Category Archives: Dating

That’s How You Know

My interns often ask me who my favorite journalist is, and my answer is always Ann Friedman. Aside from being a rockstar writer, she also exhibits a certain kind of quick wit that no amount of UCB training can teach you. Each week she shares her wit by way of her infamous pie charts on The Hairpin.

So when I learned that she was participating in Women, Action, & The Media’s yearly auction, I knew I had to bid on her reward: a personalized pie chart. After bidding away my Chanukah savings, I won! And when Ann (yes, we’re now on a first name basis) asked me if I had anything in mind for my pie chart, I sent her a link to an old blog post about my failed foray into Jewish online dating.

Fast forward one month, and Ann conceived of the following work of genius: How Do You Know You’re A Single, Ex-Orthodox Jewish Woman?

Pie chart

 

A treatise on JDate

There comes a time in every single Jewish girl’s life when she downs just enough Diet Coke to propel her to make unwise decisions. In this particular case and with this particular girl, the unwise decision was making a free JDate account.

Now, in order to take view your potential future husband, you must answer a serious of asinine questions, including but not limited to, the three items that are found in your refrigerator at all times. (Not that it’s of value, but mine are Chobani yogurt, sliced pineapple, and carrot sticks. And though I may sound like an anorexic girl, I’m far from it.)

And after you have taken these steps, you learn the following insights about New York male Jewry:

1) Finance. Finance. Finance. Perhaps I am overly sensitive on this professional matter because I live with two individuals who live and breathe this industry. But, seriously, are there no Jewish plumbers these days? The first 15 matches I got listed “finance/accounting” as their career. And while I can play the private equity vs hedge fund game at cocktail hour, I’d hardly call this career my soulmate.

2) ThatIsMe and GeneralMan. Despite the fact that JDate explicitly states in creating a username, one should make sure to employ both creativity and common sense, 99.9% of men on this site appear to ignore this warning. Instead, they turn to their two year old nephew and seek his advice. And before you know it ThatIsMe is flashing before your eyes over and over again.

3) Lots of babies. Unlike some secular dating sites, men on JDate want wives and children. And lots of them– the kids, not wives. I’d venture to say the average guy wants 2-5. Oy, my uterus is hurting just contemplating those numbers.

4) Baseball: the sport of the Jewish people. Though a Yankee fan by birth (Bronx pride!), I couldn’t name more than two players on the team. Well, apparently that does not bode well for my dating future because these boys like their baseball teams. And any woman worth her salt better buy a pack of baseball cards and brush up.

5) Height exaggeration. As my own network has shown through the remarkably popular show-Catfish– people invariably lie about something in their dating profiles. And with Jewish men, it’s height. Our people are notably on the short side, and yet the typical JDate profile height is 6’1”. That’s statistically impossible, unless the only Jews on JDate are of Scandinavian origin.

Now given these discoveries, I have decided to proceed no further with my JDate account. I’ll cling to some Hollywood notion of romance, or I’ll adopt a cat. At least the cat would not make me know baseball stats.

Relationship advice from a girl in a (newish) relationship.

All those things you christened important are not. The perfect Mr. Right (Now) won’t necessarily be astrologically compatible with you. Nor will he embrace your love of coffee, unless, perhaps, you add a whole lot of milk and pumpkin spice flavoring first. And chance are he will not have a seductive Biblical name like Baruch or Mordechai.

But with time you will begin to realize that your arbitrary single girl hang ups are just that– arbitrary. So what if he shares your astrological sign? You may be an only child, but try your hand at sharing this coincidental overlay. And maybe he isn’t making a b-line for Bowery Coffee or Gimme Coffee or any other neighborhood coffee fueling station in the morning, but guess what? That means more caffeinated goodness for you. And even if his name isn’t the one you imagined yours attached to, it’s a hell of a lot easier to pronounce than Baruch or Mordechai.

In other words, ditch the checklists filled with ridiculously detailed prerequisites. No man will comply with all of them, and in the words of my therapist, “It’s a recipe for disappointment.” Now to many this sounds like obvious advice– don’t set absurd standards. Be reasonable in your expectations and firm in your values. But for a biddie whose made her blogging career out of dispensing otherwise contradictory advice, it isn’t.

Having spent my formative collegiate career indulging in the study of cinema, I developed the rom-com complex. Which is to say the belief that Mr. Right (Now) would save me from getting hit by a car– and even though he would be engaged and I would be his wedding planner– somehow we’d overcome the hurtles and live happily ever after in some back Hollywood lot.

But 23 years and counting, and that still hadn’t happened so I took a chance, gave a guy my number, and added the words, “Call me, maybe” to an oh-so-classy post-it note. And though I thought my life would turn into the infamous music video below, he thus far has not professed his preference for boys.

No, he actually turned out to be entirely heterosexual, and in the super stereotypical throw back a beer and watch the football game sort of way. So instead of planning and plotting and excel spreadsheeting my relationships away, I’m going to try the spontaneous post-it approach. When I meet someone intriguing, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and leave said (wo)man of intrigue my details with a fitting Billboard 100 song lyric.

 

Sleep is for girls with boyfriends.

While my roommates indulged in their work-related kvetching (thank G-d I work in television!), I considered how fortunate they were to have boyfriends, who by definition had to listen to their daily rants without complaint. I lacked that, and so when there was a pause in the conversation, I interjected, “Can we transition and talk about my love problems?”

One of them quickly remarked, “Can I just go to sleep?” And when I shot her my death stare, she retorted, “Well, if I have to push off sleeping until you find a boyfriend I will be awake forever!” And if I hadn’t been so averse to the phrase “I’m offended,” I might have protested. Instead, I turned and informed her that she would form the focus of my next blog post.  (I’ll leave judgment to cyberspace.)

But, seriously, can we pause and contemplate the gravity of her statement? It used to be that my high school friends lamented my inevitable spinster status, but now my Wellesley biddies are joining the fray. I have reached a point where even non-Jews cannot make heads or tails of my failed attempts at romance. Gays, religious zealots, botanists– oh my!

Enter Aldie, the magical little boy who makes me want to fight the good (single lady) fight. On a recent subway ride Aldie noticed I was less than myself– and this in spite of the grande skinny vanilla latte in my hand. “Well,” I shrugged, “I just–”

“I know,” he interjected, “you are making the lonely girl face. But you have me, at least three times a week, and you have half this city behind you. The only place you are truly lonely is your mind.” With wise words like those I should pay him and not my therapist. He said in a minute what she has been alluding to for close to two months now.

Loneliness is a state of mind, and I am only as alone as I think I am. Or, as the aforementioned roommate said, until she goes to sleep. Which apparently is now– less than 40 minutes after the egregious comment was made. And this is, of course, excellent news because with sleep comes the promise of a boyfriend. Or at least a boy who is more than a friend.

Laptopistan: Where Fun Goes to Freelance

For those of you not currently in the midst of finals or fellowship deadlines, let me inform you of an age-old tradition that transpires around this time of year. It involves creative forms of procrastination, including but not limited to, discovering you inner Martha Stewart. In this capacity, you decide to adopt a DIY (Do It Yourself) personality and begin to create pieces of modern art that only your mother would let grace her fridge. You call it your “personal touch,” but soon realize your friends would rather refrain from physical contact. And so you ultimately resort to a classic means of wasting time: reading the New York Region section of the New York Times.

In this weekend’s edition, I happened upon an article that seemed to encapsulate my future. The story transpires in some anti-establishment cafe in Williamsburg, where people prefer their MacBook Pros to verbal forms of communication. Said people consume $12 worth of caffeinated beverages a day, all the while completing work on various freelance projects– ranging from documentaries on telescopes to marketing alarm clocks on wheels.

Despite the diversity of projects, they all share a common bond– or at least place of residency between the hours of 9 to 5: Laptopistan. In this wondrous technology driven community, oration is reserved for power cord negotiations, as these freelancers clamor for electrical outlets. Occasionally, dates are arranged in the process of the negotiations, but as the experience of one freelancing astrophysicist indicates, romantic liaisons are not the norm– and they have very little long-term potential.

The entire world is within reach in Laptopistan.

Perhaps I am fascinated by Laptopistan because I believe that even though I have yet to enter the realm of unemployed, university-educated freelancers, I have already assumed said residency as my own with the advent of finals. During daylight hours I can generally be found in some coffee-serving establishment (traditionally, Starbucks), consuming dangerously high amounts of caffeine as I attempt to balance my actual academic work with my countless forays into online procrastination.

And I must say that despite the inevitable feeling of insurmountability that accompanies this time of year, I kind of enjoy my time in Laptopistan. As one resident of the aforementioned Williamsburg cafe phrased it, “Here, people have ambitions… they are not looking at a particular ladder to climb, they’re looking at a mountain to climb.”

As a proverbial mountain climber myself, I feel an instant connection with the freelance medical writer, composing a piece on the 1000 Genome Project, and the tortured ex-hippie screenwriter, working on a “black comedy for your grandparents’ generation.” Both characters, who seem to grace the Starbucks I call my own, have big dreams– even if in the case of the latter, they are of the pipe dream variety.

And together we form a community of “climbers,” guarding each others’ laptops when we take the inevitable bathroom break.