Archive for the ‘JBloggers’ Category

Dating Advice, Part 2

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

When I walked out of that conference I talked about last week, I had a new found respect for myself. No job was currently in my hands, but with all the guidance I’d been given, I felt like I could get the job I wanted with some good research and practice. I felt confident as I headed back to Dallas.

I think the big difference in dating and careers is the way we approach both. You see a lot of career advice for getting the job – the assumption being you’re technically capable of keeping the job. With dating, it’s the opposite. We assume you can find people (through something such as a dating website), but keeping a relationship seems to be the problem in dating – look at our current divorce rate.

So what if you’re experiencing the opposite problem, and you can’t get into that relationship groove? In a job, they have to work with you once you’re hired, at least a little bit, since there is some form of binding contract. But when we’re free to be our own people, our necks are always on the line. To me, that is the big difference: with a job, so much is clear-cut. If you have an awesome elevator pitch, good interviewing skills, and an ability to network by talking to a few people at any event, you can get a job within a few months given the proper effort.

Dating, on the other hand, is a real fluid thing. There is no elevator pitch, no mock dating. There’s no perfect, one-size-fits-all first impression. And most importantly, who you are when dating is a reflection on the rest of your life, and that cannot be covered in just one or two days at a convention. Generic dating advice that blankets everyone may not specifically cover the real thing that’s stopping you. Maybe you’re an axe murderer and have a bad habit of murdering people, and that’s getting in the way of your relationships. I can guarantee you there is very little advice on how to stop murdering that either I – or anyone else on the JDate blog – will be giving out (though really, anything harmful to other people, in all seriousness, you should probably stop doing).

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and you may be looking for someone a lot longer than you’re looking for your next job. But there is definitely hope. Dating coaches are out there, advice is out there, etc. But really, go out and learn to be a better you. Take some classes in something you’ve always wanted to do, go better yourself by exercising or going to school, or just do something that challenges you in general. I had a teacher who once told me “practice just makes permanent, not perfect.”  Only when we start to change what we’re doing can we find new things, and lucky for us, you don’t need to go to a convention to do that.


Out of Egypt

by Aaron under JBloggers,Relationships,Single Life

In The Ethics of our Fathers, one of the key quotes I took away was to “acquire for yourself a friend.”

I have had pretty substantial friendships since high school ended, deeming most of my friends with a term I invented: “sebester” friends (meaning they were my best friends for a semester or so each while we were in school taking classes and hanging out together). My “sebester” friends lasted often much more than a semester, but often each semester brought me a new and equally great friendship to add to the collection.

When I got out of school and moved back to mainland Dallas, I had a friend from school I hung out with who was great, and then that was pretty much it. As the next year and a half went by, it was just us. I made new friends, but never quite to the level of any of my “sebester” friendships. Then came Moses.

I don’t like to use names in my blog, but Moses has given me permission, and besides, I think it’s important that I point out how obvious the friendship of Moses and Aaron should be. In a year of great things in my life, Moses and I met in October of 2012 during Sukkot. We had a blast getting to know each other, and even finding out my zeyde was friends with his aunt.

Moses has since moved to San Francisco (ladies of SF, keep an eye out, he’s pretty easy to find with a name like Moses), but we are still super close. And with him back this past weekend, it reminded me of some of the great traits of our friendship that I’d like to share. For starters, I always felt comfortable with who I was when I was with Moses, and never felt like he was judging me. With Moses in my vicinity, no one else mattered. We talked about topics that we were guarded about and really helped each other grow.

More than anything, I think Moses helped me figure out a lot about myself. I knew I wanted a girl who could be a friend to me as much as he is, and when I haven’t found that, I’ve moved on. He helped me realize that the real cornerstone to a great relationship is friendship — both with the girl, and with someone who you can be sure can help keep you steady. So to everyone else out there, I hope you can find a Moses, and I hope in doing so you can better find yourself.


The two ways I feel most sexy

by Aaron under JBloggers

In my organizational behavior class this week, we were given an assignment to get people to tell us the times we’ve acted our best. So I started thinking that this could be a fun topic, and now I’m spinning it to y’all in the form of the times I feel best, and in turn my sexiest (and you may disagree, or just want to tell me I’m sexy all the time, in which case feel free to do so in the comments!).

The easiest way I feel awesome and attractive is when I am being passionate about something. For me that could be anything from choosing cool clothes to wear to an event or even just promoting Jewish events in Dallas. Jewish events have always been my passion, from AEPi in college to putting together calendars to unite groups throughout Texas now that I’m in a young professional community. I try to grow that part of me, always making new commitments (including promising to bring a new person a week to classes at my local Chabad, which I’ll happily take volunteers for) and trying to better myself, and that to me makes me feel my best.

I also feel great when I stop worrying about everything but the moment in front of me. I turn my cell phone off on Shabbat and every date I go on to be less distracted.  When I can just be present in a moment without worrying about what comes next or what is going on elsewhere, I feel great. I think my attention to what’s happening helps others feel good, too.

I don’t know if those are the sexiest things in the world to everyone (Or maybe this is the post that finally has you booking that flight to Dallas to look for me?), but to me those are the times I feel greatest. Maybe I’m not always the sexiest man alive, but I sure know how to make myself feel like it.


I’ll Be There For You

by Aaron under JBloggers,Relationships,Single Life

In one of my favorite shows, Friends, there is a scene in the fourth season finale where we catch Chandler in bed and as Ross leaves the room, we see Monica pop up from under the covers, and one of TV’s greatest (and funniest) romances begins to take off.

For a long time, that was my ideal romance. It happened to me a few times in college (too many of my favorite stories from college start with an “I have feelings for you, Aaron!” followed by a “So…do you want to make out or something?” awkwardly asked by me.), but for some reason it’s never lasted (even with my great response to people laying their hearts on the line to me!). I’ve had friends that I’ve gone that direction with and we’ve left it on good terms, but I’ve also ruined some friendships in the same way.

And yet I’m constantly drawn to that TV idea of Monica and Chandler. I’m sure I’ve got friends who would happily date me, and I’m sure most people do, too. It’s just as we grow older and don’t have school to provide us with a constant stream of new friends, we get scared of taking something to a different place. We worry it’d ruin the friendship, or just think that despite our constant hanging out and ability to tolerate and even enjoy each other, a relationship wouldn’t work.

But really, who better to date than people we already know we can trust and enjoy? As Rosh Hashanah came this year, I made a list of about thirty people, male and female, I wanted to get closer with this year. I regularly add to the list, and I also reach out to the people on the list for hanging out on my quieter nights (typically Thursday night dinners a friend and I put together). This is pretty much my biggest goal of the year socially, to grow not just the breadth of my network but also the depth of my relationships.

Growing friendships in Dallas has been something I’ve enjoyed over the years as I’ve rekindled friendships from Hebrew School and just learned to see people in new ways. We know faces, but getting to know real people takes some work. Sometimes when I try to open people up at events they get a little too open (telling me when they lost their virginity, exposing their long-hidden racism, etc.), but overall I love getting to know the faces around me when I go out. So next time you go to a big Jewish event, don’t just think “oh great, them again”, try to find something new about those same old faces around you. You might just find your Monica or Chandler has been in front of you all along.


Every Man for Himself?

by Aaron under JBloggers,Relationships,Single Life,Success Stories

This Yom Kippur, I had the pleasure of driving to synagogue with a good friend, and we decided to discuss our dating woes along the way. More than anything though we laughed and discussed funny date stories (I told him my worst sin of the year in my mind involved a Six Flags date that never happened, and he assured me it was probably a light year for sinning if that was the case), but we did reach a serious discussion at one point: when single, do we need to help friends find someone, or should we just look out for ourselves first?

My friend compared the situation to unemployment: you don’t help someone else find a job until you have one. But really, my fundamental problem is that not every job is for every person. If I found a job engineering airplanes, I wouldn’t tell an out-of-work plumber about it. Not everyone fits every job, and, in the same regard, not everyone fits every person. I mean, anyone can get along, but like a good job, longevity comes out of a good fit.

One of my favorite stories from synagogue growing up involves heaven and hell. In hell, there is food spread out everywhere and the people have giant spoons for hands. However, the people are starving because they can’t properly bend their elbows to eat the food with their long spoons. Everyone is miserable. It’s the same situation in heaven, but instead of starving, they feed each other… and everyone is happy. It always stuck with me as a way of understanding how we’re supposed to look out for each other, even in dating.

The question came to my mind again last Saturday night while I spent time with two friends of mine who are engaged to be married in May. They are a prime example of someone helping to set them up (this guy!). The woman in the relationship is a friend, and an ex of another close friend, the guy is a close friend who is Jewish but had never really been part of a Jewish community. They’re the best match I’ve ever seen. And we agreed, sometimes it’s okay to not be selfish, and maybe there’s someone who is a better fit for the position than you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still primarily looking for myself. But it can be tiring just looking for the right person for you, and sometimes it can be healthy to help someone else find what they’re looking for. I know I’m looking for my friends, just as I’m looking for me, and I hope that anyone in my social circle keeps me in mind when they meet nice Jewish girls, too.


Mothers, Mensches, and Manliness: The Aaron Stayman Blog

by Aaron under JBloggers,JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

About twenty-four hours before being told I was going to be blogging for JDate, I was sitting with my new classmates from business school. They were sitting on their LinkedIn accounts, building networks and uploading resumes. What was I doing? I was sitting on the “currently online” section of JDate and mass viewing profiles.

My name is Aaron Stayman and I am a mass JDater in Dallas, a city without much of a young JDatabase (I wish I could promise that is the worst pun you will see in this column, but I do intend to be a Jewish dad one day). I spend a lot of time on JDate and going out on dates, and even more time thinking about dating. It’s something I enjoy so much, I’ve written and changed friends’ profiles, given Jewish males in my area makeovers, and have referenced books for friends to read to help them get better at the extremely niche game of Jewish online dating.

I’m 23 years old, but like many of you I’m looking to find someone for a serious relationship, even if marriage isn’t in my sights for a little while. One thing I’ve really enjoyed on JDate is long-distance dating. That’s been my niche, and I have plenty of fun stories on that front (especially involving my mother and the lengths she attempted to go to when I went to Arkansas to meet a girl from JDate after Skyping for months, or when she tried to follow me through Central Park on a date during our latest trip to the Big Apple), but those will have to wait until we’ve gotten to know each other a bit better.

The good news for everyone out there, male or female, is that I’m trying to make my time on JDate better every day, as well as everyone else’s time. I have helped guys become cooler versions of themselves — as well as helped them to understand how to bring out the naturally cool people they are. I’ve also made girls laugh and even given tips to female friends about things they can do to improve their dating. I’m no pro, and my advice may even be wrong from time to time (everyone is unique on this site, after all), but I look forward to sharing my random thoughts with you and hope you’ll enjoy the journey we’re about to share together as well!


The Seder

by Adam under JBloggers,JDate

It’s Passover. You’re at an unfamiliar Seder with unfamiliar people. In fact, it’s probably a young professionals Seder for the people who couldn’t really go home to mother, father and a bevy of home-cooked food.

You think to yourself, “This is going to be another awkward Jewish event that I paid money for that could’ve gone to my Thursday kickball dues”. Then you realize you’ve boarded yourself in your room (other than work) after Florida Gulf Coast University ruined your bracket this weekend, and are probably in need of social interaction. Understanding this, you walk out of work, Gucci Man and Kid Cudi on repeat, and park at the synagogue/JCC/random rich dude’s house.

Upon arriving fifteen minutes late (Jewish standard time), you notice some new talent seated around the 75-100 person Seder table. This excites you, however you decide to sit next to David Goldstein, your go-to basketball-watching and gambling buddy, for familiarity reasons.

As the Seder goes on, you slyly check your phone every so often for work emails and to text your buddy across the room about this new talent.  Once the charoset and maror are passed around, you recite your Four Question checklist again:

  1. Why is this brown-haired, brown-eyed, well-dressed woman on my right different from all other women?
  2. Why does this brown-haired, brown-eyed, well-dressed woman on my right recline with such unbelievable posture? Is she a yoga teacher?
  3. Why does this brown-haired, brown-eyed, well dressed-woman on my right pop Kosher for Passover breath mints after every bite of the Hillel Sandwich  (charoset, maror, matzah)?
  4. What is the reason for this brown-haired, brown-eyed, well-dressed woman’s obsession with cats, tangerines and Duke basketball?

You then check your phone one more time to see if your buddy got any 411 on the ginger girl to your right, pick up your fork, and start eating your catered chicken.


March (Dating) Madness

by Adam under JBloggers,JFacts

March Madness is upon us, with sixty-eight teams, each fighting for the ultimate title of NCAA Men’s (and women’s) basketball championship. Starting tonight with the play-in games, then continuing Thursday and Friday with the “second” round games, hours of productivity, and thousands of dollars will be lost as a large segment of the population is glued to their television sets (or mobile phones), praying that a small school from the boonies of Louisiana can knock off Tim Tebow University.

There will be those Cinderellas- those directional state schools, and small private colleges, who win the hearts of many by knocking off schools like Duke, Kansas and Indiana, who then use their performance as a springboard for future basketball success. On the flip side, there are the busts- those teams who everyone had in their Final Four, but who flame out in the second round.

March Madness is a lot like dating. Think about it- you have those girls, or boys that in your mind are your prohibitive favorites (think Duke, Kansas, Indiana, Gonzaga) or best matches, who you think you will have the most chemistry with, or think looks good, is what Dick Vitale would call a “Prime Time Player”.

Sometimes, however, those best matches don’t exactly pan out. Maybe it goes well for a little bit, and you think it’s going to be smooth sailing to the finish (marriage), but huge bumps in the road (chemistry, change in priorities, you find out she’s a Philadelphia Eagles fan) put a halt to it.  Or maybe, a girl/boy pops up out of nowhere (think Virginia Commonwealth University during their Final Four run in 2011) and makes you heart flutter in ways you never knew existed.

March Madness and dating: it’s all about surviving and advancing. Who will end up being your “One Shining Moment”?


A Short Explanation of Purim

by Adam under JBloggers,JDate

Purim, the Jewish Mardi Gras. The holiday of deception. A holiday not quite as important as the High Holidays, but one that is celebrated with a similar amount of fervor throughout the young professional Jewish communities.

The idea of the holiday is simple: get as drunk as you possibly can so you cannot distinguish between “cursed be Haman” and “blessed be Mordechai”. Many online Jewish texts say this is the one day of the year the Jewish people can go absolutely crazy, unaware that these young professionals also celebrate New Year’s, Christmas Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, the start of March Madness, July 4th, and Labor Day in similar fashions.

There’s also a Purim narrative about how Mordechai helped save King Ahasuerus, who returned the favor by denying the decree that had called for the persecution of the Jews of Persia, but more emphasis for these young professional events is placed on the open bar.

The open bar allows single men and women the liquid courage to be able to cast “lots” among the attendees and to see which ones bite on possible dates. This also works in the case of one-night stands, where the lot cast may be two hours from the time you took that first sip of your vodka soda.

Purim, it’s that simple.

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The Case For Valentine’s Day as a National Holiday

by Adam under JBloggers,JDate

If you check Twitter, Facebook, your email, a dating site, an adult film store, or your local big box retailer, you’ll find aisles upon aisles dedicated to Valentine’s Day goodness. It’s a big deal, and great for the service industry (as you can take our your misery or happiness on happy hour)!

Why is Valentine’s Day so important? Why is there one day focused on showing affection to your spouse, or picking up another single person at the local “Stoplight” party? Why is Target only selling pink, red and white M&Ms? Did Kobe and Shaq kiss and make up two nights ago so they wouldn’t have to go out together tonight?

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that’s grown in popularity over the past 50 years, and in terms of retail holiness for Jews, might be entering Hanukkah territory (admit it, when have you ever seen a Rosh Hashanah movie on TV?). On a national scale, it ranks up there with Christmas, New Year’s, Halloween, and July 4th as the most Instagrammed holiday of the year… per statistics that I made up.

With this increased importance, is it time for us to replace Columbus Day as a national holiday with Valentine’s Day instead? If someone recently suffered a break up, and their depression is too much to stomach at work, shouldn’t they be granted a Valentine’s Day off to watch timeless romantic classics like Love Actually, When Harry Met Sally and Space Jam? On the other hand, shouldn’t the government grant us an “Intimacy Day” due to the fact that we have a “demographic cliff” problem in the USA, as the birthrate is declining?

Think of the impacts this could have. Singles, married people, and people in all other types of relationships will be able to fully recover from their depression/euphoria/taking a hit to their bank account by having a day off from work and will come in fully rested and ready to work on February 15 — excited that their next day off is President’s Day in just a few days.