Archive for January, 2014

Prince(ss) Charming

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

People are often on their very best behavior for much of the first phase of dating. Playing “Prince” or “Princess Charming,” making romantic gestures, acting affectionate, and using their very best manners. It’s easy to hide mood swings, flaws and ticks when you aren’t living together or experiencing all of the normal day-to-day doldrums of life without an escape hatch.

When you’re dating, and you have a terrible day at work, or traffic was a beast, or a customer service rep wasn’t helpful after being on hold for an hour, you typically have the chance to decompress before seeing the special person you’re dating. The luster of the relationship hasn’t dulled and your excitement over the possibility of a future together means you are going to put on a happy face, try to enjoy yourself and leave the ugly day behind.

But that’s not reality.

In fact, it would behoove you to keep it real after a month or so of dating to see how you both deal with times of stress, and how you handle each other when one of you is moody and stubborn. It is not realistic to always be charming; no one is that smooth all the time. Everyone has their issues and if you can’t figure out how to be on the same team and deal with them together, then you may need to find a different partner.


Wait, We’re On a Date?

by Aaron under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

One of my favorite episodes of the American version of The Office is called “Happy Hour,” and it introduces a fun character from Steve Carell: Date Mike. Date Mike only comes to exist after Steve Carell’s character (Michael) finds out that one of his employees has brought a date for him to the company happy hour. Michael dons sunglasses, pops his collar, and puts on an attitude, explaining he didn’t realize he was on a date.

Lately I’ve seen my social media feeds clutter with people’s confusion about dates. One article went viral about people not being clear enough when it comes to their romantic intentions. Another recent article in USA Today reported on a study commissioned by JDate and ChristianMingle that found there is a lot of confusion when it comes to figuring out whether or not a date was actually a date… or something else.

There’s a few angles I see with this. On the one hand, online dating should make this issue much easier: when a website has the word “date” in the title, it should be pretty clear what’s happening. But that isn’t always the case. Over Shabbat, I discussed this with friends. Some had used JDate simply as a way to further test the waters, inviting people to happy hours — not a date, simply an introduction opportunity that other parties misunderstood.

Here’s a distinction that makes defining a date less ambiguous: a good date simply involves people having fun, a little bit of sexual tension, and most importantly, spontaneity. My friends and I discussed our best and worst dates earlier this week (three men, two women) and came up with some conclusive answers as to how we enjoyed or disliked dates. When both parties interacted heavily (not seeing Troy, for example, when one party isn’t into action movies), or had a fun time just doing something random (not as random as buying plants at Home Depot, but maybe as random as eating a cookie cake together and sharing wine), it didn’t matter how the night was labeled.

People like to have a good time and try new things. If you can do that together, a date becomes a date whether you call it so or not. More often than not, the hangouts I’ve had with members of the opposite sex — such as watching a Scream movie marathon or going to a women’s basketball game on campus — have often led to much deeper connections than me making small talk about the first time I ordered the veggie burger at a restaurant. So date, hangout, invitation to meet at Whole Foods — it doesn’t matter what you call it. A date has a lot of extra pressure added to it, and that tends to take away from the fun. There’s no need to bring Date Mike to the party, but add some fun and spontaneity, and it’s going to be a good time — regardless of what it’s called.


Extreme Profile Makeover — “Julie”

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Monday Makeover,Online Dating,Single Life

Hey there!

Could you help me makeover my profile as to attract more people/get more responses?

Thanks!

_______________________________________________________________

Hi Julie,

I’m happy to help. To start, you have a great profile name! Putting an adjective or descriptive phrase before the year you were born is perfect! So, we can skip right to the profile.

     1. PHOTOS

I’ll be honest, this is where you need the most work. You need more than 3 photos, but I would take the time to also get better pictures. The New Year’s hat photo is super cute, but should be moved to the 3rd or 4th slot for your “fun” photo. Have a friend take photos of you with no one else in the picture and no other distracting elements. Make sure there’s good lighting. The second photo of your full body should be swapped out for another. I like that you are confident and that you followed my rules to have a full body pic be the second photo, but I am not a fan of studio photos. At that same photo shoot you schedule with your friend, have him or her take a few full body photos as well. Go outside when there’s not direct sunlight and find a place with rocks or trees or cool architecture and take photos there. Finally, the car pic can be deleted or used as a final, supplementary photo.

     2. IN MY OWN WORDS

You’ve done a nice job with your ABOUT ME answer, although it could be thinned out a bit. I would delete the line which begins, “In my free time…” since that goes under the area titled FOR FUN, I LIKE TO. You can also delete the football line and TV lines (put it under MY FAVORITES…) and that will connect the movies line with the Netflix line, which is cute!

I would also recommend not answering every single question; it can get a bit repetitive. You could also delete MY PERFECT FIRST DATE and either THINGS I COULD NEVER LIVE WITHOUT or THE COOLEST PLACES I’VE VISITED. Answering every single question is overkill. You don’t want to come off as over-zealous and you don’t need to reveal so much. This will leave a few general topics for discussion via email and on your first date!

     3. DETAILS

Most of your details are good, the changes you should make are all under MY IDEAL MATCH. If you are truly looking for a date, then you can leave that in, but I suspect you really want a relationship leading to forever, so delete the less committal options (a date, friend, etc.). The other place to edit is the age range. A 27-year-old woman would typically connect best with a guy just a few years younger and at maximum more than a few years older. I’d suggest expanding your age range from 24-30 to a 10-year range of 24-34. I’d also narrow down some of the streams of Judaism you’d be willing to date.

You’ve got a good start, Julie! You just need to take some awesome photos, edit your “About Me” paragraph, broaden your preferred age range, and then narrow down the relationship type and the religious level you’d be willing to date and I think you’ll find yourself seeing lots of new, “real” prospects.


Hanging Your Dirty Laundry

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships
  • Single again. =(
  • Boys suck!
  • All girls are sisters.
  • What do I have to do to get a date?
  • All my friends are getting married and having kids, and leaving me behind. :-(
  • I’m never going to get married at this point.

These are only some of the Facebook status updates I’ve read within the past few weeks. Word to the wise — posting these types of updates is not going to help you find a date. Your friends will be sympathetic, but probably won’t want to set you up given your current state of self-despair mode. Nobody likes a pity party. Keep your dirty laundry off your social media profiles; simply vent to your close friends instead and then move on. You will find someone, but dating is a state of mind and you need to keep it positive in public.


Love at First JDate: Skip the Chatter

by JenG under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating

I received a message this week from a guy that got straight to the point. Instead of engaging in the get-to-know-you chatter, he directly asked me to meet him out for a drink. While it’s always great to move things along quick with online dating, it was a bit too forward. I wanted to get to know him more, see if we did indeed have anything in common — anything worth spending a few hours in person fleshing out the details.

  • Do: Make it a point to chat before you set up a date. It’s important to know something about the person you’re going to meet in person. It’s risky to go out with anyone without even knowing their basic details if they ask you out in the very first message they send. Thank them for their offer, but ask politely to get to know them first.
  • Don’t: Go meet them in person until you feel comfortable. If they ask you out in the very first message and you don’t feel like it’s right, or you’re questioning if you two would actually get along in person, say no. Ask for more information. Trust your gut and your instincts if they seem overly persistent or something seems wrong. When it comes to dating, the cardinal rule is to do what feels correct.

Follow Jen on Twitter: @tthingsilearned


How High is Your Wall?

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Single Life

Everyone has a wall up when dating (and if not, you should!), but there’s a difference between being careful to not reveal too much too soon and having your heart guarded by the U.S. Army Reserves.

On a first date, whether you met on JDate or not, keep it to the basics: where you grew up, where you studied, and where you work. You can also cover a VERY brief recap of your relationship history (divorced, widowed, children), where you’ve traveled, what your hobbies include, and more general topics like such. Your wall should keep you from revealing more than that in order to safeguard your heart. If you get into your sob story or discuss other intimate topics — and then never hear from your date again — you’ll be crushed that you opened yourself up to someone who is basically a stranger. Wait until something develops first. In the meantime, find commonalities and build on them, revealing a bit at a time so that your date knows that you’re interested and interesting.


Why the Underwear Matches

by Aaron under JBloggers,Judaism,Single Life

In what will henceforth be deemed my “women-ssance” of 2013, I began to develop a new pattern. I started matching my underwear color to an item of clothing I was wearing. From shirts to sweaters to socks, what was underneath always matched something visible.

I didn’t know at first why I started doing this. It was just fun and made choosing outfits in the morning an exciting endeavor. But a year later, I think it finally makes sense in other ways. All it took was me wearing a yarmulke (that also matches my clothing, typically) to make me understand.

For a good while, I’ve been Shomer Shabbos, and I keep Kosher for the most part (I’ll still eat dairy or pareve outside of my home), but I felt like until I was the best Jew ever, I couldn’t wear a yarmulke regularly. I found a loophole of sorts (I wear a hat when eating treif to avoid the guilt I believe I’d otherwise feel with a yarmulke), and suddenly I feel comfortable wearing a yarmulke everywhere. The first day of class with it was a little weird (classmates are still asking me what holiday it is since it’s so new for them to see), but it has since helped in making me more comfortable in my own skin.

What I think it does best is it puts all of my cards on the table in a lot of situations. What you see with me is totally what you get — I wear a yarmulke, and it shouldn’t surprise you if I can’t do something on Shabbat or eat certain foods. It makes it easier to turn down interviews on Shabbat or to keep myself dating Jewish exclusively. It comes down to the basic idea of both the yarmulke and my boxers: what’s beneath should match what we see.

This applies online and in real life. Your dating profile and messages should be authentically you — don’t try to cast a wide net; you want to find someone for the long game. And in real life, people should be able to tell what they’re getting into, whether it’s in what you’re wearing, or just the actions you take and the words you say. This is really just a spin of something that’s been said to death, but nothing is sexier than when your external attitudes are true to your internal self, or in my terms, your clothing matches your underwear.


Singledom Dumbdown

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships,Single Life

A recent article in The New York Times “Modern Love” column titled The Hard Won Lessons of the Solitary Years resonated with me. Although there are lessons that we learn while IN relationships, there are also many lessons we learn the older we are as singles. Which is why it always bothered me when my coupled up counterparts would speak to me in a condescending way about things that I “wouldn’t understand” because I wasn’t married or in a relationship at the time.

What I found ironic though is that I was learning life lessons as an independent woman that would go on to benefit me later. There’s no right or wrong answer to what age is best for getting married; everyone has their own path, but in the meantime we should be cognizant of the way we speak to our friends who are on a different path and make sure we are respectful. Everyone learns their own hard fought lessons on their own time and we never know what someone is going through, it’s best to appreciate what they bring to the table — a perspective that comes from being in a different stage of life than ours.


Extreme Profile Makeover: “Joseph”

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Monday Makeover,Online Dating

Dear Tamar,

I have recently become single again after 3 ½ years off the market, and I set up a JDate account. I was wondering if you could take a look at my profile and tell me what you think.  If you could let me know if there are things I should change, things I should add, etc, I would be grateful.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Joseph,

I am quite impressed with your profile. You write well and don’t have any glaringly off-putting statements. You uploaded 11 photos, which show your face, body type and interests quite well — but I do believe posting 11 photos is overkill. Try to eliminate at least 3. I recommend people upload between 6-8 photos covering the five Fs:

  • Face
  • Full Body
  • Fun
  • Family & Friends
  • Final Photos

You’ve covered face, full body, and fun, but you don’t have any pictures of you with any of your loved ones. Try to add something there, even if it’s with your dog. Final photos are there to reinforce the consistency of your appearance, which you have covered well.

The only other thing I would add is a one-liner about your divorce. Simply say “I was married at a young age for a short time and learned a lot about what I want in a partner,” or something along those lines. You don’t need to go into detail on JDate, or on a first date, but you should address it briefly and get it out of the way as women will wonder.

Your age range of 24-34 for a 31-year-old is perfect. I recommend a 10-year range and a woman any younger than 24 will likely have a disconnect with you since you’re already a professional with life experience who is looking to settle down. If you aren’t finding enough women who fit your preferences, then try expanding your area by looking in nearby cities and possibly being open to dating a woman with a child or a woman who is shorter or taller than your saved preference.

Good luck!

 

Buy Tamar’s new book How To Woo A Jew: The Modern Jewish Guide to Dating and Mating on Amazon or in bookstores now!


Love at First JDate: Update & Upgrade Your Picture

by JenG under JDate,Online Dating

I’ve had a profile up on JDate for over a year. In that time, I have not changed my photos or refreshed my profile. That’s not good at all. Who we are and how we look changes quicker than we think — and it’s best to have our profiles match who we are right now.

  • Do: Post photos that were taken in the last 6-9 months. Ones that are clear and, if possible, of just you. It can be hard for a person to understand who you are — and it can get unnecessarily confusing — if you post pictures with a bunch of people in them.
  • Don’t: Post just one photo. Try to post between 3-5. If you don’t have any recent photos – take some on your computer or ask a friend to take a photo of you. This will enhance your profile and give it a fresh look.

Read more Jen Glantz: www.thethingsilearnedfrom.com.