Archive for May, 2014

Making Introductions

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Single Life

We’ve all been there. You’re out with someone you’re newly dating, it’s not a full-on committed relationship yet, and you run into someone who you used to date, and still have feelings for, or you run into someone you’d typically be interested in dating had you not met while with your date!

So, how do you make introductions without burning either bridge? Simple: don’t include titles. Say hello, introduce the person you’re with to the person you’ve run into by first name only, and don’t get flirty. Respect yourself by being respectful to your date. You can always send a quick email, text or Facebook message later that day letting the person you ran into know that it was nice seeing them.


OCD Dating

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Single Life

What happens when you date someone who has an addictive personality? What level of obsessiveness can you put up with in your life? Alcohol and/or drugs are an easy limit to set… someone who can’t live without one or both of those is probably not someone you want to date. But what about when it comes to sports, or music, or exercise? None of these types of addictions is unhealthy, but they can definitely be annoying.

When your dinner plans revolve around the NBA playoffs (or worse yet, the regular season schedule!), then you may not want to be with someone who is so into sports. If your date’s life revolves around any one hobby or interest, then you may need someone who is more balanced. There’s not a cut and dry way to know what that looks like before a first date, but you can usually tell after a few hours of getting to know someone.


Stay-at-Home Summer Movies

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

As summer movie season is upon us, the natural inclination is to drown our girlfriends in comic book lore and respectively take boyfriends to go see Legally Blonde 6. Not a lot of happiness comes out of that from my experience (just go with your same-interest friends!), but there are definitely some fun movies for everyone, with a little romantic spark to boost. So with that in mind, I’d like to give you some of my recommendations for your next stay-at-home movie night:

  • Before Sunrise/Before Sunset: Any girl I’ve ever dated knows these are the best romance movies known to man. As a grown man, I still tear up nearly every time I watch either one, but I love every second. The movies are literally just two people exploring two European cities (Vienna in Sunrise, Paris in Sunset), but what an experience. And they’re pretty short, so if either of you disagrees with my recommendation, at least it’s over quickly.
  • Definitely, Maybe: While Ryan Reynolds is rarely an actor I recommend, this is one of those fun romantic comedies that keeps everyone happy.

Okay, so it turns out I only have two (three depending on if you count the Before movies as separate) really romantic movies, but if you’re looking for more missed hits to watch on DVD/across the internet with your significant other, here are some other non-romances you may have missed:

  • Six Degrees of Separation: Who doesn’t love Will Smith? There’s a bit of romance here, but mostly the movie just asks the question “just who the heck is this guy?” A fun air of mystery makes it a fun watch for everyone.
  • Hamlet 2: I feel like this is a very special under-appreciated movie, and I highly recommend it for everyone (ladies will love Jesus’s sexy abs, but everyone will enjoy the fun of a sequel to Hamlet).
  • The Scream Movies: Horror is a special bonding experience, and no horror series is more lightweight, fun, and well-done than the Scream movies. The whole series isn’t perfect, but if you want to be scared in a way that won’t force you to keep the lights on, this is the way to do it.

So that’s my mini-movie corner, feel free to post your stay at home recommendations in the comments!


Everything I Do, I Do It For You

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships,Single Life

Every so often you’ll meet someone who is willing to change their lives for you.

This past weekend a girlfriend of mine married the love of her life — a man who converted to Judaism to marry her. A few weeks ago another friend married the love of his life — a woman who uprooted her life to move cities to be with him. Sometimes these selfless acts are seen as the ultimate show of true love (as these cases seem to be), and sometimes these sacrifices can be seen as desperate (“you’re willing to give up your religion or your life to be with me?”).

You do want someone who is willing to walk to the ends of the earth for you, but only if you are willing to do the same for them. One-sided sacrifices don’t work. You never want someone to be able to hold something like that over your head. Make sure whatever it is they are doing for you is thoroughly thought out.


Playing Cat & Mouse

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,JDate,Judaism,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

There are some profiles on JDate I’ve viewed five or more times. It’s not because I’m in love with the profile, or even that it’s more remarkable than all others. It also doesn’t necessarily mean I am romantically interested in the person. I have a predicament I call “profile overexposure.”

Here’s how “profile overexposure” works: At some point, I view someone’s profile. The person views me back. Then… nothing. Sometimes I will re-click on their profile, forgetting I’d already looked a month back. I call this “playing cat and mouse.” There are so many profiles out there and so much to look at. How can anyone possibly remember the important details without having a spreadsheet or taking notes? I sometimes consider devising a system for this issue, but I then convince myself it isn’t worth my time.

My frustration with this “Cat and Mouse” phenomenon sometimes leads me to accept dates with non-Jewish men. Non-Jewish men take more interest in me than Jewish men for reasons I cannot fathom. Perhaps it’s because I don’t look “that Jewish” (according to many of my peers). Regardless, I accepted a date with a guy I’ll call “Chris.” Chris and I had a great initial interaction. No major butterflies, but we’re both engineers, and we had a lot to chat about… until he asked me what I had done earlier in my weekend. I mentioned I had been to synagogue for Friday night services. He knew I was Jewish when he accepted the date, but it appears he found me to be too Jewish. If you’ve seen my previous post on not being Jewish enough, you can imagine my delight when someone found me to be “too Jewish!”

The conversation took an odd turn when he realized I partake in Judaism, rather than just wearing it as a cultural badge of honor. He then admitted he “didn’t really like Jewish food,” and I could see him sizing me up against stereotypical Jewish “boxes.” He outwardly compared me to some of the most typical ones: nose, hair texture, and athletic ability.

People ask me why I go on so many first dates. To be truthful, it can get very tiresome. Chris said he was “nonreligious,” but when push came to shove, I sensed his discomfort and misunderstanding of Judaism. He tentatively asked, “Isn’t every child born to a Jewish woman automatically Jewish?” He was clearly not okay having a Jewish child. At that, I was ready for another round of “Cat and Mouse” on JDate.


Extreme Profile Makeover: “Ray”

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

Hello Tamar,

Can you take a look at my profile and tell me what I am doing incorrectly? What should be there and what needs to be removed?

Thanks,
“Ray”

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Ray,

I’ve broken down my assessment of your JDate profile into three different sections: photos, essays and search. I believe you (and other JDaters) can strengthen your profile with just a few easy tweaks!

PHOTOS

Your photos are inconsistent, and although there are 12 of them, a few need to be deleted and the rest should be reordered. Follow my 5 F’s in this order: Face, Full Body, Fun, Family & Friends, Final Photos.

Move the 11th photo of you wearing the suit to your main profile photo. It’s a clear headshot and you’re dressed up. Homerun! The fifth full-body photo with the flowers should be your second pic. The tenth photo with the funny guy should be your third. I would also make the sixth photo by the tree your fourth pic. Lastly, make the fourth photo with sunglasses on the boat your fifth image and then get rid of the rest. If you take some new photos, try to get more close-up shots without sunglasses to show off your face!

IN MY OWN WORDS

I liked most of what you wrote until “The Things I Could Never Live Without.” This is where you need to simplify. You don’t need to say exercise AND spinning AND eating healthy AND yoga. “Living a healthy lifestyle” is enough. The same goes for the section called, “For Fun I Like To…” because you repeat yourself. You could actually delete that section entirely. Under “My Favorite Books, Movies, etc” delete all the details. Just keep the list. Also delete “My Past Relationships” because you cover the subject in “I’m Looking For” and “My Ideal Relationship” very thoroughly.

DETAILS

Being that you’re 46, your age range shouldn’t max out at 46. Up it by just a few years to 48, or even 50. I would also simplify the area under your “Ideal Match” — chances are you’re not really looking for a friend or activity partner, you probably want a relationship, or even marriage, from what your profile says, so make sure your “Details” align.

 

Overall, I think rearranging and deleting your profile pics will draw some new looks to your profile, and simplifying your essay sections will help as well. It’s clear you’re a passionate person who loves his daughter and that will attract many prospects! Good luck!


Searching Systematically

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

Dear Tamar,

What is the best, systematic way to create a profile and search successfully on JDate?

___________________________________________________________________________

Dear Systematic Searcher,

The easy answer? Buy my book, How to Woo a Jew, The Modern Jewish Guide to Dating and Mating.

The more complicated answer? Be honest about your stats (age, education level, height/weight, religious level) first and foremost. Next, choose your preferences in a mate. Start off by selecting your “perfect prospect,” and then broaden the preferences from there.

If you don’t have at least 100 prospects to check out, then your preferences are too narrow, and you need to compromise somewhere regarding what, exactly, you’re looking for. You aren’t going to find someone who encompasses everything, but you can find most things by giving in, bit by bit. Here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself to make sure you aren’t being too strict in any certain area:

  1. How wide is your age range?
  2. Just because you have a PhD does it mean your mate has to as well?
  3. If someone lives within a 25 mile radius, then what’s another 25 miles?

The Uglier Side of Jewish Setups

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,JDate,Relationships,Single Life

The other day, my mother met a Jewish woman I’ll call “Nancy.” Nancy saw that my mother’s luggage tag had a logo from my college and introduced herself. After a brief chat, this woman realized one of her sons is around my age and is moving to the same area. My mom told me about this interaction with utter disbelief. The other woman said her handsome son needed a “back-up girlfriend” while his non-Jewish girlfriend was in Europe. I started to laugh. A back-up girlfriend?! Me?! Never. I have a backbone.

What, exactly, entitles someone to two significant others? Or rather, who has the time and energy to double dip? I classify having two girlfriends as cheating, and I thought such practices were generally frowned upon.

To be frank, I’m quite tired of people trying to sell me on their son, nephew, grandson, or cousin. My mother says, “You are a catch on your own right and deserve to find someone suitable to your own tastes.” I appreciate this because…

  1. I am not desperate
  2. I don’t feel as though having a significant other defines me, or makes me any more or less of a person.
  3. I have never been set up as a back-up girlfriend. The mere suggestion sent me over the edge.

There’s a woman at my hometown temple who is subtly hostile toward my mom the majority of the time. I’ll call her “Sally.” My mom was surprised when Sally warmly greeted her at the grocery store. Apparently, Sally is trying to marry off her sons and is worried there are no grandchildren in her future. Sally suggested that she and my mom should set their kids (both around 25) up. My mom and sister cracked up. “Of all the people I don’t want to be related to,” my mom joked.

I feel as though this set-up culture is much more prominent among my Jewish friends. To make matters more comic, both my sister and I know the boys on the other end of the setup. In my case, the feelings are mutually, “No way!” I think parents mean well, and they try to find someone who looks good on paper (or via word of mouth). Truth be told, everyone’s mom thinks their son or daughter is amazing and fabulous. However, these good-intending mothers, grandmas, aunts, and friends, don’t necessarily know what goes on among the twenty-something crowd. I want to do my own bidding, and I am lucky that my parents know that and respect me for it. I don’t always get lucky on JDates, but at least I get to pick my dates for myself!


Table Manners

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

A recent story from my girlfriend about her date eating off her plate, and then finishing it off while she went to the bathroom, has inspired this post. Her date also arrived weighing 150 pounds more than his photo showed and he ordered more than a few plates of food for himself, which he polished off before she could eat half of hers. He committed a number of table manner transgressions!

  1. Unless you ask first, or your date offers, do not take a sample of your date’s food. In fact, asking if you want to taste each other’s food is a great way to break the ice.
  2. Keep your phone in your pocket or purse (unless you have kids and then keep your phone on silent on the table and don’t look at it).
  3. Ladies should not assume the man is going to pay. Offer to split and be prepared to have your offer accepted. Men should deny the offer in most circumstances.
  4. Be polite to the waitstaff.
  5. Your first-date behavior should be your best behavior!

Why I Cried During The Zombie Movie

by Aaron under Judaism,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

Before I was on this blog as a narcissistic storyteller every week, I was struggling with my dating life quite a bit. Break-ups were especially hard for me when they hit; I had a tendency to over-invest in relationships that were probably less real than I thought them to be.

One such afternoon comes to mind, and that is when I popped in a DVD I’d rented from Netflix called Warm Bodies. Now, this movie is literally a movie about a braindead zombie following a guy around for 80 minutes. That’s the entire movie. Somehow, in my shaken up state, I began to see parts of my life over the last few months reflected in the movie: “Wow, the way she stares at him and can’t say anything was just like our romance!” or “The way he shoots a gun at some other zombie for her is just like how we do things here in our Texas romances!”

Some of that is exaggerated, but it actually took me two days to finish this very mundane movie for the fact that I couldn’t keep my mind clear. All I could think about was the girl who had just broken things off with me. And then something changed.

You see, I found the secret to getting over a lot of issues in life, and that is by creating a routine only I have control over. It’s easy (and a little dangerous) for the world to dictate where you go from day to day, whether it’s your job or an overcommitment to someone of the opposite sex. So as I waited for grad school to start and had a month of funemployment last summer (and was freshly back on the dating market), I started doing things. I started taking more of an active interest in my Judaism by learning Talmud, putting on tefillin every day, and keeping Shabbat as to have a pattern in my life that kept me calm. That’s not necessarily for everyone, but it worked for me. Similarly, I spent the last five months learning improv a few times a week, and that calmed me like nothing else. It’s all about finding something that works for you.

There’s obviously a balance between living a life out of The Truman Show where you’re saying, “Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!” every single day, and uncontrollably weeping during teen movies. But if you’re struggling with finding yourself, take some time to do things that are distinctly for you. What started with tefillin and Shabbat has now become much more (though those are both still present), from writing these blogs to just learning new talents or having dinner every week with a few friends. There’s no easy way to make yourself invulnerable to being hurt, and you really shouldn’t, as vulnerability is a powerful thing in itself. However, you can definitely live a stronger dating life by giving yourself a little consistency. After the zombie incident, the next break-up was a lot easier, and I went right back to wrapping tefillin the next morning.