JBlog®

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

by Tamar Caspi under Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

It’s not just a Bob Marley song, it’s a lifestyle. Being happy is a decision you make about how you want to live and you get to make this decision each and every day. Being happy is attractive and will attract other happy people — and that includes singles attracting prospects.

Being happy in your life right now, being happy being alone and being single (not the same thing), is attractive. People who let their current situation get the best of them can come across as pessimistic, bitter, and negative on a date which is obviously a huge turn-off. People like this seem to depend on finding on a mate in order to make them happy, but your happiness should not be dependent upon someone else. It sounds logical reading it, but for some reason people don’t always identify as one these people or understand how to change it.

You want to be someone who has made the best of their situation by enjoying their life as-is. You’re single? So what! Find joy in all of the amazing things you have going on in your life, not what you’re missing. That said, make sure you do leave room for that special someone!

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Running Into a JDate While on a JDate

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Single Life

Dear Tamar,

So I follow your advice and I am poly-dating! Last week I went on a second date with a guy I met on JDate and it went great! Then over the weekend I went on a second date with another guy from JDate and WHOOPS… we ran smack into my other date (who was not a date).

I tried really hard not to make it awkward, and even introduced the two before excusing myself and that night’s date politely. It was easy enough to tell the guy who I was on a date with that it was just a friend we ran into, but the other guy knew better and I haven’t spoken to him yet. Obviously after just two dates I’m not in an exclusive relationship with either guy, but I also don’t have stronger feelings for one over the other because I barely know either. Now what do I do?

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear JDate Poly-dater,

You said it yourself — it’s just the second date with each guy and you don’t owe either of them anything. That said, it would be best to address what happened and be straight forward with the first guy. Call him and just say, “Hey, that was kinda awkward!” Then ask him if it bothers him and see what he says.

He may understand that it’s early on, and not a big deal, and he may also be poly-dating himself. Or he may want to know if there are feelings on either side and how long you plan on seeing other people. Obviously you don’t need to divulge too much, but you can simply explain that you are looking for things to get serious with one person and that you don’t want to rush it.

He may not want to date you anymore. If so, it’s not personal. Even people who are okay with the idea of poly-dating can’t handle when it’s staring them in the face.

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First Date Fashion

by Caryn Alper under Relationships

OK, you’ve nailed down a date. Nice work! Now, time to panic: what should you wear?  Selecting an outfit can be stressful – especially when you are meeting someone for the first time and want to make a good impression.  To start picking out a date look, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What is my personal style? What types of things do I typically wear?  A first date is not necessarily the best time to try out a denim jumpsuit to see if you like it.
  • Who is my date? A grad student?  A lawyer? A single dad? This doesn’t necessarily determine your date’s style, but it can provide a hint as to his level of formality.
  • Where are we going? If you aren’t familiar with the place, do a little research.  Websites usually have photos and reviews where you can get a good idea of the vibe.

As much as we like to think that a date is only evaluating your personality, that’s just not realistic.   The truth is that your date is 78% more likely to ask you on a second date if he likes the way you look.  OK, I made up that statistic, but your appearance IS a very important factor in determining whether or not you will get another chance.  If you and your date are evaluating each other as potential soulmates, mutual attraction is one of the first things you’ll both notice.

A few general Dos and Don’ts about what to wear:

Do express your personal style but don’t dress in an extreme way.  Especially if you have never met before in person, you don’t want to embarrass your date by sporting something generally considered odd, like a tutu over jeans, or coat and scarf when it’s 90 degrees outside.  Also be weary of something super cool and trendy that may not be well understood by the opposite sex (harem pants, anyone?).

Do err on the side of being overdressed rather than underdressed.  You want your date to know that you value the time you are spending together and that put effort into getting ready!

Don’t wear anything too revealing. Yes, it’s a date, and yes, you want to look good, but don’t display all your goods. Keep things in proportion by highlighting one body part – so if you wear a short dress, pair it with long sleeves or a high neck, and sleeveless tops work well with longer and bottoms.

Guys – you aren’t off the hook here.  A first impression might even be MORE important for you, as girls (whether we like to admit it or not) tend to be more judgmental.  Although there aren’t as many rules for men, it’s important to look polished!  At a minimum, you should shower, shave, and comb your hair.  No one is impressed that you came straight from the gym.  Most date attire for men boils down to the skill of picking a combination of a shirt (polo/button down/sweater), pants (jeans or khakis), and shoes (no tennis shoes) that don’t horribly clash.  If you want bonus points, tuck in your shirt. Avoid cargo pants, and make sure your socks match your shoes.

Readers – what do you think?

PS – special thanks to JA, my sister/aspiring stylist for her help with this post!


Will Your Relationship Last?

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

John and Julie Gottman are considered the foremost experts in couples therapy and being able to predict if a relationship will last, or not. Rather than discuss the signs of what they call a “disaster” I want to relay what they found to be a predominant precursor to what they term a “master” — a successful relationship.

In the simplest terms, the Gottmans said that couples who respond to each other’s “bids” for connection. Basically, being interested in what the other person is saying. The Gottman’s research showed that 87% of successful couples responded correctly to their partner’s bids. This begins with being a good listener and extends to selflessness. If you are busy scrolling through Facebook when your significant other asks you a question, do you put down your phone/tablet/laptop and turn toward your partner to engage, or do you not even flinch and answer half-heartedly?

Hint: the former is good, the latter is not. What do you do?

If you’re interested in learning more about the Gottmans, start with this article.

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Dear Tamar: What Next?

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Dear Tamar,

I am back on JDate after about a year off and already met a great guy! He and I exchanged a few emails, and now a few texts. He sent the last one last night. So what next? What do I do?

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear What Next?

Do nothing. If he wants to go on a date with you, he will call you and ask you out. I am not a fan of texting, aside from exchanging pleasantries, before you’re in a bonafide relationship. We’ve all heard the phrase “he’s just not that into you,” and here’s where it rings true: If a guy is into you, he will call and ask you out, otherwise he’s just not that into you.

UPDATE
Since initially writing this, the guy did, in fact, call and ask our lovely emailer out!  They went on an awesome first date and they already have their second date planned!

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Clean Up Your Act

by Caryn Alper under Date Night,Single Life

“Can I come in for a nightcap?” *Panic*  This question is a variation on “want to come back to my place?” and no more polarizing post-date words have ever been spoken. But, not for the reasons you might think. Inviting someone back to your place unexpectedly is a terrorizing thought to… someone who has a messy house!

Single people, i.e., people who are dating and might find themselves in such a situation, tend to live either alone, with a roommate or two, or with their kids, all of which are risk factors for living in filth. It’s pretty easy for me to go days without putting anything (including dishes or clothes) away, and this slothfulness was only compounded when I lived with roommates in the past.  So what to do if a new dating partner stops by or wants to come over without advance notice?

My dad always said, “How will you get a guy if your apartment is such a mess? What if he wants to come over? What kind of housekeeper will he think you are?” You know, something, Dad?  I think you are right.

Some housekeeping disasters just can’t be explained away, so your best bet is strictly preventative.  Improve your own life AND your likelihood of impressing a date by always keeping your pad in showable condition.

If you can’t bear to vacuum and dust everyday, here are the basics:

  1. Keep your bathroom presentable. Let’s say a guy is dropping you off at the end of an otherwise decent date, and he asks if he can come in to use the bathroom.  Because you were just getting ready for a date, there’s a good chance your bathroom looks like Sephora exploded on your counter, leaving a trail of strewn about hair sprays, eye shadow palletes, hot rollers, etc. all over the place.  Next time, when you are finished in the bathroom, throw all your products in a basket, get rid of stray hairs that always find their way into the sink, and put the toilet paper roll back on the holder, just in case!
  2. Always have a clean entryway or living room. If someone walks you in to your place, this is the first impression he or she will have. When you are getting ready to leave, take 5 minutes and move your mail, purses, shoes, and mountains of outfits that you tried on and didn’t wear and shove them into a closet.  Just don’t forget where you stash your stuff. This is frustrating. Ask me how I know.
  3. Make sure your kitchen isn’t gross.  If someone stops by or comes over, you will probably offer a drink.  Don’t be that person who can’t find a clean glass among a sink full of dirty dishes. Oh, and try to keep a hand towel for guests in the kitchen and bathroom too.

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and when it comes to cleaning, a little bit of straightening up is worth it to prevent potential embarrassment!


Marriage Material

by Tamar Caspi under Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

One of the weirdest things about dating is that we often date — and even stay in a relationship with — someone whom we can’t even imagine marrying or spending the rest of our lives with. We fight to make these relationships work and are upset when the other half of the equation sees the writing on the wall first.

Some of this is pride. We want to make it work with someone just so that we aren’t alone. Or to make it work with someone who is good on paper, or someone we think (or others think) we should be with. And we fight to make these relationships work because we don’t want to go through another breakup. And we are sad if the other person ends it first because it’s a bruise to our ego.

So here’s my straightforward, no bullshit advice: YOU KNOW this is not someone you want to or could spend the rest of your life with, so why bother spending one more day on this person when you could be spending that time finding someone better-suited? If you are looking conscientiously, then you know who you are and what you want in a mate and who you want to be in a relationship, so don’t settle or waste any more time once you figure out that person isn’t it.

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Vanity Fair and the “Dating Apocalypse”

by Tamar Caspi under News,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

Vanity Fair’s article about how dating apps have changed — and possibly eradicated — dating was filled with shock value. People who use Tinder and other similar apps (think: swipe right) know that it can be used just for hooking up, but there are also plenty of couples who met via those apps. You wouldn’t know that by the article as it was all about how many hook-ups occurred, how often, how quickly, and how easily.

That was probably the worst part… a consistent theme throughout the article had to do with the ease of the hook-ups, and how it was more often than not the men that dictated the extent of the hook-up: one-time, a continuing thing, or a relationship. And the women have to go along with this hoping that maybe they can change a guy’s mind and make him want more than a hook-up. But, the catch-22 is that most of these men don’t want a relationship with the type of girl who will hook-up after few (if any) interactions, after being matched on one of these apps.

So here’s the deal: if you just want to have fun, then go ahead with the apps. But if you’re looking for a relationship, then you need to stick to a site like JDate where people take more time and effort to create profiles and select prospects. Do you want to be somebody’s priority or somebody’s option?

The swipe right apps have so many participants that it can give you a false sense of how many eligible prospects actually meet even a minimum of your criteria, which leads to a false sense of thinking you can do better than the awesome person in front of you. These dating apps are addictive because they are quick and easy, and there are seemingly always new singles to swipe. Don’t get caught up and have unrealistic expectations of who you can meet on an app where the goal is just hooking up.

 

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When Being Truthful is Too Honest

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

Last night I was at a bar with my sister and brother-in-law and I had forgotten to put my ring and other jewelry on after a day at the beach. So there I was, a third wheel, being hit on! Obviously it was good for the ego, but it was also good for the blog.

My first observation was how many more men were likely hitting on me because I wasn’t putting off an “available” vibe and wasn’t at the bar to meet men. So go out and have fun with your friends, and don’t worry about who’s around and who’s available. Sure you might be there to meet prospects, but you’re also likely at a bar with friends, maybe celebrating something, or just going out to have fun — and you should be doing that rather than focusing on who else is there.

My second observation had to do with one guy in particular, let’s call him Rider, who was honest to the point of awkward. After introducing himself, my brother-in-law began chatting with Rider about his career as an X-Games athlete. That’s when Rider told us that he is a former heroin and cocaine addict. Um… whoa! That’s a lot of information to absorb about someone we had just met 30 seconds earlier. I congratulated him on his recovery and quickly excused myself to find the waitress.

It got me thinking about what is appropriate to divulge when you first meet someone, or even later on a date. There’s nothing that Rider had to be ashamed about, but I’m not sure I needed to know that information quite yet. Even when you’re not dating but simply meeting someone, you don’t need to bare your soul. I’ve always recommended being upfront about your history without going into too much detail until you’re further along in a relationship, be it friendship or romantic.

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Watch and Learn

by Caryn Alper under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Somehow in my mind, shopping for a new watch is equated with shopping for a husband.  Allow me to explain this thought process through a journey to the center of my mind: I’ve always been a watch person – I feel naked without one, and I’ve worn several different timepieces throughout my adult years.  And I tend to be more of a “quantity over quality” watch owner, preferring lower quality, trendier  pieces to classic expensive timepieces that will last forever.  A consequence of this habit is frequent replacing – straps break, batteries fail, faces tarnish, and in one case, this chain attached to the strap that I thought was really cool just plain fell off. My penchant for replaceable (read: cheap) watches means I’m always on the lookout for the next style I might want to wear. So whenever I’m shopping at a department store (or let’s be honest – Marshalls and/or TJ Maxx), I usually peruse the watch section so that when my current watch inevitably breaks, I’ll have a replacement in mind. One store in particular usually has a ton of good options for sale, and I never have trouble finding several that I like when I shop.

So anyway, a couple weeks ago, my watch battery died, and soon after, I realized that water droplets had somehow snuck under the glass that protected the face of my watch, rendering it unreadable.  The situation wasn’t worth fixing, so I headed to my favorite store to find a replacement.  But something different happened. Now that I actually had to pick one to buy and wear everyday on my wrist, I suddenly couldn’t find one that I liked! Just a few weeks prior, when I wasn’t seriously in the market for a watch, I saw a display of nice watches, any one of which would look nice and have the features I wanted.  But now that I actually had to choose one to wear, all I saw were flaws.  This one was fine, but I really wanted a leather wrap-around band and this wasn’t exactly what I pictured.  And that one had a nice face, but the band was a rose-gold color that clashed with my other jewelry.  This inner dialogue went on and on until I couldn’t find a single watch that met my expectations. So I left the store, defeated.

And then, standing there empty-handed in the mall parking lot, I had a mini-epiphany: This is exactly why I leave so many dates “empty handed.” The same psychological principle is at play here.  When I look at a group of something (watches, people, whatever), I see a general sense of possibility – a pool of potential. But selecting one out of the group means leaving other (possibly better) options behind, or picking the one that will turn out to be a lemon, or deciding that one is best, only to have your tastes change shortly after selection.  A watch is just an object, and especially for me, it’s not a permanent life fixture. So if I felt that way about my watch selection, it’s no wonder these thoughts and the related fear cause me to “leave the store” of dating without selecting an option.

So back to the story – there I was, watchless. I decided to go to a different store and check out the selection, and I found the same issue – lots of choice, none perfect. It was getting late (I think – I didn’t know what time it was) and I didn’t want to go home empty handed. So I picked the least objectionable option and called it a day. And you know what? I’m really happy with my reliable new watch. I now like the way it looks, and it runs great.  A stylish coworker even complimented it.

So the next time I find myself surrounded by options of people, yet feeling disappointed and ready to leave, I hope I remember to glance at my watch – it will tell me that it’s time to change my thinking.