Archive for the ‘Date Night’ Category

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!

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.

More on Social Media while Dating

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

If you have a JDate account then I can pretty much assume that you have a Facebook page — and quite possibly some other combination of Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Google+, and/or LinkedIn (and I’m sure there are other sites and apps I’m missing). Using the internet while dating is tricky because once you exchange names, then all it takes is a couple of clicks of the mousepad to learn more about a prospect.

This is a good and bad thing, which I’ve discussed before, but that doesn’t mean you need to shut down social media. A guy I once dated was unsearchable, and it actually made me think there was something he was hiding. Even once we started dating and added each other on different sites — eliminating the “privacy” modes — he still didn’t have anything posted, nor did he often “like” items. He did, however, scroll through Facebook and Instagram regularly and the combination of the two made me very skeptical.

On the other hand, you can meet people who over-share and put every detail about their life online — pictures of their meals, status updates about their frustrating morning, opinions about everything, photos of every thing they do, and so on. That doesn’t include clicking “like” for ALL of their friends posts and commenting as well. It’s exhausting and it’s overkill for someone who barely knows you, but is interested in dating you.

As with most things, there’s a happy medium with social media where you let people see things about your life without being too much of an open book or too much of a recluse. You can also use privacy settings for people you don’t really know so they can’t see everything you post, and they can get to know you at a more natural pace.

That said, try not to cyber stalk and don’t add your date on social media until you’re on your way to dating seriously. Not every first date should become a Facebook friend.

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“In My Own Words” — Vague or Detailed? That is the Question.

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

I’m not sure Jewish scholars such as Maimonides, Hillel, Akiva, or Rashi would be able to agree on whether it is better to have a vague ‘In My Own Words’ answer… or a more detailed one (they didn’t agree on much, so it’s not surprising that our people are known for our argumentative nature).

On one hand, a vague About Me (or any other category) is enticing as it leaves more for your date to discover on their own and allows you to let them discover more about you at your own pace. You get to reveal more about yourself in your (few) emails, a bit more in your (10 minute) phone calls, and even more in person. You’re not putting everything on the table, and that means you don’t have to live up to any hype you create if, for instance, you are really funny with your writing, but not so much in person.

On the other hand, being more detailed in your biography means that the prospects you attract know exactly who you are and what you are attracted to — more than just your photo and a few general tidbits. It means you have likely weeded out potentials who you may not mesh with, but it also means that you could have eliminated quality prospects who think you are too set in your ways… even though it’s not only acceptable, but more enjoyable to not agree with each other about every topic.

So here’s where your How to Woo a Jew scholar gets to butt in and give her two cents… I suggest a happy medium. Some areas you can stay vague while others that you feel more strongly about should be more detailed. If you are sarcastic and witty in-person, then try to convey that in your biography. If you love debating politics, then say that as well but also mention some particulars — if you are a staunch Democrat and couldn’t bear to be with a hardcore Republican, then let that be known! Areas where you are open to exploring should be left vague or simply state that you want to learn more from someone who is an expert or enjoys those things.

Basically there’s no “right” or “wrong” way because everyone has a type, and the person for you won’t be turned off by your vague or detailed profile… the caveat here is that if you’re having trouble meeting quality prospects, then it would behoove you to adjust your answers towards the other side of the spectrum.

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A Contradiction in Terms

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


Have you ever realized how many famous adages or proverbs actually contradict one another? Within the last two blog posts, I advised you to be less picky when dating, yet not settle. Don’t discount people too quickly, I said, yet don’t force a connection if it’s not there.  All of this sounds like reasonable advice. But, which is it?  You can’t have it both ways, right? I guess the good news with conflicting information is that you really can’t go wrong either way, since someone says it’s right. This got me thinking about other instances of paradoxical advice – they are more common than you might realize! Which of the examples below is your favorite?

  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder vs. Out of sight, out of mind
    • Favorite sayings of long-distance romances everywhere, these two basically provide opposing advice. There have been different times in my life when both of these have been true in different situations, but you might as well focus on whichever you want to be true, because they cancel each other out.
  • Love yourself as you are vs. Always strive to improve
    • The essence of this contradiction is often found in women’s magazines – the messages “love your body!” and “you’re beautiful the way you are!” sound great until they are sandwiched between articles on how to lose 10 pounds in a month and how to get guys to like you by changing your hair and makeup. But these are not mutually exclusive – it’s possible to love yourself and want to improve, both internally and externally.
  • Play hard to get vs. Don’t play games
    • Ah, the classic debate – do you try to play it cool by calculating how often and how long to wait before responding to someone, or do you just do and say whatever you feel like doing and saying? Opinions vary and often conflict, as does conventional wisdom. Looks like the jury’s still out on this one.
  • Birds of a feather flock together vs. Opposites attract
    • I hear both of these sayings all the time – could it be that they are both true, to some degree? Maybe we tend to flock together with people who have similar interests, goals, background, and values. But an opposite temperament or personality brings a little spice to life.

The moral of the story is that no dating advice is ALWAYS true in ALL situations. So be judicious when taking well-intended dating advice from people who don’t know your particular situation. But also remember that wise men think alike… but fools seldom differ.

Second Date Series: Saying Goodnight

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Single Life

So how do you end a second date?

Well, it depends on if you want a third or not.

If the date went well and you would like to see them again, then you should share a kiss goodnight. If you ended the first date with a nice kiss, and greeted the second date with a nice kiss, then perhaps this kiss should linger and last longer. The purpose is twofold: to let your date know that you are definitely interested and to establish physical chemistry. But let it end there. This is not the time to extend an invitation to go home with you or to accept such an invitation.

If you don’t want another date then you should make sure to bid adieu respectfully and with dignity. Thank your date for a nice time and express your appreciation if the other person paid. Or… if you don’t want another date but there’s sexual chemistry then go ahead and have some “safe” fun! Safe both in a physical as well as emotional way: make sure to use protection but also make sure your date knows this is just a hook-up so that feelings are protected as well.


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A Brief Defense of Pickiness

by Caryn Alper under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

Last week, I talked a bit about how you should give more matches a chance. Just because you’ve seen and ignored the same tired profiles over and over again in your zip code doesn’t mean that they aren’t a good match for you!  This is true. However, I tend to play devil’s advocate quite a bit (with myself) and was thinking: why date people you aren’t interested in just because they are available?  I might only find a dozen young men in my area who are my age, but what if I don’t want to date any of them? Should everyone in the same zip code just pair off with another person they find the least intolerable? Is that how marriage works?

I’ve come to the conclusion recently that some people are just naturally more picky, or, excuse me, selectively-inclined, than others. And this is fine. If we all dated like Jerry Seinfeld, no one would ever get married, family structure could break down entirely, and we’d all end up alone eating lots of cereal. But if everyone were forced to just “pick someone,” many people, though not necessarily all, would be miserable. If someone has found a happy medium between these extremes, please inform me what it looks like.

How do you know if you’re too picky? I’ve definitely been accused of having an overly healthy degree of selectivity. There are likely several reasons for this, none of which I’ll describe here, because honestly, I’m not sure what they are. But am I being too picky when I reject an offer to be set up with the cousin of someone’s neighbor who is 20 years my senior, lives in another country, and just finalized his divorce?  I say no. Mrs. Goldberg at shul might say otherwise. But I’m holding my ground. I mean, you see how picky I am about my shoes, and they only go on my feet.

In my opinion, there’s no need to go out with someone out of pity, convenience, spite, revenge, or obligation. If you aren’t interested or don’t see the possibility of potential, it’s okay to pass. If you’re feeling that resistant toward meeting someone, it’s much more likely that you’ll feel resentful or act rudely than feel surprisingly delighted after meeting him or her. Feeling neutral is one thing – if you don’t know someone or feel on the fence, by all means – it’s just a date – go! But feeling repulsed by a photo, getting in an email argument over opposing views of the world, or even a strong negative gut feeling – these all warrant some selectivity.

Those examples might be pretty straightforward, but what if you don’t want to date someone because one of her nostrils is a little bigger than the other, or because he won’t let his food touch on the plate? Or because she didn’t go to an Ivy League school, or his glasses are out of style? This is where pickiness gets interesting. There can be a fine line between appropriate selectivity and self-sabotage, so give people the benefit of the doubt, but trust your gut.  There’s a lot more to say about this topic — stay tuned for a future related post. In the meantime, in honor of the 20th anniversary of Clueless this month, I’m Audi!

Second Date Series: Dropping Your Guard

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

When you’re on a second date and it’s going well, then you become more and more apt to share personal stories. If you feel comfortable letting your guard down and opening up, that’s great! Here are a few tips to help you get there:

  • Make sure the other person is also sharing, and therefore is on the same page in regards to the date going well and wanting to get to know you better and allowing you to get to know them — sharing should not be one-sided
  • Keep the topics positive, talk about things that make you happy
  • Don’t start the “ex” or divorce/widow conversation just yet
  • Stay away from relaying stories of your dating past — as funny as some of our JDate stories are, this is not the time to exchange them

Be a good listener; don’t interrupt and make sure to ask a few questions to show you’re giving your date your undivided attention. Bonus points for being an observant storyteller — don’t drone on and on without noticing if your audience has lost interest. You’re look for a connection; the more you share and find commonalities, the closer you will feel.


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Second Date Series: An Order to Ordering

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

When the time comes to order drinks and food on a second date, there are a few ways to proceed: You can either do it the generic way with each person ordering for themselves, OR you can use it as an opportunity to bond by ordering together.

If you both want wine, perhaps agree on one type and order the bottle. Or, if you prefer hard liquor, then consider doing a shot together (not too much to drink, you don’t want to lower your inhibitions or make yourself vulnerable when you’re not in a position to get your home safely).

When it comes to the food, discuss what you can order and share rather than having separate dishes. Try to be open to trying to new delicacies, and don’t be disappointed to skip your favorite dish in lieu of something you can enjoy together instead. You can have lasagna anytime, but you won’t have the chance to bond over digging into a unique dish and creating a new experience together.

If you are more like a Joey from Friends and can’t share your fries then please try to at least share dessert. Liking – or hating – food together is a bonding experience and will create memories for you as a possible couple.


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