “Maybe if I’m still single when I’m 40, but not for now,” she replied.
Unlike the half-Israeli Natalie Portman, who was married in a traditional Jewish ceremony last weekend and talks openly about her Jewish identity, Refaeli doesn’t seem that interested in discussing religion. Her longest and most high-profile relationship was with serial modelizer Leonardo DiCaprio, who isn’t Jewish. She has most recently been linked to snowboarder Shaun White, who also isn’t Jewish.
While it’s certainly Refaeli’s prerogative to date whomever she wants, Jewish or otherwise, it’s also worth pointing out that there are some men who aren’t interested in dating her, even if she looks like this in a bikini.
Keira Knightly talks about playing psychoanalysis pioneer, Jung patient and Holocaust victim Sabina Speilrein in the new film “A Dangerous Method.”
Skeptical of JDate’s algorithm for picking Mr. or Mrs. right? Try “J sites,” the online Jewish dating service that has good old-fashioned matchmakers do the pairing.
There is a new biography of original “occupier” Emma Goldman, the anarchist and political activist who was once called “the most dangerous woman in America” by FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover.
When I was 23, I interviewed a Lubavitch matchmaker for a story I was writing. The more she explained her profession to me, the more appealing the whole idea sounded: Your parents get together with a professional and find someone for you. You’ve got a say in who you match with, but none of this agony of hoping a mixture of chemistry and fate will bring you your true love.
In the 10 years since that interview, many yentas young and old, across continents and denominations, have tried to play a role in matching me. But most of my actual affairs have been fleeting, foreign and decidedly goyish. My longest relationships have been with a Catholic from Rio, a Muslim from Tunis, and an agnostic from Vermont who shares the name of a very unkosher cut of meat. None have been result of a self-appointed matchmaker’s efforts.
Just last week, your grandmother was at Dr. Finklestein’s office for her regular teeth cleaning and Sarah, the dental hygenist, told her all about her nephew who just met the nicest Jewish girl on JDate. Can you believe it? JDate! You know, you should really try JDate. You’re not getting any younger, you know.
Enter the modern-day Jewish fairytale: Nice Jewish boy meets nice Jewish girl on JDate. They have a beautiful Jewish wedding, a couple beautiful Jewish babies and live happily ever after. And now that JDate is going mobile, we can carry the fable around in our pockets.
Well, take it from someone with more online dating experience than she is comfortable admitting, JDate is not the magical matchmaking entity it appears to be in these contemporary fables. In fact, there are quite a few pitfalls of JDating that your grandmother probably doesn’t know about. I know this because I am a JDater and I feel like the time has come to add a more realistic voice to burgeoning myth.